- Posted by Johanna on June 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm
- Category: Comic News
According to this otherwise not-very-good article on why Wonder Woman doesn’t have a movie, DC’s stats on how many women buy their comics are actually WORSE than they were in the mid-90s. Then, they had 92% male readership. Now, it’s 93%.
A whopping 93 percent of people buying comics are male, according to The Nielsen Company’s market research done for DC Comics in 2012. The study also found that only 5 percent of people buying comics are doing it for the first time and 2 percent are younger than 18.
That’s probably well within margin of error or something, so I shouldn’t read too much into it, but dang. And we know why, right?
Because at a time when the cross-town competition has a number of superhero team books that are mostly or all women, the closest thing DC has is Ame-Comi Girls, a digital-first title that’s based on an exploitative line of statues (and has one of the worst titles of all time). The comic isn’t quite as bad, but you have to be able to ignore seeing a lot of really tacky skin-baring costumes, and at a certain point, reading comics to ignore the visuals is an exercise in stupidity and frustration. People who don’t see themselves represented in a genre or format aren’t going to read that genre or format.
Because DC doesn’t hire female artists any more, particularly for their big events. (Then again, I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t want to work there these days, when editors are rewriting everything they can get their hands on. It sounds miserable.)
Because women who try to get work in comics are viciously attacked or insulted by those who are often jealous of their work or position. As Kelly Sue DeConnick posted at that link:
It’s not a natural assumption to leap to the conclusion that I got my job because of my marriage. It’s the product of deeply-ingrained sexist thinking. I can name for you a half a dozen men who did, in fact, get their first big two gigs because of who they knew and their dignity and their qualifications have never been called into question. I’m lucky if I go a week.
When I worked at DC, the assumption was that I must have been giving someone blowjobs, because who else would hire a girl (with a perfectly-matched-to-the-job degree in online comic fandom) to run their website? I’m sorry to hear that the same kinds of trolls are still out there, those who can’t think of women in anything but sexual terms and so assume everyone else does the same.
Heidi asked recently do we write about gender issues too much? No, we don’t. Not while this crap is still going on and those expressing it aren’t embarrassed so much they shut up.
Heidi adds some great points about female comic journalists in particular that I wish I had more time to respond to here. As she says, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you wonder why women don’t cold-approach you to submit, check your masthead. Are there any other women there? If someone does, and you say you’ll get back to her, do you actually follow up? (At least one major comic site doesn’t, but then, it’s easy to fall behind and get swamped.)
It takes a lot of guts to be The Woman, the one who’s trying to blaze a trail for the others. And I can understand why some just don’t want to put up with it. Particularly when it’s easier to just make your own website or comic and even have great success with it without having to put up with the cavemen.