More on Minx

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Today’s hot story: Reaction to the news about DC’s Minx line.

Creators have begun commenting. At his message board (all links no longer available), Warren Ellis downplays concern over the lack of female creators, pointing to the two female editors and saying that the imprint is designed to make money, “not raise an ideological tent”. Andi Watson (one of the imprint’s writers) confirms that the editors tried to recruit more women, but “Some creators weren’t interested and then I guess other pitches were rejected (a bunch of mine went in the bin too).” Fabio Moon responds by speculating “maybe the creators were worried they would be tagged as ‘I’m a girl, I’ll write for girls’.”

Bryan Lee O’Malley brings up the long time involved in getting the effort going (possibly another discouraging factor?): “I pitched for this line too, and Shelly & I went back and forth for a few months on different ideas, but I was working on Scott Pilgrim v1 at the time and eventually had to drop out so I could finish it. I’m surprised it took them this long to announce the line (two and a half years since I was involved), but I think longer lead times are probably a good thing in the graphic novel biz.” Brian Wood brings it back to quality: “I think in the end all that’s going to matter is if the readers/consumers like the books, not what gender the creative team is. And if you look at the YA section at any B&N, it’s pretty diverse in that regard, so all the Minx books have to do is to be good.”

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Andi Watson goes into more detail at his blog, saying in the comments “to be honest the page rate on a regular monthly book is better than on the MINX titles”, which might provide another explanation. I’m guessing that the books are work-for-hire, too, so some of the many talented women working for book publishers, where creator ownership is more common, might not have found the deals comparable. (That’s pure speculation on my part, of course.)

(Apropos of nothing, I wonder if we’ll ever see more of this forgotten Watson effort: “I did indeed write a tennis book for Marvel in the Jemas era that ended up in the bin. I wrote five or so issues and three or more were drawn before it got canned…if only I’d written a mixed-doubles issue with Wolverine guesting.” I had no idea that project had gotten that far along before it was nixed.)

Blog@Newsarama (link no longer available) gathers up a number of the links and has an active comment section, where the participants include a library consultant who’s glad to see more material for teenettes[1]; concern over the sexual implications of “minx”; concern over Alloy’s role, given their other titles and involvement in a plagarism scandal; and concern over the lack of female creators followed by the usual Newsarama backlash to such discussions.

Has anyone noticed that even creators known for their individual work as both writer/artist (like Watson) are being paired up with others to make sure that there’s no book done by only one person? DC has a history of this. The same thing happened with Bizarro Comics, where cartoonists mostly just wrote or just drew. Rumor has it that DC does such task splitting as a way of further protecting their copyright and justifying a book’s work-for-hire status.

Update: I’ve been told by a reliable source that a later wave of titles does include a book done by a writer/artist, so looks like I was wrong on that one, too.

In a no-longer-available comment, Ali provides some additional information on the line’s marketing plans:

… drawing from some additional details reported by Publishers Weekly, there’ll be a 2-page advertorial in the Alloy-owned Delia’s mail order catalog (shipped to approx. 900,000 young women); Alloy will generate e-mail blasts to consumers via its various websites; it will distribute book covers featuring Minx titles to students and directly to schools. Do I know if those sorts of marketing initiatives will be successful? Honestly, I don’t know. But I’m comfortable in guessing that many of those hundreds of thousands of tweenage girls and young women who will be touched by such marketing will not decide whatever they decide about the Minx line based on Alloy’s past problems.

That’s darned impressive. It’ll be interesting to see how DC, traditionally friendly to the direct market, sends customers to purchase the books. Will those many non-comic readers be directed towards comic shops or bookstores? Or even online purchasing?

1: I figured sooner or later someone was going to come up with a dismissive name for teen girls as a marketing targets; I thought I’d get an early vote in for something with old-fashioned flavor.


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