We got a tip from a reader named Jason about what went down on the panel as it pertained to DC’s female readership and searched for more information. Turns out, Bloody Disgusting recorded the entirety of the panel, moderated by John Cunningham, VP Marketing DC Comics. We’ve transcribed the following passages from their recording.
As the illustrator of Superman/Wonder Woman, Daniel was asked to speak a bit about the inception and direction of the title. He said:
It’s the perfect combination of what I wanted to do. They’re two of my favorite characters and I wanted to do Superman for a long time and I really wanted a much longer run than I had on Action. I just lover Superman, Metropolis, you know, Lois Lane, his whole world. It’s funny, because in Chicago I was talking to Bobbie Chase and Bob Harras about making a book, I wasn’t referring to creating this book, but I mentioned maybe, can we create a book that targets a little bit more of the female readership that’s been growing. And maybe a book that has a little bit of romance in it, a little big of sex appeal, you know, something that would, for lack of a better example, that hits on the Twilight audience. You know, millions of people went to see those in the theaters because it has those kind of, you know, subject matter. The drama, the characterization with love triangles and forbidden love and things like that. Literally a month later they asked me, “Hey, what do you think of Superman/Wonder Woman?” And I think it took all of maybe three seconds for me to say, “Yeah, that’s great. Let’s do that.” Because that’s exactly what I was describing that we need.
While it’s good that DC understands they have a female fanbase and wants to write for it, I’m headdesking at how the thought process is to go to the automatic idea that women just want romance. More worryingly, later on in the article, a female fan tells them her concerns about the title, and they talk past her and assume she just wants more Superman butt shots, despite her not mentioning that.
The whole thing comes off like they just have this idea of what female fans are like and want, and they won’t be knocked off it, even by actual women.
More than that, it’s the idea that women are all this one giant whole, we all want the same things, we all want romance and love triangles and etc, and not that women interested in the genre of superhero comics might want something different than those interested in another genre of fiction. Also, that the female superhero comic fanbase can’t be interacted with, and hasn’t been writing and creating sites for years and years about what we want, and instead companies have to speculate by looking very superficially at a film/book series aimed at a different audience.
Go read the entire article on the Mary Sue at the link above and join me in headdesking. Seriously. I can’t. It’s mind blowing.