May. 7th, 2009

timepiececlock: (Bite me. -Toph)
I remember reading reactions from the comics fans on my flist when the cover for Marvel's new potential series Divas was leaked. It seemed pretty offensive, but I was prepared to dismiss it as used-to-it-whatever stuff from media entertainment, but today I saw a quote that prompted me to make login accounts with a bunch of different websites just so I could shout back at the stupidity. And I'm not even a comics reader! But the sad thing is, I'm so close to being one. I even considered it after watching the Wolverine movie. And yet, every time I almost jump in, something sends me running in the opposite direction. Like this.


"If you're [a] Marvel reader and truly feel we're sexist, then why are you reading our books? Now, perhaps you're not a Marvel reader, then if that's the case, I'm not quite sure what you're criticizing if you don't read our books?" - Joe Quesada


I could go on about Quesada’s dispiritingly poor use of hypothetical "logic" to make his point, or I could talk about the sexism *in* the argument he advocates. Or wait, I could do both! Read more... )

Yeah, nothing sexist there. ^eyeroll^ You can read the full statement here, scroll down near the bottom. It actually gets worse with context.

The thing is, here, I am the perfect candidate for Marvel to build their female audience up. I'm a nerd girl with long fangirl history. I love geek stuff. I watch the movies. I read the books. I watch anime and read manga. I go to conventions. I talk and talk and talk about the geeky media that I love. I harp on continuity and I applaud characterization. I will spend money. I'll by junk just because it has a character's face on it. I'm a freaking dream to these companies. Why aren't they courting me? Courting us?

I was discussing with [livejournal.com profile] irrel why both of us like manga (well, I like anime, and I sort of like manga in conjunction with that) but neither of us can really get into American comics or comic-based cartoons. And what we both agreed on was that we just don't feel welcome. Just looking at the art, it screams "FOR BOYS FOR BOYS FOR BOYS." At least with manga, even with all the sexism I complain about, I still can tell that manga exists for both male and female audiences. It has both male and female creators. It sells, and sells well, to male and female readers. There's gender divisions in the material, but there's still manga writers and artists who cross those divisions. Women who write shonen series like FMA and Ranma. Even if the communication is rough, I feel that at least they know female readers exist.

I have had a limited amount of exposure to American comics. It's all what seeps in through pop culture and shows like I Love The 80s. I know the big characters, the ones on t-shirts or in the movies, and the ones from occasional viewings of tv cartoons. That's where I come from when I say that I look at Marvel and DC comics in the bookstores and all I see is "Not for you! Not for you!"

So instead, I watch anime, and sometimes, if I buy anything in a drawn format, I buy manga. There's a few titles I'm very loyal to. Some of them are overtly for girls (Furuba) and some of them aren't (Blade of the Immortal), but both types invite me in rather than pushing me out.

This is just a question, but... are the American comics industry even bothering to ask themselves why girls and women are latching onto Asian comics, cartoons, and fetishist stuff? Is that discussion happening?

Because I can see the reality of it in comic stores and book stores. And I can promise you that it's not the submissive-clumsy female leads or the influence of a sexist culture that's attracting me, because I can find that in American entertainment media just as easily. It's something more. And if the comics industry in America could convince me that I'd find that something in American comics, and if the art wasn't quite so off-putting with the asses and the boobs, I'd probably try picking up a comic book. But I'm not feeling the love from Marvel and DC, not really. And that's their loss.


ETA: I have read one Western comic series--I read several volumes of Elfquest in middle school because my local library had it on the shelf. Loved it. Whatever the "something" was, they had it.

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