Marvel’s Girl Comics Announced

I dream of a day when a comic created only by women doesn’t get tagged with a stupid title like Marvel’s Girl Comics. In fact, I dream of a time when it’s not even special enough to remark upon, instead of being some kind of attention-getting stunt that ends up resembling a plea for charity. “Please pay attention to us — look! we’re letting the women do superheroes!” But we’re not there yet, still. From an interview with the editor:

I’m hoping it’ll be encouraging to see so many women who are making their livings in comics, that the idea will be reinforced that comics can be (and already are) as much for them as they are for men.

It would be more encouraging to see so many women making a living in comics that you couldn’t shove all of them into one three-issue miniseries. The editor also says:

it’s not specifically focused on our female characters, and I’m not trying to generate content that I think will appeal to more women.

That seems a little … contradictory. Who is your target audience for these one-time incursions into the superhero boy clubhouse? Or are you just saying that to avoid scaring off the hardcore fanboys? Later on:

I think the characters and the stories will draw in just as many men in as women, and will get people thinking that good comics aren’t about the gender of the writer or artist, it’s about where what you like to read intersects with what they like to create.

If good comics don’t depend on gender, why draw so much attention to it? And why the horrendous gender bias in Marvel comics during the rest of the year? Will these women keep getting work from Marvel, or get placed on a regular title?

There’s a lot more at the link, and yes, I’m taking cheap shots. I feel I’m entitled, since I’ve seen over a decade of these projects, and once the company has gotten its hit of publicity, they go straight back to marketing to the superhero fanboy and hiring those who used to be such. Don’t give me an event, give me real changes in your hiring and employment practices and your publishing slate. Or should I wait for the Disney takeover for that to happen?

Update: All that said, I will of course be reading this because it’s an amazing lineup of talent and looks to be well worth reading. But the publisher’s approach to it annoys me.


16 Responses to “Marvel’s Girl Comics Announced”

  1. David Oakes Says:

    I dislike the stunt because it implies that, as a guy, I am not supposed to read it.

    Funny thing is, of the 20 names listed at The Beat, I recognize 17 of them. And I like, well, 17 of them. I think you would be hard pressed to pick 20 male creators at random – or even the “Top 20″ – and get the same level of quality.

  2. Johanna Says:

    That is one of the positive side effects to institutional bias. The members of the group left out who do make it through are usually exceptional, because they have to be that much better just to be considered.

  3. kjchen Says:

    I figured the possessive was misplaced in the press release, and is really supposed to be Marvel Girl’s Comics, a new line of stories specifically designed to appeal to Jean Grey.

  4. Richard J. Marcej Says:

    “you couldn’t shove all of them into one three-issue miniseries. ”

    Well, I don’t see the name of Anna Maria Cool on that list.

    Talented cartoonist/Illustrator, Kubert School graduate, published artist for Marvel & Claypool (among others).

  5. Johanna Says:

    Has she done any work for Marvel in the past? For the most part, the women on the creator list have all done Marvel or superhero work before. Someone like Hope Larson, for instance, who does amazing work outside of that genre, wasn’t included either. And it’s likely also dependent on who was available in the timeframe needed.

    My favorite thing about this project is that we’ll get to see more by Colleen Coover, who has a neat take on the Marvel girl heroes.

  6. Jamie Coville Says:

    I’m glad to see Carla Speed McNeil there. Hopefully it will help her Finder series, which is a fantastic but horribly overlooked series.

  7. What’s in a name? The return of Girl Comics | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    [...] a quick round up of thoughts from around the web. We'll start with Johanna Draper Carlson, who shares her thoughts on her blog: I dream of a day when a comic created only by women doesn’t [...]

  8. Kenny Cather Says:

    Johanna,

    Everything you said is exactly how I feel, too. This isn’t an attempt at making sure Marvel employs more women or gives the talents of women professionals equal consideration – this is Marvel essentially saying, “Look at us! We let some women have a go at our IPs! But don’t worry, this will all be over soon!”

  9. Johanna Says:

    I really hope that they do a collected edition of this miniseries, because that’s the format I’m most interested in reading it. I was assuming that that was a given, but it may not be so.

  10. Sean C. Says:

    Marvel collects basically everything they publish in one format or another.

  11. No one cares about Girl Comics | Metamorphostuff Says:

    [...] Some people are skeptical. Some see see the whole thing as a gimmick, an empty gesture Marvel can use to brush off accusations of only publishing books for boys by boys. And they’re probably right: Anyone who thinks this book represents a new approach to publishing for Marvel is going to be sorely disappointed. Girl Comics is, at best, a token offering to a market that may or may not exist. [...]

  12. Krill Says:

    “If good comics don’t depend on gender, why draw so much attention to it?”

    To be fair, that actually would make perfect sense. If you’re trying to demonstrate it doesn’t matter, you isolate the variable that supposedly makes a difference and demonstrate that it doesn’t. And if you want to demonstrate it to a lot of people, you’d want to make it clear what you’re doing.

    I still find this asinine, but that doesn’t make all of its rationalization incoherent.

  13. JoshF Says:

    The name is indeed a downer, but then most comic book names are. The sceptic in me says this is a stunt by Marvel to say to the world “Hey everyone look at us!!! Women work on our books too.” Which is a shame because Ann Nocenti wrote my favorite Daredevil stories ever.

    DC doesn’t have a better track record outside maybe Vertigo, so this isn’t a DC/Marvel thing. But to see the big two make this giant deal when small press has been so open to all talents seems disingenuous, even though I am sure the end result will be by far the best thing Marvel puts out in 2010.

  14. Gästinlägg: Snacket gÃ¥r om Girl Comics « Shazam.se Says:

    [...] antas hysa alla möjliga idéer om vad kvinnor kan rita för serier). Johanna Draper Carlson pÃ¥ Comics Worth Reading formulerar tusen irriterade serieläsares känslor: ”If good comics don’t depend on gender, [...]

  15. Controversy LinkBlogging » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] get comics weekly any more, so I haven’t seen an issue yet. I love the creators involved, hate the title and what it says about the publisher, but I’m looking forward to reading [...]

  16. The Real Women of Marvel – Girl Comics #1 « Tiny Heroes Says:

    [...] Comics Worth Reading [...]

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