Sunday, March 07, 2010

Discussion question: If Girl Comics isn't a completely fantastic comic book, does it risk doing more harm than good?

I haven’t read Marvel’s Girl Comics #1 yet, and won’t read it for probably many more months (I’m waiting for the trade, as I think I’ve mentioned), so I can’t say anything about the quality of it. I like Amanda Conner’s cover, I like the logo (if not the title), and I like a lot of the names on the creative roster, although I imagine like most anthologies I won’t like every story in it.

I have been reading a few reviews of it though, and this one in particular from Christopher Allen got me thinking. Allen writes, in part, that it was “ghastly,” and “the unknowns are unknown because they’re not ready yet and the known, normally competent writers…phone it in.”

I haven’t read enough reviews to even guess what the general consensus on the book is just yet (other than the fact that everyone seems to like Doctor Octopus story), but what if Allen is dead-on, or even that a majority of the reviews lean towards Chris Sim’s assessment (“As to the stories themselves, they’re the mixed bag that usually comes with an anthology title”) than Jill Pantozzi’s (I didn't like it...I loved it.”)…?

What if Girl Comics fails to be totally awesome, will it ultimately do more harm than good when it comes to female writers and artists working on Big Two super-comics? If sales are wretched—and surely the single-issue sales will be poor, based on how Strange Tales and pretty much every other anthology ever does in the direct market—if critics and/or just comics readers with Internet connections receive it poorly, will it be used as an example (publicly or privately) of why Woman Writer A or Female Artist B isn’t getting more work at Marvel or DC?

You know, like, What about Devin Grayson? No, no one liked her short story in Girl Comics #1. Should we assign this one-shot to Up-and-Coming Female Writer, or Up-And-Coming Male Writer? Up-And-Coming Male Writer…remember Girl Comics? Male writers just plain sell better than female writers.

And like that.

I don’t know. I would hope not. I’d be kind of surprised if that did happen (Marvel definitely committed themselves to throwing more work at more female creators this year, and we’ll be seeing a lot more work from a lot more ladies at the publisher this year regardless of how Girl Comics is received by the market and by the critics and by the fans).

But then, it hardly ever does to be surprised at the cynicism of some of the players in the Big Two Super-Comic Industry.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Does Girl Comics present the danger of being seen as a sort of referendum on female creators working in general on superheroes in general?


e.g. seitz said...

Sadly, it probably does. I did read it and like most anthologies I thought it was hit or miss but I was more disappointed then I usually am with such things simply because of all the hype and discussion it had generated on the web. It wouldn't make me less likely to by something simply because it was made by a girl of course, but I don't think it's likely to change what ever hangups some people might have with female creators.

Matt said...

You're going to love the Franklin and Val story, Caleb.

Anonymous said...

Given that I just this second discovered that Devin Grayson was a lady-type, I am not qualified to comment.