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October 26 2006

Joss Is a Chick Magnet. Hoping he will lure women into comic book stores, Marvel hires some guy named "Wheedon".

Whee!

Well, haven't considered myself a 'chick' for a while, but I have bought more comics recently due to Joss's brain (All of Fray, Astonishing and Asylum. Yes, I know he didn't write the latter, but it's because of him that they even exist - so yeah.)

Looks like it's workin'! :)
*giggles* I think the extra "e" makes his name more accurate.
It got me buying more comics than I've bought since I was 11 - and that was a long time ago.
Who is Joss Wheedon?

I thought we were all worshipping John Sweden.
I'm a girl who never looked twice at a comic book until I just *had* to pick up the Serenity ones. They were good but didn't hook me in. Just recently I started Astonishing X-Men and then I got through Fray and was amazed by both series. Right here on Whedonesque I heard recommendations for Runaways and am loving that as well. And since I'm no longer comic-phobic, I am collecting the BSG ones by Dynamite and enjoying them. I've also picked up the Willow & Tara trade and have been borrowing the BtVS/Angel trade collections from the library. Anyone have any other recommendations?
So, now is Joss Wheedon my maaster? ;-)
Amy J--anytime one of the comic converts asks that, I just go dizzy. Sooo many options for suggestions. :-)

But Here's a few:
--Current issues of 'Uncanny X-Men' are great if you want more with the X.
--'Fables' seems to do *very* well among our crowd. It's about magical creatures from fables living among us. (No slayer hunting them, though. :-P)
--'X-Factor' is also a good X-book. Writer Peter David, who's also written Spike Vs Dracula is great at the same mix of humor and drama as Joss.
I find "chick magnet" very funny indeed.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2006-10-26 10:54 ]
People, I'm ashamed of you. It's not spelled "Wheedon". It should be "Wiidon", or possibly "Wiiiiii-don". Remember, it's the age of "Wiiiii" now. Everything is "ii". So perhaps I should say "iit should bii Wiidon". Ok, yeah...

That was random... hmmmmm...
Flashed on an image of Joss wandering around with hundreds of baby chickens stuck to him ;).

Maybe this reflects the idea that when Fox cancelled 'Firefly' he felt like they'd 'Wheedon' him.

Personally, I think well written stories with 'realistic' art will attract more women (and judging by a thread from a while back, maybe slightly more approachable/less creepy comic shop staff in some cases). All good stories are about people and universal truths and they must appeal to both sexes (otherwise they wouldn't be universal ;), surely ?

('The Freshmen', which Seth Green co-created, featured a sexy, sensual female character who also happened to be overweight which I thought was pretty cool to see. And the male characters weren't all ripped Greek gods either so not all comics drawings have to be ridiculously proportioned to be interesting despite what some people may think)

[ edited by Saje on 2006-10-26 13:15 ]
And all this time I thought it was Weedon.

I'm not a comic book fan but I've pretty much decided to buy the Spike Asylum ones and will almost certainly get the Joss BtVS "season 8" series.
Runaways is for girls? Dammit, when am I going to read something manly?
I'm 23, a dude, and I read Spiderman Loves Mary Jane and Runaways. What can I say they are just good comics.
AmyJ, I've had almost the same comic experience you have. Since then, I also enjoyed Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski (aka JMS online) very, very much. In fact, it's the best non-Whedon trade/graphic novel I've ever read. He's quite well respected by many members of this community and I'm anxious to check out his other works. I also recommend Rex Mundi and Southland Tales -- Google them and check them out! We're still waiting for the second and third Southland Tales graphic novels to be released. The first was better than I expected and the movie which will hopefully be distributed soon in the US has SMG as the porn star with higher career ambitions.

The comic folks are probably right that women are more likely to pick up a comic by a writer they already like. But Guiding Light, wtf? I've been a fan of Days of Our Lives for 20 years, more because I liked it when I was way young than anything else. I'd never in a million years pick up a Days comic or any other related merchandise. I tune in once in awhile because some of the actors have been around for the last 10-20 years, even longer in some cases. I like it because it's familiar, not because the writing is good! I'm glad they say they are realistic about the Guiding Light sales because jeez, I would be mega-surprised if that went anywhere at all. And I'm totally trying to be polite and respectful here!

The comic folks still don't really know exactly what appeals to women. I've also been collecting Punisher for almost 2 years. Does that make me a freak?
I've read comic books since I was in single digits. I got started through my big brother bringing them home, but I kept buying on my own initiative, and turned on at least two girlfriends to them. Also my younger sister was a reader/collector too, and I've always known other female comic fans.

Favorite titles as a kid were Daredevil, Spiderman, X-men, and Batman, Atom, Adam Strange on the DC side. Always despised Wonder Woman, cause it seemed like, because it was a "girl's book" it wasn't written seriously. I look to Joss to redeem the character.

I loved Sisterhood of Steel during it's brief run (in the 80s? it all blurs).

As an adult, faves were X-men during Chris Claremont's run, Frank Miller's Daredevil, Nexus, Howard the Duck and Man-Thing, anything by Alan Moore.

I finally gave up buying comics because it got so damn expensive. How many X-titles and Spider-titles did you have to buy just to keep up with plot developments? That and two years living in the Amazon kind of wreaked havoc with continuity. But I got lured back in after Buffy, when I heard of Fray and Tales of the Slayers, and of course the astonishing Xs. And I stopped back in at the local shop to reserve my Buffy season 8. So I guess the Wheedon strategy is working as far as I'm concerned.
Personally, I think well written stories with 'realistic' art will attract more women

Interesting view, because right now it's mostly manga that gets the girl comic audience, and art that is more expressionistic than realistic is a hallmark of manga.

Runaways is for girls? Dammit, when am I going to read something manly?

Don't worry. If you don't have Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane on your shelf and think it's a very cute book, your manliness is still secure. In comparison to some unnamed posters here, anyway.

(Ah, I see in the next post that war_machine agrees with me.)

AmyJ, I've had almost the same comic experience you have. Since then, I also enjoyed Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski (aka JMS online) very, very much.

If you liked Rising Stars, you'll love Supreme Power. (SP was mature readers only for the first 18 issues, so there's nudity and stuff. After that, it's been relaunched as Squadron Supreme--not as good, but still well worth it. Feel free to ignore the spinoff miniseries, though.)

Midnight Nation is also among the best of JMS's works ever. He's a bit hit and miss for me, but his hits are definitely homeruns.

The comic folks still don't really know exactly what appeals to women. I've also been collecting Punisher for almost 2 years. Does that make me a freak?

Actually, I'd say they do know--sure, not all women watch soaps, but a lot do, and that's the group they're going after with this. If Marvel can get some of those viewers to check out comics, it'll be a great win. If not, well, it's still publicity.

If you're already reading Punisher (and isn't that a terrifically sadistic book?) then you're not really the target for this--you're trapped already! :-P
Count me as one more of the "chicks" entering a comic book store for the first time because of Joss. But I just am not a visual person - for me, comic books just aren't a rich experience. I read them, and wish they weren't so short. I'm always left wanting more - which I would have if I could just get interested in the art, but it's just not the way I am. So I haven't been converted to comics... sorry Joss, know you love them!
Interesting view, because right now it's mostly manga that gets the girl comic audience, and art that is more expressionistic than realistic is a hallmark of manga.

True Telltale, but is that why girls are reading them or is it that they've at last found comics with art that doesn't feature scantily clad, large breasted, wasp waisted women with impossibly long legs ? By 'realistic' I meant renderings of actual human shaped characters ('Runaways' is good at this too wherein the kids are, y'know, kid shaped) but with the proviso that it's comic art not photo-realistic (hence the scare quotes) though reading back, I don't think that came across.

(not that manga doesn't have its own set of stereotypes too, the biggie being infantilisation)

Or maybe it's the direction that manga stories take which girls prefer (dunno how different they are in this respect, I don't really read manga) ?
Ah yes, hubby just got me reading 'Fables', good stuff. I just wish Joss would write for She-Hulk. I let the cheesecake covers deter me for quite a while, but when I overcame that(much like when I overcame that silly 'Buffy' title) I found something quite enjoyable to read. And about a 'strong female character', to boot!
Amy J, as a "breasted American" myself, if you're still looking for good comics, I'd like recommend the Sandman series. They are *awesome*. It's not even a superhero book. Also, I've quite enjoyed "The Middleman" comics. (Well, and Runaways, and Fray, and Buffy, and, and...) To be even more honest, well, most of what I've been reading lately has been comic books...
Ooh! Me! I'm a chick that entered a comic shop because of Joss. But I kept going back because the shop I go to has great people working there who've recommended a lot more books for me, and are really knowledgeable and want to share their love of comics, rather than look down on people or make them feel dumb for not knowing. So yay Joss and many other writers/artists who brought me to the comic book stores, but also yay comic shop for creating a place where I *want* to buy my comics!
Dear Brandweek: Please let me come work for you as a proofreader. But the chuckle you gave me was spot-on.
I'm a "chick", but I've been reading comics since I was 13 (started with Catwoman and the BtAS comic) and worked in/for a comic book store for years. And yet I somehow don't consider myself a geek. I think I'm in denial.

But I am reading/digging Joss' stuff, especially AX. I've pretty much strayed from buying monthly issues of everything else (though I'm looking forward to the upcoming White Tiger series by Tamora Pierce, fantastic YA fantasy author and fellow Joss fan)
Amy J, I recommend:
- X-Men - It may seems like a strange lineup, but it's Rogue leading a team against a new enemy and it's just brillant
- Uncanny X-Men - Xavier's leading a team to stop a former student from seeking revenge on the Shi'ar. The current issue is a fantastic issue focused on Rachel Summers
- Young Avengers - YA is on hiatus right now, but Vol 2 is coming out in trade paperback this week.

I didn't get into comics because of Joss, but because of the the classic X-Men written by Chris Claremont, who is so great at writing strong female characters, and that's what drew me to reading X-books for all these years. Currently Mike Carey, Ed Brubaker and Joss are doing an amazing job carrying on the Claremont legacy with the X-books.

At my local comic shop, one of the clerk always calls the X-books "girl books" since there's so many female customers buying them.

But it irks me that marketing types think that "chicks" read comics only for the romance and relationship aspects, not for the storylines. Writers like Joss get that, but I don't think the editors and the marketing execs do. A few months ago, when a female fan had a letter printed in the Uncanny letter page about concerns about a character, the response from Sean Ryan was all about romance in that character's future, like that's the only thing that concerns female fans.

[ edited by FaithFan on 2006-10-26 19:18 ]
Wow, such great responses! Thanks for all of the recommendations :)

I still need to catch up with Astonishing X-Men and Runaways, but afer I do I will definitely look into the ones you guys recommended. Fables sounds like somehing I'd really like, and I'll be sure to check out the JMS ones. I'm not sure if I could read other X-Men series without being overwhelmed by all of the past continuity. Even in Astonishing, there's plot threads and characters based on previous X-Men fandom that sometimes confuse me. It's just been around for so long! With that said, if you guys say they're good, I'll definitely keep them under consideration :)
Funny, I was just telling Mike Richardson (founder and head honcho of Dark Horse comics) last Saturday that I had never ventured to buy a comic until Mr. Wheedon brought us Serenity. Now I am eagerly awaiting Buffy 8, which he was so kind as to promote to me.
I'm glad to see that Dark Horse knows the value in a "chick" audience.
Thanks, Joss for easing me gently into a world I am just now exploring. I am branching out into the other offerings at my local TFAW store.
Amy J, I know the past continuity the X-books can seem daunting, but both of the core X-titles (Uncanny and X-Men) started new arcs with new writers in the summer, and they're doing a good job of making the books more accessible to newer readers. While they're still doing a good job of following the old continuity, there's new storylines and any needed information is provided to understand what's going on.
Or maybe it's the direction that manga stories take which girls prefer (dunno how different they are in this respect, I don't really read manga) ?

That's definitively part of it. Unlike American comics, where superheroes are by far the most prevalent genre, manga is about as diverse as anything can be--there's comedy, romance, more female-friendly (less testosterone-driven) adventure and drama, even an entire genre of gay romance which, as it turns out, sells mostly to women. :-P

By the way, this thread just doesn't feel right without any mention of the two major American series written and drawn by women:
--A Distant soil is a science fantasy tale about a little girl who turns out to be the heir to an alien dynasty. The kind of dynasty that wants to use her up and spit her out. Available in trade paperbacks from Image Comics.
--ElfQuest, also known as the Best Comic Ever, about a tribe of elves just trying to survive on their world with two moons. Available in a variety of versions, most recently as a series of pockets from DC.

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