DC Reboot Boots Women Out

[This is a cross-posted response to an open letter to DC exec Diane Nelson remonstrating about the coming DC reboot, which appears to be eliminating many beloved female characters and storylines.]

The reboot reads like “New Coke” to me, the kind of classic error that is supposed to attract new fans but mostly alienates the current group. The PR names mostly male creators and male characters, which is a source of great frustration to those of us who love this medium but find it a parched desert when it comes to representing us or even attracting us.

Diane Nelson and her team probably believes that anybody already reading comics will continue to. They want to capture the huge potential audience of iPad users and moviegoers. However, that group, while more male than female, is far more balanced in gender than current comics readers. To attract them, more effort must be made to create gender parity in the comics presented. This has not happened yet. If the corporate bosses will be happy with a mere increase in subscribers or sales via electronic devices, then Nelson will have succeeded. If they are after the Big Score, then they must pull in the massive and completely untapped female audience. So far, this reboot very clearly is not attempting to grab female attention. It’s a shame. It’s the reason I don’t read comics anymore.

There is a whole generation of avid female manga readers who could and should be pulled into mainstream comics reading (why read about another culture when you can read about your own?). But American comics bosses and creators are so shortsighted/biased/dismissive they can’t even bother to figure out how to capture this big market.

(On a side note, yes, it is always best to proofread before sending, and yes, executives don’t read long missives. But that’s the problem in a nutshell, isn’t it? A non-reader is in charge of a reading business.)

3 Comments:

  1. In addition to this, there was the “all women get pants” rumor, which seems to be mostly true. To judge from the redesigns, this dictated that while the ladies covered up below the waist, they grew even larger above the waist and uncovered there. Wonder Woman is about to fall out of her new uniform on the cover of JLA #1. And don’t get me started on Harley Quinn.

    But yes, I don’t understand why DC refuses to open to more female readers. More women than men read fantasy novels; why shouldn’t that hold true for comic books that didn’t try so hard to ostracize female readers?

  2. Irene Vartanoff

    Presumably they are happy with their dying boys’ club. Who knows?

    If 55% of iPad buyers are male, launching a digital line to get their attention is fine, but what about appealing to the interests of the 45% of iPad buyers who are female?

    Movie audiences and licensed product purchasers divide fairly evenly on gender, also. If DC is trolling for that wider world with this reboot, it ought to include females prominently, and I don’t mean bra size.

  3. Hi, Irene! I find myself feeling alienated from the Reboot and will most likely be sticking to the back issue bins from now on.

    The costume re-designs seem purely cosmetic and superficial, in my opinion (akin to putting racing stripes upon the costumes, while divesting the male heroes of their trunks.)

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