Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm not angry.


So, they came out and said it, the target is 18-34 year old males.

We all knew this. This is why what they say and some of the business decisions they make seem so stupid. However, I have to note some things:

1) This doesn't really make me want to drop anything. I liked stuff they thought wasn't for girls before, I'll continue to. They know about women like me, and will continue to rationalize us away as off and not significant enough to market to, but their sexism ultimately doesn't change that I'm into the genre and sometimes stuff I like comes out of it.

2) If that's the end of their plans, this is a stupid idea. It's the same demographic they've always marketed to, it's the safe demographic. If they think they can just make everything look sexy and exciting to bring them back to comics when their problems run much more deeply into distribution and pricing, they are taking a serious risk.

3) If this is the beginning of their plans, that's understandable but still cowardly. The culture believes this is the comic reading demographic, and they are trying to expand outside of insular fandom to the larger culture. So, they're gonna start with the safe demographic. Maybe if they get enough and get a foothold they'll go for a different gender or age grouping, but I have my doubts.

2 vs 3 all depends on whether this is a smart WB exec's master plan or if this is the corporate leadership giving the comics division leadership one last chance to get it right before they fire everyone and bring in their own people. If it's the former, I'd say they plan to expand. If it's the latter, I'd say they have no idea how to market outside the 18-34 male demo and don't have the imagination to do so. They'll fail spectacularly, and I'll point and laugh.

4) And this is the important thing. This changes nothing about what they should consider in their writing.

Men and women, boys and girls all need a decent representation of all kinds of people from all aspects of the media. Our culture is pushing a poisonous gender binary, where everything strong is male and everything weak is female. Our culture is pushing suffocating assumptions about race and class and sexuality. These ideas get into our heads early on and the only way to fight them is with thought.

You need to think about what you say, what you do, what you read and what you write. You need to think about the images you see and the images you show. You need to think about what these things say, and teach, and mean overall in the context of our culture.

The context of our culture doesn't ever go away, and upholding bigoted stereotypes because your intended audience is the majority just reinforces those bigoted stereotypes and all the social ills that come with them.

So, no... I don't care if it's for the boys. They're still accountable for what they write.


  1. Maybe it's time to face the fact that DC is dying. I've held on, hoping things would get better.

    Instead, I feel like DC has betrayed me. (My favorite characters: DC's Nightwing, Power Girl, Wonder Woman, Vixen, Green Lantern [John Stewart] and Power Girl, and Milestone's Icon, Hardware and Static.)

    I'm Black, male, 41, and the father of a almost-12-year-old girl who also loves comics. She LOVES Wonder Woman, and was crushed when the show didn't materialize.

    I hope DC gets its act together soon. Because while I'll drop a series if the art, writing or storyline falls apart...I'll drop a company if I feel they don't support their fans.

    And for me, that point is coming ever closer.

  2. I heartily endorse these sentiments.

  3. re: "If they think they can just make everything look sexy and exciting to bring them back to comics when their problems run much more deeply into distribution and pricing, they are taking a serious risk."

    Right, a very serious risk. Because that one percent in sales they get off of digital is going to change the world any day now. Yeah right.

    And the other 1% of sales that account for DC's female demographic? Well, when all the femfans finally get fed up and leave en masse, well that will sure make DC stop and think, won't it?

    And really, this whole thing with DC femfans stomping their feet and pouting about DC being sexist, ableist, racist, and blah blah blah is ultimately meaningless because people like you will keep on buying. Female DC fans are like Obama supporters. They aren't happy that more hasn't been accomplished on gay marriage and they're angry that he's more of a hawk than they would like. But who else are they going to vote for? Bachmann?

    You know when I'm going to point and laugh? I mean, aside from now at this article? Several years from now when all the chicks bitching about DC are still bitching because nothing has changed and they're still reading DC product, LOL!

    Oh man, I love that comics are made specifically for me. Life is so great! Oh, hey! Did you hear that they're going to cancel that Wonder Woman graphic novel because the artist is being charged with having kiddie porn? You femfans just can't catch a break can you? ROFL!!



  4. A broader approach would make more sense than focusing on a small segment of the population. Especially when you consider the business is dying an inch at a time. I can't see how anyone who truly loves and enjoys super hero comics could be unable to see that.

  5. The "one last chance to get it right before WB fires everyone" thing was the very first thing to occur to me when I heard about the reboot. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

    So, if WB *did* fire everyone and bring in a bunch of suits, would that be an improvement or a step down? I vote improvement, and not just because it's hard to see how it could go downhill from here. We might lose some innovation, but it's hard to imagine bean-counters not making an attempt to appeal to other genders and age groups. And maybe, possibly, understanding how to market stuff.