DC Comics in Response: We Hear You

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With all of the criticism its gotten over the past week after the PR Nightmare that were the DC panels at San Diego Comic Con, the comics publisher, first through Bleeding Cool, and then on their own blog, spoke up about their intentions toward diversifying their product and their market:

“DC Comics is the home of a pantheon of remarkable, iconic women characters like Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman and Supergirl as well as fan favorite characters like Black Canary, Katana, Mera and Starfire. We’re committed to telling diverse stories with a diverse point of view. We want these adventures to resonate in the real world, reflecting the experiences of our diverse readership. Can we improve on that? We always can—and aim to.”

The post goes on to say that they  have new projects with more women at the helm and on the pages for the coming months. While the blog post does not address Didio’s frustrated and aggressive approach to the questions asked at comic con, or their statements of marketing specifically toward “18-34 year old men,” it is a start.

The fact that they addressed this issue at all is a good sign, if you ask me. Many a company and a online comic (*coughpennyarcadecough*) have either brushed complaints about gender sensitivity off or ignored them completely.

It is by no means a solution to an industry-wide problem that has been going on for as long as the superhero industry has existed but I look forward to seeing what they have to offer.

So let’s see it, DC. Show us what you got.

Other useful links:

The Interview with The Batgirl

Comics Alliance’s response to Didio’s frustration

A well-written Tumblr response to DC that I love and feel the need to share

Comments

  1. M.C. says

    I don’t know, that whole statement rings hollow, as long as they keep their reboot that reduces iconic female characters like Lois Lane to nothing more than a love interest…

    This link sums up my feelings perfectly (I already sent it to Maria in a fit of rage, before I realized that you guys are putting up posts about Comic Con anyway): http://loislaneverse.tumblr.com/post/7895532690/thoughts-on-lois-lanes-place-in-the-dcnu

    In the end I guess I just won’t believe any half-assed apology from DC, until they bring out a Lois Lane series. Period.

  2. says

    M.C.,

    While I agree that Lois’ place in the DCnU sucks compared to where she is in the old stuff, I’m willing to take DC at their word, and wait to see what they have to offer. They say they’re going to be putting out more women-centric work later in the year, and next year? I’ll wait and see.

    One thing that struck me was that Bleeding Cool said they were un-mothballing some old stuff, and I wonder if that means the YA Lois Lane series that was pitched, but turned down, is getting a second look: http://ww.ifanboy.com/content/articles/Dean_Trippe_s_LOIS_LANE__GIRL_REPORTER__The_Coolest_DC_Book_You_ll_Never_Get_to_Read

    *crosses fingers* I really hope so.

  3. M.C. says

    Leigh:

    One thing that struck me was that Bleeding Cool said they were un-mothballing some old stuff, and I wonder if that means the YA Lois Lane series that was pitched, but turned down, is getting a second look: http://ww.ifanboy.com/content/articles/Dean_Trippe_s_LOIS_LANE__GIRL_REPORTER__The_Coolest_DC_Book_You_ll_Never_Get_to_Read

    *crosses fingers* I really hope so.

    That would be… beyond awesome! :-)

    Here’s hoping that once the new movie is released, if not before that, they’ll give us some Lois-centered stuff.

  4. Shaun says

    SunlessNick:
    The only time I’ve liked “I/we hear you” as a response is when G’Kar did it.

    Haha I was just watching B5 videos on Youtube. When did he say that? Needs moar context.

  5. Shaun says

    M.C.: That would be… beyond awesome!

    Here’s hoping that once the new movie is released, if not before that, they’ll give us some Lois-centered stuff.

    Stupid question… why does anyone care about Lois? Whoever is writing her definitely should but I never got the impression she was anything but a plucky female reporter archetype in a comic that favored a very stark contrast between good and evil with a stale and lifeless lead hero.

  6. M.C. says

    Shaun: Stupid question… why does anyone care about Lois? Whoever is writing her definitely should but I never got the impression she was anything but a plucky female reporter archetype in a comic that favored a very stark contrast between good and evil with a stale and lifeless lead hero.

    Maybe because Lois is one of the first fictional carreer women.
    Maybe because Lois inspired generations of women to work in a male-dominated field.
    Maybe because Lois is based on the smart, determined and courageous Joanne Siegel.
    Maybe because Lois precedes every superhero ever except for Superman.
    Maybe because Lois is an ordinary human woman in a world full of supernatural beings, who can hold her own and keep up with any of them.
    Maybe because there have been shows like Lois&Clark:TNAOS and Smallville that portrayed Lois as the anti-love-interest. She’s not the beautiful damsel in distress. Or, as Clark described her in Smallville: “Lois? She’s bossy, she’s stuck up, she’s rude!”
    And on Lois&Clark:TNAOS he said: “Lois is, well, she’s complicated. Domineering, uncompromising, pigheaded . . . brilliant.”
    Maybe because we identify with Lois, who loves monster trucks, who dresses up as a stormtrooper to go to conventions, who got kicked out of college for beating up a frat boy, who would do anything for her little sister even if she drives her nuts, and who never gives up on her goals in life no matter how many obstacles she encounters.
    Maybe because she’s Fuck Yeah! Lois Lane!

    http://www.redboots.net/loislane/llane_index.htm
    http://www.freewebs.com/loislanekent/
    http://fuckyeahlois.tumblr.com/
    http://loislaneverse.tumblr.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MgGDVbzDUI

  7. Azzy says

    Shaun: Haha I was just watching B5 videos on Youtube. When did he say that? Needs moar context.

    I think he says that in an episode after the Narn/Centauri war starts, when he needs to reassure the Narns on the station and make them trust his leadership. “Acts of Sacrifice”, I think the episode was? I’m 75% sure that was the context.

  8. Plessiez says

    Shaun: Haha I was just watching B5 videos on Youtube. When did he say that? Needs moar context.

    Having read Azzy’s reply, I’m less sure, but I thought this was a reference to the episode in which G’Kar and Londo are trapped in a wrecked elevator after an explosion on the station. (This occurs in … ‘Convictions’, I think? Early in Season 3, anyway.)

    Londo expects G’Kar to work with him to try to escape, but G’Kar replies that, though he’d like to survive, he’d rather watch Londo die. Exasperated, Londo turns around and starts banging on the elevator door, while calling out “Can anybody hear me?”: G’Kar grins to himself, settles down, and murmurs “I hear you”.

  9. SunlessNick says

    That’s the one I’m thinking of. It’s not a response I see as terribly helpful. At least on its own.

  10. Sylvie says

    it’s great that they’re planning on showcasing more female leads, but as they said, they already have several female leads. Those women are still mostly fanservice. The problem I had with the Captain America movie wasn’t that Agent whatsernme didn’t kick ass – she did, and I liked the character. The problem was that there was only one of her. If the comic/movie was going to warp history enough to show an interracial battle team and have a woman with that much authority, it could have easily put in another. When women in the comics routinely have the same level of power – and the same *numbers* – as men, then we’ll be getting somewhere.

    And Natalie Portman’s character in Thor?? She went from a savvy and dedicated scientist to a drooling, thew-struck groupie in the space of about 1 hour. She was an anti-role model.

  11. says

    I say, “I hear you,” all the time. I say it as part of my passive listening, when the other person is on a roll and I don’t want to interrupt their train of thought. For a company to say it and have be not passive listening, they need to follow it up with, “And here’s what we’re going to do about it,” which DC really didn’t.

  12. Patrick McGraw says

    M.C.:
    I don’t know, that whole statement rings hollow, as long as they keep their reboot that reduces iconic female characters like Lois Lane to nothing more than a love interest…

    This link sums up my feelings perfectly (I already sent it to Maria in a fit of rage, before I realized that you guys are putting up posts about Comic Con anyway): http://loislaneverse.tumblr.com/post/7895532690/thoughts-on-lois-lanes-place-in-the-dcnu

    Excellent essay that sums up a lot of my feelings as well. I was very glad to see links to Birthright and the DCAU for their portrayals of Lois (who always sounds like Dana Delany in my head).

    In the end I guess I just won’t believe any half-assed apology from DC, until they bring out a Lois Lane series. Period.

    Who would you want to see writing such a series?

  13. Patrick McGraw says

    Shaun: Stupid question… why does anyone care about Lois? Whoever is writing her definitely should but I never got the impression she was anything but a plucky female reporter archetype in a comic that favored a very stark contrast between good and evil with a stale and lifeless lead hero.

    You’ve never actually read a Superman comic book, have you?

  14. M.C. says

    Patrick McGraw: Who would you want to see writing such a series?

    That’s easy. Greg Rucka or Gail Simone. Bot of them get Lois. Both of them gave Lois her own interesting arc when they were writing Superman comics. Though it would be hard choosing between those two, because while Rucka was better in writing the supporting cast, Simone’s stories were more light-hearted fun.
    Hm, what is Barbara Kesel doing these days? I loved her Lois one-shot Girlfriendzy!

  15. Søren Løvborg says

    Patrick McGraw: You’ve never actually read a Superman comic book, have you?

    As someone who is not Shaun, but with pretty much the exact same question as Shaun, I’ll admit that I at least have never actually read more than one or two Superman comics. (I did see the 1978 Superman film a long time ago, and was perplexed by Superman Returns in 2006, but that’s also about it.)

    I think I share a popular (but perhaps blatantly incorrect) notion of Superman as the (literal) archetype of the ridiculously overpowered spandex-clad superhero who must continously fight even more ridiculously overpowered supervillains, a genre I don’t care much for.

    I mean, I knew there had to be something else to the series, since I kept running into readers online who weren’t prepubescent boys from the 1950’s, but I never figured out what.

    M.C.: http://www.redboots.net/loislane/llane_index.htm

    This! “Lois Lane’s evolution in the comics” is freakin’ awesome! I think I might actually get it now.

  16. Shaun says

    Patrick McGraw,

    Hahaha. No. I do know in a lot of (non-main canon?) stories he represents the status quo, though, and things like http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/12/30/worst-comics-2010-superman-grounded/ really make me uninterested in the comic as a whole. Yes, I can see it’s listed as the worst comic of 2010, but this pretty well meshes with my understanding of Superman’s understanding of morality.

    Since Lois comes with such high recommendations I’ll look into her, but the comic she’s in has never attracted me.

  17. M.C. says

    Søren Løvborg:
    I think I share a popular (but perhaps blatantly incorrect) notion of Superman as the (literal) archetype of the ridiculously overpowered spandex-clad superhero who must continously fight even more ridiculously overpowered supervillains, a genre I don’t care much for.

    I highly reccomend watching at least the pilot of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. While the fashion may be outdated, this is the modern version of the characters.
    And if you ever find the time to get into 10 years of Smallville, this is the show in which Erica Durance portrayed Lois from season 4 onwards – and 99% of all Superman fans agree that she is The Lois Lane, mostly because the actress is a fan of the character and was in later seasons given a say in how the story lines played out.

  18. Patrick McGraw says

    M.C.: That’s easy. Greg Rucka or Gail Simone. Bot of them get Lois. Both of them gave Lois her own interesting arc when they were writing Superman comics. Though it would be hard choosing between those two, because while Rucka was better in writing the supporting cast, Simone’s stories were more light-hearted fun.
    Hm, what is Barbara Kesel doing these days? I loved her Lois one-shot Girlfriendzy!

    Heh, exactly my choices. Rucka’s runs on Superman and Wonder Woman were some of my favorite material that DC put out in the last 10 years.

  19. Patrick McGraw says

    Shaun:
    Patrick McGraw,

    Hahaha. No. I do know in a lot of (non-main canon?) stories he represents the status quo, though, and things like http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/12/30/worst-comics-2010-superman-grounded/ really make me uninterested in the comic as a whole. Yes, I can see it’s listed as the worst comic of 2010, but this pretty well meshes with my understanding of Superman’s understanding of morality.

    Have you considered that a simplistic, status quo morality may be part of why this is considered such a bad Superman story? Because that certainly seems to be the writer’s view in that article.

    Since Lois comes with such high recommendations I’ll look into her, but the comic she’s in has never attracted me.

    Try reading Mark Waid and L. Francis Yu’s Superman: Birthright. It will give you a better view of both Clark and Lois. Then try just about any Superman comics by Waid, Greg Rucka, or Gail Simone.

  20. Patrick McGraw says

    I tried really, really hard to like Smallville, but had to stop early in the third season (my articles on it should still be around here somewhere), so I never got to see Lois. But considering that Clark in that show came off less as young Superman than young Ultraman from Earth-3’s Crime Syndicate of America, I didn’t have high hopes.

  21. Shaun says

    Patrick McGraw,

    I pretty much despise Gail Simone for her treatment of queers and disabled people, and her reaction to being called out on her shit, so I don’t have a lot of interest in her even if she avoids marginalizing white able women (a magical feat beyond the rest of DC it seems). Greg Rucka I’ve heard a constant stream of good things from, particularly on Hathor, so I will keep an eye out for his name the next time I buy a graphic novel.

  22. M.C. says

    Patrick McGraw: Heh, exactly my choices. Rucka’s runs on Superman and Wonder Woman were some of my favorite material that DC put out in the last 10 years.

    I practically worship Rucka for fixing the comics after Chuck Austin tried his best to ruin Lois’s character and her marriage to Clark. Honestly, it’s like Austin is everything that’s worng about Clana fangirls/boys, rolled up in one person. lol

    Shaun:
    Greg Rucka I’ve heard a constant stream of good things from, particularly on Hathor, so I will keep an eye out for his name the next time I buy a graphic novel.

    Rucka’s run on Superman was collected in 3 paper backs: Unconventional Warfare, That Healing Touchand Ruin Revealed.

    btw, I’ve got another recommendation: Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek & Stuart Immonen. This is an Elseworld story, a story that’s not in continuity, like an alternate universe. A fan of the Lois&Clark series suggested this to me, because the characterisation is spot on in this graphic novel. Also I think this is the first time that Lois was depicted as not being white, but Indian American. (After reading it I was hoping so much, that the new film would choose an actress of colour, but alas…)

  23. M.C. says

    Patrick McGraw:
    I tried really, really hard to like Smallville, but had to stop early in the third season (my articles on it should still be around here somewhere), so I never got to see Lois. But considering that Clark in that show came off less as young Superman than young Ultraman from Earth-3′s Crime Syndicate of America, I didn’t have high hopes.

    I started watching in season 4 only because I heard that Lois was going to show up and she turned out to be the best thing about the whole series. :-)
    Erica Durance had so much insight into Lois. In season 8 there was this cute flirtation going on between Lois&Clark. Then alot of things happened, Lois left town for 5 weeks, Lana showed up again and Clark slept with Lana. Then Lois came back. The following episode portrayed Clark as being very conflicted over if he wanted to be with Lois or not. At the end Lois was supposed to kiss him. Erica Durance went to the writers and insisted that she wasn’t going to play that because Lois would never be desperate with a man like that, she would never kiss him the day after he slept with another woman. And the writers listened to her and the rest of the season was written so that Lois was still a friend to Clark but wouldn’t go after him romantically anymore.

  24. Søren Løvborg says

    M.C.: I highly reccomend watching at least the pilot of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. [...] And if you ever find the time to get into 10 years of Smallville, this is the show in which Erica Durance portrayed Lois from season 4 onwards – and 99% of all Superman fans agree that she is The Lois Lane, mostly because the actress is a fan of the character and was in later seasons given a say in how the story lines played out.

    Thanks for the recommendations, I think I just might take a look.

  25. Patrick McGraw says

    One of the big issues (among many) that I had with Superman Returns was that Kate Bosworth’s Lois was unrecognizable. She spent the whole movie acting like a hurt puppy in a profoundly un-Lois-like manner.

    I’m not a fan of Lois and Clark overall, but one need only watch a little bit of the show to go “yes, that is Lois Lane.”

  26. M.C. says

    Patrick McGraw:
    One of the big issues (among many) that I had with Superman Returns was that Kate Bosworth’s Lois was unrecognizable. She spent the whole movie acting like a hurt puppy in a profoundly un-Lois-like manner.

    I know many Lois fans hated that she slept with the boss’s nephew. A professional woman like Lois wouldn’t do that. Yes, on Smallville Lois slept with her boss, but she was very young, it was the beginning of her carreer, it ended in a desaster and she acknoledged that it was a mistake she wasn’t going to repeat. Also Chloe told her: “Sooner or later, people are gonna start scratching, assuming one thing — Lois Lane jump-started her career on her managing editor’s diehard battery.”
    Yeah, I loved the Chloe/Lois cousin relationship, how they could be so honest with each other because they cared so much.

    Another problem with Superman Returns: Lois had a baby from one man and made another man believe it’s his… There are so many things wrong with that I don’t even know where to start.

  27. M.C. says

    SunlessNick:
    M.C.,

    In defense of the SR Lois, I think she believed it too.

    Well, then she was stupid. What kind of person sleeps with 2 men without using any protection? Are we supposed to believe that Lois is a smart and tough big city girl, who never heard of STDs?

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