Robot 6

Remembering DC’s GirlFrenzy!

While the staffs of DC Comics and Marvel can be blamed for a number of ill-fated storylines in the late 1990s, one thing they can’t be faulted for is a willingness to take risks. It’s what led Marvel to hire mid-list comic artists and give them free rein with some of its B-list heroes in Marvel Knights, and DC to give Wildstorm the leeway to allow the creation of The Authority. One lesser-known outburst from around that time that holds a special place in my comics-lovin’ heart is DC’s “Girlfrenzy!” — a Fifth Week initiative in which female characters took over seven titles for one issue.

This 1998 event was comprised of Batman: Batgirl, Birds of Prey: Ravens, JLA: Tomorrow Woman, Starman: The Mist, Superman: Lois Lane, Wonder Woman: Donna Troy and Young Justice: Secret. Some of the titles were totally forgettable, but the Lois Lane story, by a young Gail Simone and Amanda Conner, and the Mist story, by James Robinson and John Lucas, hold up well for me and are worth tracking down.

Although the thrust of the event — “We don’t normally cover female heroes, but we’ll do it just this once!” — is a bit iffy, it did give these seven characters/teams a chance to break through that glass ceiling and deliver some more diverse storytelling.

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16 Comments

I remember this event back when it first launched but I never bought any of the comics. However, I really want to check out that Simone/Conner Lois Lane book now. Man, they would kill on a LL ongoing.

Three of those one-shots I have a particular fondness for: Donna Troy, Lois Lane and Batgirl. Some very good work there.

The Authority was fully conceived, first-arc written, and at least partly drawn, all before DC acquired Wildstorm.

Starman: The Mist was excellent!

I’ve been re-reading my Starman omnibi, and just read the Mist today! My biggest recollection of the issue is how weird it is seeing a pre-Johns Black Hand

As a Young Justice fan, I remember it as the event that introduced us to Secret, who went on to be the driving character for much of the Young Justice book.

Even at the time (and I’m not complaining about this) it felt like DC was testing the waters for female characters with this effort. I read a few of these, including “JLA: Tomorrow Woman” and “Lois Lane”, and it seemed, unlike efforts like “New Year’s Evil” like DC had actually tried a bit. While DC had and has (will have) issues with female characters and readers alike, efforts like this get forgotten in the conversation. DC is a business. Girlfrenzy! had some marketing behind it at the time – and clearly DC was figuring out if these books would sell in the market of 1999 or so. I don’t believe they really did, but that’s the magic of the direct market. Who knows if they would have sold? I know my shop at the time barely stocked the series in an era where they were climbing out from the wreckage of the mid-90’s implosion.

I loved the Young Justice & Donna Troy books,shame the two are MIA in the DCU

Davey Boy Smith

August 23, 2012 at 3:10 am

“While the staffs of DC Comics and Marvel can be blamed for a number of ill-fated storylines in the late 1990s, one thing they can’t be faulted for is a willingness to take risks. It’s what led Marvel to hire mid-list comic artists and give them free rein with some of its B-list heroes in Marvel Knights…”

Sorry, but that statement doesn’t ring true at all. The Marvel Knights -brand was created with the goal of providing titles feat. lower-profile heroes with superior production values and top-notch creative teams. The commercial and critical success of the MK-line ultimately led to Joe Quesada’s promotion to Marvel’s EIC in 2000.

Wow — so DC didn’t ALWAYS center its line on hateful rape comics!

Seems like it was around this same time that we got a new Catwoman series, a new Harley Quinn series, a new Batgirl (the one from No Man’s Land) series, and the Jenny Sparks mini

Wow, Lois Lane totally looks like Black Widow there.

I didn’t start reading Birds Of Prey until after Simone had taken over a few years after this, but I remember The Ravens getting a lot of push at the time from DC. Whatever happened to them?

Davey Boy Smith: the MARVEL KNIGHTS line was a big gamble; hiring outside personnel to set up a line of comics line, trying to break from what was status quo at Marvel for the time? Risky.

Young Justice Secret was as well an issue as any other of this beloved series. Kinda annoys me to see it dismissed so easily. Young Justice had a good, solid run and was certainly better than what DC has been doing since then with their young heroes.

How much would the Lois Lane comic be worth in mint condition ?

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