Comics: What Women (and Girls) Want
I conducted a series of impromptu interviews with female attendees at the San Diego Comic Con and these are my findings:
1. Mainstream Superhero Comics:
The minority of females I spoke to had any interest in mainstream superhero comics whatsoever. This lack of enthusiasm for the capes and tights seemed to be strongest in girls 12-20 years of age.
2. Fandoms for Females:
Fandoms cited as favorites included "Smallville," "Pirates of the Carribbean," "Harry Potter," "Firefly," "The Sandman," "Lord of the Rings," "Batman the Animated Series," "Justice League Unlimited," and various manga/anime.
3. Why Did They Visit The Con?:
The majority of women/girls I spoke to did not come to the convention because of comic books; rather, they were either into fantasy lit, gaming, anime/manga, and selected movies/TV shows.
4. Have They Ever Heard of the "Minx" line from DC?:
Most did not.
5. Format Preference: "Floppies" or Trades?
Most women preferred trades.
6. What Did They Think of Comics Specifically Marketed As "Female-Friendly?":
HATED IT. Makes them feel patronized. They also feel that "Female-Friendly" books promises "weak & boring" topics like shopping, dating soap-operas, and the like.
7. For the Girls: Is It Common For Their Female Classmates To Be In Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fandoms?
Yes. But again, it is not common for them to like mainstream superhero comics.
8. Did They Encounter Any Harassment or Were Offended By Anything In The Convention?
Most of the younger women, ages 12-20 did not -- in fact, they were not even sure of what I was referring to. But older women, 25+, did refer to some offensive images, negative experiences at past conventions, etc.
9. Why Did They Prefer "Smallville," "Justice League Unlimited," and "Batman Begins" But Not The Comics?
10. What Was Their Biggest Criteria In Choosing Their Books/Comics/Movies/TV?
11. "If A Marketing Person From DC or Marvel Wanted to Figure Out How To Get A Female To Buy Their Monthly Comic Book Titles, What Would You Say To Them?"
"Write good stories." "Stop marketing to me as a gender and just appeal to me as a person." "Publish more stories in book format."
In addition, virtually all of the females I talked to appeared to be highly literate, intelligent, forthright, and happy (even eager) to discuss the above. A good number of them also wanted to be writers.
I will be transcribing a few of the interviews I wrote down, from a spectrum of age groups, in a future post.