Robot 6

Quote of the day | Corrina Lawson, on DC Comics and female readers

DC Comics

“What would DC have to do to attract more women? Well, not add romance, puppies and rainbows. (I like kitties, though …) No, really, all they have to do is stop actively driving away the female audience with art too often based on porn poses and women so often portrayed as victims and not three-dimensional characters even when they’re in supporting roles. Give us art that’s not so obviously done to make woman sex objects only and make them well-rounded characters and we’ll be just fine. In fact, just keep the heroes you already have around instead of tossing them aside would be a start. Don’t, say, announce that all the Robins will be getting showcase titles when what you mean is that all the male Robins will be getting showcase titles and that the current Batgirl (former Robin) Stephanie Brown is going into limbo, along with former Batgirl current Black Bat Cassandra Cain. Because, apparently, there can only be one Batgirl as multiple ones would be too confusing but four Robins is just fine.”

– Wired.com’s Corrina Lawson, discussing how DC Comics might expand beyond a target demographic
of 18- to 34-year-old males, and why the publisher should do so

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31 Comments

To quote the Rev. Dave Johnson: “I draw women like I get laid.”

Four Robins? There’s Red Robin(Tim Drake) and Batman’s Robin(Damian Wayne) >_>

Yeah, I think she makes a great point, but people are to harp on that last line, since there aren’t actually 4 Robins running around.
I really wish Cass and Stephanie were also in the Batgirl book, though. Cyborg-Babs has to sleep sometime, right?

i am a male and i agree with all of this.

Jason Todd is getting “Red Hood and the Outlaws”. Dick Grayson is getting “Nightwing”. Tim Drake is getting “Teen Titans”. Damian Wayne is getting “Batman and Robin”. Stephanie Brown is getting “The Shaft”.

I get the irritation on this issue. What I don’t get is how Marvel seems to skate on this one while DC gets pummeled on a daily basis. Marvel doesn’t exactly shy away from the porn poses, etc… (and regularly employs Greg Horn for covers). And DC apparently does write female characters that readers cared about if the online outcry about Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Oracle, Birds of Prey, etc… are to be believed.

Its great that DC has fans that care, and I hope it gets DC’s attention. But DC isn’t alone in the need for change.

Other than the ridiculous Harley Quinn cover, I’m not entirely sure why DC is getting hammered for their portrayal of women in art considering the whole pants thing. It just seems like this is a strange time to complain about this now.

@SignalWatch

I’ve always thought that Marvel just has a far less vocal female fanbase. But, on that matter, it’s kind of funny that Marvel does manage to skirt these accusations, especially when in September DC will be publishing nearly 3x as many ongoings starring minority and female leads.

@Signal Watch

Stephanie Brown is getting “The Shaft”

Unfortunate use of words.

Or is it?

I like me heroes super, hot, and amazing, thank you very much. Go read your Twilight books, Corrina.

Isn’t Stephanie Brown more tied to Spoiler and Batgirl than to Robin? Two years from now I doubt that anyone will think of Dick Grayson as Batman.

I have to agree with Ms. Lawson. I like Stephanie and Cassandra better than all of the Robins. It’s a shame I will be down to only 2 DC books come September. Fortunately, one of them stars a female (Catwoman), so I am excited about that.

I picked up the first Stephanie Brown/ Spoiler issue off the rack. I think of the Robin stint as more of a missed opportunity by editorial than a grave injustice perpetrated by evil editors at DC – when and if I think of the very, very brief period in which the character appeared as Robin during a lackluster run on the Bat-books (and, @Trey, I did not mean it that way, and it was a poor choice of words. Yikes.).

@mambazo – I don’t know if Marvel has a less vocal fanbase or if the X-titles and others I don’t read make up for some of what I see when I pick up Marvel comics. Or if the online discussion which is somewhat relentless on the issue of DC’s misogyny (often rightly so) has built enough mass that all conversation that direction falls into DC’s orbit, and the readership begins to read a bit too much into some editorial and writing decisions.

But if that’s the case, you’d think DC would just get smarter about their approach and ask “is this a Women in Refrigerators moment?” or “Would we do this with a male character?” when talking out a story.

I made a comment a few days ago about maybe bringing Stephanie (as Spoiler) and Cassandra (as Blackbat) back to gotham to team with Barbara and maybe Proxy (now known as Oracle) as the new Gotham City Sirens. I’m a huge fan of cassie and stephanie (they’re much more interesting then damian “wah wah wah” wayne and jason “the fans hate me but i get my own book anyway” todd). I think that since they’ve said batman continuity is still the same that theres hope for Steph and Cass (even if i have to write it myself just to make it happen) in gotham. The bat-legion wanst more stpeh/cass less *snicker* Red Hood and the Outlaws *snicker*.

Those books sold low and they’ll sell low unless you get someone like Neil Gaiman to do a one-shot.

It’s more to do with DC having a lunatic slashfic fanbase that download comics online illegally then moaning about Didio’s DC and threatening to kill him etc once a comic is cancelled.

I despise the ridiculous images of women portrayed in comics, mostly superhero ones. I find this more embarrassing about comics than being a grown man reading superhero comics on the subway during rush hour.

WTF?
I’ve always found the women of the DCU to be far more empowered than the Marvel women 100x over!
Why is DC getting lambasted for women posing on their covers when this happens universally in comics?
You don’t have a crystal ball to know what’s happening with Cassie or Stephanie, so chill out already. DC’s not really interested in showing you all their cards.

Readers should stop acting like they own certain characters. You don’t own them. DC does, and they’ll do whatever they want with them. It’s left to you to buy it or move on. Sure you can complain, but voting with your wallet works best.

I am both upset and happy Damian Wayne is still around. On one hand the little bugger really grew on me despite disliking the whole idea of him at first. On the other hand it makes no sense if everyone else is younger and the whole current state of the DCU has a five year timeline. On top of that longer standing characters like Cassandra Cain and former Robin Stephanie Brown get tossed aside. And I honestly didn’t care for Steph as Batgirl or Robin. Though maybe she’d work as a co-Batgirl alongside Babs, Cass, and even Misfit.

Also Jason freaking Todd gets his own book. I somewhat liked the concept of Jason being back… but the execution has been terrible in everything save for the animated movie. I can’t believe that Red Hood book exists . It almost seems like a 90s reject idea like some symbiont Spider-clone or a Bloodlines character. Roy even stole the trucker hat from Adam X the X-Treme.

There is a definite double standard for male Robins and female Batgirls.

DC continues to be a good old boys club. Let’s not forget out of the hundred plus or so creators on the relaunch in Sept, there is ONE female creator on all of it. Two if you count Reeder’s alt cover to Batwoman an her doing future arcs.

@ Debaser
The “whole pants thing” is pointless if they still have half of them with their boobs hanging out of tight tops.

Of course I’m all for boobs hanging out and wearing a bathing suit uniform over pants for Wonder Woman. Just give the ladies (and some of the guys) shots of Nightwing’s firm butt to make the eye candy even. These people are a pantheon of gods and heroes of modern myth. Giving them perfect bodies and showing them off should be part of the package, even more at DC with how their heroes are than Marvel’s more down to earth ones.

Well maybe if those comics actually sold …you would bve seeing them as the core of DC’s line.. everytime any comic in done in the way any “female” readers wants it to be done… frank;ly the sales[ie retailers orders] dont follow through… this is less of the Dc way of doing things and more the way the mysoginist retailers and type of store personell [some need to get laid and actually see what a woman looks like] actually try and promote a female base. Blaming Dc for putting pout what is selling and being oredered is b;laminbg the wrong people.Retailers and ther whole Wizard/Frat boy mentality is what is killing any chance of “real life” females ever becoming a force of purchasing comics…

People will complain if Huntress gets around (and some will scream sexism), but you can’t say DC didn’t play fair by making Nightwing and Arsenal man-whores for a time. I can’t recall hearing any complaints.

@ Hertz
Getting a female friendly author like Neil Gaiman to write a book? Hiring someone who would bring in female readers to DC? Doing something that would get new readers and get current ones excited?

Perish the thought. This is DC we’re talking about.

Instead they’re hiring writers and artists to make DC look like 90s Image. They had Bob Harras dig through his old Rolodex instead of genuinely reaching out to fresh voices. For heaven’s sake they hired Rob Liefeld for a launch title and put Judd Winick on Catwoman. Actually, that’s not as bad as having him write African Batman, but still..

This is not some new DC. This is the same damn old DC painting on a new coat and saying they’re different. It’s still the same old captains who ahve been running the company into the ground for a decade. Despite them having a new female boss at Warners, there’s really no female voice on staff taking charge. This is the same old “We need a rape!” DC Comics.

Then again look what happened to when DC hired best selling author Jodi Piccolt to scribe Wonder Woman. It was a train wreck. First the series was crippled when the former writer dropped the story and they had a fill in issue. To be fair he was known for female friendly fare like Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy. Still, they had this award winning author start her arc already with the character limping out of the gate, crippled from a totally SNAFU from DC. Then DC decided to cripple the author and character even more by tying a silly crossover which was total garbage. This noted author took a backseat to a bunch of 90s comic fanboys playing crossover games.

And you wonder why women can’t read Wonder Woman or any other DC book? Hell, the female (and male) fans of the character already there were up in arms over how horrible the whole thing was done.

@ Kal El
A whore is a whore. No need to add man. Also Dick and Roy are sluts. Whores get paid. Sluts just do it for fun.

: p Giggity.

I’m pretty sure Dick got paid in female fandom.

The reason DC is getting attacked on this is that they’re relaunching their line and are supposedly trying to expand their audience. But what they’ve announced so far hasn’t change a lot of the things they were doing before. If Marvel were relaunching their books, they’d be the center of attention.
That said, did anyone NOT think of Greg Land when she said “porn poses?” And he’s been with Marvel for a while now.

Anyone arguing that there aren’t 4 Robins around are completely being selective in their mindset. The point isn’t that they have to be NAMED Robin, just that they existed.

Stephanie’s very existence, in the new compressed timeline, seems up in the air. If she DOES exist, she’ll probably be Spoiler again, started fresh, with no indication she’d ever been Robin.

Which would be FINE. Absolutely. If there wasn’t this stubborn (and seeming vastly unequal) insistence that ALL of the other Robins managed to happen, and IMPOSSIBLY have had time to serve out their time as Robin, in a compressed timeline that’s supposed to be what? 5 years or less?

Meanwhile ONE Batgirl is struggling simply to explain how Barbara Gordon had been Batgirl, got crippled, been Oracle, and then went back to Batgirl again.

Good grief. The “need” for Jason Todd to still have even existed is the biggest mystery. Does ANYONE outside of the DC offices love that character? Or even LIKE him?

Artwise, DC can occasionally be REALLY hostile to female readers. And its NOT that the females can’t look sexy. They CAN. But its HOW its done. More like Amanda Connor, where its done cheeky ON PURPOSE, and less of the non-self aware exploitation of many other artists, where there’s no sign the artist and writer have ANY idea how ridiculous it is for gigantic boobs to be hanging out of the top of a costume like that.

FP, when they said “Batman continuity is unchanged”, I think they literally meant “the Batman continuity involving Batman and his little boy Robins”. Assuming they meant any of the “yucky girls” on the periphery? A bit much to expect. :lol

I DO get why they went back to Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. Setting aside the whole controversy angle of uncrippling her, they needed to.

But DC has been implying that the whole reboot has been about de-cluttering things in the DCU–which becomes a total joke when you realize that every “important” creator got to keep their “pet” characters, and the result wound up almost as cluttered as before. So a few older versions of Blue Beetle never get mentioned anymore? BIG DEAL. But also apparently, characters like Huntress, Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, etc. were “clutter” (until DC bows under pressure and brings them back so they don’t look like total pigs–which is part of why they left themselves an escape clause that “it might have all still happened, you’re just not seeing it yet). Whereas Jason Todd, the very essence of unnecessary (but a pet character of certain creators) and Damien Wayne, another “pet”, get kept totally intact.

Jason todd sucks. Damien Wayne is so much better.

Googam son of Goom

July 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

What she is describing are the qualities of superhero comic books that also make them uninteresting to the majority of men on this planet. Comics like to brag about how grown up they are and how Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer prize many decades ago, however they are largely still juvenile fantasies. That is not said with any prejudice. It is the very reason i enjoy them even as an adult. they are an escape.

If you want women readers look at what women (and that is a generalization itself) enjoy. Also hire a wagon-load more women writers and artists. That should be obvious but it doesn’t happen. And in the end ask the question ” Why do we want more women readers?” Did Playboy ask that question? In brief you get the audience you deserve.

Calling out DC here is ridiculous. These are all great points but you can’t have discussions about sexism in comics by just talking about one company.

@Dominic The topic of the article is the DC reboot and in particular the assertion that DC made that it wanted “new readers” yet seems to have once again settle in on the same readers it always has – males 18-34. So while Marvel has its issues, in the context of this article, it does makes sense to have a discussion about one company.

I agree with Lawson 100%. Also agreeing Marvel should not get a pass here. In general I take a paradoxical position: Cartoonist should be provided and pushed to have maximum creative freedom; as long as A: It doesn’t discriminate and thus reduce the market potential; and B: The stories are character driven and in keeping with established continuity. Since neither of these are strictly consider guidelines at Marvel and DC, and artistic freedom is not strictly observed, Marvel and DC will simply see thier readership dwindle and thier ideas usurped and celebrated in other mediums and other departments of thier media conglomerates. To bad. I love both…or my memory of them. To be completely honest I am still encouraged by some titles at both Marvel and DC, but I fear this is fleating and am annoyed at how hard I have to work to find a readable, inventive, astheticly pleasing, fun, smart, non-offensive superhero comic these days. I am suprized because I personally know cartoonist who could produce this exsperince…guess who they do not work for.

All male Robins has your books. Steph a former Robin and Cass Cain aren’t in reboot. Gail Simone is trying to use them in the new Batgirl ongoing,so it seems that DC didn’t have plans for these characters yet. donna troy is benched.Huntress IDK.

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