Titles are tricky beasts -- you have to be careful with them. Titles, much like first sentences and paragraphs, make promises to the readers. Now readers, as everyone should know, are demanding little three year olds who want those promises kept, gosh darnit. As a reader, I demand (petulantly) that those promises be kept.
Astonishing -- that's a big word with lots of baggage that promises to be absolutely amazing and fantastic. For example, finding something that's big and little at the same time is astonishing. Going through a star gate and transcending to a higher plane of existence -- that's astonishing.
Lusting after a the gorgeous senior with the killer legs? The tantalizing boobage? Hoping the girl who sits across from you will open her legs even wider, giving you even a better a glimpse of her crotch? These are not astonishing. This is cliche and, despite the fact that the narrator is like the smartest guy in the school with the greatest graphic novel idea in the history of ever, is not astonishing.
It's just a pathetic cliche. So he gets punched in gymn class. Why should I, as a woman, give a frack?
So, the adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl are not astonishing. Fine. People have relative units of measurement when it comes to the human experience.
Fanboy and Goth Girl, Adventures of. So, we get to see Fanboy somehow reconcile his bitter existence with his parents, take off a graphic novel idol of his List of Everybody in the World He Hates. Great. Personal development - except he's still treating girls like objects for his gazing pleasure -- but never mind that. Boys will be boys after all.
So how does Goth Girl grow? What's her great adventure? What's her character development? Oh that's right --
SHE DOESN'T HAVE ONE.
She's just there to teach what's his face an important lesson. And to show off her titties not once, but twice, to make an Important Point (tm). Because a girl's worth is only defined by her sexuality.
No Thank You, Mr. Author Man.
Obviously, there is a limited understanding of female sexuality here. The sad part? Goth Girl gets it - she even attempts to nail it into the narrator's head. But then the ball is dropped - it's gone, and instead, as Fanboy -- poor little fanboy who can't get a girl or keep a friend, boo hoo -- is having one of his wettest dreams fulfilled as the Hot Girl bemoans the fact that guys just want to have a good lay with her, he wonders:
Then why dress like that? why make it so we can't help looking at you? I don't get it. I don't understand.
Frak that bantha poo.
Men are uncontrollable hormone monsters. Women are vestal virgins when they're not being whores by dressing like sluts (and either two can become hormonally driven bitches if they happen to be pregnant or just having a bad day).
This is the antithesis of astonishing. This is a reaffirmation of the tired old gender roles that poison people's concepts of men and women and everything in between. This is not an adventure. This is just a re-treatment of the tired old ground that boxes women and men away in these tiny, little stereotypes that are too small for earth, let alone the gigantic expanse of a universe just waiting to be explored.
It is utterly wearisome.
And I want my five dollars back.