The Wall Street Journal online investigates, Marvel and DC’s efforts to market comics to girls…and what you find MAY SHOCK YOU!:
Industry heavyweights including Time Warner Inc.’s DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment Inc. are betting that girls represent a big growth opportunity for the traditionally male-dominated medium. It’s part of a renewed push in recent years by the two biggest comic-book companies to court a new audience with products aimed squarely at teenage girls.
Marvel has brought in other writers popular with women before. In 2006, Marvel began publishing a miniseries on the character Storm, a female mutant member of the X-Men that was written by romance novelist Eric Jerome Dickey. Before that, Marvel hired Joss Whedon, the creator of cult television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” to write Marvel’s “Astonishing X-Men” title, in part because of his track record attracting women readers.
Such moves have been part of a push by Marvel over the last three years to try new strategies to bring readers to Marvel titles, says David Gabriel, senior vice president of sales and circulation at Marvel’s publishing unit. “Before that, the thought was, if you do ‘She-Hulk,’ that will attract girls,” he says.
The moves to attract female readers come as the comic-book industry is at its healthiest point in recent memory. In 2006, dollar sales from dominant distributor Diamond Comics to specialty comic shops rose 15% — the biggest jump since comic-and-hobby trade publication ICv2 began tracking figures in 2001. Last year, Marvel Entertainment’s publishing-segment revenue — which includes sales to booksellers and comic shops — rose 17% to $108.5 million. (Time Warner doesn’t break out DC’s numbers.)