Cranky readers, cranky creators: What will become of the comics?


This brief video of creator Darwyn Cooke, captured at the Fan Expo Canada last weekend, managed to capture all the “grumpy old Eisner winner” complaints of those who would wish comics to return to a more noble time. Coming out swinging against anal rape, Cooke also had some sharp words for Kate Kane’s reboot as a beautiful lipstick lesbian. This has understandably gotten some heat, especially from gay comics bloggers, but in a statement at 4th Letter, Cooke explains himself:

I see this little sound bite is making the rounds and there seems to be some confusion regarding some of what I said.

My comment about making a character a lesbian has outraged some so I thought the following clarification might help-

Consider this- After sixty years of being a lesbian, a beloved character is made straight for sales for creative purposes- wouldn’t that be wrong as well?

I think gay characters are an important and welcome part of any contemporary expression. What I want is to see creators and publishers creating new characters that are gay and lesbian, and spend the decades needed creating and supporting stories about these characters. It strikes me as opportunistic and somewhat wrongheaded to take someone else’s creation and after decades of established character action make that drastic a change.


I’ve always believed that if another creator’s character can’t bear the spectrum of expression I need to reach, then I don’t use that character. Find another or create a new one.

If you tie my comment into the context of the other things I’m saying, I’m also not sure what the corporate motivation is for such changes. If we look at the reading demographics for superhero comics, this becomes an intriguing topic.


Given Cooke’s own creation of unselfconsciously gay characters, homophobia isn’t his problem.

The comments have, however, codified the frequent moaning of those who find today’s comics too dark and nihilistic and pandering to the base desires of the readership, and occasioned much comment, from Valerie D’Orazio, David Brothers and lengthy comment threads everywhere. It’s important to note that Cooke is a creator of such talent and stature that he’s been able to create comics to his own tastes — The New Frontier — and so he puts his pen where his mouth is. However he also brings up some ideas that need to be reexamined. For instance, the “45-year-old comics reader” who supposedly rules the roost.

While that’s not far from the age of

Dan DiDio, Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso

– the men who actually control Marvel and DC’s outputs — I’m not sure the FYOV* is really the arbiter of comics taste any more. For one thing, they are literally dying off. For another, despite all the predictions of myself and every other comics pundit that comics abandonment of entry level books in the 90s and onwards would result in the death of the comics reader…it didn’t happen. Their numbers may be smaller, but the regular comics reader seems to be evenly spread between the 18-35 demo and older these days. (Anyone have any better demo info than my vague observations? Torsten?)

201009021254.jpg
Indeed, if you are looking for archetypes, Geoff Johns, a mere sprig of a lad at 37, more closely resembles the “typical” male superhero comics buyer. And I would hazard a guess that price point is the biggest problem they have with today’s comics, although being stuck reading the same thing is another problem. But whatever and whoever they are, the problem is playing to the base — readership levels are flat.

Along those lines, several other salvos for a wider vision of the comics industry have been released of late. Gail Simone makes a good argument for demographic diversity:

Don’t be afraid, industry people. You already know how to tell great stories. All you have to do is take a moment to realize, as many of the most successful people in comics and film and prose already have, that the audience is a lot more diverse than you have been told over and over. And they WANT to like your stories.


(Although curmudgeonly Tom asks for specifics, not calls to action

But in this case, I wonder if we’re not at the point where this advice needs to come with specific initiatives attached — or at least a bit of nudge in some tangible direction. Is anyone not some Internet dunderhead or super-defensive current steward of the status quo or corporate creepo going to disagree that women are an important comics audience and one that needs to be appreciated and cultivated? I kind of doubt it. But what gets us from A to B here? What needs to stop, and what needs to start?


I’d say that far from being glossed over, the idea of how to market to the sizable body of female comics readers has been pretty well covered: books for young girls based on characters already being merchandised to them (Supergirl, Wonder Woman), non-rapey stories in books with proven readerships, soap opera and YA books by women for women, and so on.)

§ Chris Butcher has a retail-based look at the ideal of a more diverse audience:

So I’ve been working the first floor a little more, and the customer for comics is, frankly, completely different than we think it is. Sure, I just sold a copy of SCARLETT #1 by Bendis and Maleev to a dude wearing a Superman t-shirt, but before that I sold a copy of Gabrielle Bell’s CECIL & JORDAN and a Shintaro Kago import-manga to a 20-something girl and before her, I sold Sfar’s LITTLE VAMPIRE and DUNGEON ZENITH 2 & 3 to a dad and his two kids, cuz all of them are in love with those books. A guy today dropped a few hundred bucks on PictureBox and D&Q books. Guy approaching the cash right now has the work of Ken Dahl, Kevin Cannon, and Kevin Huizenga in his hands. Another lady came down the stairs with an armful of McKean, Seinkewicz, and Mack just now. Working the first floor, you get this picture of balance in the medium, and it’s a balance that heavily favours good, interesting, and ambitious works.


In terms of a bold, diverse creatively satisfying range of work, comics are at an all time high. The average READERSHIP LEVEL of these works is, however, modest and showing even more modest growth.

We all know that digital delivery is the road to greater exposure. But making sure the comics are actually appealing to readers once they get that exposure is the other problem we all need to address.

*forty-year-old-virgin

Comments

  1. Yes, today’s comics are pandering to some of the base elements of society — but that can be said of all entertainment today. There’s a lot of edgier, grittier more realistic, rapey, et. But it’s not all that. Today’s consumer is hammered on all levels in several industries with *tons* of choices — more than ever before. To focus on just one part and apply it to an entire industry isn’t productive.

    Even if some of those books are rising the tide for other boats.

  2. To be clear (sorry I hit the button too soon) I’m not against what is being suggested in the piece, I understand the concerns on all sides. But as a realists I also see it for what it is. Such stuff is popular because enough people are buying it. If it was put out, tested and failed then that’s the signal to keep in mind.

    As noted in the piece, the reader dynamic has shifted… I would say *not* one-for-another, but rather inclusive of a wider range and audience. That is good and bad, depending on the person’s view.

    Art is subjective and fluid, after all.

  3. Whoa!

    Darwyn Cooke says what I’ve been thinking for years! It’s like he took the thoughts right out of my head! The man must be psychic or something…

  4. Matthew Southworth says:

    Hooray for Darwyn Cooke! Not only is he an excellent cartoonist, he says what he’s thinking and doesn’t hide behind a PR-friendly soundbite.

    I see both sides of the argument–there is some value in taking older characters and pieces and exploring them in new ways, perhaps in more adult ways (I think The Dark Knight Returns is a perfect example), perhaps in less adult ways (I can’t STAND the adult reboots of Captain Marvel/Billy Batson and think Jeff Smith’s approach of making Billy even younger was a much smarter idea)–but also, yeah, isn’t this about more than just reinvigorating old trademarks?

    So then the question, as he puts it, is: what is the corporate thinking behind this stuff? Why is rape such a dominant thing in modern comics? And do we (readers and creators) want to be a part of that?

    If the reader dynamic has shifted–and I think it has–why can’t corporate comics get the memo and reflect that?

  5. Charles Knight says:

    “I’d say that far from being glossed over, the idea of how to market to the sizable body of female comics readers has been pretty well covered: books for young girls based on characters already being merchandised to them (Supergirl, Wonder Woman), non-rapey stories in books with proven readerships, soap opera and YA books by women for women, and so on.)”

    I don’t really buy this – it’s still just “you can have whatever you want as long as it’s got superheroes in it” – maybe we simply have to accept that Superheroes (in comics rather than other mediums) have a limited appeal and that market is being served and we need to serve something else up? No matter how much soap opera you put in it, none of my female friends want to read a book about a woman dressed like a hooker punching people in the face, they can’t relate to it.

  6. “none of my female friends want to read a book about a woman dressed like a hooker punching people in the face, they can’t relate to it.”

    Damn, man. Get some new female friends!

    Kidding. KIDDING!

  7. He’s not talking about Kate Kane. Cooke’s frequent collaborator J. Bone had this to say over at 4thletter:

    “Darwyn is NOT referring to the Batwoman. He’s read the book and thinks it’s “first rate”. If not the Batwoman then to whom is he referring? That’s the real Question, isn’t it. *wink wink*”

  8. Brett says:

    I don’t think the big 2 caters to the 45 year old male audience at all, balanced or perverted. Because most things Marvel and DC does have turned people off and this is seen by all the loud complaining from readers all over the net.

    You know, the ‘whiners’ aren’t complaining because of all the brilliant works of art and achievement saturating the comic shops these days.

    What they do cater to is the over 40yr old EIC/Editorial staff that keeps coming up with the very corrupt, perversions Cooke is complaining about.

  9. Dave Hackett says:

    I think it was an unfortunate (and obviously unintended) effect of grouping in the notion of making a character gay with a laundry list of some of the more deplorable stuff in recent comics. I would think it would be pretty easy to make the assumption he was lumping these things together. I understand his point, and don’t personally think that was his intent (as his follow-up says), but that is a possible interpretation of the statement as made.

  10. My perspective is completely different, as always. It’s not that Kate Kane is *suddenly* gay – I always saw Kate as gay and now she’s finally allowed out of the closet.

    Is it bizarre to turn a character straight or gay? Not really when you consider that the ultimate point of any DC or Marvel series is to *sell books.* Whatever works.

  11. Shiny Jim says:

    They should totally make Tim Drake gay.

  12. Synsidar says:

    I’ve been looking for articles on the demographics of fiction readers. I’m running out of time to do more today — gotta do my laundry — but BookSwim.com has detailed demographics for its customers:

    Among the surprises in the data was the news that those most catholic in their tastes appear to be comics and graphic novel readers, who read broadly across the spectrum, with fully 87.5% reading sci-fi and fantasy novels — the highest degree of crossover on the chart, and another 72.02% also reading children’s books.

    And here’s a 2008 article on the growth in YA SF titles. What would prevent comics publishers from trying to appeal to those young adults?

    SRS

  13. Spike says:

    Characters morph and progress all the time. Heck, SwampThing was an Earth Elemental when first created, but was able to be re-invented as such. Same with Characters sexuality. The sexuality isn’t changing the character, just adding a different aspect of what was.

  14. What’s wrong with the gay The Question?

    So if dude is a-OK with the gay Batwoman, why would The Question (not-coincidentally, a backup feature in the previous Batwoman comic) be problematic?

    It’s whatever; whenever somebody says something that people don’t like, they didn’t mean it.

  15. Clayton says:

    The Question?
    Renee was created in ’92. Her sexuality is addressed in ’03. Vic (Charlie) was created in ’67.
    I don’t “see” how Cooke is addressing this as the “60 years” female character that suddenly becomes a lesbian.
    What is ironic is that Rucka is the writer in question for both Batwoman and the Question (if it is one of the two).

  16. I much prefer a lesbian Question to an objectivist Question.

  17. Shiny Jim says:

    Really, this is just a case of typical fanboy nostalgia. Change should happen, because the “olden days” were creative, but nothing I like should be changed.

  18. Demographics? Depends on how you define a comics reader. Is it just people who shop at comics shops? The casual reader? Only individuals who purchase comics?

    Perusing the GN bestsellers each day on BN.com, I’ve been seeing that reading list titles are appearing in the Top 1000… Persepolis, Maus, and Watchmen (!). So comics are in curricula, and that would reinforce an assumption that the average age tends to be trending younger, especially with the past decade of manga readers and the new trend towards childrens and young adult graphic novels (mmmm…Ghostopolis…)

    So… I suspect the demographic is like that of Germany after World War II. Certain age ranges on the male side are flat or depressed due to both wars. Eventually, the population returns to normal, and the demographics return to a normal distribution. The same can be said for comics readers, as there was a time when children weren’t being seduced by comics, or women were encouraged to read comics, or older adults viewed the medium with disdain.

    Yeah, us quadragens are aging, and pushing the range of comics readers ages further. However, there are many new readers at the other end of the bell curve, so it evens out.

    This quadragen enjoys superhero comics, but my interests are all over the literary spectrum. I cured my Marvel zombiosis in 1990, started reading black-and-white comics in 1987, manga in 1989.

    Young adult fantasy and science fiction stories have grown in popularity as readers have grown tired of the darker themes in adult F/SF. I actually enjoy the all ages titles from Marvel more than the “616″ titles. I’m not prejudiced against mature superhero titles, but I’m usually disappointed.

  19. Kevin Hynes says:

    POW! BAM! ZOOM! Make comics for kids again! (well, the flag ship titles anyway, not a separate imprint).

  20. Kevin Hynes says:

    Edit: I am referring to superhero comics (DC/Marvel), they really should try and take a cue from Pixar, appealing to everyone and marketing it correctly. Make it seem like an event, put adverts over the net and hit the talk show circuit.

  21. Shiny Jim says:

    Or maybe just stop making them ludicrously expensive and put them somewhere people who don’t buy comics will go.

  22. Torsten:

    “Perusing the GN bestsellers each day on BN.com, I’ve been seeing that reading list titles are appearing in the Top 1000… Persepolis, Maus, and Watchmen (!). So comics are in curricula, and that would reinforce an assumption that the average age tends to be trending younger, especially with the past decade of manga readers and the new trend towards childrens and young adult graphic novels (mmmm…Ghostopolis…)”

    I’m curious about this. Do you know that people are reading these for classes, and not just because they’re perennially popular? Watchmen enjoyed a big run of popularity a year or two ago, and I doubt most of those were bought for school. Do schools supply you with reading lists so you can stock appropriately? That would be smart…

  23. Hmmm … let me get this straight … Alan Coil passed away, so that means every comic fan 45 and older is dying off?? I think not …

  24. The Question ceased to be The Question when Denny O’Neil started writing it.

    Objectivist to Zen Buddhist in a Members Only jacket? So at this point anything they do to the Question really doesn’t matter because it isn’t the Question, just another vigilante with a mask.

    There are very few characters who represent a “philosophy” in comics. Given the current tone of comics, an unconflicted gay objectivist would be a breath of fresh air. I prefer that to anal rape.

  25. Stuart… they are just now appearing in the Top 1000. These are not perennial bestselling titles (I think normal sales rank for Watchmen is 5000 or so), they just get a bump at the start of each semester. When scanning BN.com for GN bestsellers, Maus and Persepolis and Watchmen usually appear on the second or third page.

    Watchmen definitely is worthy of being taught in a college classroom. And there are a lot of us quadragens with tenure who can sneak it onto a syllabus.

    A title hitting the Top 1000 on BN.com is due to it either being a new book (Outlander) or media tie-in (Scott Pilgrim) or holiday title (Marvel Encyclopedia) or some other outside influence.

    I don’t have access to sales figures. Local stores do sometimes partner with schools to make sure titles are in stock. We also do institutional orders and book fairs. The school comes to us, we don’t recommend titles.

  26. Phil Southern says:

    Decrying Cooke’s opinion as “cranky”, dimissively misses the damned point.

    Comics were created as juvenile fiction, morphing into all ages fiction. A category that fits Bone, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Twilight and dozens, if not hundreds, of other worthwhile reads/films/comics. Serious and sober topics can and should be addressed in this form, and it can be appropriate for everyone.

    To include incessant rape and other “adult” and “mature” themes, including heterosexual and homosexual sex, is, at best, pandering, and at worst, IDENTITY CRISIS (which is neither adult nor mature).

    We don’t need Superman having heterosexual sex to know he is straight, nor do we need Northstar having anal intercourse in order to understand that he was gay. A mature story about this could discuss issues of identity, oppression and bigotry. If only comics with mutants explored such themes!

    As for the sales defense of what people are buying: Really? The top selling book moves around 100,000 units–below what direct sales only Ka-Zar was doing in the ’80s.

    But if you want to read mature stuff, bully for you! If only you didn’t need it in your Superhero comics, but found it in film, TV, books, art, etc, etc, etc. Would Bone be enriched with overt sexuality? Would Dark Phoenix have been improved if Jean Grey was raped?

    Also: I thought Batwoman/Detective Comics was great.

  27. Phil Southern says:

    I meant to say the sales defense to define merit–not buying, durnit. And I had a thought about only old people buying comics but I realozed I had nothing new to say. Sorry.

  28. “I’ve always believed that if another creator’s character can’t bear the spectrum of expression I need to reach, then I don’t use that character. Find another or create a new one.”

    This should be the business plan for EVERY major entertainment (publishing, movies, TV) company!

  29. Web Behrens says:

    Gimme a break! I enjoy and admire “New Frontier” as much as most fans, but Darwyn is way off the mark here. I say that as someone who thinks that Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman is both laughable and terrible (which is why I only bought one issue and then stopped reading). As long as that’s not the only Batman book DC’s putting out, then what’s the problem? The rest of us don’t have to read it; we’ve got everything from Morrison’s Batman to Dini’s Batman to a couple different Johnny DC books featuring the character.

    People seem to love to slag on all the rapey-rapey in comics, and I understand that. (Whether it’s Identity Crisis or Spider-Man/Black Cat, those are some terrible stories.) But sometimes I think people just want to complain. Why aren’t we spending more time praising the books that ARE written for a younger audience? (Batman: Brave and the Bold! Tiny Titans! Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius!)

    Meanwhile, Darwyn talks about his desire that “the industry of superhero comics realigns its sights to the young people it was meant for.” Really? So comics can’t tell stories for adults (even if they’re bad) just because the art form used to be exclusively for kids? That’s an absurd notion. Superheroes are elastic enough a genre that we can have many different kinds of stories.

    As for his lesbian crack, well, I don’t see a graceful way to explain that remark in the context of such a cranktastic rant. Bottom line: He mentioned a few laughable/cringeworthy comics moments from recent years, then made a dismissive reference to the very best superhero comic of 2009. (As someone else pointed out above, it’s highly unlikely he was really talking about The Question. The math is all wrong. On the other hand, the original Kathy Kane was created in the ’50s.)

    In case Darwyn hadn’t noticed: Nobody was doing anything with the old Batwoman. She was in limbo. And now, thanks to Rucka and Williams, we’ve got a dynamic character named Kate Kane who happens to be lesbian. (She’s Jewish too — and although nobody complains openly about that today, there was a time not too many years ago when that would’ve upset plenty of folks.) There’s nothing inappropriate about Kate being a lesbian, and it’s screwed up for him to suggest otherwise.

    His clarification does nothing to help. That line about turning a 60-year-old lesbian character straight? Hey Darwyn: That’s a bullshit hypothetical because THERE ARE NO SIX-DECADE-OLD LESBIAN CHARACTERS IN AMERICAN COMICS, thanks to the institutionalized bigotry that gays and lesbians endured throughout the entire 20th century. For essentially the same reason, you won’t find many heroes of color who date back to 1950. (What prominent African-American comics character you can name whose history stretches that far back? Ebony White is the first one that pops to my mind, and he’s not gonna win any posthumous Glyph awards for Eisner.)

    You know, when you put your foot in your mouth and you said something you didn’t really mean, then you take your lumps and you apologize. Unless you meant exactly what you said, in which case you stick to your guns. Right now, Darwyn’s not exactly doing either. Meanwhile, he does sound like one of those fanboys who wants comics to be just like he remembers them — you know, when he was 13 and they were perfect.

  30. Comic2read says:

    I like Cooke’s art and his Spirit was well done but his New Frontier I found boring.

    Gail Simone is wrong. Fans don’t want to like your comics. If it’s good, it’s good but if it’s not what I want to read, I won’t buy it.

    I’ve been reading comics for 45 years. Variety by talented people is what counts. I don’t want to read politically correct stories just because they are PC unless it’s talented, like say by Alan Moore.

    I think womens own lives determine how they feel about female depictions. I went out with this TV model who loved Wonder Woman comics (after she knew me better, she told me) and she was never offended by how women were drawn beautiful because, I think, it proved she was in demand.

    I don’t blame Cooke for wanting Batwoman to be like how he remembered her.

  31. Torsten: Ah, so it’s cyclical by semester. Thanks. And I didn’t doubt that WATCHMEN was being taught in classes — I just meant that, a couple of years ago, I’m sure it was all over your Top 1000 list anyway, in the runup to the movie.

  32. For a well-written, all ages comic involving a homosexual character, go read Veronica #202, out (heh) this week.

    The media storm will probably hit in two weeks, when copies hit the newsstands…

  33. Funny. The vibe around here toward superhero comics is usually a barely disguised contempt or condescending forbearance…yet Darwyn Cooke’s very candid critique of the industry’s steady drumbeat of adult themes earns him a collective raised eyebrow?

    It seems it all boils down to Cooke’s failure (as a card-carrying Important Figure Within Comics) to spring to his feet in a standing ovation for DC trumpeting Batwoman’s homosexuality (come on, we all remember those first breathlessly self-congratulatory press releases)…a failure the “Gay Gestapo” are determined to correct!

    As Cooke continues the familiar kabuki dance of attrition, one can only hope that he drive all those doubleplus unright opinions from his mind and view superhero comics as the positive, criticism-free genre The Beat will always celebrate.

  34. Huh, I just read a few somewhat recent “Event Comics” as well as DC: New Frontier. I’ve sort of come to a similar realization – that, I’m just not interested in these stories all that much anymore. They’re either yet another reinvention of the same thing (to varying degrees of good/bad) or they’re another exercise in self-reference (to various degrees of “buy all the books on the shelf to understand”). Thankfully, there’s other options but it was a fun exploration that even as a comic “fan” I was lost in these event books.

  35. Jeffy says:

    The answer is so simple, it’s ridiculous. Much like Marvel did and then abandoned in the early 2000′s, just have different tiers of content. Want to tell a story about Dr. Light’s penchant for rape? Go forth and do it, but do it under the right banner and market it to the right audience. Have kids books that are A) written for kids, but still intelligently and B) have art that is as cool looking as the stuff on the adult comics. Not to knock the Tiny Titans guys (who are hilarious and talented), but as a kid, I thought the Image-style art was the coolest stuff around. Most importantly: get the stuff written for kids out of the comic book store dungeons and into grocery stores, the magazine racks at book stores, toy stores, etc. Don’t make kids and their parents struggle to find this stuff. If Marvel doesn’t have thick, digest-sized reprints of the Landridge/Samnee Thor series on sale at movie theaters, toy stores, etc. for next May (when the movie comes out), they are dumber than Tila Tequila.

  36. I’m afraid of the Gay Gestapo. And yet, strangely attracted. Which makes me more afraid!

  37. ______-______ says:

    The Gaystapo?

  38. Gay? Stop…oh!

  39. Kevin Hynes says:

    Is there a law that they can’t advertise comics through commercials? Honestly, throw up a few comic commercials during iCarly or Spongebob and you’re gold.

  40. Synsidar says:

    Part of the problem with the handling of gays and lesbians in superhero comics, perhaps, is that some of the writers are mediocrities who struggle to come up with material for their titles. Anything out of the ordinary is potential plot material. Minority characters confront racists; strange-looking characters deal with rejection; gays and lesbians face homophobes. The characters aren’t developed to the degree that sexual orientation can just be an unremarkable aspect.

    Heinberg means well in his Young Avengers material, of course, but his efforts to portray his heroes as praiseworthy teens come off as propaganda that would seem ridiculous if, for example, Christian evangelists turned the other cheek to their attackers, with successful results. Starting off CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #1 by having his teens randomly encounter a group of minority-phobes and bigots, the Sons of the Serpent, was incredibly crude plotting.

    Standalone stories, I’d guess, are much more amenable to presenting gays and lesbians as unremarkable characters.

    Wonder Woman is arguably a lesbian or bisexual, if her sex drive is active.

    SRS

  41. Here are some things about DC & Marvel that should be obvious to all.

    1) With very few exceptions, the overall status quo of any character or universe is sacrosanct. They/It can be severely abused, retooled or even destroyed – but when the dust clears, nothing will have experienced any lasting growth or change. This story is told over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. That is because of two factors: Lack of imagination on the part of fanboys turned writers – and an unhealthy nostalgic outlook on their part that if they, themselves, are dealing with real life messes & aging – at least their beloved characters won’t.

    2) Comics are still A Boy’s Club with No Gurls Allowed. Let’s look at Marvel as an example: The Wasp – dead. The Scarlet Witch – batshit insane. Kitty Pryde – missing, presumed dead. Mary Jane Watson – marriage cosmically annulled. Spider Woman, Ms Marvel & She-Hulk – female versions of popular male characters. Scarlett – also batshit insane. And so on. DC is just as bad, if not worse. I’m sure you can come up with lots of examples on your own if you think about it.

  42. @MHF: Kitty Pryde isn’t missing anymore. But after blasting out into space on that giant bullet rocket, she’s stuck in her phased form and can’t become solid again.

  43. Kevin Hynes, they don’t want to spend the money on that kind of promotion because there’s no proof it ever truly can work.

    The GI Joe commercials in the 80′s are probably considered an aberration and the last time anyone actually tried it was Malibu and the Ultraverse. And people remember that failing big time. Same thing about how most comic book stores don’t do local ads unless its FCBD.

    What they should be doing that they don’t more of is proper promotion of the comics on shows that are already TV based ala Smallville, but apparently there are some sort of FCC rules about what other statements they can add on.

    The fact that they never give any comic book store locator number in the credits of show continues to stupefy me.

  44. Jeffy says:

    what “popular male character” is Ms. Marvel based on? She’s tangentially related to the old Captain Marvel, who has been dead for what, 20 years? Ms. Marvel appears in New Avengers, which is one of the most popular books in the industry, whereas the various Captain Marvels occasionally show up in the cosmic Marvel books, which sell considerably worse.

  45. “Consider this- After sixty years of being a lesbian, a beloved character is made straight for sales for creative purposes- wouldn’t that be wrong as well?”

    Considering how few gay superheroes us gay people have to read about, yeah, we’re going to be a lot more pissed to lose one of our own than straight people are going to be losing one of theirs. One gay character makes up a larger percentage of the total gay characters than one straight character makes up a percentage of straight characters.

    Nobody was doing anything with Batwoman. Then they breathed new life into her, and managed to capture and re-capture a bunch of audience that wasn’t reading before. (I certainly wasn’t reading DC for a long time before Kate Kane made it cool.)

    I agree with Synsidar that there’s a sort of token characters fighting token enemies that still persists. As much as I loved Batwoman’s origin of getting kicked out of the military for DADT, it was still pretty cliche. Hopefully, the more these characters are around, the more writers will realize they can give them the same conflicts that straight characters have.

  46. Chris says:

    I think it’s speaks volumes about the state of the industry and medium that we’re using “rape-y” as an adjective in our conversations.

  47. Jess Lemon says:

    “Gay gestapo”?

    “GESTAPO”?

    Really?

  48. Wow. I thought all super-hero comics were about gay people.

  49. Darwyn, you are my new hero! Galactic Quest comic shop in GA is fighting for more reading material for all ages. Thanks for telling it like it is.

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