Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Real Women in Comic Book Art

I had a great discussion on this topic last night.

Modern comics depict a certain female body style. Many women want to buy superhero comics, but not ones featuring huge racks on the front.

DC's recent characterization decisions with Starfire (combined with the distinct lack of female creators in Nu52) combines with Marvel's tendency towards large, shall we say, hooters, to push women (not all women, mind) away from mainstream comics and towards independent creators. Despite encouraging figures, should mainstream publishers be pushing an audience segment away?

One response indicated that it did not matter because women are not the 'target audience'. To this, I have two things to say:

1. If you can sell your comics to women as well as men, you will sell more comics.
2. I have far more respect for men than to think large breasts are an essential element of selling comics (or anything else) to them. Really? Are men that shallow? (Nobilis, feel free to weigh in here, you know far more about selling sex than I do).

Am I saying comic book women should not be sexy? Heck no. I am saying that surely there is a way to attract women (or at least not push them away) without turning off men. I don't have any problem with sexy and desirable superheroes, of both sexes. Wonder Woman should be hot. So should Superman. I don't even have a problem with female characters fighting crime in bikinis (Scarlet Witch) or with Power Girl's rack (because it's become important to the character).

What's even more important, though, is that 'sexy' in a woman does not have to equate to out-of-control slutty (new Starfire) or require large breasts and borderline pornographic poses. These women are powerful and independent. Draw them that way, with the right level of sexy, and you will have both men *and* women wanting to read your books. Surely that's better?