Last year about this time I was bemoaning the comments of Paul Levitz regarding women and comics.
Now, let me begin with a gold star. Marvel does very well with female creators. Sara Picheli, Marjorie Liu, Kathryn Immonen, Kelly Sue DeConnick, etc.
And with that out of the way let’s get back to talking about my concerns with Marvel.
You know, the company will soon have as many female-led ongoing comic titles as unicorns in the national zoo.
You know, the company owned by a company that just might know how to market all-female properties (despite having rung a sour note with Tangled).
You know, the company that sees the value of female led comic properties for television but then doesn’t try to market to female readers.
You know the same company that put out a terrific YA series about one of its top female characters but then decided to trade dress the collection once again with art by Greg Horn, an artist who continues to surprise even me with his ability to come up with new ways to objectify female characters and create art designed for one handed reading.
Q: Do you feel like you have a social (beyond financial) responsibility to feature more female (or other underrepresented minority) headliners in titles? EX: DC has Batgirl & Woman, Voodoo, Wonder Woman, but Marvel has no book named after&featuring a woman. :
I feel like we’ve got a social responsibility to feature characters of all kinds, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those characters can or have to be headliners. That tends to be defined by the audience and the marketplace. If all of the fans crying for more series with female leads from all of the companies had supported all the ones that were done in the past, this circumstance wouldn’t exist. That said, that doesn’t change the responsibility, but ti may impact on the manner in which that responsibility plays itself out.
Q. “If all of the fans crying for more series with female leads from all of the companies had supported all the ones that were done in the past, this circumstance wouldn’t exist.” Maybe they did. That’s probably the problem - not enough of ‘em.
That’s a very good point. You may well be right.
So here’s some questions you may want to ask about that difficulty:
Do we market these books well enough?
Do we attempt to go outside the traditional audiences (that’s called incremental revenue, BTW, for the bean counters/bathroom skimpers over there)?
Did we give these books the level of promotion that we do for the bazzillion ‘WOLVERINEDEADPOOL!” titles.
Do we maybe ask our overlords at Disney for some advice, “Hey, you guys seem to know how to market female-led IP, um, help?”
Right now Marvel is profitable; they have the money to grow the business. And as I said about DC earlier this year, I believe Marvel is leaving money on the table with female readers.
I am aware that Marvel’s purse strings are apparently tied up in in the hands of dude who makes the Simpson’s Mr. Burns look like a soft touch.
But that still doesn’t excuse these answers that were given above. Instead of blaming people for not buying, I’d rather see some answers to my questions.
Update: The Mary Sue also has some concerns on these statements.