Facebook Demographics: Female Characters Beget Female Fans

Fearless Defenders Facebook Demographics: Female Characters Beget Female Fans

Much has been made over this past week over Marvel‘s announcement about a new Ms. Marvel. The usual nutwings took to the internet to condemn Marvel’s plan to diversify its line of characters and present varied and new comics that might lead to new readers, or possibly more diversified readership. Hopefully, Marvel realizes that to attract new readers, you need to give them something they might enjoy and relate to, and one thing we know is, women enjoy female characters. Katniss from the Hunger Games has 66.67% female fans in the United States. Hermione has 70% female fans on Facebook in the United States. Bella Swan has 87.27% female fanbase.

I took that idea and decided to see if the Facebook statistics back the above idea. In September I looked at a long list of female comic book characters across publishers and found a population of almost 6 million fans in the United States. As I guessed, women made up a majority, a very large majority of those fans. Women accounted for 62.07% of the population, and while individual characters varied, that’s a pretty solid overall universe.

 Facebook Demographics: Female Characters Beget Female Fans

While the new Ms. Marvel is Muslim, she’s also a teenage girl. Marvel knows it needs to expand it’s market for long term viability of its comic line, but also its television and movie properties. I looked at some of their female characters to see how Marvel stacks up to that general universe.

I went through some online lists of Marvel’s female comic characters and found about 60 of them using Facebook terms. All of those together made up a total population of 1.64 million “fans.” 840,000, or 51.22% were female, lower than the overall stats I cited above, but still a majority.

This is how women break down by age:

marvel female characters Facebook Demographics: Female Characters Beget Female Fans

Marvel should be applauded for giving new characters a chance, and all publishers cheered on when they attempt to expand the market, bring in new readership and deliver what so many want, characters they can relate to.

Comments

  1. Skottie says:

    It’s just the new Arana.

  2. Tommy Raiko says:

    So are we saying that Marvel’s female characters are less appealing to female fans than the average/typical female comic character is to female fans? And that introducing a new Ms. Marvel is part of a strategy to shore up this shortfall?

  3. Joe S. Walker says:

    One might also say that the usual cheerleaders jumped up and down, waved their pompoms and chanted “we win, we win! RAH, RAH, RAH!” What this is is an attempt by Marvel to build on the success, such as it is, of Kelly Sue De Connick’s crappy Captain Marvel series – a success that hasn’t translated into viable comic sales.

  4. Synsidar says:

    Hopefully, Marvel realizes that to attract new readers, you need to give them something they might enjoy and relate to, and one thing we know is, women enjoy female characters.

    That’s only true for readers who insist on identifying with the lead in any given story. The basis for reading literature–fiction, generally–is that if a writer makes the characters convincing and believable, the reader will enjoy them. He or she doesn’t need to identify with the lead to enjoy the story. A male reader can enjoy a mystery featuring a female sleuth just as much as he can a mystery with a male sleuth, because he’s reading the story primarily for the mystery.

    Marketing is a separate issue, of course, but there’s no reason to think that Marvel’s new Ms. Marvel will succeed unless Marvel makes a deliberate, sustained effort to sell the series to readers who don’t need to identify with her to enjoy the stories.

    SRS

  5. Thomas Wayne says:

    This is no different than the previous facebook numbers they had on here…none of this translates into sales of comics…

    From the above text:
    Hopefully, Marvel realizes that to attract new readers, you need to give them something they might enjoy and relate to, and one thing we know is, women enjoy female characters. Katniss from the Hunger Games has 66.67% female fans in the United States. Hermione has 70% female fans on Facebook in the United States. Bella Swan has 87.27% female fanbase.

    Okay…Katniss has a huge fan base? Great…she also has a recognizable face playing her in a movie…and a finite story that was told in books…end of her list. I don’t see any individual Katniss comics being published out there. On to Harry Potter’s gal pal…again…a recognizable face to go with the character who’s tale has been told….period. No monthly stories here…just movies and books that are DONE…no new stories….Onto the lead in those (clears throat and raises his eyebrows) Vampire books….once again…a real face to add to the recognition factor and a finished tale to boot. You named three characters with hardcore fan-bases…they all have actress face recog to go with completed tales. This is HUGELY AND VASTLY DIFFERENT from a new character created directly for comic publication.

    Applauding Marvel for trying to create or expand their universe is one thing…but this idea that MILLIONS of fans on facebook somehow actually means anything in the comic world outside of people on facebook claiming to be a fan of something is ridiculous.

    I say again…if there are so many FANS out their…and most of them female…why does this not translate to sales? Because claiming to be a fan of Katniss (or any other character) and actually spending MONTHLY money are so different they shouldn’t be compared to apples and grenades let alone apples to oranges. You buy the Hunger Games books and you have the complete adventures of Katniss…..all done, ready for the next movie. Now try to spend $4 (at a minimum) a month for the New MS MARVEL book when it hit the shelves. That’s nearly $50 bucks a year without tax. And what happens when you miss a month….or the story starts to suck. You lose interest quick. You move to something else. But regardless of that…even if you don’t….maybe MS MARVEL is the greatest book ever….what will the sales be???
    50,000 a month? 100,000? Where are all these millions of female fans that these Facebook surveys or whatever you call them supposedly have telling us all they are FANS of this and that? Where are the sales? Where is the actually BUYING evidence?
    Fact is…it does not exist. These woman, girls, senior citizens, whomever, are simply not buying or following the characters outside of the most self contained of media.
    Wonder Woman fan? You bet…I watched the Super Friends DVD and bought t-shirt from Spencer Gifts a year ago. Read the comic? Hell no…but I am a huge fan…..
    I can prove it….I hit LIKE on facebook…..

  6. Thomas Wayne says:

    My final point was….creating new female characters is great to increase a female audience….but if the female audience is a “FAN” based on the loosest definition of the term, you simply will not get sales and I don’t care how good the book is.
    Bottom line…claiming to be a fan and actually reading and buying monthly comics are WORLDS APART….

  7. horst says:

    maybe its not just the characters.. maybe girls are just not that interested in beating up bad guys .. I mean.. I like Rob van Dam, but I would still not watch him shop.. Hell, I would pay for not having to. Plus, a lot of comic book stores have a pretty grungy Lockerrroomfeel to them.. at least round here..

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