Robot 6

11-year-old argues for more female superheroes, and DC agrees

justice league chibiEleven-year-old Rowan has the same complaint that a lot of fans do — that there simply aren’t enough comics, movies and toys featuring female superheroes. So she wrote a letter to DC Comics, saying, “Please do something about this. Girls read comics too and they care.”

Today, DC answered.

The letter, posted Wednesday this week on the blog of family friend David M. Perry, garnered a lot of attention on Twitter. “I love superheroes and have been reading comics and watching superhero cartoons and movies since I was very young,” Rowan writes. “I’m a girl, and I’m upset because there aren’t very many girl superheroes or movies and comics from DC.”

The goes on to point out the disparity between the number of toys based on male heroes and those based on female heroes, not to mention the lack of a Wonder Woman television series. “Marvel Comics made a movie about a talking tree and raccoon awesome,” she notes, “but you haven’t made a movie with Wonder Woman.”

This afternoon, DC turned to Twitter to reply: “Thanks Rowan. We agree, we’re working hard to create more superhero fun for girls! Yes Rowan, girls read comics too! Wonder Woman movie & Supergirl TV both in the works, with more exciting girl power announcements soon!”

Perry pointed out on his blog, before DC responded, that he’s aware there’s a Wonder Woman movie scheduled for release in 2017. However, “Rowan will be 13 by the time she gets to see her first movie with a female lead.”

You can read a full transcription of Rowan’s letter on Perry’s blog.

Comments

32 Comments

Derek Metaltron

January 30, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Does oddly seem like DC has less female focused comics than Marvel does these days, though I could be wrong. Awesome letter, kid has awesome class to love Justice League and Young Justice. Wonder if that Vixen cartoon might appeal to her? I think if DC was less concerned with yet another Batman show and thought more about say turning that fun Supergirl/Batgirl/Wonder Girl series of shorts into a full series or a Wonder Woman cartoon that would be great for her.

Oh and Marvel should consider making a Captain Marvel or Ms Marvel cartoon, probably with female heroes like Wasp, Spider Woman, Medusa, She Hulk and Mockingbird as guest stars.

WB doesn’t make toys or merch it licenses out it’s IP to companies that do and if they are not interested it making it using the female characters there is not a lot WB can do till the multi year contract ends.

Da Bane of Dane

January 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Marvel actually don’t have many female superhero based movies either. You have Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Black Widow is reduced to a support character. Yes Captain Marvel is in the works but most of the rest are all male lead based. In terms of comics, Marvel has tried to appease some naysayers with a female Thor and a black Captain America which are actually pretty well done btw. I think comics and the movies/shows based on them just need to make that right turn into this generation’s likes and dislikes. Still Wonder Woman is by and far the most recognizable female superhero so DC needs to find a way to make it work well.

That’s great. Now if only DC (and Marvel) would start putting out all ages comics (which is not the same as dumbed down over sanitized comics for young kids) that are suitable for kids 11 years old and younger to read, then they will be making some real progress.

It really comes down to money. Who’s the company’s biggest clients, the male of the species. I do agree there aren’t enough first level female heroes, but part of the problem is who do they write these characters for: boys or girls? Also you have to look at who writes the stories, there aren’t that many women in the business, so the characters are written from a male point of view.

Then you have the sexuality of the costumes the female characters wear, which are geared to interest boys more than girls.

I hope they’ll actually do something. It’s easy to say ‘we’re working hard’ and then hope everyone forgets it. Raven, Vixen, Canary… DC has a tone of good female characters that could carry a series or a movie.

They should have kept the Yong Justice comic going, even if they switched it to Digital First. And revive JLU! Lots of females were in that show, prominent ones at that. My God I miss the Diniverse. These New52 movie adaptions have no soul.

Hope this young girl gets her wish soon. There’s too large a well for DC to tap into to not utilize it more. They don’t even have to work to make up a bunch more characters, they’re all already there to mine.

Andy E. Nystrom

January 30, 2015 at 7:26 pm

I know superwomen comics don’t always sell very well, but I hope the comic companies never stop trying. The success of shows like Buffy illustrate that there is a female market out there for decent superwomen. The question is to let the market know the product is there.

I hope that DC lives up to their claim here. When New 52 started, the portrayal of most of their female characters, heroes and villains, made it pretty clear that they were squarely aimed at 18+ males. As I recall, DC said as much to a parent who wrote in regarding her daughter reading about Starfire in a New 52 comic. Now, Marvel has made some very impressive leaps and gains in comics with female leads – Captain Marvel (my personal favourite), Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Storm, Black Widow, Angela, the all female X-Men team, the upcoming Gamora… the list goes on, and fewer characters are being drawn in revealing lingerie-like costumes that would make a Victoria’s Secret model blush. Marvel’s steps forward in actually treating women with respect has not gone unnoticed, and hopefully the merchandising side will catch up. Meanwhile, DC has made a great positive move by updating Batgirl’s costume, and I hope the response to that encourages more of the same. That way, fans like this young girl will have greater choice for her comic role models.

If Marvel and DC could just stop “forgetting” the female characters when promoting a movie/TV show, that would be a huge step in the right direction.

It’s funny how no one mentions that fact that marvel hasn’t made any female lead role films but oh it’s ok cause they have a talking raccoon and tree in a movie -_- Not to mention DC has the most iconic female superheroin who has gotten her own show and animated movies and appeared in over 600 titles, something marvel has never been able to do with any of their female superheros. It’s sad to see this poor girl getting the wrong idea about DC from marvel fans who have never read any of DC’s comics and knows nothing about them.

Brb….listening to 11 yo for business advice.

There are quite a few DC female superheroes. Way more than most other publishers. But they are just not as popular. Outside of Teen Titans Go!, for example, kids have no idea who Starfire or Raven are.

I’m all for more quality heroines. But in response to this, I just hope they don’t re-write male characters as females to capitalize existing hero cred.

How about some female superheros (and male for that matter) that don’t have unrealistic body structures? They need like, a kick ass bitchy old lesbian superhero!

It’s weird that people are talking about DC not having more female comics. They’ve ALWAYS outnumbered every other publisher when it comes to female comics, especially Marvel. And that’s both pre and New 52.

–Power Girl & Huntress
–Batwoman
–Batgirl
–Wonder Woman
–Supergirl
–Catwoman
–Birds Of Prey
–Ame-Comi Girls

And that’s not counting female-led teams:

–Suicide Squad (Amanda Waller)
–Storm Watch (The Engineer)

And Pre-52:

–Power Girl
–Manhunter
–Vixen
–Zatanna

And I’m pretty sure there’s easily a half-dozen more that I’m forgetting. The reality is, most of Marvel’s current push for a female presence is A) very recent, and B) consisting of only a few female characters.

DC has always had a variety of female characters, but where they differ from Marvel is how they are portrayed. Marvel’s recent push for a female presence is just as much about showing them as equal to their male counterparts, while many of DC’s heroines became little more than eye candy – look at the New 52 versions of Starfire and Harley Quinn, for example. However, with DC taking a cue from Marvel and giving Batgirl her current uniform and outlook, I have hope that we’ll continue to see positive change from both publishers.

@Tyson
When people mention the fact that Marvel has made a movie about a talking tree and raccoon, they aren’t saying that they’re better at female representation. They’re saying that it’s possible to make a movie about *anything* cool, even a tree… and the tree got the movie before most major female characters. Criticizing Marvel on this front is 100% as valid.

But this girl is a DC fan. She’s absolutely not getting the wrong idea about DC from Marvel fans. That’s patronizing and honestly a pretty strange idea. No, she’s literally a DC fan herself, but she’s having issues with the company because of the way they treat their female audience. I’m a female DC fan as well, and I know exactly how she feels. Exactly. Go back and read this girl’s complaint. Sure, there are quite a few female comic characters amongst DC’s ranks, but a lot of them are not portrayed very well or given nearly as much development as male characters, and — the kicker — they almost never are focused upon when it comes to movies, series, or toys. Wonder Woman is iconic, yeah, but she hasn’t had a TV series since the 70s and a grand total of one animated film dedicated to her! Now, how many does Bats or Supes have? That’s not to mention the absolute mountain of things DC has said in defense of their lack of female inclusion in these properties.

The adds I got with this post were shameful

For its part, Marvel does at least have a tv show with a female lead. She’s not a superhero, she’s just awesome on her own. Meanwhile DC went and offed the only superheroine they had (even if they are replacing her with her whiney drunk sister).

As far as animated, Marvel has the win there too with She-Hulk, Black Widow, and White Tiger. Unfortunately all of those shows are awful.

I think the only way to fix things is for more letters like this. Be vocal. And it would be better if guys joined in as well, let it be known this isn’t just girls feeling left out, it really is uneven.

Let’s see some new female heroes with actual new names. I immediately disliked the new Power Girl because I love the original Power Girl, Karen Starr. Why couldn’t the new character have her own unique name? This type of thing just pisses off fans of the originals.

ObjectiveComicBookFan

January 31, 2015 at 8:02 am

Honestly, this seems fake to me. I don’t know if David Perry wrote the letter himself or someone else, but read his other two articles that pertain to comic characters. It’s clear that he’s a Marvel fan. Also, who takes a picture of a little girls hand written letter before they mail it? This seems like a well orchestrated fraud to make DC look bad.

The fact is, DC has more prominent female super heroes than Marvel. And no, DC doesn’t objectify women any more than Marvel does. The fact that the Wonder Woman movie will be out sooner than any Marvel female solo movie should not be overlooked.

Also, what is Perry trying to say here, “Rowan will be 13 by the time she gets to see her first movie with a female lead.”? So, she’ll be 13 in just two short years when the WW movie comes out. What’s the problem? Is Perry saying that 13 is too old for a girl to see a female super hero movie? Should DC move up the release date to make this blogger happy? Is Perry saying that, because she’ll be 13, she won’t be into comics anymore when the WW movie comes out?

This whole thing is much-ado-about-nothing just to make DC look bad.

The big problem is when some individual or group comes forward and gets very vocal about inclusiveness, demanding more diversity in comics, movies, or games, then these companies finally either say “huh, maybe there IS an audience for a black transexual homeless superhero with strong opinions about the environment!!” or just cave to pressure, the companies either 1) do it half assed by making the diversity character the new Spider-Man for six months then kill them off when Spider-Man fans leave the book (because it’s not a spider-man book anymore) or 2) they roll the dice and make a new character, and no one buys it because half the outcry the company was hearing came from people that don’t buy comics/games/cartoons in the first place. This failed experiment then makes them draw back further and makes them less likely to try again, and, worse, makes them swing hard back to status quo, boring longtime fans or enraging online critics, further burrying our geeky little hobbies.

I am in the camp many here are, where I always look at stuff like this and say “MORE females/minorities/whathaveyou? How about we showcase/utilize the ones we’ve got.” Wonder Woman, Oracle (ORACLE!!), Black Canary, Black Panther, Luke Cage, Captain Marvel, Ms. MARVEL… strong, existing, diverse characters that aren’t second tier variants of existing white, male counterparts. Get them out there and show them some love. Wonder Woman did have a new show, everyone hated the previews and it didn’t get picked up. Marvel introduces a female Thor (not a new, strong female lead that maybe takes up the hammer… no, a lady that dresses like him and uses his name, even though it’s not a title, it’s his actual name). And don’t get me started on Falcon’s post-Winter Soldier popularity translating into him being Captain America, rather than getting his own comic). And as for DC, they have tried to explain that WW won’t make money, because all their previous attempts have failed in the last twenty years, and the response is, accurately “…Marvel made money with a raccoon and a tree.” WB needs better talent.

It’s not about having the most females or minorities-it’s about USING them.
What good is the Vixen or Static online shows it they are MIA in comics?
We have characters that get popular via tv or movies but when we go to the comic side-no writer wants to use them or editors have an issue with them.
Or we got a character with to many COOKS in the kitchen trying to make the PERFECT version and we get any progress stopped. Captain Marvel will have a film before Wonder Woman by the time WW gets a film we would have seen the following females onscreen-Cap Marvel, Black Widow, Storm, Emma Frost, Jean Grey, Rouge, Sue Richards & Harley Quinn.
That doesn’t even sound right-the female icon and we can’t get anything done with her since Lynda Carter?

Exactly I agree with you S.K. They’re so scared to try anything new with a character that they just introduce a new character and say ” hey looky here guys, we got a black transgender vegan superman now, look how diverse we are”. Instead of trying to make an interesting new character lets just stick an already popular name to this completely different person and say they’re the same person.. This is the type of gimmicks that pisses me off. DC doesn’t need more females, they already got tons! All they have to do is utilize them. Make books for all ages, if there really is a market out there and these arn’t just a vocal minority demanding equality for equality sake, then the sales will speak for itself. “we need more females! More representation!” This has been the same cry over and over and over for years now. And honestly I’m getting quite tired of hearing it, at what point do we declare okay we got enough. DC also has a new female lead animated series coming and shows like arrow and flash have a very large female following. Also hoping characters like Harper row and Stephanie brown get their own Como series somewhere down the road. Like i said, DC doesn’t need more females, they are already there, they just gotta market females to females and not males. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

i agree with rowan- i also hope that they will do it RIGHT and not have cleavage everywhere and her wearing a skirt- WHAT superhero can be effective wearing a damn skirt and her boobs hanging out?

DC Comics trolled by a 30 year old GUY. C’mon, no 11 year old GIRL writes that well, let alone with such legible handwriting.

Ain’t buyin’ it.

Michelle, your female-shaming is offensive.

She needs to be introduced to Image Comics…

The trademark symbol ™ after Chibis makes me suspicious as to who authored this letter. Not to mention that DC is cancelling its Batwoman title, which it never really stood behind anyway.

@ TYRELL:

It’s false that DC is portraying Starfire in some newly sexual manner. If you Google older pics of SF, you’ll see that she’s always been portrayed as scantily dressed.

In the meantime, DC’s women have always been portrayed as powerful, resourceful, capable, & leaders. This is both pre & post New 52.

Anyone that thinks otherwise, clearly hasn’t been reading DC comics.

Love to see the return of Empress from Young Justice
Secret
Arrowette
Bumblebee (who I thought was joining the titans instead of a new power girl)
Black Canary (where is Canary lately?!)
A bunch of characters really

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