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Ah, Minx, DC’s attempt to make comics for teenage girls. The failure of the whole enterprise lies in that very statement. Teen girls don’t like things made specifically for them. They don’t even think of themselves as “teen girls.” Catering to them is very, very tricky, because you can’t appear to be catering to them. Worse, adults who write and review books for teenagers have a hard time letting the characters do anything truly bad, but that’s exactly what teenagers want—and need—to read. If you give them an after school special, they’ll dump it and read something by Chuck Palahniuk instead.
The first round of Minx books all had a definite made-by-adults-for-teens vibe. The second season was much, much stronger, because the creators took more chances, and not coincidentally, more of the creators were women. There were books I actually wanted to read in that second season, and the two I did read, Token, by Alisa Kwitney and the incomparable Joelle Jones, and Burnout, by Rebecca Donner and Inaki Miranda, were quite good. Of course, that’s when DC killed the line.
So my ears pricked up when Deb Aoki Tweeted that Image has picked up two titles that were originally done for Minx: Poseurs, by Deborah Vankin and Rick May, and All Nighter, by David Hahn. Alas, Deb was underwhelmed by Poseurs:
Reading Poseurs reminded me of all the reasons why Minx missed the mark with its target audience: the stories are dreary, formulaic
Minx stories were frustrating because they were always about a misfit, too-smart-for-her-own-good girl who learns some uplifting lesson.
Deb totally nails it, in terms of the line as a whole, and it’s too bad she doesn’t think Poseurs rises above it. (Also, what’s with the nightclub thing? Minx girls seem to go clubbing a lot more than the teenagers I know.) From the looks of the covers and sample pages, both these books share a style that was common in the Minx books—very simple, linear and bland, almost like a coloring book. Again, in the second season, artists like Joelle Jones and Ross Campbell brought a lot more visual interest to the line.
It looks like Image is releasing Poseurs as a graphic novel and All Nighters as a floppy, which is a rather daring choice. The whole point of Minx was to make comics for teenage girls, who were habituated to the graphic-novel format by manga and who don’t do much shopping in comics stores. The comic-book strategy could work if the All Nighters is distributed to alternative venues, such as Urban Outfitters and Hot Topic, where teens go to purchase silly tchotchkes, but if Image goes the straight Diamond route, it’s unlikely to reach its target audience—although perhaps it will have crossover appeal for the indy crowd.