Mark Millar and Todd McFarlane: Ladies, Comics Aren’t For You

Wow, everything I’ve been doing is wrong.

When I started reading comics and writing comic fanfics as a kid, I guess I just didn’t know that I was in over my head. Wandering through comic shops has always been one of my favorite pasttimes, but I suppose I owe the owners of those shops an apology for trespassing. What was I thinking?

I mean, it’s comic creators Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Gerry Conway (The Punisher), right? If they say comics aren’t for women, as they recently did, who am I to argue?

Oh, yeah. I’m a human being AND a lifelong comic fan with a brain AS WELL AS a vagina, and I call bullshit.

Ladies of Marvel by Olivier Coipel

Pure, unadulterated, lazy thinking, the-status-quo-suits-us-just-fine-and-why-are-you-trying-to-make-us-think? bullshit.

Since all of this debate is understandably pressing on my ladybrain, I find it easier to bullet point this pile of self-indulgence. So let’s take a look at why, exactly, comics just aren’t for women, and their portrayal in comics just doesn’t matter.

1. Comics don’t aim for diversity because it would weaken the storytelling.

Using flawless logic, Conway argues that “readers are not interested in those characters,” and that anyway “comics reflect society.”

Why this is bullshit: Readers ARE interested in these characters. This is a basic pillar of fiction. Create interesting, multi-faceted characters, and people will enjoy them. It’s a circular argument to say that you’re not going to create interesting female characters, and then whine that you don’t do it because no one is interested in them. If you haven’t been creating many of them, and the ones you have been creating are flat, or women in refrigerators, or narrative devices to further male characters’ plotlines, then no, I imagine most people don’t find them that interesting. That, however, is a reflection on your lazy writing.

Also, anecdata is not data, and that one girl you are using in your example to prove your point is not reflective of every woman. McFarlane argued, “I’ve got two daughters, and if I wanted to do something that I thought was emboldened to a female, I probably wouldn’t choose superhero comic books to get that message across,” mainly because it’s too “testosterone driven.” Conway piled on: his daughter is “not interested in the guy stories.” She is interested in writer Faith Erin Hicks, who is female and wrote “The Adventures of Superhero Girl,” but that doesn’t count somehow, because it’s about a girl, not a boy, and comics are for boys. Even though “The Adventures of Superhero Girl” is a comic.

Sorry, guys: your daughters are not the only girls in the entire world. I’m sure they’re lovely, but they are not the sole representations of females and their responses to comics.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. mareldovia says:

    First, i want to apologize for may bad grammar or lousy understand of your language.
    Second, i have been following your blog since quite a time, mostly because you have an interesting entry about werwolf literature, was looking forward to read your book (even knowing that i’m not a fan of young adult genera) but its impossible to buy it any where.
    I have read this article trying to understand the deep core of what was being presented, and reminded me of an incident i had with a local comic book writer, that in an abrupt burst of innocence, said the exact same thing. Me as a comic book writer to (i’m a man btw), toke the remark as un lousy overstatement and in an attempt to find the roots of his assessment ask him to elaborate. he couldn’t, and believe me he emphatically tried, but every point he made was so flawed that all his premise crumbled down, i have to point to that he is actually a popular comic writer here in my country, but not a bright one, his comics are derivative works of what he things is the formula. now that guy wasn’t a world wide popular comic writer, but lets face it the comic scenario is not filled with the most sharp tools on the box (as northamericans say), in fact Todd McFarlane is just u guy that driven by the marvel schema creates soap operas for teenagers; i’m not saying that doing it is per se wrong, but i don’t think his work could evolve pass that, and its because of that, and in a personal point of view, that i quitted comics long time ago. I recommend to you to read one of the Tom Strong’s Terrific tails comic the one called “King Solomon in a solo adventure” from Leah Moore, the daughter of Allan Moore, its great work beyond what ever Todd McFarlane will ever hope to achieve.


    1. ajharper says:

      Thank you for your comments, I am a big fan of Tom Strong;s Terrific Tales, great art and stories featuring Tom Strong, Young Tom and Jonni Future, I’m sorry you’re unable to locate Werewolves the Mix Tape in your area, here is the amazon link
      More werew wolf articles to come


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