Women, you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them — especially if you’re a grown man-child living in your parent’s basement. That is, until now. The “Women of Marvel” is a year-long celebration of, you guessed it, the women of Marvel Comics.
Marvel intends to celebrate women not only in the superhero realm but also the real life creators and artists. Marvel sees us standing impatiently in lines for Avatar and says, “Hey, maybe she’d like to read something to take her mind off of the 3 hour and $18 dollar ticket price.”
First off, I commend Marvel for spotlighting half of the human population. Yes, we women are out there and some of us are geeks. For the past few years I have been reading about Marvel’s company and comic book events.
I found Civil War to be expertly drawn and relevant, I was thankful that House of M was both brief and Wolverine-centric, and I was patient as Skrullacost (aka Secret Invasion) ended in a forgone conclusion. I was ecstatic when Marvel also dedicated a month to my favorite hairball, Wolvie.
Now that I liked, especially the article about the state of the canuckle’s head when he sat down on the couch for some therapy. It’s safe to say I’m excited about some Marvel events and less so about others, which is fine considering events span the far reaches of the Marvel universe.
However, when I heard about a year-long celebration of a gender I am wholly bias about, a smile spread on my face. Maybe it was due to the fact the most recent San Diego Comic-Con was comprised of 40% women or the line of Twihards stretched for miles, but whatever the cause the impact is slowly changing the marketplace for the well-rounded better and Marney (Marvel + Disney) is diving into the deep end.
So, yippie-kai-yay Marney, but it would be nice if this year-long celebration had a tenth as much marketing and oomph behind it as say the Disney volunteer commercials I see every other minute. When I exuberantly told this to my friend the other day she said, “Really, I had no idea.”
When I Googled “Women of Marvel” I came upon an article about a panel at comic-con, pictures of super-heroines, and Girl Comics. Instead of a huge hub detailing the event, there were only sporadic mentions. If you’re diving, dive into 12ft of water instead of the shallow end (because that might hurt). Go ahead and make a website hub where readers can link to bios of all these fabulous women artists.
Have a timeline of the kick-ass history of superhero women with links to each of them. Do an online poll akin to E’s fashion police where users can vote on which costume is the most fashion forward. Create faux match.com profiles for the super-hero career gals who are too busy saving the world to go grab a cosmo in the city. In other words, Marvel you have my full encouragement to go completely gaga!
Even if that means publishing a one-shot team-up between Dazzler and Lady Gaga (would she even need powers?!). I can’t speak for the entire population, but I’m a fan of geeky product that not only realizes we exist and respects our gender, but also encourages new fan girls to join the party. Go for it Marney, go for it.
Speaking of which, as I was telling my friend of this momentous occasion I also told her to pick up a copy of a first issue entitled Girl Comics, to which she replied, “You mean Shoujo?” Little did I know I was about to be schooled in the ways of Manga. She said you know, “Shoujo, Manga’s answer to all the pre-teen schoolgirls who read just as much comics as their boy counterparts.”
I immediately thought of Sailor Moon, but was rebuffed. It seems Manga has been tapping into the female population’s thirst for good material for years.
For all of the non-Manga readers, Shoujo is anything from historical drama to sci-fi, targeted directly at girls. Its bigger sister is Josei, devoted to late teens and 20-somethings (yeah, I wikied it). Apparently Josei stories blend a Glamour magazine sensibility with Fabio-clad romance novels.
What Josei mostly lacks and Shoujo has are super-heroines or at least women with magical abilities. I like to day-dream about a corner office, search for the best mascara, and watch a Grey’s Anatomy episode but every once in awhile I would love to teleport straight into a battle with super-villains and save the world. It would be fabulous to read about a relatable life that includes a bit of the extraordinary.
Girl Comics is written and drawn by a slew of women including the colorful Colleen Coover, the amazing Amanda Conner, the irresistible Irene Lee, and many others. Frak, even some of the editors are women like the scintillating Sana Amanat. Interlaced among short stories are bios of women who worked in the trenches of the boy’s club back in the day. The ladies’ sheer spunkiness reminded me of A League of their Own.
The stories vary from a vignette surrounding Nightcrawler’s visit to a club, Venus working from the ground-up at a fashion magazine, The Punisher protecting girls from web molesters, Doc Oc going grocery shopping, the Fantastic Four’s kids escaping a Hansel and Gretel nightmare, and an exploration into the Scott-Jean-Logan love triangle.
All in all, that’s a lot of content. Strangely no one took the furry blue German-speaking priest in a nightclub as odd. But I digress. The art came in every style and so did the stories. I don’t believe a comic book has to solely feature a brazen babe on the cover to be marketed towards ladies. It’s refreshing the “Women of Marvel” didn’t simply mean showing more cheesecake shots of Ms. Marvel’s derriere.
I want what everyone wants, enthralling stories with equally enthralling art. I tire of issues completely composed of one huge battle, strewn with one-liners. I want to know how Spider-woman copes with being on an Avenger jet with a bunch of smelly dudes. I want to know how She-Hulk manages to find a real man who isn’t intimidated by her mountains of muscle.
And most importantly, I want to know which Project Runway designer the super-heroines hire to create their rockin’ wardrobes. Some of these questions may have already been answered, but there’s stacks of ways to market to women that remain to be discovered.
So Marney, previously known as Marvel, keep doing what you’re doing and fear not for the lifetime spent trying to understand us mighty women is time well spent. None have reached the mystery shrouded destination but the journey will prove to be entertaining enough to warrant more than one sell-out of a $4.99 comic book.