The Geek Girls What Rules Greatest Hits – #12 Girls and Comics

(Originally posted on Media Gauntlet)

Yup, it’s comics again. Well, my gaming life has been going pretty well. I like all my games, haven’t had to fire any players, finally got my all-girl game scheduled for this month. But, DAMN, the comics thing keeps getting my knickers in a wad.

The WSJ on girls reading comics

The above is a link to an article about how comics companies are planning on attracting more women to the media. DC is planning an imprint called Minx that will focus on girl things, apparently. And Marvel and others are looking to manga for ways to attract women.

First, let me start by saying that if I felt like reading things about “girl things” I’d read fucking chick lit. Seriously. Or several of the indie comics already out there. Not that I’m knocking those comics, but they just aren’t for me.  Nor am I saying that the Minx imprint stuff will be bad, again, just not for me.

I like superhero comics. I do. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be so god damned loud about what bugs me about them. See, there’s this thing called “not really liking something” and when that happens what I usually do is avoid, ignore or snub that thing which I do not like.

Now, liking something does not preclude one from recognizing its flaws. Not in the least. I like my car, but it’s a piece of shit that eats starters. I like my cats, but they throw up on my shoes if I stay out too late. I like my roommates, but occasionally I do want to smother them in their sleep. I love my husband, but he’s a dick, a funny dick, but a dick all the same.

Got it? You can like something and recognize flaws. It is possible. Blind acceptance is not necessary, nor really desireable in my opinion.

So just what exactly IS wrong with taking the existing comics and doing away with some of the more egregious tropes having to do with female superheroes? What’s wrong with having women have as many different body types as the male characters? What’s wrong with practical (yet still sexy) clothing?

Apparently these concepts are so anathema to the comics establishment that attracting women is going to require an entirely new genre: “girl comics.”

This saddens and disgusts me. And I want to point out that I am in no way comparing the “sexism in comics” issue to racism, but “separate but equal” didn’t work with that, it won’t work with this. Largely because I seriously doubt that the Big Two are going to bring their “A game” to the imprint. It’ll be a lame, half-assed attempt, and when it fails what we’ll get is a whole lot of, “See? We gave you what you wanted and it didn’t sell?”

Which brings me to a response from someone who found my women_n_comics LJ community. First off, he cited Mystique as a title aimed at girls and women, which made me laugh until milk came out my nose (and I haven’t had any milk all day). He listed Mystique along with Venom, Namor, and Runaways also as comics aimed at girls. He said that their poor numbers meant something, I’m not entirely sure what. But anyway, said that Runaways was the only title that was doing well, and THAT was because it had attracted a lot of men.

Well, yeah, Runaways attracted a lot of readers of both genders. It’s a damn fine comic book, with excellent writing and minimal T&A, and it proves that if you write comics like that they will sell.

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