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Thursday, July 09, 2015 

Superficial coverage of women in the medium by Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair's the latest mainstream source sugarcoating the ostensible breakthrough of women in the medium, in an article that begins with Kelly Sue DeConnick's supposed success:
As one of the comic-book industry’s most successful writers, DeConnick, 44, has been credited with drawing female readers back to comic books. She is the writer of three popular comic-book series, all starring female characters: the Marvel imprint Captain Marvel, the western Pretty Deadly, and Bitch Planet, a cultural satire about an off-planet women’s prison. She writes passionately, both on and off the page, about feminism, female representation, and the need for more female comic-book creators. At San Diego Comic-Con this week, she’ll participate in three separate panels, including a workshop for another group of aspiring comic-book artists.
I think she's just been credited by phonies like Vox. Sales numbers don't reflect their claim, and there's more on that along the later paragraphs. A better argument would be whether she's managed to draw them back to the Big Two, and that sure doesn't seem to be the case.
In 2011, Steve Wacker, the vice president of animation at Marvel Comics, proposed the relaunch of the publisher’s classic Ms. Marvel comic-book series, with one caveat: the superhero, Carol Danvers, would assume the name of Captain Marvel. Several superheroes have donned the Captain Marvel jumpsuit over the years, both male and female. But Wacker wanted someone tougher and more symbolic of comics’ changing demographic. “I wanted a lady Chuck Yeager,” he told me recently.

Wacker offered the job to DeConnick, who had pitched a new Ms. Marvel series earlier that year. Within the hour, she had sent him a dozen articles about female pilots in World War II. She also offered suggestions for a new costume. The previous one—thigh-high boots, black swimsuit, and opera gloves—felt somewhat dated. “This is a woman with a military background, a feminist background,” DeConnick said. “The idea that she would be flying around with her ass hanging out is ridiculous.”
There's feminist backgrounds and there's feminist backgrounds and DeConnick's is one that sees sexuality everywhere, and thinks it's only a bad thing. I wonder if that's her take on Wonder Woman too? It sounds like the same mentality that's gone after J. Scott Campbell and company. That second costume design for Ms. Marvel by Dave Cockrum was very good, and feminist or not, it was a good fit for the character.

As for demographics, Marvel certainly isn't finding much of them, if at all. There are women getting into products from smaller publishers. But Marvel's? Again, sales aren't echoing that, yet VF goes on to say:
Sales of Captain Marvel are solid, but slow compared to DC and Marvel’s biggest titles: around 20,000 a week compared to Amazing Spider-Man’s 100,000 copies. But Carol’s fans are fiercely loyal. After Captain Marvel’s launch, DeConnick began tagging social-media posts related to the book—letters, fan art, cosplay—with the hashtag #carolcorps. It caught on. Fans began referring to themselves as members of the Carol Corps, tweeting photos of themselves reading the books, wearing Captain Marvel T-shirts, or getting Captain Marvel tattoos. A mother and daughter from North Carolina started a Carol Corps cat club, raising money for local cat shelters as a tribute to Carol Danvers’s cat. Another group, the Carol Corps Yarn Brigade, knit Captain Marvel merchandise for sick members of the Carol Corps. “I think it accidentally touched on a real thirst,” DeConnick said. “You’ve got 20,000 monthly readers…in the comic market that’s not that much, but 19,000 of them have tattoos of the main character on their arm . . . it’s something else. It’s a vocal, committed, and supportive fanbase.”
Once again, it's enough to howl with laughter. Even if Spider-Man's getting that much at the moment, it's not spectacular news either. I'm sorry, but if I'd been in a writing gig, much as I wish I could appreciate having an audience, however small, even I'd have to accept that 20,000 is too little to be significant when there's millions more out there who aren't bothering. How odd DeConnick doesn't seem to lament how it's a shame the companies aren't trying to get more people encouraged to buy their products, or making the environment more welcoming for people who don't want to spend so much money on crossovers that interrupt a lot of the books.

When they talk about women new to the market, they parrot what's already been told:
...the new female Thor (who, after an initial period of fanboy anguish, is outselling the last Thor comic book by 30 percent)
Give us the exact numbers, please, or why bother. Publicity stunts can only get you so far.
Women weren’t always so rare in the world of comics—in the so-called “Golden Age,” which lasted from the late 30s to the early 50s, they were read by males and females in almost equal numbers. But until recently, DeConnick and her friend Gail Simone, a legendary writer for Wonder Woman and Batgirl, among others, were some of the few women at comic-book conventions. Both still face staggering amounts of sexist responses to their work. Deconnick began writing Bitch Planet as a direct response to people complaining about Captain Marvel’s new direction when she took over the series. “I wasn’t like, writing feminist pamphlets, you know. I was writing stories about this lady who shoots beams out of her hands. But I had the gall to have inter-generational female friendships and a largely female cast and, you know, every once in a while, a joke. It ruffled feathers and I thought, Well, if that’s what we’re going to talk about, then let’s talk about it.”
This sounds an awful lot like the GamerGate narrative. And calling Simone "legendary" makes it sound like she's some widely successful veteran on a level with Stan Lee. But anybody who looks at her career under a microscope knows that DC ultimately sabotaged her run on Birds of Prey, and even her Batgirl run was undermined. If she's left their employ, she actually did the right thing. No need to lend talent to a company that's no longer respectful of its own properties.

VF starts talking about the Muslim Ms. Marvel, and wouldn't you know it, the magazine hints they support vandalism:
Earlier this year, street artists in San Francisco began covering up anti-Islam advertisements on city buses with images of Kamala, alongside slogans calling for free speech and an end to racism. Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson didn’t know until someone brought it up on Twitter. “To see a character for whom I had very conservative hopes—I expected the series to run for seven or eight issues, ten tops, if right-wing backlash didn't kill it sooner—become a symbol of hope and renewal, has just been incredible,” she told me. “If nothing else, it shows you how much is changing, not just in the comics industry, but in our culture as a whole.”
Nope. It just shows you have radical leftists running amok in a haven for illegal immigrants. It's just like a leftist magazine like VF to whitewash vandalism of advertisements that were paid for, and which Pamela Geller worked very hard to get approved in court. That's very grave, and a perfect reason why not to buy the magazine. Eugene Volokh's made clear at the Wash. Post that vandalism isn't free speech.

Towards the end of the VF article:
Though she’s now leaving Captain Marvel behind to focus on her television work, as well as Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly, DeConnick knows the character will stick with her. “Carol’s rubbed off on me a bit, living in my head these last few years. She's taught me to keep pushing myself,” she said. “I’m afraid of failing, afraid I’ve peaked. But who would I be if I let that stop me, right? Corny as it is to say, it would be as though she’d taught me nothing.”
They don't mention it, but I think Captain Marvel is going to end its run soon. DeConnick may not have failed, but the ongoing series did, because it was no more immune to editorial mandates like crossovers than the rest of their output, and the shambled continuity and PC mindsets don't help.

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Mainstream doesn't always mean honesty or saying stuff without being paid (bribed) beforehand.

Love how Wilson took the time to swipe at us wingnuts. Assuming we'd read her tripe in the first place?

And wake me up when Simone stops writing Red Sonja, as she'll ruin that, too. As for legendary, she's legendary in her own mind, anyway.

For the record, I'm perfectly fine with female writers... of the old-school, who weren't SJWs first, everything else second. (What's Louise Simonson doing these days?) But I'm always repeating myself about this, and they're always repeating themselves with the same SJW class of women, like DeConnick, Wilson and Simone, who think the classics are "dated," therefore to be ignored.

Don't we deserve better than this? I don't want to come back here at 50, and gripe about the same damn things. I want to gripe about new things, instead, thank you. Oh, I'm cranky, today, but at least DeConnick isn't writing Carol anymore, so that's good.

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