Two great articles about how the sorry state of comics in the modern age. More and more I am considering dropping the majority of my marvel books in favour of more independent pursuits.
Do you like arguing in circles? Apparently the comics community does. Click the title to read the latest volley in the kerfuffle over DC’s New 52.
Let me just explain something. I actually agree with the article up to the bit about expanding the superhero genre to include more women. My argument is to expand the comics MEDIUM to include more genres that women and people who aren’t Comic Book Guy will enjoy. The only impact the New 52 has on me as a comic fan, is that while before I wasn’t planning to pick up any new DC titles, now I’m definitely not going to pick up any new DC titles.
Go read the article if you like (it is well written), then read my comments below. I’ll wait.
You’re back? Ok,
As a professional cartoonist in the animation field, I can tell you there are easily as many vital, brilliant and talented women cartoonists as there are men. They’re working in animation for the same reason I do. That’s where the jobs are. As pointed out in the article, the history of the comics field has led us to the point where the only way to make a living in comics is to work in a narrowly-defined niche genre. Let’s face it, we’re talking about grown men who wear tights and solve their problems by punching things. And almost nobody reads them. It’s as if you were asking, “Why aren’t there more women driving Monster Trucks?” Because most women are not arrested adolescents! DC and Marvel have succeeded, through years of short-sighted policy, to run mainstream comics into the ground. No interesting books are being published by them*. Independent comics, webcomics and all the supposed “fringe” ARE comics. That’s where the vital work is being done and that’s where the future is.
Do you want to support women in comics? Really? Then buy their books. They’re doing amazing work, if they build enough of a following, they can get a publishing deal and make a living off of it. Go look up Emily Carroll, Dershing Helmer, Jordyn Bochon, Rebecca Dart, Marley Zarcone, Katie Shanahan, Johanne Matte (personal friends of mine who do world-class comics), and buy their shit! Put your money where your mouth is.
Oh, and I have to question the thesis that all those independent lady cartoonists are just pining away because they’re not drawing Spider-Man. If Kate Beaton wanted to draw men in long underwear punching each other instead of brilliantly witty historical gag comics, I’m sure she would be doing that.
In conclusion, the problem with mainstream comics is that they have devolved into a single narrow sub-genre. The big two only exist because they are owned by Time-Warner and Disney respectively. These dinosaurs need to die so that interesting comics of all kinds can flourish.
If there were a dozen genres of comics being sold every month, it wouldn’t matter that the Superhero section was a boys club. Look at the paperback section in your local book store and see how many Spy/War books have woman authors. Who cares? Woman authors are working in plenty of other genres and making a killing. Comics should be that way too.
Let Superhero comics be a boys-only circle-jerk. I haven’t bought a single superhero book written in the last ten years and I’m a guy! A nerdy, nerdy guy. This shit panders to me, and I don’t even like it. Why the hell would women creators want to have anything to do with superheroes except for the paycheck?
You know what kind of circulation DC’s most popular books have? Less than 100,000 copies. That is pitiful. The problem isn’t the number of women making DC comics, the problem is that NOBODY READS COMICS!!!
*Wait, that’s not fair. I know a handful of the guys making these books, and they really are doing work that’s as good as any superhero comics from yesteryear, the trouble is, back in the day superheroes were one genre among several. Now they’re the only game in town. Who wants to read about nothing but capes and masks?!