web stats

CSBG Archive

She Has No Head! – A Feminist Dialogue About Girl Comics (aka Feminists Talk About Stuff)

I knew I needed to talk about GIRL COMICS in today’s column considering what this column is about and Girl Comicsthe fact that GC is one of the biggest mainstream ‘women in comics’ announcements since the announcement of MINX in 2006. However, I wasn’t sure if I had anything unique to add to the discussion. I felt like between the columnists, bloggers, critics, and fans the subject had been just about beat to death. And then, in one of the many articles I read, I stumbled across a comment that seemed particularly insightful and distinctly more positive than my outlook.  The comment came from IDW editor Mariah Huehner, who is currently working on IDW’s ANGEL and in the past has worked on such heavy hitters as FABLES, SANDMAN: ENDLESS NIGHTS, and the MINX line.  Considering Huehner’s experience in the industry and most especially her involvement with MINX I thought she would be the perfect person to talk to and someone that could perhaps bring me around to her more optimistic point of view.

Luckily for all of us, she agreed to my little experiment.  The following are the highlights of our discussion this past Thursday.

Kelly: Hi Mariah. Let me start off by saying thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

Mariah: Of course, thanks for asking me.

Kelly: So without question I am completely excited about GIRL COMICS.  It’s impossible to not be excited to see that much talent (female or otherwise quite frankly) crammed into an anthology.  And the cover?  Forget about it…one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long while.  However, I do think it sends a pretty dangerous message, both because of what it is, and because of the way the industry is already skewed (very exclusionary to women) and I think I am just feeling kind of 50,000 times burned, now shy.

Mariah: That’s understandable. I think we’ve all been burned a few times by now.

Kelly: I don’t think MARVEL is necessarily setting the book up to fail so that they can say “Hey look!  Girls don’t read comics!” but I do think they tend to default to that setting when books don’t do well, rather than examining maybe what went wrong in any number of ways on their end.  But you seem more optimistic…so set me straight!

Mariah: Well, I think there are a few factors to consider. I certainly think that part of the fandom and especially those outside the industry often leaps to the conclusion that women don’t read comics, because it’s become an ingrained assumption.  It’s not reality, but the accepted status quo. And I think publishers have to struggle with that problem all the time.  How far do you stray from your “core” without alienating them, what is the core, etc.  The fact that MARVEL is doing this at all strikes me as a very positive acknowledgment that, regardless of what is often said, they know women are reading their books.  They know they’re creating them, editing them, being a part of it at every level.  I see this as a showcase more than anything else.

Kelly: But it just feels so gimmicky and PR market stunt-y.  It would feel like a showcase to me if any of these women worked at MARVEL with any regularity.  But with a couple exceptions they just don’t…and so it ends up feeling like they’re being given a “special” project and the women on the book will just go home after their three issue run. Which doesn’t feel like change…and it almost feels like MARVEL using them and us.  And I don’t know what kind of success the book would have to have (which is really rare for minis) for a few of those women to come away with ongoing book offers or something similar (assuming they’d want them).

Mariah: I think many of them have worked for MARVEL over the years, and some of it is whether or not they’ve been interested in telling a story there before.  I mean, yes, there’s an element of a gimmick to it.  Just like there is whenever you showcase any creator.  You try to sell people on what about it makes it different or appealing in some way.  But based on the interview, and the people involved, it doesn’t feel like “using” to me. It feels like effort.  And one that isn’t often made.

Kelly: I think you said something really key there, that – ‘the effort isn’t often made’ I think that’s what gets me – I feel somehow both grateful and also resentful that I have to be grateful that an offer is being made. Bit of a slippery slope.

Mariah: Sure. And hopefully at some point it won’t be.  But it has to start somewhere. I think there’s also something at play here that often happens anytime something is specified as “by” women or “for” women.  Which is that it ends up shouldering everyone’s desires, needs, and hopes for it.  Everyone wants it to be “the” thing that fixes it, or that appeals to all women, or that addresses every issue, or whatever, and that’s pretty much impossible.

Kelly: I agree. There is often too much pressure put on books (etc.) like this and it’s impossible to meet all expectations.  Almost like it’s destined to fail.

Mariah: I don’t think it has to be…I think we sort of expect it, because a lot of things have.  But a lot of things have succeeded, too.  We just don’t really talk about that as much, and because we don’t get that many opportunities to see these things, it all gets heaped on. MINX had a similar issue.Minx Token

Kelly: Yeah, I’d really like to hear your thoughts on MINX since you were involved and because I think MINX is something MARVEL could have really learned from, and judging from what we’ve seen so far I’m not sure they did.

Mariah: Well, MINX was a very ambitious endeavor. I worked on the first few titles in its very beginning stages.  The idea was to do stories a bit like independent films. Not quite the mainstream, a little odd, a little strange, for the girl reader who maybe doesn’t quite know what to think about mainstream comics.  It was meant to mirror a lot of what you see in YA lit.

And try and reach an audience, teen girls, who are not always acknowledged.  And if they are, everyone assumes they’re just reading Manga.

Kelly:  You know, I read most of the MINX books, I think 10 out of the 12, and I can see the concept you’re suggesting actually executed quite well – I think if that is what they set out to do – independent films/YA lit – they pretty much nailed it.  I just think that much like independent film (unfortunately) there wasn’t enough crossover appeal, in this case to a little bit older girls/women, or to boys much of any age.

Mariah: I don’t think they were worrying too much about boys. They weren’t trying to exclude them or anything, but the idea was definitely to reach teen girls.

Kelly: Sure, sure.  The thing I could never figure out about MINX is why there were no superhero books.

Mariah: I don’t think they were interested in doing superhero stories, because that’s really DCU territory. And MINX was developed by a Vertigo editor. So the editorial perspective was different.

Kelly: But that makes no sense to me.  You want a gateway drug of sorts that lures girls/women into comic books (or stores) and maybe hopefully they see other superhero DCU stuff etc and now they’re in…now girls are buying “regular” comics beyond MINX.  But they didn’t do any great superhero stuff that would appeal more to girls and aid them in crossing over. I think a lot of girls would like superhero stories and simply don’t know it because they haven’t been exposed to it.  And there are a lot of superhero books that feel exclusionary to young girls so it’s hard to get in.  Which is not to say that MINX should have been all superhero, definitely not, but I think a great female relatable superhero book could have helped immensely.

Mariah: Well, the intent wasn’t necessarily to create crossover in quite that way. It was to get them interested in MINX. It was considered very separate. I personally think that adding more genres would have been great.

Kelly: Then I guess I wish they’d just had more time/money.  Because I just don’t know how they thought it would succeed overnight.

Mariah: I’m not sure they thought it would, exactly. It was a bit of an experiment in that way. Not that I know all the intentions or anything, but, I think the goal was to see if they could reach an audience they knew was reading YA lit.

Kelly: Because how would a young girl that doesn’t frequent comic shops even know about them? I know there was some discussion about getting them into the YA section of bookstores…

Mariah: There was a hiccup there from what I understand, although that was way after I’d left. It seems like a lot of it was access. They wanted to reach the book store crowd, those reading Manga, and new readers to the comic form. They did a lot of marketing on it. I don’t know all the results, but there was a reason they were going for that audience.

Kelly: Yeah, but again, that seems incredibly naïve to me.  Access definitely could have helped but I just think they were thinking too small…because and this comes back around to what Jeanine Schaefer said in her interview about GIRL COMICS and I think you similarly echoed it by talking about “core audience”.  Jeanine said…”Whenever you see a large concentration of women reading one series in particular, it’s less that there’s something specific there that women gravitate towards and more that they’ve found something that doesn’t have an implied sign on it saying ‘no girls allowed'”.

Mariah: I’d agree with Schaefer wholeheartedly. I’m not sure it was naïve, though. DC has had a lot of success in the book market, and there are quite a lot more readers in general for prose.

Kelly: But I think the core audience is not really what they think it is.  I think if they could soften the sexism and focus more on bringing in a few stronger female characters (and creators) I think they’d be surprised how much more superhero stuff would appeal to the masses.

Mariah: I think it’s more than that, though.  Because superheroes are a genre, not the medium. You have to get people interested in the medium before you can get them into the genres. It’s a lot easier to introduce someone to comics if you use a genre they’re already into, like horror.  Especially if you consider how radically different comics storytelling is. Unless you’ve been introduced to it young, or gotten into it on your own, it can be intimidating.  And the reality is, in the mainstream, most people still assume superheroes are comics.  Not a genre, but the medium itself.

Kelly: You’re right about the confluence between comics and superhero…for most people comics = superheroes.

Mariah: Plus, I do think more people would like comics if they realized they come in all shapes and sizes and that they don’t all have capes and tights.

Kelly: It’s true.  There are a lot of myths out there that keep comics locked onto a path that I unfortunately think is slowly killing the medium.

Mariah: You give someone FUN HOME who’s never read a comic before, and they go, ‘Oh! You can do this?’  And actually, that’s what encourages me about the women in the GIRL COMICS lineup.  Most of them already have crossover appeal.

Kelly: As a woman you almost have to.

Mariah: Hence why, until I actually see the stories and they prove otherwise, I’m optimistic. These are all great storytellers.  Jill Thompson, Trina Robbins, Amanda Conner, Colleen Coover etc…it’s quality stuff.

Kelly: I think the stories are going to be great.  I think they’re going to be so great that I’m going to cry when it’s over and I have to go back to ‘business as usual’ that’s my whole problem.

Mariah: My hope is that this will be one step towards changing that.  The reality is, it’s going to be a struggle.

Kelly: One thing that does give me hope as far as the actual content of GIRL COMICS is concerned is WEDNESDAY COMICS…I know you’re not a big superhero reader but did you read WEDNESDAY COMICS Wednesday Comicsthis summer?

Mariah: I didn’t, actually.

Kelly: Well, it was some of the best stuff I’ve read in a long time.  And I feel like Mark Chiarello’s approach was almost identical to how Schaefer apparently approached these women creators i.e. “if you could do anything, what would you do?” And in WEDNESDAY COMICS it produced some of the most interesting, thoughtful, and surprising stories I’ve read.  So I’m hopeful in that way…in the way that Chiarello/DC was able to produce an environment for creators to really go at it with something they love that Schaefer/MARVEL will be able to get the same strong results.

Mariah: That’s what I’m hoping. Schaefer’s interview was so intelligent and thoughtful and echoes what so many women I know in the industry have been saying, for years.  I think there is always a bit of resentment when it feels like women are being told what they’ll read, why they’ll read it, or that we’ll only read things by women because of some sisterhood connection. But that’s not the impression I got from this at all.  Schaefer seems very aware of all the pitfalls.

Kelly: Well that’s my point also…the whole “what they’ll read thing…” I feel like they (the Big Two) are constantly pulling out their hair trying to figure out what we (women) want and saying that we complain no matter what (which is maybe true) but my thing is that I think they’re just not understanding that it’s much more nuanced than what they’re trying to do – like Schaefer said with the implied ‘no girls allowed’ if you can manage to just take down that damn sign I think they’d be surprised at the results.

Mariah: Thankfully Schaefer’s interview shows that at least she is aware of that, and as the editor, that’s really encouraging. I can’t say what everyone at the Big Two thinks, but her interview showed that she knows that the whole “women like x” assumption is usually off. That what we want, first and foremost, are good stories we don’t feel excluded from. It starts with the editors most of the time, I think.

Kelly: I’ll take the giant book full of women creators because it seems awesome, but I feel like sometimes DC/Marvel is bringing a full construction crew to the job when all you need is a freaking hammer and nail.

Mariah: But Schaefer said a thing I think is really true…which is that there is no magic formula, no perfect “girl” story for every woman, and they know that.  To me, showing how women contribute at every level is really refreshing. Because as a woman in the industry, who has been contributing in some way since 2002, there are two kinds of marginalization you find.  The first is the denial that you exist.  The second is that we exist, but can’t do anything right.

Kelly: Oh man.  That’s rough.  To be perfectly frank I see Schaefer being at MARVEL as an editor as a bigger step than any of the books they could put out.  It’s women being on staff I think that almost kind of naturally over time helps to change that culture.  I’m sure you feel that as well considering you work in the industry.

Mariah: Absolutely.  And especially based on what Schaefer said. There’s a lot of pressure as a woman in the industry, to be “perfect”. To address all the sexism, but still tell entertaining stories everyone wants to read. To never say things like “I’m a woman in this industry” because that calls too much attention to your gender, and of course, somehow automatically tell stories that appeal to the ever elusive female reader everyone assumes likes the same things. Which is as much a sexism issue as it is a marketing one. As we’ve been saying, women like different things. What we have in common is wanting stories that don’t insult us.

Kelly: I’d like that on a bumper sticker please.  Or perhaps that could have been the alternate title for GIRL COMICS…“Stories That Don’t Insult Us”.

Mariah: I get as annoyed with people insisting all girls will like SANDMAN, as I do that they’ll all like WONDER WOMAN.

WW v Sandman

Kelly: Agreed.  And I don’t want to go negative and talk about the title…but we have to.  What the hell were they thinking?

Mariah: I suppose they were probably trying to be simple. MINX got a lot of negative reaction, even though it tested well, and was a reclamation and was meant to be playful.

Kelly: So, since you’re someone who is maybe in the room when MINX as a title is pitched…is there a discussion about how that’s maybe going to get a negative reaction?

Mariah:  Yeah, there’s always a debate around that.  A lot of other names were tossed around, too.  They generally don’t go with a title unless it tests well. I’m assuming, I’ve never had to deal with marketing tests or anything.

Kelly: Because in Schaefer’s interview on MARVEL.com with Kevin Mahadeo she really sold it as everyone thought this was awesome’.  Yet I’d say the one single consensus about GIRL COMICS seems to be that the title blows.

Mariah: Although, one has to remember that the internet commentary on anything is only one reaction. And usually a negative one.

Kelly: It’s true.  But this is one negative reaction that most people seem to be agreeing on, which is pretty rare and suggests there could really be a legitimate issue, though I do believe it has been blown out of proportion.  It’s just a silly kind of offensive title and if you put any other minority up there with the word comics it would be really really bad.  Plus, and I’m not crying into my Wheaties or anything about this, but it IS pretty exclusionary as far as boys go…I mean talk about potentially alienating core audiences.

Mariah: Yeah, I’m never sure how to walk that line. On the one hand, if you’re going for girls, telling them it’s for them can be helpful. Especially if you’re working with something that has a big “No Girls Allowed” sign slung up on it a lot of the time. At least in the mainstream perception.

Girl Comics Crop

Kelly: Also, in a really bad coincidence (at least I hope it’s a coincidence) they announced “Greatest Comics” the day before, which is comics made by men – with the exception of Laura Martin – I think she colored one of the issues.  Not a great comparison.  Greatest Comics = made by men.  Girl Comics = made by women.  Cringe!

Mariah: Eek. I didn’t know that.

Kelly: Yeah.

Mariah: Well, that’s not great timing.

Kelly: Yeah, not so much.

Mariah: Still, to me, what GIRL COMICS looks like is an attempt to A. showcase stories by these creators B. show that women work at every level of this industry and C. maybe break a bit of the assumptions the mainstream has about what a boys club comics are. Because it can be, but there are also tons of women here, and have been, for years.

Kelly: I think if it can effectively do even one of those things I will consider the book a solid win.  And I certainly hope it’s going to…I’m pulling for it hard.

Mariah:  Me too.  I mean, I’m generally critical of this kind of thing because I think you have to be.  But I also think we need to step back sometimes and let things breathe.

Kelly: No, I completely agree.  The first article I wrote on CSBG talked about the microscope effect and how in a way it has become almost impossible to talk about the issues of women in comics (or other minority groups) because we are so scope locked on examining every god damn detail that it leaves no room for the creators to breathe

Mariah: It’s true. It’s a hideous minefield a lot of the time. I wish there was more of a middle ground.  To bring it back to MINX for second, I think there was a lot of potential there that ultimately went unrealized in some ways.

Kelly: I agree 100%.  I have a whole list.

Mariah: I think genre was a big thing.  And I think you are right, even one superhero title would have been a good thing to try.  In hindsight, I’d have loved to see it launch in a more genre specific way.  A superhero book, a horror book, an every day, a fantasy, sci-fi, etc. But that’s easy for me to say.

Kelly: I just think…even if you look at YA Lit, the truly successful stuff – Twilight, Harry Potter, etc. all has crossover appeal…and MINX totally missed the boat there.

Mariah: They definitely focused on a particular type. And though there was obviously a lot of variety even within that, I think a broader approach to genre would have been good. I don’t know if it would have been any more successful…it’s impossible to predict that…but still.

Kelly: Most of the MINX books were in my opinion, completely solid – strong concepts, strong writing, strong art, strong production values but they were geared to a tiny sliver of an audience.

Mariah: I agree.

Kelly: Also, I don’t know about you, but for me, my reading level was ahead when I was a kid.  So when I was 10 I was reading stuff 15/16/17 year-olds and up would read…and most kids I knew were the same.

Mariah: I was definitely someone who read up. I read LOTR when I was 7 or 8, for instance.

Kelly: While reading some of the MINX books I was trying to imagine if a 17 year-old girl was going to have any interest, and mostly the answer was no. Because they’ve already moved on to more adult material nine times out of ten.  So you’re really only appealing to the very young teen market and only to girls and that ends up being a tiny market share…you can’t succeed with that.  I think DC had their heart in the right place with MINX, I just think the original idea was a bit flawed and then the execution was also flawed – certainly the short time frame didn’t help.

Mariah: Yeah, it was an experiment I wish had gotten more time. Because I think a lot of the stories and creators were really strong and interesting and it was still finding its way.

Kelly: I think that’s what is a little painful to see about GIRL COMICS, because I see flaws in the idea and execution of GIRL COMICS – even silly things like the bad name and the Greatest Comics/Girl Comics announcement timing and I just don’t understand why they didn’t learn from those who came before them.

Mariah: I always feel like the disconnect happens with marketing more than anything else. Because the goals are totally different.

Kelly: Marketing to me was why MARVEL DIVAS fell apart. I think MARVEL DIVAS was a book that I personally was never going to love, but the art was phenomenal, the writing pretty solid and then marketing comes along and puts these crazy sexist solicits out for it and slaps a J. Scott Campbell cover on it…what a nightmare.

Mariah: I mean, editorial is concentrated on the story.  We’re interested in that process and helping the creators tell what they want to tell. That’s what we’re invested in. Marketing needs to make sure they sell, which is really daunting. I’m not knocking it, we need it…but marketing, to me, always relies on a lot of…for a lack of better terms, generalized assumptions about audiences.

Kelly: You know…assumptions about audiences…that’s interesting…why is there no polling?  I know it sounds nuts but I’m totally serious, you could include a poll in issues of actual freaking comic books and I think people would send it in…because we’re giant nerds. We desperately want to be heard.

Mariah: Internet forums are proof of that.

Kelly: Oh yeah, we won’t shut up on internet forums…or blogs.

Mariah: Which is why it’s difficult as a professional sometimes to say what you think, because you’re going to piss someone off in the process. And it becomes this personality war. Which blows.

Kelly: Oh definitely, you absolutely cannot win.  It’s very frustrating and I think for creators can be paralyzing.  I’m working on a book and the other day I stopped and was like…”wait…is that sexist…cause I really don’t think so…but I can totally see someone having an issue with this…and…crap!”

Mariah: Yeah, at a certain point you have to choose whatever you think is right for a story and deal with the consequences. I do believe that things are open to interpretation, but I get annoyed when it’s baseless.  Like when someone insists on something that just isn’t backed up by the work, or is clearly refuted by it.

Kelly: Which is why, while the constant examination of comics in things like…um…<cough>…this column is fun, sometimes it can be a bad thing. You can always find something bad about something given unlimited time and energy…which the internet seems to have.

Mariah: Well, there is a danger of reading too much into something…although I hate saying that because women especially are accused of that SO much.  I always look at it like…do I think this is advocating X, or just exploring X?  Without the latter you end up in a PC world of bland, bland, bland.

Kelly: I think advocating X versus exploring X is actually a really useful way to look at it.  So, if you could have one thing come from all this GIRL COMICS hoopla (and the book itself of course) what would it be?

Mariah: Mostly that it show what wonderful storytellers these women are, how inclusive this industry really can be, and how lucky we are to get to play with these kinds of stories and characters.

Kelly: Good answer.

Mariah: It would also be great if it could solve world hunger or peace or something, but, baby steps.

Kelly: Yeah, I think we’re having enough trouble with just this one issue…let’s not get our expectations too high.  Thanks Mariah, this was really helpful to me in analyzing what I’ve been feeling about GIRL COMICS, hopefully it can spark some good debate.

Mariah: Of course, thanks for having me.

So did Mariah convince me?  Not entirely, but she reminded me that progress takes a really long time and that though some of these mistakes (like bad name choices being used time and time again) continue to look like insanity to me, the point perhaps is that they do keep trying.  I tend to feel like when these experiments fail the big two write off women (etc.) but that doesn’t actually gel with what we’re seeing, because they do keep trying.  Regardless of the failures…even the epic ones.  So while I can’t always agree with their fumbling misguided attempts and I’d love it if they’d get a bit of a clue sometimes – at least they keep coming back to the playing field – and that is really something in the end.

75 Comments

I have to disagree with Mariah’s notion that you have to hook someone on a medium first, then genre. Used properly, genre can often be a great way of getting people interested in a medium. Look at all the kids who picked up Harry Potter, for instance, not because it was a book, but because it was a children’s adventure story. Now they’re all lifelong bibliophiles.

Also, the issue of stuff testing well in marketing and then bombing in practice came up somewhere, and it should really go without saying that marketing people are idiots who have no idea how real people actually think.

my favorite part of this exploration is that it pointed out how the problem is less often the content itself but rather the dissemination of the content (for example, the marketing of Marvel Divas).

i was at the Pittsburgh Con last Sept, talking to a pro that’s worked off and on with Marvel for years. he called the current management of Marvel the “frat house,” partial in jest and partial in truth.

and i think that sort of applies to this situation with Girl Comics, where you’ve got something that could stand on its own just fine no matter what the name is. but the presiding attitude in terms of branding, marketing, and what have at you Marvel often puts its most irreverent foot forward with this sort of thing — and that’s how you end up with Greatest Comics and Girl Comics getting announced without any consideration for the implications of the timing.

there are rarely bad intentions, barely bad execution, but frequently there’s bad representation when it comes to stuff like this from Marvel. don’t get me wrong — i appreciate the cheekiness to a degree (i think their fake feud with DC is hilarious), but i think in this case the “dude, these are CHICK COMICS” branding is really misplaced and starts the whole thing off on the wrong foot.

Same editorial/marketing missteps haunted Emma Frost comic.

Great interview.

As far as a poll or gathering data, The University of Chicago is doing an in-depth study of comic book readers to get a good picture of what comic book readers actually look like. It takes about ten minutes, but I think it’s worth it to any comic book fan who wants a more accurate representation. There’s a link to the survey from my site:

http://bit.ly/8ccFnj

One other thing that I want to add:

Have we addressed the issue of the Twilight phenomenon in relation to the need of “good stories.” Because one thing I have heard not just from the few female comic book fans I know, but women in general, is that they don’t need something gender specific from their entertainment, they just want “good stories.” Then comes Twilight, and it has more female fans than Elvis Presley, The Beatles and N*Sync combined, but I don’t think anyone is calling those books great literature. In fact, the comment that I hear most often is that the books pander to some of the basest female stereotypes and desires, but readers can’t stop themselves from reading.

So, I guess what I’m asking is this: how does Twilight fit in the statement of wanting good stories? Is it a blip or an aberration in the data, or is this what women really want to read?

Wesley: That survey is great – thanks for the link!

I think this whole “assumed no-girls-allowed” sign comes from years and years of real girls (not marketing droids) going “ewwwww, comics!” every time i bring ‘em around. it’s not so much of a no-girls-allowed as much as a stop-making-fun-of-my-stuff.

However, now that comics are out of the closet and I’m seeing random old black ladies reading Giffen JLA on the subway what excuse do any of these bloggers and “creators” have for sitting around bitching about this? If you pay attention to anything at all you know it’s much easier these days for regular people to put out creative endeavors and get them seen on a relatively large scale if it’s worth seeing, meaning whether Marvel backs you or not you can get content out. We now have ways to get the message out, AND people more willing in general to take that message in. And you’re sitting here TALKING about how to get it out? Lead by example! Go put out the quality OGNs that women would want to read that a guy could also get enjoyment out of (or vice versa). I hear so damn much about these women creators with new perspectives on things and talent to spare and the only things I get to read by these people are articles on the way the comics industry is screwing them. Rule number one of comics: show, don’t tell. I want new good books to read and every time one of these articles is written, those new good books get pushed back a little bit. I’m growing impatient.

I, for one, am going to be adding “Girl Comics” to my pull list, purely because of the talent involved.

I may not be the intended audience (being male – or should that be “A Boy”?) but a lot of my favourite creators are female, be they writers, artsts, colourists or letterers…

I hope they chnage the title, but can’t think of one that encapsulates the idea without sounding sexist in one way or another…

“Sirens of Marvel”? “She-Comics”? “The Fairer Comic”? “Double-X”? “Girl Power”? “Marvel Misses”? “Female Forces”? “Fem-Powered”?

Okay, those were all just rattled off my head and all are utterly awful… but still… “Girl Comics”???

Wouldn’t “Revolution” have been a better branding?

Well the kids reading Harry Potter had probably read a book before. There are people out there who don’t understand the medium of comics. I once tried to get my mother to read the Beauty And The Beast comics First put out a few years ago (based on the T.V. show). She literally didn’t know what to read first. I had to explain everything to her, It didn’t help that they were painted and many pages didn’t have panels and clearly defined borders. I think a lot of girls might find comics alien, although I imagine, not the manga fans.

I think they should make Girl Comics an ongoing anthology, maybe quarterly, oversized. They should concentrate on female CREATORS, not necessarily characters. It should be set in the Marvel Universe, but they could have some original characters (as long as the creators are alright with Marvel owning them). And they should call it anything but “Girl Comics,” that name just sounds so condescending.

The name “Girl Comics” has a distinct Internet Search Engine Optimization quality that I would guess they were going for. If you go online looking for comics that a girl would want to read, you wouldn’t type something ambiguous like “revolution comics” or something interpretive, like “double-x comics.” You’d type something simple and direct, like “girl comics.”

Now that I think about it, the naming may be brilliant, because by branding it with something as simple as “Girl Comics,” Marvel has virtually guaranteed it will be at or near the top Google’s search results for anything girl/comic-related for years.

Fair point, Wesley….

However, the image results that come up may not be quite what they were hoping to be associated with…

;-)

I think there’s definitely a real concern, well-articulated in that first question, about what’ll happen if (when) the book doesn’t sell. I don’t know that they’ll be so bold as to say that “girls don’t read comics,” but I do wonder if it’ll be a talking point for the next editor who doesn’t want to spend money on a “will-it-or-won’t-it-succeed” title with a female lead. It’s just like DC canceling YOUNG JUSTICE and then spending the next ten years using it as a touchstone to prove that “funny comics don’t sell.”

Who’s wearing the Iron Man armor on this cover?

Interestingly, I just ran that Google search… This column is currently at the bottom of the first page of results…

So… It may just work…. maybe…

[…] § You may be sick of all the talk about Girl Comics but howabout Kelly Thompson talking to editor Mariah Huehner. […]

Michael P-
Actually, I was pointing out that you need to do both. That you need to show someone how to read comics, and part of how you do that is by introducing them to comics via a genre they already like. Your way in is by finding the right story to introduce them to it. It’s not as intuitive as people assume if someone is unfamiliar with the medium. It’s not like prose, which everyone is (hopefully) pretty familiar with.

Adam- The argument that we should just go out and make better comics for girls seems to be ignoring most, if not all, of the content above. The whole point is that they’re already out there. The women in this line have been making them for years, along with many others. This article isn’t pushing anyone back, we’re talking about our differing perspectives. I can only speak to my own experience in the industry, which has included working with many talented women, and many books that have appealed to women. And yet the industry still has issues. That’s just a fact. That doesn’t mean it also doesn’t have wonderful examples of inclusion and diversity. Your experience with women not wanting to get into comics is actually an example of the “no girls allowed” issue. I doubt they’d have that reaction if there wasn’t, especially outside the industry, the ingrained notion that comics are not for women. Or that “geeky” things are not for girls. Talking about the realities of this industry is one of the best ways to call attention to the inequities that still exist, while working to change them, which I and many other women do every day. It would be much easier if people supported that, rather than demand we discuss it in a way they find acceptable. Which is usually not at all.

Interesting interview.

To me, the most remarkable thing about GIRL COMICS is how unremarkable it is. Marvel has routinely grabbed something from the zeitgeist and wrapped it inside a marketing gimmick. It is what they do. Last year, the theme letting Indie creators play with their toys. Five years ago, it was about matching DC’s Vertigo imprint. Ten years ago, it was about bringing the Wide-Screen style that Image and Wildstorm had pioneered into their lines. This year, they are addressing gender.

If it sells reasonably well, then it sets Jeanine Schaefer to take on some other projects that might interest her. That is certainly a good thing. It warrants mentioning that Schaefer has something in common with nearly every woman working on GIRL COMICS in that she broke into the industry and/or did the lion’s share of her professional work at a publisher other than Marvel.

Again, this is not all that remarkable. It has been a 20-25 years since Marvel was really consistently innovative.

All I know about ‘Girl Comics’ is what I’ve read here and in the comments on last weeks column. I wouldn’t have even heard about it otherwise. So I can’t comment on the marketing, which I haven’t even witnessed. This is the only comics site I ever look at, aside from a couple of blogs that sometimes talk about comics. I never saw any of that horrible marketing for Marvel Divas that you mentioned, either. All I heard about was the title and the fact that it was aimed at girls. Maybe that’s why I seem to be one of the few people that actually like it. (I admit the story is fairly mediocre, but I really love those characters, and I love the idea of doing a book about super-heroes in their normal day-to-day lives.)
This Girls Comics does sound potentially interesting, but it also sounds like it might be expensive, so I don’t know if I’ll be getting it or not. I don’t know any of the writers, either.

Is this the only book with a female editor at Marvel these days? I know I’m not aware of any others. That seems kind of shocking. Back in the days when I was buying the most comics, they always had at least a couple, and they were often in charge of some of the most important series– Louise Simonson, Ann Nocenti, Bobbi Chase, Renee Witterstaetter. But who is there now?
I also haven’t heard of any female writers at Marvel since last years Hellcat limited series (which I absolutely l?ved!) And before that, I have to go back a few years to Fiona Avery on Arana and Christina Weir co-writing New X-Men. Has there been anybody else? (I admit that I haven’t looked at several series at Marvel, so there could be a lot I’ve missed.) It seems kind of shocking to find fewer female writers and editors at Marvel today than twenty years ago.
(And it’s even worse with artists. Other than the great Marie Severin and June Brigman, I’ve never heard of any female artist doing more than a couple of issues here and there, EVER.)

Girls DO read comics. That’s who reads most of the manga from what I’ve seen. And the American-style of comics isn’t that much different (once you get used to the pages going the other way). All that’s really needed is some way to let them find the sorts of books they like.

And here’s the problem I see with “advocacy” columns. .. You’re upset because Marvel called a reprint series “Greatest Comics” the day before they announced “Girl Comics” as if it was some kind of subliminal message.

(Oh, and you know that “Girl Comics” was a golden age title, right? I ask because not mentioning that when discussing the rightness or wrongness of the name seems disingenuous.

Weren’t you last week bemoaning that Marvel did no kind of outreach…and then they do, and you complain that it’s just a gimmick. Why not complain that Joe Q. is lying about the top down effort, because he’s still editor-in- chief?

It’s interesting how much thought people are putting into this. I don’t mean that in a mocking way, just think it should be noted. Why? Because I hightly doubt that Marvel is putting half as much thought into this as the comic fan community. Which is, of course, part of the problem.
I like to think Girl Comics is a wonderful idea. I although think it’s an improvement. There wasn’t a Girl Comic before, there is one now. Improvement. I’m hoping to enjoy these issues and i’m also hoping there are new writers, artists, etc who will catch my eye for me to follow. I’m already quite the fan of Amanda Conner’s amazing art, Laura Martin’s coloring and I also liked what the writer/artist creative team that did the last arc of Runaways (Immonen and someone else? I try to remember their names but there are not to common and i’ve only ever seen them on Runaways … which is still on hiatus. It shouldn’t be, they were way better than Terry Moore). Either way, I think Girl Comics will be rather interesting.

Scavenger: I am aware there was a Girl Comics before. That doesn’t change my opinion of using it in 2009. I’m sorry if you felt my not mentioning it was disingenous…it was an organic conversation and it just didn’t come up…perhaps because I don’t think the name existing before makes it a good idea.

And I’m not “upset” about the Greatest Comics/Girl Comics announcement, I’m just noting that it’s poor timing to announce them right next to each other and it makes me think that people over there (be it marketing or elsewhere) aren’t really thinking about these things and I believe they should be.

If I wanted to complain that this was “just a gimmick” I would have written a post proclaiming such. I didn’t. I sought out someone that I thought had some positive thoughts about the book for an open dialogue…and that dialogue further helped make me feel hopeful about the series despite my reservations.

Mary: I know that Kathryn Immonen writes Runaways (and it’s also drawn by a woman Pichelli) – though Runaways has been on hiatus (I don’t know why). Marjorie Liu writes I think Dark Wolverine and did an NYX miniseries earlier with Marvel.

I’ll have to check on the editors to speak with any authority. My memory is that Schaefer is the only one currently…but I could be wrong. Of note is that Schaefer is fairly new at Marvel but did extensive work at DC – as Dean pointed out above.

Fascinating discussion.

One thing that occurs to me is that Marvel HAS published some series that were girl-friendly, but fumbled on the covers and marketing. Take the Emma Frost miniseries for example; in terms of content that was perfect for young girls, EXCEPT for the absurdly inappropriate Greg Land cheesecake covers. Then Marvel Divas comes along, they get a nice creative team and interesting characters… and AGAIN Marvel throws it all away with those cheesecake covers. Don’t they WANT these things to sell?? Doesn’t anyone in there use their brains?

My girlfriend is here with me and she observed that if Marvel REALLY wanted to appeal to sensuality on the covers of their female-friendly books, they should at least take a look at how those Harlequin books (y’know, Danielle Steel and the likes) advertise themselves: not with cheesake, with beefcake. For example: Brother Voodoo was the romantic interest of one of the “Marvel Divas”; instead of using those cheesecake pics of the girls on the cover, why not use a beefcake-heavy cover featuring a shirtless Brother Voodoo together with Monica Rambeau? THAT might have better chances of capturing the interest of female readers than the cheesecake Marvel stupidly used. Selling books to women and girls is not rocket science, and other publishers appeal to female audiences successfully all the time – but a good first step would probably be “don’t use cheesecake to advertise books to women”. Is this really that unfathomable?

Wesley, where does Twilight fit? Probably the same place as Transformers II.

There *is* no such thing as “what women want” any more than there is “what men want”. There are a lot of women out there, man. We’re half the species, just like men. Just like there’s a large male audience for good stories, there’s also a large male audience for scantily clad women, explosions and no plot. Sometimes these even aren’t the same people! Same thing goes for the female audience for Twilight vs. the female audience for more complex and less heavily gendered entertainment. The fact that umpty million women and girls love Twilight does not change the fact that umpty million women and girls are… the primary consumers of all fiction *period*.

(No really: http://www.nytimes.com/1997/03/17/business/women-buy-fiction-in-bulk-and-publishers-take-notice.html?pagewanted=1

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VC3-40JG197-2&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1143368122&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=8cabf7ffb5a5ed84d7d9fba57720b304

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/bookshow/stories/2009/2727346.htm)

Twilight sold incredibly well to women, but then, so do many, many other books. (Hello, Agatha Christie! Hi there, Fun Home!) Because different women want different things and there are *different* female audiences, not just one monolithic “women want this”. There are a wide variety of non-comic entertainment options with huge female audiences, there’s no reason to think comics couldn’t be equally varied. See, also, Japan.

A lot of superhero editorial departments don’t seem to have any clear idea how to market stuff involving female characters beyond appealing to the core readership’s reliable interest in T&A.

I suspect this is why it’s mostly stuff out of the non-superhero departments that has the easiest time breaking through to female audiences, moreso than anything about the content.

I know this isn’t constructive to the conversation, but MAN, am I tired of the use of “dialogue” to mean “conversation”.

It’s awkward and pretentious.

“Dialogue” has fewer syllables and is in common use. “Conversation between two or more people” is the first definition for “dialogue” on dictionary.com.

Btw, I apologize if that sounded confrontational. I just don’t see what the beef is with the use of the word here. It seems fitting to me.

Dan, we’ll have to dialogue about this. Interface with me after the holidays.

Nice interview.

Kelly: And the cover? Forget about it…one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long while.

I was really surprised at your take on the cover. Mostly because of the zipper issue. While not as egregious as most, and certainly there is allowance given its creator (double standards are ok in my book). The composition’s Fibonacci Spiral leads your eye through Spiderman strait into She-Hulks breast. And I hate to say it, but my eyes did pause, for base and intellectual reasons. But if you continue the eye flow through you pass Iron Man’s helmet upside down, Tony Stark’s shock, strait to Sue Storm’s crazed glee…or is it the number four on her chest. Along the way there is certainly room for interpretation. I would say that it is more then the name that is the issue. It is a good comic illustration but I wouldn’t “Forget about it…”

Mariah: A lot of other names were tossed around, too. They generally don’t go with a title unless it tests well. I’m assuming, I’ve never had to deal with marketing tests or anything.

Kelly: Because in Schaefer’s interview on MARVEL.com with Kevin Mahadeo she really sold it as ‘everyone thought this was awesome’. Yet I’d say the one single consensus about GIRL COMICS seems to be that the title blows.

That said about the cover…the title does blow. Neither gender is going to be interested with that title.

Kelly: … I just think that much like independent film (unfortunately) there wasn’t enough crossover appeal, in this case to a little bit older girls/women, or to boys much of any age.

Mariah: I don’t think they were worrying too much about boys. They weren’t trying to exclude them or anything, but the idea was definitely to reach teen girls.

Kelly: But that makes no sense to me. You want a gateway drug of sorts that lures girls/women into comic books (or stores) and maybe hopefully they see other superhero DCU stuff etc and now they’re in…now girls are buying “regular” comics beyond MINX. But they didn’t do any great superhero stuff that would appeal more to girls and aid them in crossing over…

Mariah:… They wanted to reach the book store crowd, those reading Manga, and new readers to the comic form. They did a lot of marketing on it….

Kelly: Yeah, but again, that seems incredibly naïve to me. Access definitely could have helped but I just think they were thinking too small…because and this comes back around to what Jeanine Schaefer said in her interview about GIRL COMICS and I think you similarly echoed it by talking about “core audience”. Jeanine said…”Whenever you see a large concentration of women reading one series in particular, it’s less that there’s something specific there that women gravitate towards and more that they’ve found something that doesn’t have an implied sign on it saying ‘no girls allowed'”…

Kelly:… I just think…even if you look at YA Lit, the truly successful stuff – Twilight, Harry Potter, etc. all has crossover appeal…and MINX totally missed the boat there…

Kelly: …You know…assumptions about audiences…that’s interesting…why is there no polling? I know it sounds nuts but I’m totally serious, you could include a poll in issues of actual freaking comic books and I think people would send it in…because we’re giant nerds. We desperately want to be heard.

I am glad the issue of core audience was discussed. I have always felt that quality storytelling can brake through most of the issues concerning diversifying the market. The uphill battle continues. Just today NPR did a story on a book festival in Argentina and implied comics were lowbrow (which last I checked was a debunked myth when Krazy Kat was first published…pre Supermen). I applaud this effort (it sucks that that is what it is). But ultimately women readers will respond to quality. As the point was made with reference to Harry Potter. It is quality that creates crossover…both directions.

Comic Books do have a special problem. There is still the issue of the marketplace. Comics Shops “scream boys only” and then comics are quarantined in bookstores. Some small stores have comics actually placed alongside similar genres and subject maters. Nevertheless, this is rare. I did find Crumbs’ Genesis in the religious section at one store locally. That being said, it would be much easier to convince comic book shops to present them selves with a more diverse display then to convince bookstores to take the time to educate their staff on where comics should go in their stores. I realize the market is flossed with one or two cultural perspectives. Even smaller publishers have trouble finding diversity. Nevertheless, each company comes across women and minority cartoonists. It is worth their effort to take them under their wing and help them more. In comics, it is usually survival of the fittest (makes sense since so few cartoonist make a living at it). However, if you give a bigger brake to those who potentially improve your demographic scope, it is an investment worth taking. I can’t believe I am saying this (I am a white Jewish Male cartoonist…more of what I am offering is not necessarily needed here). That said, it has to be quality or it will not change things.

We are giant nerds…which of us does not love a survey…

Mariah: Because superheroes are a genre, not the medium.

While it is clear reading this website, stepping into most comic shops and discussing comics with most people that the level of diverse genre’s I consume in comics is not common or universally desired today. I would say that it is a fallacy to not utilize the appeal of superhero’s in comics to allure more women into the medium. Most people who read comics for life eventually venture into other genre’s. But it is clear by the alternative market that without a substantial place for women in superhero comics, the entire medium will never see an equal playing field. I would remind us that once upon a time comics were consumed by girls just as much as boys, in part do to the level of diversity in content, but it was still a male dominated field and girls still read superhero comics. Manga has added a new opportunity for girls consuming comics…and honestly, it should be an all in approach. Nevertheless, I would assert that in America the boldest and most successful step could be making superhero comics commit to appealing to small kids, parents, and women. For now despite great gains…comics are synonymous with superheroes…so if you change the perceptions of superheroes then you change the perception of comics.

Kelly: While reading some of the MINX books I was trying to imagine if a 17 year-old girl was going to have any interest, and mostly the answer was no. Because they’ve already moved on to more adult material nine times out of ten. So you’re really only appealing to the very young teen market and only to girls and that ends up being a tiny market share…you can’t succeed with that. I think DC had their heart in the right place with MINX, I just think the original idea was a bit flawed and then the execution was also flawed – certainly the short time frame didn’t help.

Mariah: I always feel like the disconnect happens with marketing more than anything else. Because the goals are totally different.

This idea that we consumed comics that were not age appropriate is something that comes up all the time as a teacher, parent and cartoonist. I am often reflecting on my own reading habits as a kid and how I was reading comics that were perhaps not something my parents or community would have thought age appropriate. But the one benefit of comics perceptions is they just assumed half the time it was ok…comics are for kids. In the end, I do not see myself being harmed by this experience. But it is hard to not be overly protective of my child, students or audience…no mater there age. I know I just got through saying we should market products that are inclusive to parents perceptions and to kids…but for Women I think we need to not place an assumption on what is interesting to them. Tell a quality story in a quality way does not mean censorship, but it does imply respect to the reader’s intelligence.

Kelly: it has become almost impossible to talk about the issues of women in comics (or other minority groups) because we are so scope locked on examining every god damn detail that it leaves no room for the creators to breathe…

Kelly: …Oh definitely, you absolutely cannot win. It’s very frustrating and I think for creators can be paralyzing. I’m working on a book and the other day I stopped and was like…”wait…is that sexist…cause I really don’t think so…but I can totally see someone having an issue with this…and…crap!”

Mariah: Yeah, at a certain point you have to choose whatever you think is right for a story and deal with the consequences. I do believe that things are open to interpretation, but I get annoyed when it’s baseless. Like when someone insists on something that just isn’t backed up by the work, or is clearly refuted by it…

Again, this all ties into the crossover appeal…more women in comics means more diversity in story. It does not decrease quality. It does not threaten superheroes. If we all just let the story be told the best way we know how then we will be ok…as long as we can convince marketing to sell what we are doing, not what they want us to do.

I totally forgot the first thing I thought when i heard about this project…which does have amazing talent involved and it is cool it is all women…of course it is not the first time….anyway…three issues…really they could only muster three issues. I thought it was supposed to be the year for women at Marvel.

Ben: The zipper on She-Hulk. I’m surprised you’re the first person to try to call me out on it actually. But my answer is basically that it’s unzipped a bit, sure, it’s even unzipped a little lower than I personally would unzip it were I She-Hulk OR Amanda Conner…but the shit is not unzipped to BELOW her boobs. And the unzipped ridiculousness I’ve been pointing out lately (Rogue, Black Widow, etc.) is that their costumes are unzipped to well below their breasts.

Try to imagine that drawing of Conner’s but with the zipper unzipped to BELOW She-Hulk’s massive rack. WHOLE OTHER THING.

I’m not really a big fan of double standards (hence my continued frustration with the PG boob window thing, despite Conner’s brilliant art), so if I really felt this was the same as some of the other stuff I’d seen lately I’d call it out. But for me, I think it’s okay…it’s right on the line, but not over it the way I feel others lately have been.

There’s also something particularly egregious in my mind of it being a zippered costume on some of these ‘below the boobs’ unzips, because it implies an extra kind of “decision” on the part of the character…like when Rogue is talking to her longtime friend, colleague, and boss/leader of sorts Scott Summers and she’s got her top completely unzipped. I feel like that’s a scenario where Summers would be like, “Oh…uh, you forgot to zip up…” What does she say then…”Oh, no, I wanted it like that…what do you think of my tits?” I mean, it’s just ridiculous…

I don’t mind some cleavage. Boobs are awesome. I have some of my own and it’s not unheard of for me to wear something low cut, but I don’t do it while I’m fighting crime, and I never wear anything so low cut that you can see my stomach as well as the underside of my boobs.

Hmm…this last bit seems like TMI. Too late!

Oh, and what sells that cover me (other than the fun fun fun of it all) is the expression on She-Hulk’s face.

That is unbelievable talent and years of honing your craft in action…that expression is priceless. Nuanced and perfect I know EXACTLY what She-Hulk is thinking…and I LOVE it.

I am not a comic book industry insider, or even a bookselling business person, but I do have a business degree (but I’m feeling much better now, though. Thanks). And I’m continually amazed by mainstream comics inability to do anything beyond what has “always worked”. Could editorial do more to broaden the appeal of their books? Sure. But as this interview points out, they do keep telling stories by and for non-white males. Marketing, however, from title choice to cover image to pr/sales copy to distribution falls back on the same limiting, defeatist approaches. Everything seems geared toward getting the same 30-50 year old white guy to buy more. And the overall sales and market figures certainly bear that out.

Do the folks responsible for marketing have a vested interest in growing the audience for the medium (either as fans or as wage-earners living in a capitalist society)? Are they incompetent? Because an application of basic marketing and management strategies should lead to different approaches at some point. I have a lot of concerns about the Disney acquisition and the increased WB attention, but I have hope that big business will apply some 21st century strategy to the task of sustaining and growing the business of my favorite medium.

Ben, are you sure you’re not over-analyzing that cover. I don’t think people’s eyes would likely follow a Fibonacci spiral when they first see that cover. I know that’s not how I looked at it. The first thing my eyes were drawn to was Stark’s face, then She-Hulk (her face first, I think, but I’m not absolutely sure), then I notice their hands in the foreground, and then Spider-Man and Ms Marvel in the background (they are more prominent than the other background characters). This is pretty normal for a first glance at a picture. Eyes are normally drawn to the center and foreground first, and to bright colours and larger figures. I figure I noticed Stark’s face before Jennifer’s because of his lighter skin tone (no racism implied or intended), or possibly because his face is slightly turned towards us. Human brains are programmed to respond to faces more than anything else, which is why we so commonly see faces in places they don’t exist.
Anyway, despite the white colour of her outfit, I didn’t notice her boobs at all. If you hadn’t mentioned it, and I hadn’t looked at the picture again just now, I’m not sure I would’ve even known she was unzipped. I don’t recall it making an impression on me before.
And it’s not that I’m a person with no interest in breasts. I actually do notice them quite often. I just do think they’re very prominent here.

Right away I just want to compliment the interview style employed here. It always shows through when an interviewer is deeply interested in the information their subject can provide. No softballs, real follow through and a wide knowledge base in regards to the issue at hand add up to compelling conversation. I would vote for making this a regular feature if you can find willing creators/administrative types (both male and female) because it was a very solid read.

As to the topic, I can say that, as a male reader…I will not be picking up this title up. It holds no interest for me. Kelly hit the nail on the head with “crossover appeal” being the key and nothing about this comic seems aimed at me as a reader. IF Joey Q was serious about making this a showcase all readers would give a crap about, he would tie it into an ongoing series or event. I know, I know, people whine about too many titles in events already but, by God, they tie so much in because that is how you boost their sales. I promise you, if these were a series of stories about how Dark Reign is affecting the women of Marvel, it would immediately grab both the female readers drawn to the creators and the males drawn to the stories. Is this a morally and creatively bankrupt approach? Maybe, but I would rather create fans of female talent than a three issue mini that no one will remember in five years (except as a footnote filed under “noble experiments”).

So, I have an utterly insane idea for celebrating women in comics…roll them (or reroll them) out like you do new male writers. Parker, Van Lente, Diggle, they were all given limited series that got them noticed. Then, they were given a fill in run or another limited series to see if their buzz had traction (shoot me for using “buzz” and “traction” in a sentence). I can’t recall the last time a female writer was handed the reins to even a minor character at Marvel. Once women have infiltrated the superhero boys club then they can start using their popularity to push more personally rewarding work in places like the Icon line. Then, when you get a young girl to read Icon’s “Idiosyncratic Routine” or whatever, and they dig it, you can say “Hey, did you know the woman who writes this also did a Prowler mini-series?” Maybe it only hooks in one out of every 15 female readers to the main Marvel U but that is one new reader we need if our favorite hobby is going to continue.

It seems like Minx tried putting the creators of indie books no one was already buying onto new titles that would continue to not be bought. Kelly asked a great question when she asked why no superheroes. The genre may not be the medium but (and this is a whole ‘nother can of worms), this medium of comics does superheroes better than any other. Every other genre is better represented by film or television. In summation: play up our strengths, focus on hooking men and women and girls and boys by whatever means work and put the full strength of the line behind a female-centric project if you are going to bother at all (ie, don’t half-ass it). That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

One thing I realized is that not only do people focus on Girl Comics as an anthology by women, but also how it’s for women. Which I really hope people don’t take to heart, because I think it’d be stupid for men to NOT buy the book based off of the assumption that it’s “just 4 teh girlz”. I mean, those guys are probably going to be the same ones who get really offended at She-Hulk beating Iron Man in arm wrestling on the cover, and therefore aren’t really worth the trouble of trying to sell the book too, but then again every dollar counts for this kind of project. And again, hopefully, if the project tanks Marvel realizes that it’s because it’s an anthology, and all their anthologies do badly, which is kind of a same because I personally like them.

Also, in terms of offending people, I don’t think writers should worry too much. Rick Remender once said that if you don’t offend anyone with your work, then you’re not being true to yourself.

What I really like about this interview is that it’s an actual CONVERSATION. Great job.

I do have wonder why people are extrapolating “by female creators” and “about female characters” into “inarguably for women.” There is no clear reason why these must be related and I’ve yet to read anything about Girl Comics which states that it wants especially badly to reach a female readership. To me it feels more like a celebration of Marvel’s troupe of female creators meant to appeal to a readership of “anyone curious.”

Of course, the original Girl Comics of the 40’s seems to have taken its name by being comics about girls and written primarily for girls (but probably not created by girls). Perhaps this is another example of why Marvel picked the wrong project to marry to that old title….

I might just know unusual people, but I know more girls who are regular comics readers than guys. My four biggest “comics friends” are all female, and there are several girls who work at comic shops in my city.

@ Kelly

I was just a “little”surprised. Only because your endorsement was so strong. I thought it might at least be brought up. But slippery slopes aside (wow that is a bad one), you are right…its not really that bad at all.

Amanda is absolutely a pro, and She-Hulks expression speaks volumes.

@ Mary

There certainly are other compositional elements at play. As you said there is basic foreground v. background components. Our natural instinct to find faces in everything. Contrast of light and dark (which could draw your eyes to Iron Man or She-Hulk). The Rule of Threes would also support your argument, because it seems that Iron Man, She-Hulk, Marvel Girl and Spiderman’s heads are all placed focal points based on the rule of threes. However, as far as the Fibonacci spiral, if the shoe fits…of course it could just be a guy thing. Your notice noted.

I might just know unusual people, but I know more girls who are regular comics readers than guys. My four biggest “comics friends” are all female, and there are several girls who work at comic shops in my city.

So you’re the one. I always wondered who knew all four of the female fans.

Wesley Smith – there are more of us female comic book fans than you think. I’ve been reading comics for 49 years (yeah, old lady comic book fan here), my daughter-in-law reads comic books, and at my school a lot of the girls read comics, from 1st grade on up.

The vast majority of teens and tweens of both genders are now reading comics. Just… not superhero comics. They’re reading manga and original OGNs at libraries.

What’s funny about feminist dialogues play out. They’re trying to get rid of the “no girls allowed” sign by putting a big “no boys allowed” sign on with “Girl Comics.” To prove that women are just as interested in comics as men, they wholly exclude any male creators as the women involved complain about being excluded. And to prove comics for women are just regular comics, they make a cover having a super-powered female character overpowering a normal male character. It’s hard to say you’re fighting sexism by endorsing sexism. And it’s a really bad way to start a project by dissing the majority of the existing audience. Even if I like some of the creators involved I’m not buying this comic just like I wouldn’t buy “Black Comics” even though I’m black.

That’s the reason I didn’t like Milestone comics when they came out. I was nine or ten and I’d already had my fill of black superheroes “for” black people. Seriously, do people really think my interest in comics is so superficial that if they put a bunch of black creators on a book that I’d buy it like I’m Pavlov’s dog? Do I like Damian Scott and Olivier Coipel just for their race, or because I really enjoy their art? It’s so petty to even think that way. If you’re going to do an anthology, this is the wrong way to go about it. Marvel’s Greatest Comics (which is just some of Marvel’s most popular and successful books, not some underhanded comment about male creators being better then female creators) and DC’s Wednesday Comics are the better way to go about it.

But maybe that’s just me talking from my experience as an actual minority. I like good stories and great characters no matter what they look like and some creator having the same parts as me or skin tone as me won’t get me to buy a book anymore than FUBU got me to buy their clothes.

OK…I just want to say ONE thing…

Bringing-up the “Greatest Comics” thing as some kind of conspiracy against women is just picking a fight. Simple as that. Marvel is re-releasing a slew of their top-selling, mainstream superhero books at $1a piece and making sure the audience knows they’re GREAT COMICS by slapping it on the covers. Simple as that. They need to make sure people understand they’re reprints, specially marked, specially priced.

The fact that each book has a male-dominated creative team has NOTHING to do with anything. This is not some internal ploy to sabotage “Girl Comics”, and even bringing that up as a possibility seems petty and irresponsible. This is exactly the kind of statement that incites the mindless message board zombies into a frenzy, and rather than focusing on the positives both “Girl Comics” and the “Greatest Comics” can bring to the industry, all that’s going to be looked at is how Marvel set GC up to fail from the beginning, while SHOCKINGLY the $1 reprints of already-famous books do really, really well.

That is, if that’s what happens. But thankfully, if “Girl Comics” DOES fail, we’ll have plenty of excuses and conspiracy theories in place to blame Marvel for, so that they’ll never, ever try something like this again. Because DAMN Marvel for trying, trying anything at all that’s different, because SURELY they only do these things and waste thousands of dollars and hours upon hours of people’s time, just so they can shout from the rooftops, gloating of their male-dominated fanbase, pointing and laughing at the silly girls for getting their hopes up.

No, what will make “Girl Comics” and similar projects work is by being positive, giving positive and constructive feedback, and getting the word out ESPECIALLY when you post on high-traffic websites like CBR that Marvel is TRYING to make comics for women. They aren’t perfect, but like Mariah said, they have to start somewhere.

But, you know…if you just want to sour people’s opinions on the project before it even reaches stores, go ahead with your trash-talking and conspiracies. Marvel will get the message, that being “Thanks, but no. You didn’t get it perfectly the first time, so don’t bother trying anymore”.

The fact that each book has a male-dominated creative team has NOTHING to do with anything.

Except that each book had a male-dominated creative team, which was the point – Marvel’s “top-selling, mainstream superhero books” are all produced by men. It’s an issue when all the “top-selling, mainstream superhero books” are produced by just one gender.

Dark Horse did this a few years ago, it was called Sexy Chicks or something like that, and it had some amazing creators doing fantastic work, and some that didn’t work as well, but that is the anthology format for you, it was more good then bad. The only difference is they created new shiny things that they owned instead of working on Marvel super heroes. I know Marvel and DCU are the big league or whatever, but there are tons of women working in comics (including Marvel and the DCU) that I don’t see how this project adds anything to the conversation beyond putting some great creators together on an anthology. Becky Cloonan did a story for Strange Tales recently as well, and that was a big Marvel anthology, kind of like Girl COmics but for “indie” creators, though maybe there was less women involved because of this project. *shrugs*

Really I just feel the work of female creators already gets a bit over looked, especially all the creator owned and web comic work that has a large audience, but it gets ignored on most comic book sites because it’s not super heroes. Which is a just a huge shame.

“Except that each book had a male-dominated creative team, which was the point – Marvel’s “top-selling, mainstream superhero books” are all produced by men. It’s an issue when all the “top-selling, mainstream superhero books” are produced by just one gender.”

Only if you are intentionally looking for something “controversial” about the entire thing.

Korbin, I agree with you 100%…would I like more diversity in all aspects of comics? Of course, but I am not just going to faithfully pick up a book because it was made by so and so. No matter who it is I have to have something within that is quality to me….

Only if you are intentionally looking for something “controversial” about the entire thing.

What a silly retort.

All that does is lead to a response of “you’re intentionally ignoring the issue.” And see, that goes nowhere.

You gotta have something better than inventing a secret agenda for the person you’re disagreeing with.

You gotta have something better than inventing a secret agenda for the person you’re disagreeing with.

To be fair, it IS possible that the editors of those titles chose those who they felt would create the best stories. It is mathematically improbable that NO women would be a part of those teams, but it is possible. I don’t think anybody thinks that women need to be inserted into a creative team just because their women. And if there are more women on different creative teams but their books just don’t sell as well and don’t deserve to be a part of this “Greatest Comics” push, is that the publisher’s fault? I don’t know.

And to anyone who believes this is some sort of misandrist/man-hating attempt to denigrate men… this is just a showcase anthology that is focusing on women. We’ve all seen new-talent/independent anthologies, and nobody’s complaining that they didn’t include John Byrne. And we see this kind of showcase in other forms of entertainment ALL–THE–TIME. There are at least a half-dozen female short story collections in fantasy or mystery every year, music CD samplers that highlight women singer/songwriters, stand-up comediennes who tour together. What Marvel (and Dark Horse, evidently, although I don’t remember it) is doing here isn’t groundbreaking. It’s just catching up to what the rest of the entertainment industry has been doing for decades.

Oh, and one last thing: for whomever said that the arm-wrestling competition isn’t fair because super-powered She-Hulk is beating up on poor, unenhanced Tony Stark… He doesn’t have the helmet on, but he’s wearing 90% of his Iron Man armor. I’m not the world’s smartest expert on Iron Man, but the suit does still enhance his strength, right?

Lots of interesting point in this column. Although I have to say I’m very disappointed to see no mention of the upcoming X-23 one-shot that will feature the female creative team of Marjorie Liu and Alina Ursov. Marjorie was even interviewed about it right here on this site.

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=24123

I’m also frustrated that in all the talk about Girl Comics on various sites and blogs I have yet to see one mention of the X-MEN: PIXIE STRIKES BACK mini series that comes out next month from Marvel featuring the female creative team of Kathryn Immonen and artist Sarah Pichelli. The only reason I happen to know about this book is because I’m a fan of Kathryn’s work (from Hellcat and Runaways) and have been keeping an eye out for anything she writes. I wish more people would be talking about this.

Oh and Kathryn was interviewed here on this site too about the upcoming Pixie mini series.

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=22732

And for the record I’m a typical guy that like comics. I just fallow the creators and characters I like. In these cases Kathryn being one of my favorite creators and X-23 being a character I like.

Surprise, surprise. Women complaining….

The only thing worse than a comic book fan, is a female comic book fan.

The reason that all the top comic book writers are men is because none of the so called “female comic writers” can hold a decent audience and sell decent numbers. Its not rocket science.

Maybe there’s been no mention of X-23 or Pixie because some of us hadn’t heard about them. Or maybe I’m the only one here who hasn’t. This is the only website I look at that discusses upcoming books at all.
Wow. Kathryn Immonen writing Pixie? I really need to check that out if I can afford it. I really loved the Hellcat series. I don’t know much about Pixie, but I liked that free X-Men issue from a year or so ago that she starred in. (That was the first time I’d heard of her, actually.)

I just read the Kathryn Immonen interview, and now I’m less sure. I’m worried it might be too dark for my taste. (That’s my biggest complaint against Marvel over the last couple of decades– too much gloom and doom, especially in the mutant books. And that’s one of the things that was so great about her Hellcat– it was lighthearted. ) I also don’t like the idea of her dead father coming back as a villain. Haven’t we seen that done over and over and over already?
I’m still thinking of getting it, though. At least the first issue.

Actually, BatFan, it could be more a case that no female comics writers are working on the BIG books for either Marvel or DC. When was the last time that a female writer got a year-long shot writing Spider-Man or the Avengers or the X-Men? (Or looking at DC, when do the ladies get a shot at writing Batman, Superman or the Justice League?) Of course, how many of the “boys” reading these books are going to give a female writer a fair chance? Based on what I read from your comment, I would guess that if a talented woman should take over writing one of your favorite (male-written) titles, you’d drop the book without giving the writer a fair shot.

none of the so called “female comic writers”

Wait, are you saying the female comic writers aren’t actually female? This is sure an interesting change from the average “all women are out to get me” post.

Great interview Kelly.

Personally, I’m not drawn to a comic because of a character’s sex, but rather due to whether or not the character intrigues me. As of late though, I’ve found most of Marvel’s characters (male and female) to be very one dimensional and so don’t bother with their books anymore. This is probably because many of the characters I did love are either dead, not in use or just poorly written. Perhaps, if Marvel got away from the idea that a title needs a hook to succeed and invested more into character development that would change. Maybe a sign should be hung up in their office reading: “There are no bad characters, just bad writers.”

Sadly, a great character that never gets spoken of is Heather Hudson, AKA: Alpha Flight’s Vindicator. She was, as John Byrne wrote her, an impressive, strong leader who grew organically (i.e.: developed over time) into her role, rather than just being set up to be perfect like characters such as Captain America. Kelly, I wish you would get someone from Marvel to sit down to talk about characters such as Heather who end up being wasted, because the powers that be at Marvel seem to have no clue what to do with them. In fact the women of Alpha Flight would probably make for a very interesting article.

I wasn’t going to respond to BatFan at first, but then I thought maybe I should.
I do seem to remember that Marvel had some successfull runs with Louise Simonson on X-Factor and Ann Nocenti on Daredevil. I don’t know for sure how well they sold compared to all the times the books had male writers, but I do know that both writers lasted for a few years, so they must’ve been selling well enough for Marvel to want to keep them. And those were Marvel’s mid-level books. I’m sure if a decent female writer did get a chance with Spider-Man or the Avengers, it should sell very well.
If you think mainstream comics are not the right genres for female writers, try looking at the same genres outside of comics. Harry Potter is basically a Super-hero type of series, and is actually very similar to classic X-Men in many ways.

“(Or looking at DC, when do the ladies get a shot at writing Batman, Superman or the Justice League?) Of course, how many of the “boys” reading these books are going to give a female writer a fair chance?”

Gail Simone wrote Superman in Action Comics, teamed with John Byrne, for a short run that went nowhere, and writes DC’s other ‘superstar’, Wonder Woman – which has been shedding readers.

She has also written the Justice League.

There are some pretty hilarious spam comments to this entry that our filter keeps catching.

“I reckon the collection is suitable and on the point. This enter extraordinarily helped me in my assignment.”

“I deliberate on the mail is gifted and on the point. This send in point of fact helped me in my assignment.”

“Opulently I acquiesce in but I think the post should have more info then it has.”

I must say, quite often when I read Kelly’s stuff, I do opulently acquiesce to her.

Gail Simone.

Gail Simone is writing one of DC’s “Big Three” characters. One of the most popular and recognizable characters in fiction, and the book is an utter failure. The book has been at failing numbers all year and is losing readers all the time.

If she can’t even carry Wonder Woman, why in the blue hell would I want to see her write The Avengers or Batman or Spider-Man??

@ GoGoGo!

It strikes me as unfair to describe Gail Simone’s WONDER WOMAN as a “failure”. Nearly every title from both the “Big Two” is shedding readers. Most on-going titles drop around 5% of their readers month-to-month.She walked into a WW title that was hemorrhaging readers after a failed re-boot and has at least slowed the bleeding the last year. WW is right in the middle of DCs books from a sales POV with around 27,000 readers. Not exactly an inspiring number, but that is a comment on the state of the comic book periodical market as whole. 27,000 readers is a mid-lister these days. Those numbers match the sales performance of the tail end Greg Rucka’s well regarded run on the title.

More to the point, it exceeds the sales performance of Brubaker and Fraction’s IMMORTAL IRON FIST as it entered its second year. Does anyone consider that run a failure? Did the “poor” sales of his prior title get mentioned as a problem when Fraction got the X-MEN (or IRON MAN) gig? Of course not. Matt Fraction is an awesome writer and so is Gail Simone.

“More to the point, it exceeds the sales performance of Brubaker and Fraction’s IMMORTAL IRON FIST as it entered ”

Like comparing oranges and lemons – WW is an extremely recognisable character (IRON FIST; not so much), and though her book never really sells (unless you attach a ‘real’ name writer to it), there is most likely a core base of between 25,000 and 27,000 that will buy it whatever (even if only to bitch about it).

So for Gail Simone not to grow sales beyond that base figure, and indeed seems to be losing sales on a monthly basis, could be considered a commercial failure. I’d consider it a failure on artistic grounds, but that is neither here nor there.

The point is that a woman has been given the major characters at DC to write – just not very successfully.

there is most likely a core base … that will buy it whatever (even if only to bitch about it).

By that standard, how many direct market periodicals are not failures?

Nearly every title is at (or near) its core base and the vast majority are still losing readers. The exceptions are Geoff Johns on GREEN LANTERN, Ed Brubaker on CAPTAIN AMERICA and (maybe) Matt Fraction on IRON MAN. Not coincidentally, all two of those franchises were in severe disrepair when those creators came aboard and they were granted broad latitude to make those titles highly personal. The third had a certain hit movie released to coincide with its launch. Everything else is selling less as a direct market periodical than it did a year ago and often a lot less.

Given that a 4-5% average decline month-to-month is better understood as a market decline than anything to do with a specific title. During Simone’s tenure, WONDER WOMAN is “only” shedding about 2% of its reader in an average month. That is a rate of decline that is slower than the broader market trend. Nothing to celebrate, but hardly a failure.

Also, a generic Marvel title out-performs a generic DC title by about 7%. There have a always been more Marvel readers in the direct market than DC readers. It is pretty safe to assume that if IRON FIST had a DC bullet on the cover that it would have dropped 2,000 readers with exactly the same content.

Finally, Wonder Woman may be the A-List female superhero, but her “profile” hardly make success a certainty. On the contrary, it makes the easiest sales gimmicks for a female solo headliner nearly impossible. Can you even imagine the concern trolling over the amount of fan-service seen in the average Frank Cho drawn comic showing up on Themyscira? Puh-lease. DC is pretty well forced to sell WW like it would a male-fronted solo book aside from some light cheesecake on the cover.

Look, I am not saying that Gail Simone on WW has been a huge smash hit. It is performing in a totally average manner for superhero solo title. However, given that it is a solo tile with a female lead and a female writer in the current direct market average is not bad.

Wow. Out of town for a couple days and comments explosion. I think you guys took care of most everything on here yourselves…I’ll just bat a little clean up…

@BMBG: I didn’t say that the Greatest Comics thing was any of the things you suggest I did. I simply brought it up as a bad timing issue that I think unfortunately aids in undermining their (Marvel’s) success. In fact…in re-reading your comment I’m not sure you read the article at all…I mean this:

“But, you know…if you just want to sour people’s opinions on the project before it even reaches stores, go ahead with your trash-talking and conspiracies. Marvel will get the message, that being “Thanks, but no. You didn’t get it perfectly the first time, so don’t bother trying anymore”

Is in direct opposition to pretty much the entire spirit of the article…which was to educate MYSELF (and hopefully others) and to discuss the good and bad, and the conclusion I came to was that while GC isn’t perfect for me I AM actually really glad they’re trying…and that they keep trying. But whatever. We all see what we want to see I guess. Have at it.

@MG Doom: I’m glad you enjoyed the column. I will definitely be talking about the upcoming X-23 one shot and Immonen’s Pixie mini in this column – probably when they come out. I suspect they didn’t get discussed in the interview because they’re not out yet and weren’t really on my mind. Mariah and I seemed to focus most of our discussion on stuff that had already succeeded or failed in the market – also, since Mariah had very specific insider experience with Minx, I wanted to get as much information about that specifically as I could since I felt it related well to the Girl Comics endeavor.

@BT: Women of Alpha Flight is a great idea. Consider it submitted into the suggestion box! I have several of these articles planned “women of…” and Alpha Flight would be a good one. Make sure to take a bow in the comments when it shows up down the line! :)

@Brian Cronin:

“I must say, quite often when I read Kelly’s stuff, I DO opulently acquiesce to her.”

:) Best compliment paid to me of 2009. Way to get in just under the wire Brian.

@Dean: Stop being so brilliant. I’m going to come back one of these days and find this column renamed and with you writing it. In all seriousness thanks for continuing to be a source of both levelheaded debate and seemingly infinite comics knowledge.

@ Kelly Thompson:

You are too kind.

You have a great and extremely necessary column going here. It is amazing how gracefully you handle these comments sections. You make it very easy to contribute.

“Women of Alpha Flight is a great idea. Consider it submitted into the suggestion box! I have several of these articles planned “women of…” and Alpha Flight would be a good one. Make sure to take a bow in the comments when it shows up down the line!”

Kelly, you just made my year! :)

I know that this discussion mainly concerns comics from the big two, but what does the female readership of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose indicate about this issue? Talk about Black Widow’s zipper, when it comes to Tarot and the other females in the book the question is “What zipper?” There’s more T&A in Tarot than on late-night Cinemax. But based on anecdotal evidence from the back pages and Jim Balent’s website, it seems that women make up a high percentage, if not the majority, of Tarot’s readership.

It seems to be the consensus that the cheesecake covers on Marvel Divas hurt sales. But those covers didn’t even come close to the cheesecakiness of Tarot or Grimm Fairy Tales and the Wonderland books from Zenescope, which are the favorites of a couple of female comic readers that I know. So do cheesecake covers really turn potential females readers away? And if so, how have these books managed to gain female readership despite the covers, albeit in lower numbers than Marvel or DC could consider successful?

@Kelly :

It was definintly a good idea to discuss the Minx line and the lessons from that. I’m more the positive type like Mariah in all this. What worries me is that Marvel’s books with female creators will fall into the a similar trap as Minx, that being that it doesn’t reach its broader audience, specifically female readers. The opinion of the JimBob-BatFans of the is really irrelevant here, since more books with female talent means more potential for female readers. I think the real test of Girl Comics will be in the collected version for the non traditional market and not how it does in the comic shops. The big problem, which goes back to the Minx problem, is getting those books into the hands of female readers. For the health of the comics industry in general, I think those readers are needed.

What bothered me in all the talk about Girl Comics (I mean the comics community in general not this column specifically) is that there are quite a few positive female friendly things already from Marvel that are not really getting discussed. Things like Marvel’s collected version of their adaptation of Pride and Prejudice being on the NY Times Graphic Books Best Sellers hard backs top 10 for 8 weeks now.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/books/bestseller/bestgraphicbooks.html?ref=bestseller

It is currently ranked ahead of things like the Old Man Logan collection and the various popular Bat books. Pride and Prejudice has always done well with women (also happens to be a key influence on Twilight). Another positive from Marvel is the continued adaptation of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake novels, which has done well outside of the traditional comic shops.

So Marvel is actually getting some of their books into female readers hands but they have done nothing to help guide new readers to other Marvel books that would potential appeal to them, such as Runaways, Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-men run, Karthryn Immonen’s works, Marjorie Lius NYX, and many many more (and that is just from Marvel, as there are even more from other publishers). I think it’s too much to ask women to figure out what comics to read on their own because at a casual glance it looks to be overloaded with man stuff. Essentially a good recommendations lists or guides are needed, with the recommendations based around whatever got the new reader in the door. Multiple lists would be needed of course since there are differences between the kind of female fan that reads Pride and Prejudice, the type that reads Anita Blake, and whatever else sells well to women.

Thankfully you are already doing just that in part by reviewing Greg Rucka’s work. He is one of those female friendly writers. It’s also a positive sign that many of the people writing at comics news sites and blogs are women. I would just like to see more focus and attention on the positives and help to those who don’t know where to look for books that are not man-centric.

All of of this is important to me personally, as a male fan, because both Ann Nocenti and Louise Simonson have been key reasons why I’m a comics fan. Nocenti’s run on Daredevil helped convert me from being a casual reader to a diehard reader of comics. Simonson’s work on Superman and and Steel were what helped convert me from being a Marvel zombie to reading DC books on a regular basis. It’s pretty clear to me women in comics at all levels is very important.

Why all this bickering about DC and Marvel comics? There are TONS of great comics being produced my females. Gabriel Bell, Carol Tyler, Posey Simmonds, Eleanor Davis, Leah Hayes, Lynda Barry, Vanessa Davis, and Rutu Modan are just a very small handful who write and draw fantastic comics that are not published by the big two. Why do people constantly expect those two to produce comics that will appeal to women? There are lots of publishers out there that already do. Why not praise and focus on them instead?

Wow, Mariah harps on the “no girls allowed” within the comic book world, and yet the exact same actions are performed here. Two wrongs doesn’t make a right, and in my view, this book is nothing more than hypocritical hyperbole.

[…] those of you who have been following my take on the Girl Comics controversy know, I’m pretty excited about this book, despite the ridiculous name.  Add to that a Jill […]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives