What is up with the Women focused comics?

So I was at my local comic book shop shop this morning and I was debating on whether or not to purchase Choi's Lady Deadpool one off book. I was trying to justify my purchase by thinking how rare this is to have a female focused book like this. One that is not exploitative, like Grimm Fairy Tales Swimsuit Edition, but the chance to take an otherwise secondary character, in this instance Lady Deadpool and focus just on her and her unique experiences from the perspective of a female author. However, I quickly realized that the past few months have brought us a gluttony of these types of comics. Whether it is the return of Birds of Prey, or Marvel's Girl Comics there have been a slew of Female focused comics. Don't get me wrong I think this is great. I love to see the unique perspectives on these characters that the women who work on these issues have created. I just am wondering why now, and not only that but I am curious who these comics are for? Are they designed to try and appeal to the female audience? Who I know is totally out there, but does not always get the respect it deserves.
For me personally I have a hard time picking up these books, because as a guy, I just don't want to be seen as a creeper. Because lets be frank it is hard to distinguish between these types of issues, and say... The uber weird and creepy X-Women based on their covers alone. Yet, at the same time I do want to support the efforts of the women behinds these books, and am optimistic that we will see these writers in larger series in the future. 
However, I still think it is strange that we are getting all these types of issues at once. What do you think, is this the start of an exciting trend of comics that feature unique female perspectives on some of your favorite female characters? Or is this just some Summertime oddity that won't last?

33 Comments
33 Comments
Posted by Shadowdoggy

I think it's because there has been more of a vocal outpouring of fans requesting more female-centered comics 
but I think they're doing it wrong 
they're using the same, tired old practices of over-sexualizing and under-utilizing female characters 
they're giving the mass audience what they think they want- skanky heroines in titillating poses, when the people who actually want to and would read well done female oriented comic stories aren't interested in that 
I think they're doing what they think the people want 
and maybe some do want that 
but I think they're going about it all wrong
Posted by Nighthunter

We need more female leading comics, most importantly we need more femaled leading quality comics

Posted by Shadowdoggy
@Nighthunter:
agreed 100%
Posted by aztek_the_lost

personally I think making female-focused comics for the sake of making female-focused comics is the problem, I mean I read several titles with female leads but I never think to my self that it's anything weird, it's just another comic
 
but when you're reading something called X-Women or Her-Oes it's not really possible to deny its just a stunt and not about the quality

Moderator
Posted by NexusOfLight

I'd like it if comics were just looked at as different stories. Forget whether or not the lead is a female, just make treat it as a story from the perspective of that female. The stuff that Ron Marz is doing with Witchblade and Angelus is more of what I want to see if this female thing were to continue, because anything else is just a gimmick.

Posted by danhimself

my problem is that the books they're making just aren't that good...stuff like Her-oes and Girl Comics just aren't that great....why not get a decent writer and a decent artist on a female book?

Posted by aztek_the_lost
@NexusOfLight said:
" I'd like it if comics were just looked at as different stories. Forget whether or not the lead is a female, just make treat it as a story from the perspective of that female. The stuff that Ron Marz is doing with Witchblade and Angelus is more of what I want to see if this female thing were to continue, because anything else is just a gimmick. "
this
 
@danhimself: aren't they getting female writers and artists?
Moderator
Posted by Gylan Thomas

Most of Marvels offerings range from stoopid to offencive.
Her-oes isn't even in continuity and don't get me started on X-women.
Marvel Diva's was a weak attemtp to Marvelise the Birds of Prey idea. Didn't give any back story as to how the characters met or anything. Of course Marvel's always been terrible with female characters.
 
There's always been decent female lead comics though. From Wonder Woman to Catwoman and Birds of Prey.
I'd recomend Manhunter, Echo and Greg Rucka's wonder woman.

Posted by Crom-Cruach

Female characters should be written with the intent of a good a story, the character's sex should not there so that character can be a female. Write the story, make it good damn it! and and if your characters happens to be female cool. Don't create or write a female character just to have a female character, because if you do you're setting up the exact situation that cause most to be just awful.
 
And I totally agree, Witchblade and Angelus are awesome.

Posted by Nighthunter
@danhimself said:
" my problem is that the books they're making just aren't that good...stuff like Her-oes and Girl Comics just aren't that great....why not get a decent writer and a decent artist on a female book? "
Black Widow is a cool book by marvel, then again the creative team is leaving in issue 6 so...yeah.
Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk should have their own book back. 
The fact that Sue Storm of all characters has never had her own miniseries is something that is seriously wrong.
 
Everyone knows that I'm a bigger DC fan so this statement may sound biased but I really think that DC is better with the female leading books. I love Birds of Prey, Zatanna, Cassandra Cain's batgirl series, manhunter, batwoman, the old Catwoman ongoing and Wonder Woman who has had Greg Rucka, George Perez, John Byrne, Phil Jimenez, Gail Simone and now J. Michael Strazsinki as only a few of the writers on her which is simply an amazing combination of writers.
 
I also really like what I've seen from Powergirl, Supergirl and Batgirl. I guess its because the characters are treated as heroines instead of eye candy, but maybe that's just me
Posted by aztek_the_lost

so basically, other publishers have the female lead down pat and its just Marvel that's struggling to catch up

Moderator
Posted by danhimself

Marvel has some great female characters but a majority of them are more team players than solo characters...it's why Storm or Rogue or the Invisible Woman don't have ongoing series...DC introduces most of their characters as solo players before putting them on teams.....also just because they're female characters doesn't mean that they have to be written by female writers and drawn by female artists or featured in out of continuity books

Posted by DH69

i havent enjoyed any of marvels recent "for girls" comics so far, im still hoping for a good running series of lady liberators

Posted by Nighthunter
@danhimself said:
also just because they're female characters doesn't mean that they have to be written by female writers and drawn by female artists or featured in out of continuity books "
motto
Posted by *Girl of Steel*
@Shadowdoggy said:

" I think it's because there has been more of a vocal outpouring of fans requesting more female-centered comics but I think they're doing it wrong they're using the same, tired old practices of over-sexualizing and under-utilizing female characters they're giving the mass audience what they think they want- skanky heroines in titillating poses, when the people who actually want to and would read well done female oriented comic stories aren't interested in that I think they're doing what they think the people want and maybe some do want that but I think they're going about it all wrong "

 I couldn't concur more.
@Gylan Thomas said:
" Most of Marvels offerings range from stoopid to offencive. Her-oes isn't even in continuity and don't get me started on X-women. Marvel Diva's was a weak attemtp to Marvelise the Birds of Prey idea. Didn't give any back story as to how the characters met or anything. Of course Marvel's always been terrible with female characters.  There's always been decent female lead comics though. From Wonder Woman to Catwoman and Birds of Prey. I'd recomend Manhunter, Echo and Greg Rucka's wonder woman. "
 Yeah there's always been some really good ones, but I just wish more people would  follow or at least learn from the more successful titles.
Posted by War Killer
@Nighthunter said:
" @danhimself said:
" my problem is that the books they're making just aren't that good...stuff like Her-oes and Girl Comics just aren't that great....why not get a decent writer and a decent artist on a female book? "
Black Widow is a cool book by marvel, then again the creative team is leaving in issue 6 so...yeah. Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk should have their own book back.  The fact that Sue Storm of all characters has never had her own miniseries is something that is seriously wrong.  Everyone knows that I'm a bigger DC fan so this statement may sound biased but I really think that DC is better with the female leading books. I love Birds of Prey, Zatanna, Cassandra Cain's batgirl series, manhunter, batwoman, the old Catwoman ongoing and Wonder Woman who has had Greg Rucka, George Perez, John Byrne, Phil Jimenez, Gail Simone and now J. Michael Strazsinki as only a few of the writers on her which is simply an amazing combination of writers.  I also really like what I've seen from Powergirl, Supergirl and Batgirl. I guess its because the characters are treated as heroines instead of eye candy, but maybe that's just me "
Black Widow is a great book, and it sucks that the current creative team is leaving, but what is good is that Marjorie Liu is leaving to go wrote X-23's new series , what also sucks on Marvel's part is books like Ms. Marvel get canceled when they could have done much more with her character. And I completely agree that Sue should have her own mini-series at least, they could do so much more with many of their female characters but are choosing to put them in books that in truth make them look like sluts and not giving them a chance with a decent writer and artist.
Posted by ~Marauder~

Be glad
 
Aren't you tired of having a hotdog fest in you comic collection?

Posted by *Girl of Steel*
@~Marauder~ said:
" Be glad  Aren't you tired of having a hotdog fest in you comic collection? "
Haha, wow what a straight to the point reason for gender equality in comics. lol
Posted by IcePrince_X

For me there hasn't been a good Female forcused story lately... 
the 90s brought us the Bad Girl era with Women who uses their sex to fight off their adversaries... Witcblade, The Magdalena, Lady Death, Purgatori, among others... 
 
And yet there is hope, Madame Mirage came across as a good story not focusing on the sex factor but sheer good storyline and well drawn. Elektra mini-story lines can also be interesting like that of Elektra Lives or even Typhoid. I guess for Women focused Comics to really sell and be noticed a good concept, story telling and drawing should really be done.  
 
Sex is over rated now it has to be more.

Posted by Renee
@NexusOfLight said:
" I'd like it if comics were just looked at as different stories. Forget whether or not the lead is a female, just make treat it as a story from the perspective of that female. The stuff that Ron Marz is doing with Witchblade and Angelus is more of what I want to see if this female thing were to continue, because anything else is just a gimmick. "
Good point!
Posted by Nighthunter
@IcePrince_X said:
" For me there hasn't been a good Female forcused story lately...
Wonder Woman? Catwoman? Gotham City Sirens? Supergirl? Batgirl? Cassandra Cain's Batgirl? Birds of Prey? Zatanna? Powergirl? Black Widow? Peter David's She-Hulk? Ms. Marvel?
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

What is Marvel's attitude toward their female heroes? 
We have X-Women and Girl Comics, but Ms Marvel was cancelled. Nuff said.

Posted by Jotham

I think it'll be a continuing trend. There's enough women high up in the industry now, and more women are reading comics now (or being honest about reading comics). Hey, maybe we'll get "Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane" back!

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@Jotham said:
" I think it'll be a continuing trend. There's enough women high up in the industry now, and more women are reading comics now (or being honest about reading comics). Hey, maybe we'll get "Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane" back! "
God, I hope so! I loved that series. lol, it was the first non-X-Men book my sister read.
Edited by ComicMan24
@Shadowdoggy said:

"I think it's because there has been more of a vocal outpouring of fans requesting more female-centered comics but I think they're doing it wrong they're using the same, tired old practices of over-sexualizing and under-utilizing female characters they're giving the mass audience what they think they want- skanky heroines in titillating poses, when the people who actually want to and would read well done female oriented comic stories aren't interested in that I think they're doing what they think the people want and maybe some do want that but I think they're going about it all wrong "


@Nighthunter said:

"We need more female leading comics, most importantly we need more femaled leading quality comics " 
 

I couldn't agree more.
Online
Posted by Jotham
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" @Jotham said:
" I think it'll be a continuing trend. There's enough women high up in the industry now, and more women are reading comics now (or being honest about reading comics). Hey, maybe we'll get "Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane" back! "
God, I hope so! I loved that series. lol, it was the first non-X-Men book my sister read. "
Yeah, it was really enjoyable. When I first heard the concept I think my lip actually curled up in a sneer, but when I read one issue I loved it.
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@Jotham said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" @Jotham said:
" I think it'll be a continuing trend. There's enough women high up in the industry now, and more women are reading comics now (or being honest about reading comics). Hey, maybe we'll get "Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane" back! "
God, I hope so! I loved that series. lol, it was the first non-X-Men book my sister read. "
Yeah, it was really enjoyable. When I first heard the concept I think my lip actually curled up in a sneer, but when I read one issue I loved it. "
I know, I was hesitant at first, but it just blew me away. I wish more comics were like that, we don't just love these characters for their suits and powers, but for their personalities as well. 
 
Invincible is probably the closest book to it now, Ult Spidey is a little too contrived at times.
Posted by SC

Not all fans want a wish fulfillment type story to read, essentially meaning, that gender, like race, like color, doesn't discriminate when it comes to good quality stories. Of course the problem is multiple, since a lot of fans, seem wrapped up in needing to relate or identify with the main character. Since a lot of these readers are white, young males, the people selling the products know to cater to these people, and so they get more stories and the more stories they get, the more good quality stories they get. Depending how important diversity is for you then, you might just want to buy as much of what you want to see more of in comics even if its bad, because it sends a message. Even better if you actually like what you buy.  
 
It doesn't help that most comic fans are ignorant, really ignorant when it comes to why comics are made, who they are for, and what is ideal and to be strived for. A book that was intended for young audiences gets slammed for sucking at attracted female readers? So one fan's ignorance leads them to believe a multi million dollar company is screwing up something they think they can do better? Another fan thinks DC comics treats women better because it has more solo female titles? Fans have warped perspectives and big companies especially in tough financial times, put the guard up and play safe, and respond and react to these warped perspectives and cater to them. Its not all gloom and doom though, because more and more fans of all types, are getting better at liking and accepting and being interested about characters of all types. The more this happens, over time, companies can take more risks and put out more characters and stories of all types and people get more choice and better quality end results. 

Moderator
Posted by Mercy_

@Crom-Cruach said:

Female characters should be written with the intent of a good a story, the character's sex should not there so that character can be a female. Write the story, make it good damn it! and and if your characters happens to be female cool. Don't create or write a female character just to have a female character, because if you do you're setting up the exact situation that cause most to be just awful. And I totally agree, Witchblade and Angelus are awesome.

So much this.

I'd rather read a freaking awesome story starring a male character than an absolutely terrible one starring a female.

Moderator
Edited by I'maDC/ImageGuy!

There is one, it's an independent named Heroic: A Womanthology.
 

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/renaedeliz/womanthology-massive-all-female-comic-anthology
Posted by SC
@The Dark Huntress said:

@Crom-Cruach said:

Female characters should be written with the intent of a good a story, the character's sex should not there so that character can be a female. Write the story, make it good damn it! and and if your characters happens to be female cool. Don't create or write a female character just to have a female character, because if you do you're setting up the exact situation that cause most to be just awful. And I totally agree, Witchblade and Angelus are awesome.

So much this.

I'd rather read a freaking awesome story starring a male character than an absolutely terrible one starring a female.

Of course, the problem there is that a large percentage of people would rather read a crappy story starring a male character than an average story with a female character, and so there is zero incentive for anyone to try and put out better quality stories, unless they are feeling extra risky. 
Moderator
Posted by azza04

Nice thread. I would love to see Ms. Marvel get her own series again.

Edited by fodigg

BIRDS OF PREY was on my pull-list for pretty much its entire run. I also got SHE-HULK and MS MARVEL for long stretches. I pushed the CATWOMAN: WHEN IN ROME trade on anyone who walked into my store. These weren't gimmicky "tampon comics," they were damn good comics with strong female casts. 
 
And for some reasons a lot of our female customers went for Nightwing, so it's not like women only read female-led comics anyway. Quality of writing/art trumps all else. 
 
edit: Oh man, forgot WW. Great book for a long time. Was definitely on my pull-list. 
 
edit 2: and BATGIRL! Batgirl was worth buying for the covers alone, and then the book was fantastic. And the Stephanie Brown BATGIRL is one of the best books by DC. Damn, I bought a LOT of female led books. Does BUFFY SEASON 8 count? I think it should.