Robot 6

‘They are starved for content and looking for content they can relate to’

captain marvel1

“While we don’t have any market research, the eyes don’t lie. If you go to conventions and comic book stores, more and more female readers are emerging. They are starved for content and looking for content they can relate to.”

– Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, discussing comics’ shifting demographics

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Preach, brother!!!! Marvel is miles behind Image and most independant comics as far as diversity and gender representation goes, but consumers can really see the push and effort they’ve been making

Women don’t need content. They’re watching Bravo TV.

The trick is to publish that content and not cancel it in favor of more content to which they can’t relate.

Legitimate question. Do women really not read certain comics because they’ve got male leads and can’t relate? I only ask because I read plenty of books with female leads and have no such problem.

Male leads, female leads….none of it matters if the story isn’t good. I just got done with Ms. Marvel #1 and think it will be a great book because of the story. Miss Khan seems to be a well thought out teenage girl that has the typical problems of peer pressure, family and simply being 16 and a bit of a nerdgirl. There was no real super hero action in the book and that’s fine because it spent most of it’s time letting you get to know the ins and outs of the main character.

They could have skipped all that and had her get the powers and immediately use them but then we would have a lackluster and boring superhero story. We’ve seen people use superpowers for decades and decades..we don’t always see relatable people that get superpowers though.

Actually, Richard, there are plenty of women who DO read male lead characters, but not enough. Just as there are SOME males who will not read a female lead story, there are women who feel the same way, and you have to be able to appeal to different market segments to broaden your reach.

Marvel’s core demographics are overwhelmingly Male, and trending older. Is this based on the nature of their comics (Almost entirely Super-hero focused) or on the nature of their writers/talent/content? That’s the real question here, and we will see how they do.

Richard – As a female reader, I will say no, I don’t read certain comics because they have a male lead. I read Hawkeye, Deadpool and Wolverine but I also pick up Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel. Having said that, it’s really refreshing to read a comic, such as Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble that have such a strong female prescience. I’m a huge Jessica Drew and Carol Danvers fan, and to see two characters I love getting such attention is amazing for me. Also with X-Men having such a strong female cast, I love it. I love reading comics with amazingly written females because it gives me someone to look up to. I enjoy reading comics with my favourite male characters and sure, I might have a bit of a crush on my favourite male character but I imagine it’s similar with male readers and female characters they like. It’s just nice for female readers to have comics that have characters we can relate to in a super-hero setting.

Richard, it’s not a question if reading the odd comic with a male lead. Imagine a world where the media default was female leads and any men you saw were distorted caricatures. You would want a comic that reflected you in a more positive and realistic light too. It’s a lot more work to identify with a character with whom you have nothing in common.

I’m with Richard. I’ve got no problems reading Captain Marvel. Storm’s one of my favourite characters. Kelly-Sue DeConnick is one of my favourite writers. Emma Rios? Fantastic artist.

The moral to this story is that the comics industry should just stop being so patronising and condescending and concentrate on producing good stuff.

“Do women really not read certain comics because they’ve got male leads and can’t relate? I only ask because I read plenty of books with female leads and have no such problem.”

^Yeah, only truly sexist people think that women need female leads or else they won’t read it. Doesn’t mean publishers shouldn’t offer more female leads. I’m a heterosexual dude and I’m loving Velvet, Batwoman, Pretty Deadly, Wonder Woman…

Truth be told, I think Marvel Comics’ superhero line is almost inherently male-centric. Same way most Disney entertainment leans female-centric. I don’t see either leaning as shockingly problematic. Axel Alonso can promote Carol Danvers all he wants; the sales were/are in the toilet and the only reason the title wasn’t canceled a year and a half ago was because of political reasons. That’s the honest truth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m *glad* Marvel goes out of its way to keep certain titles around. But this attitude of “Hey y’all, we’re winning women’s comic dollars!” looks stupid when you glance at the numbers. Other lines like Image, Vertigo, and independents are inherently better built to attract a female audience than Marvel is. Same way as UFC is inherently better built to attract a male audience than, say, figure skating is. Paranoid people can call these things sexist, but it’s probably natural and genetic. Male and female brains are scientifically different. *shrugs*

@Dissix: I dunno, I personally found Captain Marvel to be a boring book. I REALLY want to like Ms. DeConnick, and I REALLY want a female-written and female-focused book to succeed but…as hard as I tried (for about 12 issues), I just couldn’t get into that title. Still, I’m betting the book does have its devoted, hardcore fanbase that read Captain Marvel but also other comics, and Marvel’s keeping the title going essentially so that that fanbase (which spends more than just $4 a month on comics) can stay happy.

in the meantime, I’m going to give the new Ms. Marvel a chance, as I LOVE G. Willow Wilson’s work on Air.

It is not a question of will women read comics with male leads, nor that women only want comics with female leads. It is that if a significant market exists who would like to read good stories with female leads, you produce it and sell it. As an example, I am an ample American and will buy any book that gives a line to Boulder (Avenger’s Academy Member) because he is a bit of wish fulfillment. I read other books of course, and wouldn’t want Boulder in a lousy book. But when I see someone who is like me, it makes me happy, and so I read the book. And as the counter point, when I read comics where ample folks are depicted as ignorant, slovenly, cowardly, or weak, I dislike the representation, especially if it is the only ample person depicted.

So, when a woman reads a book, and the only depictions of females are weak, cowardly, or otherwise incapable, it would be frustrating. Hence the desire to provide more and better characters for women to relate to, and buy more books. Supporting cast members are great too, but when 90% of the book has something in common with the reader, it makes the reader happy.

This quote is from like 2004 right? I mean, this can’t really be a serious quote from today. How out of touch is this EIC? Acting like he’s filling us in on some secret only he knows about.

As a man, I find most male characters to be boring or otherwise simple or straightforward. Female characters who are done well and are believable as real people are a lot more interesting to me. Sexy is fine in the correct context but even super models take sh#@s. I need a little more depth than the “human scenery” method with which most guys write their female characters.

Conversely, dynamic female characters are also harder to come by in most media.

So in effect, I’m also starved for content when it comes to Big 2 stories these days!

“Legitimate question. Do women really not read certain comics because they’ve got male leads and can’t relate? I only ask because I read plenty of books with female leads and have no such problem.”
Well, if I’m guessing I would say someone is more inclined to like what is closer to them, and since not everyone can buy every single comic there is (or even that many), having characters that appeal directly to them is better.
For example, I have seen great critical reception in Young Avengers, and the book could be quite good, but I’m not willing to buy the book because I don’t really identify myself with the premise nor the characters.

@ Mikael, aren’t u being a little harsh on the EiC? He is supporting more female led titles and is getting behind the changing demographic. What here makes him seem out of touch?

None of this matters because Marvel comes out with amazing books that no one reads because 80% of Marvel readers want the sane recycled stories ave the best books get cancelled. This is why Image is a better company for good writers.

Yes, so let’s re-tool every book in our line to cater to this demographic while alienating fans/readers we’ve had for decades. Put all the female characters in potato sacks, as to not “shame” any real female who might not live up to fantasy standards and make sure the female characters are without any flaws, whatsoever.

Wouldn’t want to “offend” anyone…..

Then where the hell is my Pixie ongoing, Axel? Stop giving us these tired cows.

Why the heck does he not have any market research?

So, will Axel Alonso ever read these critiques, or will all his “pro-women” jargon be filtered through the marvel friendly bcr interviews?

Women are factually 50% of today’s comics market.

the evidence is striking with both DC and Marvel hiring more female writers and art teams, as well as having some characters written more tword that audience. —-the independent companies like : Dynamite entertainment, idw, image, zenescope, aspen entertainment, Boom studios, moonstone graphics, top-cow, & others, are mostly geared tword and have more female centric characters and story-lines. they also are able to regularly pay their various shareholders, talent, and hire new talent. “someones buying.”

go to a convention sometime. females cosplay more often than men, and put their own money into buying the various items used in the cosplay, showing how much they care for superheroes and other comics characters. most do not get paid to cosplay these characters. -when you see males buying two or more copies of one series, politely ask them who the other copies are for…if they are honest, they will state: our girl friends, wives, or female friends.

@Tom Tomorrow

Haha excellent satire of clueless angry comic book nerd that makes it difficult for most people to defend their hobby when the stuff like that affirms the public perception of comic book nerds as sexist idiots!

@ Anna-Maria – I think you said it perfectly.

“While we can’t be bothered to spend money on any market research, I do a lot of gawking at women I see at conventions and comic book stores. I’m finally noticing more and more female readers are spending money but mostly on other publishers. We are starved for ideas on how to get their money (we’re big on flashy art but a bit short on quality stories) and looking for gimmicks they can be lured by.”

Fixed that for ya.

Did you know there are comics that are NOT PERIODICAL COMICS FROM MARVEL AND DC??? That maybe women and girls read????

Amazing.

Also, here’s some marketing research on the size of the potential female comics market: it’s about 46.67% accoridng to Facebook stats, a figure that feels very accurate based on eyeballing existing fans.

http://comicsbeat.com/market-research-says-46-female-comic-fans/#comment-937457

Women reading comics are what’s going to save comics. Because they’re going to demand more diversity and Marvel’s just too stuck in their superhero ways to realize it.

Its nice that they’re (Marvel Exec.s) are noticing.

Just the same way, I’m sure, that women are noticing that there are more comic publishers than just Marvel and DC.

I’m a middle-aged woman and I’ve read and loved comics for more than 40 years. The XMen were my teen soap opera (“oh, the ANGST!”) but I also love Hellboy, BPRD, Fables and was a big horror comic fan. I never read Archie or romance comics or nurse comics or whatever was “written for girls” because they were boring.

I want good stories. Good stories have good characters, character development, dialouge, all those sorts of things and those things apply every bit to comics that they do to any other kind of story. What annoys me is bad writing and bad writing includes female characters who are nothing, who are “the chick.” If all your characters aren’t complete people, if any of them is a 2-dimensional piece of cardboard, then your writing sucks. Someone, I can’t remember who, said that the default character in was male and female was a variant but women are also people, they have flaws and foibles and they aren’t all about sex and romance any more than men are. Female characters who have no personality beyond responding to the male that’s interested in them or to whom they are interested are boring and flat, unreal and annoying.

The key to female audience is good writing, it’s that simple, and good writers in comics are sadly RARE. I wish Marvel would spend the money to employ them.

All this aside, Marvel isn’t alone and shouldn’t be singled out. DC is just as bad, if not worse.

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