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This is part of their review of Voodoo, and sums up what I’ve been trying to explain to a non-comic-reading friend of mine. There’s a bizarre dichotomy of non-reading public perception wherein comics are both “for kids” and “paperback Cinemax”. I fail to understand how people can somehow reconcile these two ideas and their association with one thing, and I also fail to understand how nobody is bothered by it.
All the 52 comics have now been published, From Animal to Voodoo. There was some really great books, Batwoman, Batman and Wonder Woman stand out for me, some books that hold promise and some real crap.
Same as it ever was, I guess.
Over on Comics Should Be Good, Greg Burgas has reviewed all 52. I agree with most of his reviews but even if you don’t, it is a good read. But the really interested thing is that he didn’t just review the books, he looked at the breakdown of male vs. female characters.
I think I knew just from the covers and the descriptions that the new 52 was going to be light on the ladies. But I didn’t think it would be this bad. Here are the numbers:
So we have 1865 people in the 52 comics. Obviously, this is wrong, because I’m counting minority women twice, but that’s just how I roll, man! Of those 1865 people, 1105 are white men, or 59%. 491 are women, or 26%. Here’s the breakdown:
White men: 1105 – 59.2%
Women: 491 – 26.3%
Black men/women: 154 – 8.3%
Hispanic men/women: 49 – 2.6%
Other minorities: 61 – 3.3%
Gay or lesbian people: 5 – 0.3%
He also breaks down speaking roles:
Meanwhile, here’s the breakdown of the speaking roles – there are 713 speaking roles in the 52 comics:
White men: 394 – 55.3%
Women: 193 – 27.1%
Black men/women: 76 – 10.7%
Hispanic men/women: 20 – 2.8%
Other minorities: 25 – 3.5%
Gay or lesbian people: 5 – 0.7%
I don’t know what it was before the relaunch. But that doesn’t really matter, does it? Whether it got better or worse, you still can’t get around the fact that in this new world white dudes are the default and the majority.
Same as it ever was.
I suppose somone will come along and ask, “WHAT DO THOSE NUMBERS MEAN TO YOU. WHAT DO THEY MEAN TO YOU?”
(Sorry I couldn’t resist).
What do they mean? Honestly, they say to me, “why bother anymore?” But more on that point later.
So what do you think? Are these numbers surprising? Are they what you thought they’d be. And, seriously, what do the numbers mean to you?
THIS IS A GOOD ARTICLE. GO AND READ IT.
“Most 18-34 males actually have much broader tastes than the old white guys making this shit, and in cases where they don’t support female-centric media, it’s often because that female-centric media is such condescending bullshit that even many women consider it unforgivably misogynistic (Twilight, Sex in the City, etc.). By contrast, My Little Pony (of all things) has cultivated such a crossover fandom that even the virulent homophobes of 4chan have become “bronies.” Quite seriously, if you can’t manage to make superheroes cater equally to both genders, without alienating one or the other, when fucking MY LITTLE PONY can do it, you’re too goddamned dumb to deserve to even a fraction of the big bucks that the people in charge of these franchises are earning to premise over their ever-shrinking audiences.”
"often… female-centric media is such condescending bullshit that even many women consider it unforgivably misogynistic"
I’ll make one concession: The art for Voodoo is really nice.
Okay I’m done.
…Wait not really, go on.
Last night, I had a loooooong talk with an “outsider” to the whole comics thing, a good friend who is having a hard time understanding just why we are speaking out so vehemently against the portrayal of women in some of the DCnu.
Thank you for posting this. I needed to re-up my righteous indignation.
DC has been getting some rough press (viz. the audio footage of DiDio getting aggressive with a reader at SDCC), but I continue to be willing to give them a chance to redeem themselves. Wonder Woman is an OUTSTANDING book, as is Animal Man and Batwoman. I think Action, Demon Knights, and Swamp Thing all have immense potential. I’m going straight to buying trades of both Firestorm and Batgirl, and look forward to more of Simone’s writing (because Secret Six has supplanted every other book I’ve ever collected as my favorite of all time, and I’m sad as heck to see it go).
I was a Marvel girl, primarily, growing up, and headed into indie territory once the horrors of the nineties took a toll on my favorite books at the time (Liefeld!!!! *shakes fist*). It took Birds of Prey and Secret Six to tempt me back to reading one of the “big two” publishers. So I feel a bit betrayed that the company I’ve given so much of my money to recently has released such swill as Catwoman and Red Hood. Would having more women on staff at DC mitigate this? Not necessarily - DC has female editors on staff now, and that fact hasn’t stopped such atrocious drivel from being published on nice, shiny paper with a big “T” emblazoned on the front to tell parents it’s ok for their kids to read it during a time when they’re forming their opinions about the world and how they relate to it.
I’m buying Marvel, too, these days. And while I think they also have some issues, they are not nearly so dire. It would be a good idea for both publishers to look to the other to see what works, what doesn’t and why comics are continuing to take a downward turn when they can be one of the least expensive forms of entertainment. Marvel: look at Wonder Woman, Batwoman, and Animal Man. DC: look at the new Daredevil and Ultimate Spider-Man. These are GREAT books with GREAT art and compelling stories with nary a tit or ass or dead-eyed porno stare on full objectifying display.
I know DC is getting a lot of input like this these days, and it’s probably tempting and easy to tune it out as “just another angry feminist”. Please don’t. Even if you only scan these things, consider, if only for a moment, how many voices there are shouting the same thing. We WANT to buy your comics. We WANT to support you, give you our money, give you a chance to really forge customer loyalty with new demographics. We’re giving you the tools to do so, if you only listen.