For the big two publishers of superhero/cape comics who may or may not care about female readers as an important demographic there has been a LOT of activity around publishers on titles with female creators and characters recently. A lot.
Each of the publishers had a watershed moment in the past year where they were called out by fans and media (and NOT just me your “suffering suffragette” or “whining bitch” depending on which sites you read).
DC, of course, reached its low moment when SDCC 2011 went “off message”for DC Comics and instead of a promofest on their new 52 it became a PR fiasco where the lack of female creators in the new 52 and the treatment of female characters became the story. That ended with Jim Lee and Dan Didio issuing a statement that “We hear you.”
Marvel reached its low moment earlier this year when it cancelled its last two female led titles. Disney’s boy brand had hit some bumpy moments in the past, but the wave bye bye to X-23 and Ghost Rider (boobs and hair edition) set off debate about why Marvel just couldn’t keep a female led book in print. On the upside, however, Marvel was noted as doing much better than DC in the whole female creator thing where apparently their management did not have to ask audience members at a con, “who should we be hiring?” when discussing female comic creators.
But each of the publishers has been issuing announcement after announcement that point to some efforts to focus more on female led books and/or creators. So let’s look at the this in detail as the big two and the battle for dominance.
(The pink gloves to signify lady stuff. As if you didn’t get that, you smarties.)
Where do I think DC & Marvel could do better…
2. Reconsider those TV Shows, Marvel/DC! AKA Jessica Jones — why does this not exist? Try, try, try again. Lord knows you’ve tried with The Hulk enough times.
3. Getting rid of existing female characters alienates female fans. Bring back Renee Montoya, Cass Cain, Stephanie Brown, Donna Troy & Mia Dearden and guess what — you may have more readers! Fans buy comics because they like the characters in them.
4. Don’t alienate women by talking about their favourite characters by using only one descriptor or write them with that single descriptor in mind: yes, we know that Catwoman is sexy. But she is a lot more complex than just T&A, as The Dark Knight Rises and previous renditions of her by Paul Dini & Ed Brubaker have shown. Consider it like this: would you describe a male character using only one descriptor? Is Batman just angst-y? Is Superman just strong? Is Spider-man just funny? No. They are more complex than that, as are women! Shocking concept, but true.
5. Give me my Wonder Woman movie, DC! And my Anne Hathaway Catwoman movie! And a Black Widow movie!
6. Also, I want a Black Widow book; a well-written Catwoman book that isn’t offensive to look at, either; a Storm book; a Cass & Steph book; and Renee Montoya & Mia Dearden back in the DCU.
7. Give me a recognition that Oracle exists and was important. Give me a Batgirl book that I can care about where the character grows in as much of a way as Oracle was a growth for Barbara (that’s probably an insurmountable task, though, since I don’t think DC should have ever regressed Babs back to Batgirl in the first place). Give me a reason to buy this book other than “she’s back to Batgirl!” And FFS, stop stabbing her and putting in on the cover.