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Rachel Nabors

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02:03 pm: It's about freaking time.
Johanna at Comics Worth Reading beat me to the punch about the New York Times article about DC's new chicks graphic novel line, Minx. She mentions some reservations she has. One thing she brought up which strikes me upside the head is that the creative powers behind the books are predominantly male. Scholastic's Graphix line featured tried and true female creators who already had proven their abilities to write to girls. So why did DC choose male talent when there are still so many talented women in the industry ready to work? Why all the boys? I mean, maybe they can appeal to girls, but male names on the cover of a girls' book would make me a bit skeptical. I worry that upon encountering such a graphic novel directly aimed at young women, I would flip through it with thoughts like "Is he drawing her realistically? Or is this more guys-telling-me-what-I-should-look-like crap?" and "If I were in that situation, I wouldn't do what she did. Is that because that character has a different personality from my own or is that because she was written by a guy?" would be dribbling through my head the entire evaluation period.

I also worry that male creators will have to work harder to win over hesitant female readers (like yours truly) who get a bad taste in their mouth whenever they see male names on female products. At least it is a step in the right direction, and I can no longer say that all of the Big Three have their heads up their bums about girls and comics.

Comments

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From:warren_ellis
Date:November 25th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
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You know the Minx line is run by two women, right? This is all Karen Berger and Shelly Bond.
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From:crowhen
Date:November 25th, 2006 07:12 pm (UTC)
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Yeppers. I heard they were working on launching a female-oriented line of comics. But still, why all the boys?
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From:warren_ellis
Date:November 25th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
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Oh, they did that specifically to annoy you, and in revenge for Joanne Rowling writing the most successful boy's-adventure YA novels of the last 50 years.

I mean, I understand your point. But does anyone red-flag, say, M E Kerr writing her YA novels in the voice of the male protagonist?

And, you know, the first Minx book IS written by a woman.

Also, "male names on female products" just makes me imagine a brand of tampons called FRED.

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From:vonandmoggy
Date:November 25th, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)
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I hear you, but I'm willing to wait and see what the books are like. They may blow it, they may not. There are so many fantastic YA books out there written by both genders for both genders that I'd hate to point fingers too early.

I'm also (don't hate me) of the opinion that talent is the key thing. If the writing is good (however one measures that, of course) then it doesn't matter what the gender of the writer is. Does that make me naive? Mayhaps. Having run a bookstore and sold many a book to people of all genders and age groups, however, I'd like to think I'm fairly sensitive on this front. I believe in good writing.

I suppose I'm a bit selfish on this front, too - I mean, my bookie has only female protagonists and antagonists in it (for the most part) and I'd hate that someone wouldn't give it a shot simply because of my gender. That will happen to some extent, of course, in much the same fashion that I know that the book won't work for all readers, but hell...I'd at least want people to hate it after they read the damn thing. Not before.

Von
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From:crowhen
Date:November 25th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
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I'm also looking forward to checking out the new Minx books. Does this mean I can watch for pink (or some other "girly" color) nuzzling its way past the black, white and red spines of the American sliver of the graphic novel section at Barnes and Noble?

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From:vonandmoggy
Date:November 25th, 2006 11:37 pm (UTC)
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Interesting.

I'm a huge reader and I rarely, if ever, pay attention to what gender a writer is compared to the gender of his/her main characters. Not in comics and not in prose.

I'd certainly love to see women with a bigger role in mainstream comics...but I would never put a book down simply because it was a man writing female characters (or a woman writing male characters).

My two cents! :)
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From:divalea
Date:November 26th, 2006 02:56 am (UTC)
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I expect they will go on as they have begun. I talked to Paul Levitz back in July last year and February this about my optimism for the potential for selling comics TO WOMEN, which means MAKING COMICS WOMEN WANT TO READ.

Something DC blew about four years ago with their PREVIOUS "women's line," which had women working on it, and more men than women working on it, and was what--SUPERHEROES for DUDES. Lisa, who is blessed with an excellent memory, doesn't even recall it.

I was referred by Paul to Shelley Bond regarding the girl's line I proposed. I contacted Shelley twice and gave up after never hearing anything from her.
I also tossed out the idea of a Batgirl manga, about which Paul Levitz referred me to Dan DiDio. DiDio wanted that to be something to lead female readers back to what--the same GODDAMN FEMALE-UNFRIENDLY SUPERHEROES they were already publishing.
I tossed out an Amethyst manga idea, and was told Karen Berger felt very proprietary about Amethyst, and that was that--except right after that a new Amethyst series is announced, and it's by, again, a couple guys.

This just reminds me of why I hate the comics business so much. Women in charge of a comics line doesn't guarantee girl-friendliness--there have been women in charge in editorial positions at Marvel and DC for years, and they look the other way when it comes to matters of girl-friendliness, because they MUST, to keep their jobs, and this silence is taken as assent, as a sign that everything is okie-dokie, no women were harmed in the making of our comics.

I refer you to the uplifting, enfuriating, deplorable and true story of Valerie D'Orazio. That is a story that will and SHOULD kill any optimism about DC Comics being girl-friendly just because women work there.

Um, not that you don't know that, but maybe you haven't read it yet, and I suspect there are others following this thread that could benefit from the enlightenment.

But maybe I'm just crazy.
Or shrill.
Or a harpy.
Or a hater.
Or, most likely--considering I have worked in comics twenty years, and have the sad benefit of a female's experience, rather than a man's relatively advantaged P.O.V. (and usually shorter career to go with it)--
Correct.
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From:divalea
Date:November 26th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
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DC's aligned with Alloy on this, according to that article. Oh, that's just perfect.
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From:crowhen
Date:November 26th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
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I actually think that may be a good thing. They need to market the comics the way YA novels are marketed. I know very little of Alloy, but I do know that I was a teen their name was on a few of the newer books in the YA section.
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From:divalea
Date:November 27th, 2006 03:42 am (UTC)
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Alloy's kind of on the scuzzy side of publishing, is all.

http://www.observer.com/20060508/20060508_Sheelah_Kolhatkar_pageone_newsstory3.asp

Reminds me a lot of TP, in fact.
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From:divalea
Date:November 27th, 2006 03:44 am (UTC)
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I should add I don't disagree DC need someone who knows marketing to girls, since they've proven that they don't know shit about selling to girls, and only sell to girls in spite of themselves, just that Alloy's not the company I'd have picked.
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From:sonnyliew
Date:November 27th, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
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The male/female thing is somewhat tricky - for my part, i know that those of us signing on knew that we were doing books meant for a manga-ish market; but I can't remember if a teenage female audience was specifically mentioned.

Drawing the book itself the only real concern was to make the storytelling work, gender never really came into it.

Still I suppose when the line is being marketed so specifically, you can't really escape gender issues - though,again, at the time of writing/drawing Re-gifters I don't think many of us were aware of what direction the marketing would take.

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From:arcana_j
Date:November 29th, 2006 12:21 am (UTC)
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I don't think any of us is blames you, the creators. I know Jesse Hamm, he's a great guy and very talented and I would never begrudge him (or for that matter, anyone) a chance to work. The issue really just comes down to how DC has handled this thing so far.

I find it weird that they wouldn't be specific with their creators about the line.

Anyway, as I've said elsewhere, the gender thing wouldn't be such an issue now if there was some balance in the creator roster. But again, that's DC's doing, not yours.
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From:crowhen
Date:November 29th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC)
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I agree with what arcana_j said. We don't blame you.

For some reason I find it sad that you as creators were not sure what direction the marketing was going in, and I don't mean that in a pitying way. I'm not sure why it makes me sad, but it does. I'll probably wake up tomorrow morning and know why it makes me sad.

I hope it works out for you guys even though I continue to be puzzled by DC. I'm sure you've all done fine work.
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