Before I talk about the Bitch Planet comic. Last year we decided to highlight a comic we believed was a must-read for Human Rights Day, and that comic was Saga (you can read last year’s post here), and now, a year later, that choice feels more relevant than ever. Saga is a violent, dirty, and gut-wrenching story of what it takes to be a family, and it shows the painful choices a family had to make to try to remain together and find somewhere better to raise their daughter.
This year’s choice of a comic for Human Rights Day is very different from last. Still, it’s a comic that feels specifically made for the world and the times we are currently living in. Imagine, if you will, a comic that combines the best elements from The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black and Black Mirror? Well, Bitch Planet does just that.
If the name didn’t give it away, let me just give a warning: This is NOT an all-ages comic, but it is a comic that addresses issues everyone faces, regardless of age. Bitch Planet is set in a future where Earth is ruled by “The Fathers” and women have to follow everything “The Fathers” say; otherwise risk being marked as non-compliant. A non-compliant woman can be anything from a murderer to overweight to just having an unpopular opinion. Once a woman is marked as non-compliant, they are gathered up and shipped off to another planet, cutely nicknamed “Bitch Planet“.
Bitch Planet is basically just a prison where the woman will spend the rest of their days as no one who goes to Bitch Planet ever goes back to Earth. And while the women are there, are they forced into a battle royal reminiscent of The Hunger Games, where they need to kill each other for “The Fathers” entertainment. I won’t say anything more about the story for risk of spoilers, but I will say it’s definitely worth the read.
One of the most refreshing parts about Bitch Planet is how the comic never feels like it’s trying to pander to a broader audience. While I do love some of comics’ more popular female heroes and anti-heroes such as Harley Quinn, She-Hulk, Bat-Girl and Catwoman, there is no denying that they are written to be visually appealing, charmingly quirky, and with just the right amount of manic behaviour to make sure they appeal to comics predominantly male-dominant audience. In contrast, the woman in Bitch Planet don’t seem to care if anyone likes them, finds them attractive or wants to be them/be with them, they just are.
While a core focus of Bitch Planet is sexism, that’s also not the only “uncomfortable” topic tackled head-on within its pages. The comic also fully dives into other socially-charged issues like racism, social injustice, and our desensitization to the worst parts of human behaviour. Making Bitch Planet a wonderfully entertaining satire of everything that’s wrong with everywhere, all of the time.
Even though Bitch Planet isn’t new, having run from 2014 until 2017, it’s still one of the most relevant and refreshing reads around. And it’s for that reason, I chose to highlight it as a must-read comic for Human Rights Day this year.
At its core, Bitch Planet is a bold and unapologetic stand against all the hypocrisy surrounding us every day. It’s not just a case of “men against woman” or “woman against men”. Instead, it’s everyone against everyone, and it’s a story that doesn’t shy away from calling focus to the worst parts of humanity many would rather sweep under the rug and ignore.
Bitch Planet is available to collect either digitally; Single Issues (10 Issues); Trade Paperbacks (2 books), or as a Limited Edition Hardcover.