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Saturday, April 11, 2015 

Are superheroines really rising in recognition?

Maryland University's Diamondback wrote about the rise of popularity for superheroines. But it's another article that's not well informed, and gives superficial data only:
In 2012, the longtime Marvel heroine Carol Danvers earned the role of formerly male hero Captain Marvel and a new series to go with her title. The series, written by industry veteran Kelly Sue DeConnick, reintroduced Danvers to the Avengers lineup and reawakened the character’s popularity. In fact, Danvers will be the first Marvel heroine to head a film. Captain Marvel will be released on Nov. 2, 2018.
Whether there'll come a movie starring Carol Danvers, her popularity isn't reflected in sales receipts, which remain well below the 100,000 mark on the charts (less than 20,000 in February). There was once a time it might've been accomplished, but that time's been missed.
Captain Marvel’s popularity has also paved the way for a new heroine to take up the moniker of Ms. Marvel: Muslim teenager Kamala Khan. Though G. Willow Wilson’s series is barely a year old, her heroine’s popularity has already eclipsed that of some more established male crime fighters. The new Ms. Marvel has also been selected to be part of the lineup of heroes in the All-New, All-Different Avengers series, which will debut on Free Comic Book Day this year. The team will also feature the new female Thor, who debuted in October last year after the hero formerly known as Thor lost his ability to wield the mighty hammer Mjolnir.
With such low sales? This is pure giggle-inducer. I don't even believe the claim the Muslim Ms. Marvel is doing better in digital sales if they don't give exact figures for who downloaded or bought it online. But I won't be surprised if the actual numbers will be pretty amusing.
This year, Marvel launched two other female-lead superhero series, Spider-Gwen and Silk, which are spinoffs of recent events in the Amazing Spider-Man series. Silk is a heroine who gained her powers after being bitten by the same radioactive spider as Peter Parker, while Spider-Gwen takes place in an alternate universe in which Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy, received the spider bite in lieu of Parker. Both series were highly anticipated and fan response has been favorable.
Has that response translated into sky high sales? Doesn't look that way - certainly not for Silk - so what's their point?
DC’s heroines aren’t the only ones to steal the spotlight, either; their lineup of villainesses has gotten a lot of attention. Fan favorite Harley Quinn has gone from being a punchline in Batman: The Animated Series to a full-blown villain of her very own. Artist and writer Amanda Conner has brought Harley Quinn into her own since November 2013 with a new ongoing series devoted exclusively to the character.
And has that translated into blockbuster sales? I've seen no positive signs there either (less than 70,000 in February). Interestingly, towards the end, they say:
As more women are purchasing and reading comics, companies are taking notice and creating series to suit their fans’ tastes. Fans have been voicing their opinions with their wallets and lashing out against blatant instances of sexism in the medium. This has resulted in more comic creators who are conscious of their many sins of comics in years past and actively seek to address it. Though comic book stores used to be bastions of hypermasculinity, thanks to the variety of heroes displayed on the shelves, there is now an openness that is comforting and welcoming to all audiences, regardless of gender.
Now if that's the case, doesn't it mean more readers, female or otherwise, are buying stuff from smaller publishers and not from the Big Two, who, despite the paper's claim, are far from apologetic for the past sins they speak of? Just last month, only two superhero-related titles turned up on ICV2's BookScan listing. And that's not a promising sign for superheroes, or the notion women are trying out the Big Two's products on a serious basis. You can be sure plenty are still well aware of Marvel's poor attitude towards Mary Jane Watson in a superhero series that's now pretty male-dominated backstage, and don't approve of that either.

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Yes and no: like with most stars/ideas on the fast-track to the top, it's more negative recognition than positive.

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