Gail Simone's "Fridging" Becomes Official DC Comics Terminology

Back in the day, when all this was UseNET messageboard, then comic book commentor Gail Simone launched a website – still a relatively novel thing in 1999 – called Women In Refrigerators. It listed examples of the superhero comic-book trope whereby female characters are affected by injury, raped, killed, or depowered (an event colloquially known as fridging), sometimes to stimulate "protective" traits, and often as a plot device intended to move a male character's story arc forward, and seeks to analyze why these plot devices are used disproportionately on female characters. The name specifically refers to an incident in Green Lantern #54 in 1994 by Ron Marz, in which Green Lantern Kyle Rayner comes home to his apartment to find that his girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, had been killed by the villain Major Force and stuffed into a refrigerator. Simone and her collaborators published a list of of fictional female characters who had been "fridged". Several comic book creators indicated that the list caused them to pause and think about the stories they were creating. But just as the Bechdel Test did, it's influence was felt far and wide beyond the medium that spawned it. I've heard it used in all manner of fashions by people who have no idea of the word's origins. It's just what people say, it has become part of the language. It even spawned the novel The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente.

But this week, it makes another leap, to an actual DC comic book, being spoken by Barbara Gordon, whose role in Batman The Killing Joke is considered ground zero for fridging moments in comics, her spine shot out by the Joker purely as a way to try and send her father mad. And whose middle name is now Gail, both on TV and in the comics, in honour of Gail Simone and the contribution she made to the character as a writer.

Gail Simone's

Being used in both a literal and figurative fashion… Nightwing #90 by Tom Taylor and Geraldo Borges is published on Tuesday next week, though some comic shops have it on sale already.

Gail Simone's

(W) Tom Taylor (A) Geraldo Borges (CA) Bruno Redondo
A Nightwing and Wally West story, part 1 of 2! When it's easier to go buy bagels as Nightwing than as Dick Grayson because everyone is either trying to get him for his money or kill him for the price on his head, Nightwing realizes he'll need to enlist the help of his Teen Titan friends as his bodyguards, and the first to volunteer is of course his best friend…Wally West, a.k.a. the Flash!
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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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