Barbarella, the iconic and controversial erotic scifi heroine, is returning to comic books for the first time in over three decades, and it’s going to be very sexy.
Dynamite Entertainment has unveiled the first look at Barbarella, its new series written by Mike Carey (X-Men, Lucifer, The Girl with All the Gifts) with art by Turkish artist Kenan Yarar (Hilal). It’s the first time the French character has been featured in an American comic book, and it’s designed to coincide with the character’s 55th anniversary.
Barbarella was originally a French erotic scifi comic book series, created in 1962 by Jean-Claude Forest. The comic book series arrived during the height of the Sexual Revolution, with Barbarella serving as a figure in the fight for sexual freedom in the genre.
The scifi heroine might’ve been a comic book figure in Europe, but those in the states likely remember her best from the 1968 Jane Fonda film, where Barbarella learned the pleasures and evils of sex centuries after war and intercourse had been abolished. And she was just as controversial here. According to Eric Schaefer’s book Sex Scene: Media and the Sexual Revolution, the film is considered to have the first portrayal of an American woman’s orgasm in US theaters (something that can still lead to an NC-17 rating, decades later).
These days, Barbarella’s original intentions are sometimes lost in translation, especially given the comic and film’s focus on the male gaze, but her role as a sexually liberated icon is still just as relevant as it was half a century ago. And with the Emmy-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale giving us a taste of how dangerous a threat female sexual repression still is, having a female James T. Kirk doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
You can check out an early look at some of the first issue’s panels below, including a few io9 exclusives. Barbarella comes out December 6.