Monday, July 20, 2009

Fashion, f-fuhfufhfuhFashion

"In a few months, when they realize that girls are not rushing to buy Spider-Man lip gloss and Incredible Hulk tampons, expect Marvel to poutily insist that this is proof that women are not interested in comics." - Dark Horse Editor Rachel Edidin, smacking around the advertising geniuses who brought you the Spider-Girl Sassy Deluxe Adult Costume for their latest attempt to reach out to the ever-elusive (for superhero-centric comic companies) female demographic.

The post is full of quote-worthy lines, definitely worth a read. It starts off as really funny, venomous snark, but by the end it becomes apparent that there's nothing remotely schadenfreudian in it. She really wants to like Marvel's output; but the company (or some elements of the company) treating women like alien creatures makes it difficult.

She even offers some solid suggestions of how to attract female readers without coming across as offensively condescending. Maybe some of them will be taken to heart, but honestly? I'm not holding my breath. The superhero comic companies have their core audience and lack the resources and/or the will to produce anything that doesn't immediately get that core audience's support.

Actually, that last bit isn't fair. The companies do occasionally produce material that might have an appeal beyond their core audience. Where the resources and/or will fall short is in supporting such materials long enough for them to find an audience. I don't think Minx was a bad idea--more that it was an idea that couldn't (or at least wasn't) sustained long enough to build an audience acceptable to whichever set of accountants make the call on what gets supported and what gets the axe. All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder rakes in direct market sales with little to no effort. Why bother trying to create/build/grow an audience when you can just cannibalize the one that's already there and isn't going anywhere until they, well, die?

Did I mention that my 13-year old niece read the copy of collected DRAMACON I gave her for her birthday three times in the first day she had it? Or the trembling, almost crying stream of tween girls lined up to meet Svetlana Chmakova at the Calgary Expo a few months ago? Seriously, for this small collection of readers, talking with Svetlana was akin to a music fan talking to John Lennon. I wouldn't have been surprised if one or more of them actually screamed when Svet said hi to them. This seems pertinent, somehow...


On a barely related note, who thought this was a good idea? I give it two months before we get a headline involving Batman and Road Rage.


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