DC Woman Kicking Ass interviewed
Barbara Randall Kesel, the former wife of Karl Kesel, about her career as a writer and editor for DC, including how they handle their female cast, and she does seem to confirm the accessibility of their output is not very good:
DCWKA: How do you think DC handles female characters vs. 25 years ago? What’s better?
BRK: What’s worse? Hmmm… any answer would have to rate each individual title, and each character in that title. The company as a whole has a strong bias toward an older male readership, which is kind of limiting. Even so, I could pick up a half dozen and find scenes I’m proud of. What’s better is that the world as a whole is better represented—it’s not just white males. What’s worse is that the stories, while intense and exciting, don’t seem to be at all accessible to new readers. Given the success of superhero movies in recent years, you’d think at least part of the audience would be invited to sample the source material, but you see current-day sales figures, and… doesn’t look like it.
I was just discussing this with a prominent comics creator on Monday, how DC has such a wealth of iconic characters but seems determined to keep them inaccessible to the general public. The material is so intense, both on a violence and sexuality level, but also on a plain ol’ composition and storytelling level, that it’s a bullet train—hard to leap onto something that never slows down beyond blur. Of course, the next new generation of readers likely won’t want to touch an icky old paper comic anyway, so we just need to set up their iPad version to read panel-by-panel so they can access the flow at their own comprehension speed.
She does admit where they went wrong by turning their output into such an inaccessible mud swamp, but still falls short of the mark. And DC's treatment of Sue Dibny, Jean Loring, and even Lian Harper, among several others, should be enough to signal that something is wrong with how they've dealt with their female casts.
Labels: dc comics, misogyny and racism, violence, women of dc