Sunday, January 28, 2007

Now I just need an envelope.

Wrote another letter to DC, this time over this. Feel free to pinch your nose and read aloud Comic Book Guy-style:
Dear Mr. Didio,

I saw Eddie Berganza's guest column in DC Nation last week. I had a mixed reaction, as a female reader

On one hand, its nice that you know we exist. I've been reading since I was 12 and over that time I've gotten the distinct impression that comic book companies only think guys read.

And I am casually interested in Supergirl. I pick it up from time to time to see if I like what's going on, but I'm not a big Kelly or Churchill fan and with Super-books I read for the creative team. (And implying the Power Girl is a "bimbo" by creating a "mimbo" equivalent doesn't endear them to me.)

Now Green Lantern books I'll read even when the writer and artists are unknowns. I love Green Lantern. I have the T-Shirt. I have the toys. I have the 'piggy' bank. I WANT to buy the entire series from the 40s until now because I ADORE the concept.
But I've dropped Green Lantern 3 times over the last 13 years. Twice because Jade was being treated like crap, and once for costumes. I never thought I had a problem with cheesecakey costumes before (love Wonder woman, love Power Girl) but Ivan Reis' interpretation of Arisia made me cringe. The shirtless Star Sapphire on the cover of GL#18 made me drop the book in the middle of a storyline. It looked like porn.

While its heartening to see an actual superhero book looking for female readers, its hard to stomach the sentiment when another book makes it crystal clear through exploitive art that female readers are not welcome.

Look, at DC you have an AWESOME product concept-wise. Superheroes can and do appeal greatly to women and you have the icons. And its wonderful (hint, hint) that you have pleasing female readers in mind.

Just don't stop at the 'girl' books. I'd read everything you put out if I felt welcome to.

Its obvious that column was because Supergirl's sales are declining and they know that women are reading due to the letter campaign, but I don't think they realize how stuff like this and Minx sound when contrasted to the mind-boggling sexism of the Green Lantern #18 cover. So I thought I'd bring that to their attention.


  1. I liked your letter, that cover was upsetting...

    I think DC is kind of missing the point on this one though - you don't rectify the problems with Supergirl by giving her a "mimbo" boyfriend.

    You should get someone other than Ian Churchill to draw her and you put out an editorial madate for her skirt to STOP flying up in EVERY cover, sketch, panel.

    I also like the implication that -
    A) If Powerboy is a "mimbo", and he's possessed of traits reserved for female characters, then other characters such as Power Girl are "bimbos".
    B) That by creating an (argualby) exploitive male character, that makes the female exploitation okay!

    It's all very confusing to me.

  2. I'd pick on that, but I haven't read Power Boy.

    and they did change artists, to one I've never heard of.

  3. I try not to be one of those internitpick types, but I speak-up for this because I think the letter would be better received if you made a couple of quick its/it's corrections.
    it's = it is
    its = possessive (his, hers, its)

    Again, I don't want to be That Internet Guy, but I'd really hate for anything to distract from the message when the letter is read by its intended recipient (who is an editor, after all). And in the interests of disclosure, I'm not sure I'd ever have seen the errors if a friend with a keen critical eye hadn't pointed them out to me.

  4. Grenn Lanterns wear FULL BODY SPANDEX.

    Consider that.

    No pouches, no belts, no nothing. No big bulky shoulderpads. Skin-tight-spandex from top to bottom.

    Considering all female HEROES (ie. not supporting characters) are all leggy supermodels, this costume design is a free gift to writers who need cheesecake to boost sales.

    When female Green Lanterns wear anything LESS than full body spandex, it is for no other reason than sexism.

    (No, I don't expect Kyle to cut his suit in half and show some midriff anytime soon. Only Modern Empowered Female Heroes [tm] do that. Why they haven't done it to Catwoman by now I don't know!)

  5. Errr...wasn't Berganza the editor when they decided to make Hal go bonkers? This does not endear him to me.

    I also don't like being condescended to, no matter how "humorous" it may be phrased.

    Frankly, I wouldn't read Supergirl if you paid me. Well...only if you paid me a lot.

  6. You have inspired me. I'll write a letter too.

    (And there was a letter writing campaign? Pooh, I missed it!)

    P.S. I appreciate the sentiment for creating Power Boy, but an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Poor Power Boy, being created solely for objectification. Kind of like the new Supergirl. Hm.

  7. I had not looked at that GL cover before, wow it really is an over the line porn star costume. Insane.

  8. Long time lurker, thanks for the push to get me to write.

    Dear Mr. Didio

    I read Mr. Berganza's guest column in week 2007/1/24 DC nation column.

    As a long time female reader of DC, I found his some of his comments disturbing. Specifically "Now she has a new love interest in Power Boy, a "hero" Ian designed, keeping in mind the great attributes that are usually associated with female characters.... and the reason most women don't like the super-hero genre. Like the chest window of his costume? His constant posing? Yes he's a mimbo,...." Now I appreciate Mr. Berganza's effort to reach out to the women readers, but he's unfortunately missing the point. I don't want a mimbo to counterbalance the bimbos, I want the bimbos to stop showing up. An excellent recent example of this is the Star Sapphire outfit on Green Lantern #18 cover. Whether you intended it to be or not, that seeing that costume design felt like a smack on my face, and I will not buy it.

    Although I believe it's unintentional, there I get a strong inference that there is an underlying presumption that all women like to read the same stuff. We don't.
    I find Smallville boring. If I wanted to read yet another tale about a troubled teen, I'ld probably being reading Marvel. I'm sure that there is a significant number of people who enjoy those stories, and if that is your target audience I wish you well.

    I like talking chimps. I like mad science, and explosions. I like three-dimensional characters, who while they aren't perfect, are strong, emotionally-grounded women and men who take joy and pride in being a superhero. I like teams that work together and respect and like their teammates. I like witty dialogue, black humour, and stories that make me cheer, make me giggle like a maniac, make me think, and make me cry (not necessarily all at the same time).

    If I like the stories, I will buy them, heck I've bought all the issues of Fables and 3 sets of all the trades (one for me, the others as gifts). I will not buy a comic just because it has a female lead.

    I did not buy volume 2 of Guy Gardner:Collateral Damage because I did not like part 1. I buy Green Lantern Corps, Shadowpact, Justice Society of America, Birds of Prey, 52, Manhunter, JLU, Blue Beetle, Welcome to Tranquility, Fables, Jack of Fables, Midnight Crossing because I do like them. I will try the New Dr. Fate, and Jodi Pocoult's WW. I will continue to pick up 100 Bullets, DMZ, and Y the last man in trades.

    The Legion of Super-heroes was the very first comic I ever read, and I have a deep love for the DCU. If you want to keep me as a reader, just keep putting out good stories about well-rounded characters, and please throttle back on the dysfunction and the angst. Oh, and please get the artists to lay off the porn poses, I detest buying books that I'm ashamed to show the art to a 15-year-old girl.

    Cynthia McShane

  9. "Mimbo"? I thought it was "himbo"... :-P

  10. Arynne -- well, its mailed already anyway.

  11. sallyp: That was Kevin Dooley.

  12. You might not need an envelope. I posted an open letter on my blog and got a response from one of the powers that be. It was unexpected, but convenient.

  13. Arynne- "himbo" is correct. Berganza used "mimbo," which really makes even less sense than "himbo."

    And cast further aspersions on his connection to reality.