Initial Minx thoughts

200611301331 Initial Minx thoughtsLike we said, we’re collating our thoughts on Minx, the new DC/Vertigo imprint aimed at teenaged girls, and other women and comics related matters. We will say that the story in the New York Times that broke the story did DC no favors in the comics industry with its PR like quotes, and Karen Berger has to explain one of them in an interview at ICv2 News:

[Q]: The first question is about the opening quote in The New York Times article, which was, “It’s time we got teenage girls reading comics.” Were you talking about DC comics? Because there are a lot of teenage girls reading comics.

[A]: Yes, exactly. It’s reading DC Comics. Teenage girls do read manga, obviously, and I made a big point of that when I was being interviewed–that the influence of manga in terms of getting teenage girls to read comics in general is amazing and wonderful–and I don’t think that came across that fully in the New York Times piece. Of course, teenage girls are reading comics, they’re reading manga. What that quote really means is that the point for us is that it’s time for teenage girls to be reading DC comics and also to be reading comics that are published by an American publisher because there’s nobody in the States who is doing anything in full force. Scholastic has done a number of books for teenage girls, and small press and self-publishers have, but in terms of the major imprints, there’s no American publisher doing it, and that was really my point.


The other beef against Minx is the lack of female creators. Male creator Aaron Alexovitch, who is working on CONFESSIONS OF A BLABBERMOUTH and KIMMIE66 for the line, sheds some light at
the Engine:

I’ve got two books coming out with Minx toward the end of next year, so I figured I’d throw in my two bits on the male/female question… I think the key difference between Minx and every other attempt by the “Big Two” to reach teen girls is in Shelly’s approach. Most of the “girl comics” I’ve seen give me the impression some editor spun their rolodex of artists, picked a name and said “Gimme sumpin’ ROMANCEY.” I mean, hey, Jack Kirby did “girl comics,” right? Anybody can do it!

But when Shelly was building the line, she specifically sought out people who were doing work that ALREADY appealed to girls. People like Andi Watson and Ross Campbell don’t have to “target” that market. They just do their thing and the audience is there. It seems like a pretty obvious strategy, yeah, but if you think about it, until fairly recently that would’ve been a pretty shallow pool of talent to build your line on.

Until Vertigo, manga, and the goth comics scene came along, it was extremely difficult to make a career for yourself without pandering in some way to the testosterone set. Not impossible, but difficult. And for the record, I know for a fact Shelly looked for more female creators (I mean… why wouldn’t she? The internet kvetchers out there need to provide a counter-theory here.), and that it still kind of bugs her that there aren’t more involved in the launch. I know she spent a lot of time going back and forth with a friend of mine over at SLG, for instance.

But you have to respect the fact that at the end of the day, she and Karen went with the ideas that appealed to them most instead of instituting some kind of quota system. They’re definitely still looking, though, and if the line does well enough, I’m sure it’ll attract more pitches from women.

Comments

  1. I’m glad to see the clarification! I thought the original interview was a little offputting in the responses they chose, especially that same “It’s time we got teenage girls reading comics,” and I liked her answer as ICV2. I especially appreciated her clarifying what she views as the difference between more “manga style” and “American style”: “We’re doing a more straight-forward American grid style, four-to-six panels per page kind of thing.”

    Karen sounds like she knows what she’s doing, and even though there’s been a lot of debate over the name of the imprint itself (which appears to vary according to where you grew up in the US as to whether or not it’s a derrogatory term), I think this line has a lot more potential than any other girl’s comics DC has attempted in the past. The premise of what they’ve put up so far is the kinds of stuff I would have liked reading as a teen, though I’m curious how much of a role the art and traditional pacing will play in sales as well.

  2. No question DC’s move in incorporating Young Adult oriented authors in order to grab young eyeballs is a good one, even though it could be seen more as a game of playing catchup to the imported manga.

    I’ll be interested to see how Alloy really plays into this whole equation.

  3. To me, the Karen Berger article and its clarification made it sound like DC did zero market research for this, and are just releasing the same old same old under a new doomed imprint.

  4. “Zero market research?” I knew it! They didn’t delay our books for months and months to do marketing research and focus groups… they did it for SPITE! Well played, Ms. Bond… Well played.

    I agree it’s the same old same old, though. I’ve seen all the books so far, and every one has Batman in it.

  5. BPearce says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for not completely buying into the complaints that there aren’t enough female creators working on these books. (I mean, if you follow that logic, shouldn’t all these books be written and drawn by teenaged girls?)

    I’d prefer work be judged on it’s own merit.

  6. The Beat says:

    Uh oh wait until you read tomorrow’s Beat.

  7. CBrown says:

    I’ve read that NYT article several times, and I really can’t see why everyone’s so p.o.’d about it. To me, it seems clear that Karen Berger was really saying it was time to get those girls reading DC product. Is the source of complaint that when Berger says, “It’s time we got teenage girls reading comics,” she is speaking not for DC Comics, but for the entire industry? That same article goes on to specifically state that Minx is DC’s attempt to recapture the girls who are reading manga.

    Are Berger’s comments in the NYT article “P.R.-like?” Uh … yeah. A feature article in the New York Times is a huge P.R. opportunity. It’s aimed at a larger general audience who maybe really hasn’t ever heard of manga. What would you have had Beger say? “It’s time our company attempted to regain a demographic we gave up on decades ago, which has since provided the producers and importers of manga with a substantial market share!” Yeah, the suits at Time-Warner would have been THRILLED with that pull-quote!

  8. “(I mean, if you follow that logic, shouldn’t all these books be written and drawn by teenaged girls?)” No Brian, but if the books are marketed towards a demographic that it’s been clearly shown (witness shoujo manga) will want to buy stuff written by women (i.e., people who USED to be teenaged girls), it stands to reason that Berger and Bond may have wished to put more emphasis on this aspect of their marketing. I consider it a matter of logic, not “quotas,” in the same way that the infamous (among liberal political bloggers) Clinton blogger lunch in Harlem should have logically striven for more diverse attendance rather than considering inviting non-white bloggers to be quota-driven.

  9. BPearce says:

    Perhaps the emphasis here was more on the appeal of the content itself to that elusive demographic, rather than chasing after it with some sort of half-thought-out marketing scheme that girls will buy into this line mostly because it’s not written by men.

    Someone made an observation on another venue, and I agree with it, that there doesn’t seem to be much of an explanation as to why this is such an bad idea — the views expressed seem to strike me as a justification for these beliefs, rather than any real explanation for them.

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