Robot 6

Quote of the Day | Kelly Sue DeConnick on female-led comics

“If our ‘base’ won’t reliably support female-led books (and that is a whole other conversation that I do not have time for) then we need new readers. Strictly from a sustainability standpoint, we need new readers — our readership is aging and dwindling and the goodwill we should be getting from the comic book commercials commonly called ‘tentpole movies’ we are, in large part, squandering. As an industry we put up high thresholds against new readers — whether it’s something as culturally repugnant as this whole ‘authentic fangirl’ crap or just our mind-boggling practices of shelving by publisher and numbering books into the 600s.

Think about the manga boom for a minute. The American notion had always been that women would not buy comics in significant numbers. There was even a commonly bandied about notion that ‘women are not visual.’ Who bought manga in the U.S.? Largely women and girls. At ten bucks a pop, no less. Women spent literally millions of dollars on what? On comics. Now, some people will argue that that had as much to do with the diversity of genre in manga as anything else — and that is a fair point. But I would argue that there is nothing inherently masculine about the science fiction aesthetic, nothing inherently masculine about power fantasies or aspirations to heroism.”

Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, from her much longer response on Reddit to the question, “Why do you think it’s been so difficult for Marvel to establish a female hero who isn’t 1.) based of a male counterpart, 2.) made to give gender balance to a team or 3.) made to be the love interest of a more popular male hero?”

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6 Comments

This is pretty out of context, mate. What KSD is talking about is why comics don’t really sell in general from what i got of the original post. The more interesting quote on that topic came just after this bit you copied regarding manga distribution and useability by female consumers.

While the title of this post is a little misleading, the quotation itself is great. I love DeConnick’s work and I’ve loved reading her thoughts on the medium.

It’s a crying shame her Supergirl got retconned out of existence. Good stuff.

Her full response is one of the most well-reasoned responses I’ve seen to this issue. I hadn’t thought about her suggestion of pre-ordering, but it makes me want to start buying big company titles like Green Lantern and Batman from comixology, and pre-ordering creator-owned comics at the LCS.

It’s really not an issue about gender, race, or whatever group is under-represented in comics. The issue is exactly how DeConnick explains it.

“Our industry is built to sell Batman”

We’re not going to get new female leads in major books because we’re not going to get ANY new leads in major books. Original characters only break out a couple times a decade and even then, at the end of the day, they’re always going to play second fiddle to the troop of white guys created from the 40s to 60s.

Black Widow and Ms. Marvel can’t maintain a monthly without constantly being under threat of cancellation. But neither can Ghost Rider or Gambit.

The only thing the manga angle omits (in the full response) is that originally manga is serialized like comics, except in a multi-story magazine format, prior to going into TPB volumes.

I know they have tried that here with manga and it just doesn’t seem to sell (Shojo Beat among others) in that fashion ~ and I think that is because people are impatient and find scanilations are readily available online so it’s smarter in the long run to just go straight to translated volumes. In this matter it can’t be compared with the comic cliff hangers that come out on a monthly basis….because there is no other way to get the story but wait for the monthly installment as it’s created.

I think her full response is excellent, but the industry is still floundering about for answers. If women won’t come to them, they need to go to where the women are to garner new readers to get previews of products in front of their eyes. You can’t order what you don’t know about.

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