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President, DC Entertainment
Warner Bros.4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522
Congratulations. You’ve just overseen the most massive updating of the DC Universe in a quarter century. I’m sure you’re aware of the coincidence that during the other major reboot a woman, Jenette Kahn, was also at the helm. The two of you have rewritten what is traditionally seen as a male medium.
You don’t know me but I run a blog called DC Women Kicking Ass. I began it last year when I became concerned that due to some editorial departures the many terrific female characters of DC might get short shift. You see I grew up reading DC Comics. To me Batgirl and Supergirl and Wonder Woman were far more interesting than Betty and Veronica. They were strong, they had powers. They got to do the stuff guys got to do. That was really important to me. I also grew up loving Lois Lane. Not because she Superman’s wife or girlfriend but because she was a woman who was really good at her job. That was important to me, as well. The fact I have my degree in journalism is, no doubt, partly due to Lois. And through the years there were other characters that I learned to love.
Over the past year I have written a lot about your content. Much of it I have liked; some it I certainly did not. But this week as the new DCU was unveiled I saw many things that made me question whether the DCU is really a place for me anymore. I am not going to speak for all female comic readers, they can make up their own minds and write their own letters. But for me, someone who has read, watched and collected your content for more years than I want to count, I am not sure I still feel welcome. I’ve spent the last year promoting your books, your characters and your licensed items. Every day I get notes from both men and women asking me “I want to read more Wonder Woman what do you recommend?” or “I want to get in DC Comics, where should I start”. But right now? I don’t know if I am going to have much to recommend to them in September. Please hear me out.
You say that you want new readers. But after the announcements and reveals of the past week, I am really beginning to question if by that you really mean more male readers. Your track record on female characters and creators has always been mixed. I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard that opinion before. But just a month ago I was happier than I’d been in awhile. There were a number of female led books, your key female team book had a new great artist, a female character, who was also the only female of color to ever headline a book at DC Comics. made a dramatic return. You had a great female creator coming on board Supergirl. You had just introduced a new character who was a woman of color in Teen Titans. Your major summer cross-over had two series that featured women. Not that there weren’t problems. There were. The covers to the Flashpoint issues had problems and your creative staff consisted of just one woman. That doesn’t send a very positive message.
Why am I concerned with the lack of female creators? I recently interviewed a former writer of DC Comics and I think she said something very important:
They weren’t looking to exclude women; they just didn’t think about it. It is a natural bias to connect with the character closest to you. At DC at that time, that was usually male writers and artists, so the male characters took prominence. Over the years, when fans who weren’t white males would say “Why don’t I see (me) in comics?” I’d say it was because THEY weren’t making them. The writer works out of his own ego first. The artist works out of his own mirror first, You can remember to work around that natural bias, but that’s where we all start.
A review of your newly announced books shows that currently there are exactly two female creators, Gail Simone and Amy Reeder. I find it hard to believe that you couldn’t find one book that wouldn’t be enhanced by the pencils of Nicola Scott. And not just because she is a woman but because she is a great artist.
But beyond the lack of female creators, this reboot or whatever you want to call it, seems to come at the expense of some of your best female characters and teams. I’ll say “seems” because I obviously don’t know everything. But that’s the way of comics, right? We are enticed to buy based on solicits. Is it not then fair for me to react to them? So what concerns me?
Some of these issues and impressions may be changed by more information. I truly hope so. But I hope there are some tweaks done to correct some of things I’ve noted above. I’m sure whether I am a reader of your comics matters to you very little. But it matters to me. As I said, I have been hardcore DC fangirl for almost my entire life. No longer being a reader and vocal proponent of DC Comics seemed to be an unfathomable thing just a few weeks ago. But based on what I currently know, by the end of the year it is a very real possibility. And that fills me with sadness.