What We Can Do To Bring More Women Into Comics

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2014/05/13/let-girls-take-the-lead/#comment-4650812

I was just browsing Comic Book Resources and came across an interesting article about letting girls take the lead in the comics industry. It is actually a guest piece written by a long-time comic writer named Barbara Slate. She talks about the benefits of bringing forth a more girl-oriented line as an alternative to male-dominated superheroes, and once upon a time, Marvel had done such a line, having acquired notable licenses to Mattel’s Barbie, and Disney’s Princess characters. The line, while overshadowed by Marvel’s male-oriented heavy-hitters like Spider-Man, Avengers, and X-Men, did actually prove profitable, and Slate herself worked on the line to help it thrive, until a dark period began later into the ’90s, when a moronic excuse of an entrepreneur who was not well-versed in the comics industry began to drive the company into bankruptcy, and although the girls’ line was profitable, it met an untimely end as a result.

Now, Slate suggests revisting the prospect of a more girl-oriented line separate from superheroes. Now, while I consider myself a feminist and do not generally agree with tactics of gender-based segregation, I can definitely understand the basic idea. The idea of bringing out more titles that are more generally more accessible to women is a concept that seems so foreign to many of comics’ current business practitioners, but can only serve to benefit the industry in the long run, and we definitely need to do more than simply cater to the same already-existing demographic of adult males in their 30s and 40s. Emerald City Comic-Con attendance was over half female, and I believe it goes without saying that women are half the world’s population. With that in mind, why wouldn’t you want to tap into that market? Even with all this in mind, there is still one more thing to consider. The problem does not start and end at how many titles are distinctly “for girls”.

I won’t deny that we need more titles that are more accessible for women. After all, that is the whole point of Slate’s article, as well as the point of this opinion piece. And also, as a man with a particular interest in more feminine stories, and also as a male feminist, I embrace the idea of more stories for women. However, I’m sorry to say that it’ll take more to end the current problem than simply doing a “girls’ line”, although I definitely welcome the idea. Another thing we can do is lower the price point for comics and increase the availability for the books. These days, you only see comic books sold at comic book stores that specialize in this media specifically, or certain book store chains. I can’t help but view this situation as somewhat problematic for the industry, as it limits just how many people are likely not only to find these books, but also how many people are likely to put down the money to actually buy them. After all, I might be able to shell out three or four bucks for what is, in the end, approximately twenty pages of story, but I can’t speak for anyone else in that department.

And finally, another big thing we can to make comics more accessible to women is something that Janelle Assellin has been suggesting since she worked at DC Comics as an editor for Batman. That is, we can make the male-oriented stories more inclusive. Bringing out works for male audiences that do not alienate prospective female customers should be a no-brainer. Say what you will about Assellin’s critique of the Teen Titans cover, but she is absolutely right on the grounds that just because a story is targeted towards a male audience does not necessarily mean that it should be designed only for dudes. In Slate’s article, she states the folowing:

“We all know why women are sexualized in boys’ comics. Boys like boobs. Therefore grown men who draw the comics will continue to draw big breasts because they like to and because they know that it sells comics. We may never get them to stop drawing humongous mammaries, but the industry leading publishers can and should have a counterbalance. Instead of just trying to “educate” the boys, give the girls the lead.”

While I will agree that a counterbalance may be necessary, I must take issue with the rest of this quote. The entire paragraph suggests that exclusionary practices are only human nature, that nothing can be done about it, which, whether Slate intends for it to or not, reinforces sexist notions about gender, that men and women are and always will be fundamentally different in their interests and hobbies, which has time and again, been proven untrue. And also, while I will admit that sexualization is indeed, a part of human nature, but by no means is it unavoidable. I may sound uptight by saying this, but at the end of the day, sexualizing female characters is a choice, in every meaning of the word, and it’s a choice that not every male writer is going to make, no matter how naturally it comes. Furthermore, even those male writers that do don’t necessarily operate under the hive mind of “How are we going to exploit female sexuality next?”. In fact, there are ways of exploring the topic of a female character’s sexuality that aren’t exploitative in nature.

Again, the problems with accessibility towards women don’t start and end with the existence of girls’ lines. Like it has been said numerous times before, we do need more books that are girl-friendly, but we also need to make the books more available and affordable, and, we also need to bring out more titles for men that do not exclude women.

Have a good day.

-Dan

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The Characters of God Bless The Warriors – Innocent Devil – Villains

Here is a series of bios for the villains of Innocent Devil.

Devil King Ariacchios

The main antagonist. Ariacchios is a king of Devils and is responsible for Tyson’s transformation into a demon. He seeks to extend his territory across multiple worlds, and is currently targeting both Sanctania and Florania. He is ruthless and calculating, using whatever means he can to obtain victory and gain dominance. He has a human-like appearance, but with green scales across his entire body and is able to summon and control flames similar to Tyson.

Fallen Grim Reaper Salvati

A sadistic female devil weilding a blood-soaked scythe. She was once a messenger of death, but she became twisted by a thirst of blood and started claiming souls prematurely. She loves battle and murder and revels in the despair of her enemies and victims. Since she claims a person’s soul before death, her victims fall into comas instead of dying, and to save them, Salvati must be defeated in combat. She is adept at wielding a scythe due to centuries of experience and is also skilled in dark magic. Her appearance resembles that of a young woman with long black hair and black eyes.

Destructor Caesar

A vampire nobleman from Sanctania who grew corrupt and started to rule his domain with an iron fist. Caesar has made several attempts to expand his land by conquering neighboring nations as well as other worlds. The Sanctanian government has also made several movements to stop him. He is a cruel dictator who has enslaved his people, forcing young citizens to serve in his army against their will. He uses a combination of swordplay and dark magic in battle.

The Lifeeater

A cannibalistic devil resembling an anteater both in appearance and abilities. He answers to no one and fights solely for sustenance, consuming those that he kills. He uses both his claws and his long tongue as weapons in battle and also uses his tongue to draw his prey closer to him before eating his victims.

The Characters of God Bless The Warriors – Innocent Devil – Heroes

Hello, all. Here is my post describing the heroic characters in Innocent Devil, the third comic book in my God Bless The Warriors project.

Tyson Calvin Walls

The main character. Tyson was once an ordinary 15-year-old high school student living in Milwaukee, Oregon. However, he was kidnapped by the devil king, Ariacchios, and transformed by his dark magic into a demon to serve his own twisted purposes, but before he could be brainwashed, he was rescued by the humanistic demon faction known as the Rhapsodi. He now attends the Redwill Academy for Rhapsodi to learn how to use his new powers for good in the world of Sanctania, while also continuing to live his normal human life in Florania, the human world. Tyson is a hard-working young man who works toward acheiving his goals. However, he is very distant, making him difficult to approach by all except his sisters, who raised him, and his childhood friend, Nicole, and also interferes with his ability to cooperate with his comrades-in-arms. He still has a human-like appearance, but he now also has green scales on his torso, arms, and legs and retractable claws, as well as a very lean physique and messy brown hair. He also has the ability to summon and control fire.

Alvira Hohp

One of the Rhapsodi who rescued Tyson from Ariacchios. Alvira is a 16-year-old female demon with the ability to control water. She is a second-year apprentice warrior at Redwill Academy and the leader of the team. She is also president of the student council. Due to the role she’s been given, she is very headstrong and strives to complete every mission she is assigned. She comes from a long line of female warriors, and thus, has been tried in warfare since childhood. Because of her training, she is a skilled strategist and fighter who has never lost a battle, and holds the honor of her family in high regard. She has little tolerance for laziness, and thus, is often at odds with her partner, Ryes. She has a human-like appearance, but with butterfly-like wings, and also wears light-blue armor to protect her torso and limbs. She has straight long purple hair and a slim physique.

Ryes Enshein

Another one of the Rhapsodi who rescued Tyson from Ariacchios. Ryes is a 16-year-old succubus with the ability to manipulate shadows. She is highly energetic and athletic and has high marks in physical education, however, due to her laziness, she has lower grades in many other subjects, although in instances where she does apply herself, she gets astounding results. She has a habit of shirking training, often leading her into conflict with her partner, Alvira. She is full-figured with short, wavy orange hair, and wears a dark red dress with black stockings.

Valter Lunarpact

A 17-year-old vampire swordsman who joins the team later on. He loves to gamble and often bets large amounts of money on games. He is Alvira’s ex-boyfriend, although the two are not on positive terms because their relationship ended badly when he was discovered to be cheating on her. As a result, he has become infamous throughout the school as a dishonest womanizer. He often shows a negative attitude towards training and studying. His teammates do not think highly of him and only recruit him because of his fighting abilities. In battle, he wields a broadsword with one hand and commands an army of bats. He has medium-length black hair and a lean physique and also wears a black trenchcoat.

DC Readies New Suicide Squad in July

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=52056

As recently revealed in Comic Book Resources, DC is preparing a relaunch of its lesser-known Suicide Squad property in July three months after its cancellation this month. The upcoming comic, titled New Suicide Squad, will be written by Sean Ryan with art by Jeremy Roberts and feature a new team consisting of series mainstays Amanda Waller, Deadshot, and Harley Quinn and newcomers Deathstroke, Joker’s Daughter, and Black Manta. I have to say that I’m interested in this series and am considering adding it to my “to buy” list because I like the series’ concept of supervillains on death row earning time shaved off their sentences by performing black ops missions.

The Characters of God Bless The Warriors – Excel Knights – Villains

Here is where I talk about the Excel Knights’ adversaries.

King Draken Armagus von Arsenia

The Excel Knights’ archenemy. He is the cruel king of the world of Arsenia who has enslaved the population and placed himself above the world’s laws. Lyace recruited the Excel Knights and leads the Arsenian resistance to dethrone him. He seeks to both make examples of the resistance and conquer other worlds. Much about him remains a mystery, although Lyace seems to be in some way related to him. He has dragon-like scales and has the ability to breathe fire, which he uses in battle.

General Boneyard

Draken’s general, who leads his army when Draken does not appear in battle himself. He wears the bones of those he killed as armor, leading to him receiving the nickname, Boneyard. His real name is unknown. He is a sadistic sociopath who enjoys killing his enemies and seeing others suffer. In battle, he wields a dead soldier’s wrist bone as a weapon and wields the ability to control wildlife.

Headhunt

A cruel mercenary who enjoys killing heroes. He acts a killer-for-hire, not turning down any job involving bloodshed, and has accepted a job offer from King Draken to help eradicate the resistance and conquer other worlds, but his true aim is to make victims of the Excel Knights. He is a master of direct combat and uses a variety of weapons in battle.

Julius Cameron/Homicide Bomber

A terrorist from Dallas whose actions are what first drive Whitney, Angie, and Valerie to unite as the Excel Knights. He throws explosive both to terrorize innocents and as a weapon in battle. After his initial scuffle with the Excel Knights, he starts to make destroying them a priority.

The Characters of God Bless the Warriors – Excel Knights – Heroes

Today, I will provide profiles for the heroes of Excel Knights, the second title I’m writing as part of my project, God Bless the Warriors.

Whitney Isabella Waterson/Adrenaline

The team’s leader. Whitney is able run at sonic speed and fire supersonic sound waves from her fists. She is skilled in close-range combat and highly athletic. She is also seen as being breathtakingly gorgeous by other students. She has long, straight black hair, strong muscles, and a slim waste, and is always in top physical shape due to a consistently-followed exercise regimen. She is determined and sure of her ability to fight and protect others, but her determination sometimes borders on recklessness. She also has a habit of coming off as crass or impulsive, due to her bad attitude towards teachers and authority figures. In battle, she uses karate techniques in combination with her powers.

Angela Kristen “Angie” Masters/Statue

A short and thick-figured girl who is able to turn her entire body to stone. She initially hid her powers from others due to fear of prejudice, but after meeting Whitney and Valerie, she started to become more open about displaying them in public, particularly in terms of doing her share for the team. She has trendy fashion sense and sometimes wears revealing clothing. She is very friendly and enjoys group activities. She has three male friends, Jim, Jeff, and Jermaine, whom she interacts with regularly. In battle, she uses her powers to increase her physical strength tenfold and uses techniques learned from various martial arts classes.

Valerie Maria Benavides/Knives

A 12-year-old prodigy of Latina descent with the ability to turn her arms and legs into blades. Valerie skipped three grades over a course of five years and thus, has difficulty adjusting to a school environment with older classmates. Her prodigious talents have led to her becoming the top student at school and she is even considered for a Harvard scholarship. She has a napoleon complex due to being significantly shorter than most girls her age. Since she is too young to get a part-time job, she lends her services to odd jobs for spending money and initially used her powers for gardening before meeting Whitney and Angie. In battle, she uses her powers to their full extent to stand against taller enemies.

Lyace Eysanill

A blue-winged female warrior from the medieval-fantasy world of Arsenia who leads a resistance to liberate her world from King Draken’s tyrannical rule, and to prevent him from conquering other worlds. She is stoic and approaches every situation she faces. Upon arriving in our world, she recruits Whitney, Angie, and Valerie to help her in the war against Draken. She appears after the girls have already met and formed the Excel Knights. She seems to have some sort of connection to Draken that she refuses to reveal to the resistance. In battle, she uses her ability of flight to her advantage and also demonstrates exceptional skills in swordplay.

Edit: I have changed Angie’s last name from Avalon to Masters to avoid conflict with an existing intellectual property.