Written by Jason Enright, Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor
Monday, 11 June 2012 03:11
Dear DC Comics:
I just wanted to let you know I am very disappointed. Last year, around this time, you announced your New 52 initiative. There was worry, speculation, anger, but mostly you got what you wanted: everyone was talking about DC Comics. Then, we started to get images, announcements of creative teams, and first covers, and an ice cold ball of dread started to form in the pit of my stomach. You see there was something sorely lacking. Something that had been lacking in comics for years, that I had hoped you would finally address.
Your books were lacking women. There were a handful of female characters gracing the covers, but where there were, they were scantily clad. There were a handful of female writers and artists, but, actually, it was just one handful. I could literally count them on one hand. So, when I went to San Diego Comic-Con, I decided to ask why this was. I went to your DC New 52 panel. Dan Didio stood at the podium and asked the fans what he could do to get them to buy DC Comics, to buy the New 52. I shouted, “Hire more women!” Didio spun on me, and before he could respond, I stood and quoted him the numbers. “Of your 52 books, 2% of the creators are women.” He asked me what those numbers meant to me, and he asked me who I'd hire. Now, I hadn't prepared for this public argument and was dumbfounded. I'd even yelled what I had yelled, so I didn't have a prepared answer. Luckily, the women in the crowd around me did, and names started pouring forth. Didio quickly changed topics, but I'd hoped he'd heard me, and he'd start fixing things.
Over the next several months, I saw them bring in a few more women on books. It was nice but not the revolution I wanted. So, disappointed in DC, I turned elsewhere. I found amazing projects like Saga, and I researched and found women creators I could support like Kelly Sue DeConnick. I even started making my own comics, because I was so frustrated. Then, I found my answer to Didio's question. I found Womanthology. Here was a book full of women who wanted to create comics so badly, they just did it all themselves. It's a 300-page book with over 150 female contributors. I started attending Womanthology panels at conventions; I even set up a Womanthology signing at my local comic book store. I met the creator of Womanthology, Renae De Liz, at WonderCon and thanked her 'till she probably thought I was crazy. I thought for sure that DC would have to take note and start hiring some of these women.
Then, this morning, I saw a new announcement from DC about 4 new titles they are going to be putting out. Of the batch we again have our 1 female character with a female writer. I guess they think that's enough; they'll quell any outbursts by saying, “Well, we hired one.” Not good enough, DC. Not even close. I want to see your biggest books, your biggest male characters, written and drawn by women. If Brian Azzarello can write an amazing Wonder Woman story, then why can't a woman write or draw Superman, Batman, or the entire freaking Justice League.
Yes, Marvel isn't the best at this either, but, DC, you are supposed to be the leader. You are Superman and Batman. You are what people think about when they think of comic books. This industry needs to change, needs fresh life, a renewed purpose. This industry is on hard times, and I get it, you've circled the wagons. You know that 18 to 34-year-old males are your biggest demographic, so you've focused on what you think they want. If you really want to save comics, then try something new; think outside the box. Go after new markets. There is a whole league of extraordinary ladies out there who want nothing more than to buy your books. Look on Tumblr for DC Women Kicking Ass. Look at websites like The MarySue. Female fans are out there, and male fans are out there who don't want to be embarrassed reading your sexist comics.
My whole life I've looked to characters like Superman and Wonder Woman as examples of how to live my life, how to be brave, how to stand up for what's right when everything around you is wrong. So, I'm standing up now, and making my voice heard. Be brave, DC. Do what we all know is right.
Thank you for your time.