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September 22 2011

Judging A Book By Its Cover. Columnist Kyrax2 at Comics Bulletin uses the Buffy comics as an example of a way to attract non-traditional fans (i.e., the female gender) to superhero comics and to get the comics industry out of its slump.

"If most women aren't buying superhero comics, it's because the companies that make said comics, namely Marvel and DC, aren't making comics they want to read."

She argues that hypersexualizing women in superhero comics will lead to continuing erosion of their already slumping popularity. She also includes examples from OddityCollector of what comics covers might look like if male superheroes were hypersexualized. Too funny.

It is funny. And it is at least partly true. But the death of comics is more related to the growth of digital technology and the difficulties in monetizing the medium than it is to the rampant sexuality in comic cover designs. I do find it odd that they did not show an actual Buffy comic cover, but rather the Buffy DVD cover- probably to make a point, I guess.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2011-09-22 12:26 ]
I too thought it was odd that they didn't show an actual Buffy cover.

I love comic books. With a passion. However, the hypersexualization of women that is commonplace in mainstream superhero comics is my main problem with the genre. I think it's just sort of become something comic readers have become used to. Even the ones that are bothered by it have become complacent, knowing that it probably won't change.

It's a real shame, because it is just one more thing that gives people ammunition to bash comic books as a medium. I feel like there are more people who don't like it than do, and the only reason it's still going on is due to convention. I hope the comic book industry starts thinking really hard about this issue.
First off, I am female. I read comic books. I buy comic books.

Way back an eon ago when there were Secret Wars and mutants were being massacred, I collected and and read voraciously the superhero comics of the X-verse. But then there were all the cross-overs and multiple books coming out. The fact that I was buying the X-Men and X-Factor and The New Mutants wasn't enough for Marvel. No, they had to come out with Excalibur and X-Force and Wolverine and I was having to buy singles of other series I wasn't interested in just to keep up with crucial bits of my stories. I couldn't afford it and I hated being jerked around. So I quit cold-turkey.

Over the years as my monetary issue improved I've occasionally picked the various X-Men books back up (because they were my guys ^_^) and I've ALWAYS been turned off by the art and put them right back down. And I'm not just turned off by the covers. It's the insides too. I hate the way they are drawn. It doesn't seem to matter who it is. I really don't like the way women are drawn, but I don't like the way the men are drawn either. I think in general, the paneling and page layout is too chaotic and the coloring tends to lack clarity. (I did miss Joss's Astonishing run altogether but I'm still being bitter and perverse about Marvel and not reading it.)

But I still read comics. I still buy comics, just not superhero comics. I do currently have a pull list, but the reason I have enough series to justify one is more due to Joss than anything else. I try out titles here and there for, but it's hard for me to find something with art and a story that I actually want to spend my cash on. I generally give them a ten issue trial. Heck it took Sandman about that long to really start getting good.My current pull list is: Angel and Faith, Buffy S9, Epitaphs, Nonplayer (Amazing art. Jury's still out on the story. You can preview it here.), Sherlock Holmes Year One, Dengeki Daisy, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Lady Mechanika. (I'm checking it out for ten issues or so just to see how he handles the steampunk thing, despite the personal turn-off of the hyper-sexualized women. I'm not sure he can write yet.)

I checked out the DC reboot a little. I'm not interested. My curiosity is peaked a little by the X-Men shake up, but...well, it'd have to be really different. So if I'm reading comics and it's not DC or Marvel, what else am I spending my comic dollars on? Well:

The Finder Library
Castle Waiting
The Losers
Planetary
20th Century Boys
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
Meanwhile
I Kill Giants
daytripper
Fables
Honey and Clover
Genshiken
Mouse Guard
Trickster
Acme Novelty Library

I'm probably atypical. But Marvel and DC, I am female. I read comics. Just not yours.
'Cos the whole female/manga thing is becoming so so big lately, it makes me wish that world had more representation for them. It's far more prominent in anime, but that entire universe of stories is not one I'd particularly say is full of fully-realised female characters. They know how to tell great, often brilliant stories, but specifically in that list of popular manga cited in the article - none of them feature prominent females (they were also shonen stories; translated as 'young boy'. There's also 'young girl' stories that are often romance and cutesy). That said, what I've seen of what BreathesStory listed are good with them, so it's not that strong and developed female characters don't exist in that world, they're just incredibly hard to come by. In the '80s, there were many, looking right now? There's an awful lot of shy and quiet (moe) or aggressive, with a nervous center (tsundere) female characters, simply because that's what's keeping the industry going.

(Ack, bit of an odd paragraph!)

I don't think the writer knew about the Dark Horse canon continuation and the mention of Buffy was just a passing reference. ;p

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