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A few more just tying up the loose ends.

If you haven’t read the epic comments thread on our previous Minx post, you are missing out on comments from all the players, a lesson in marketing, the history of Wonder Woman, AND confirmation that the name “Minx” was chosen in focus group testing. So, yes, today’s girls LIKE THAT NAME. Get over it.

John Jakala rounds up the reaction to Tintin Pantoja’s Wonder Woman pages.

Former Vertigo assistant editor Mariah Huehner, who worked on the Minx line in its early days, comments at her LJ:

As to the female creators thing…this is hard. There is a lack and it’s a glaring one. But does it automatically follow that only women could create the kinds of story’s they’re looking for? Clearly not. Do I think there is something working against women in this as well…maybe. Not consciously, certainly, but I think in general there are a few issues with books aimed at “girls” or “women” in comics. Mainly it’s an assumption thing, about what those kinds of books will be about. The clamor about how limited the aim of superhero books is seems to be mostly relegated to feminist comic fans who are still struggling to be taken seriously in this matter. It’s cultural, partly…no one thinks books aimed at men are “limited”, it’s almost like they think they’re gender neutral. But books aimed at women? They get labels like “chick-lit” and “girly”, which are not compliments. And they are always complained about as “limiting” because people still assume that the main things girls read about is boys and romance and clothes. And it would be wrong to say those things don’t matter to girls. But they aren’t all that matters. And I do believe that Minx is trying, honestly, to produce material that is, at root, good story for anyone. They’re just being more conscience about some of the things that makes it more female friendly…like realistic female protagonists who THINK as opposed to shop, who aren’t perfect but you can relate to them, and most importantly, that you want to be LIKE them…not sleep with them as their primary visual and textual function.

So, yes, they need more female creators in the line. And not to fill a quota, but because women creators are out their telling important stories RIGHT NOW. Already. About things that girls want to read about. If Minx hasn’t found those stories and creators yet, well, then I’m hopeful that they will. If they don’t -then- we can start to worry.

Finally, a tangential note. It’s interesting that most (but not all) of the people who are saying it’s okay that the line is mostly men because art should be gender neutral are MEN. Interesting but hardly surprising. On our LJ feed we came across this post which talks about a study which attempted to find out why girls so often give up on the ambitions they had when they were young (you really need to read the whole post but here’s the most relevant bit.)

To better understand this phenomenon, Correll devised a study in which male and female undergraduates were told they were “pre-testing” a new set of graduate admissions exams. Half the subjects were told that males had more ability on this test; half were told there was no relationship between gender and ability. (The test was devised in such a way that it was impossible to arrive at the correct answers.) All subjects were given the same score. Correll found that men exposed to the belief that males were superior rated their abilities as higher and expressed greater goals for future related activities; women in this group rated their ability as lower and expressed lower goals. Thus, exposure to a generalization about one’s group changes the way one interprets one’s own ability—and in turn shapes one’s goals for the future. These effects, says Correll, “cumulate over women’s lives and result in dramatically different outcomes for men and women.”


In other words: we need role models. One final comment: Won’t it be cool when someday there is a Minx book which LIVES OUT the fantasy of a young woman cartoonist to be published by DC Comics?

  1. I generally enjoy my BEATfeed every day but I must address one issue–your emphasis upon “girls liking the name” has nothing to do with the greater societal meanings of the word and wholly distorts the nature of the debate.

    The point was never whether young girls liked the name; hell, I like the way the word flows out of my mouth–it’s a fun word, one you can just hear Cary Grant saying with a wink. The true question is what “minx” means in a larger cultural sense to the growing comics feminist movement and what it means symbolically in an age where media is increasingly sexualizing young women.

    There’s another angle that I believed was raised by another commentor, and something I didn’t address that one of my old law profs would have whipped me upside the head for missing: brand placement and possible confusion. Google “minx” and see the first result–a website for a cycling clothing brand aimed at women. The next is a modeling agency.

    The third seems to be porn, as does the fourth–or I’m assuming porn, since my work blocker kicked in. But the third says “girls throw they panties on the floor” and the fourth notes that their “Minx Movies” are “[f]or fans of girls in wet clothes, wet clothing, wet dresses” and so on and so forth.

    I personally don’t think there’s going to be any marketplace confusion, but it’s certain the word is alive and well, carrying on the various implications of his name (historical and otherwise). Perhaps the current marketplace demonstrates to us what the name “really” means, no matter what dictionaries or focus groups tell us.

  2. Ah Gorjus, but that would call for intelligence and critical thinking.

    I was greatly inspired last night by 60 Minutes which profiled concert pianist Gabriela Montero and Rwandan genocide survivor and activist Immaculee Ilibagiza. Both very beautiful, talented, passionate women. THESE should be the role models for young women not the pantiless brain dead partyers. But as long as men are fascinated by girls without underwear (a trait hard wired by biology it would seem) then why should even the smartest girls not go with the flow? Dropping your drawers will get a woman a lot more attention on this planet than being smart and talented, and that was always the way of the world.

  3. It’s interesting that most (but not all) of the people who are saying it’s okay that the line is mostly men because art should be gender neutral are MEN.

    If men are not in favor of gender neutrality then we’re accused of misogyny. If we are in favor of gender neutrality then we’re accused of insensitivity or opportunism. I’m willing to take a chance with being thought of as insensitive because true equality is gender neutral.

  4. Remember back when bad meant bad, gay meant happy, and cool was an indication of temperature?

    If you’re going to make the argument that minx is a sexualized word, then you’re forgetting that men can sexualize anything.

    Parents let their pre-teen girls leave the house with pants that barely cover the crack of their asses, and people are getting riled up over the usage of a word that doesn’t even come close to having the connotation that it used to?!

    I’m not going to question the virtue and moral character of any teenager that buys a MINX book, and it’s likely those that would are in nursing homes at this point.

    “It’s interesting that most (but not all) of the people who are saying it’s okay that the line is mostly men because art should be gender neutral are MEN. Interesting but hardly surprising.”

    So what exactly are you getting at? I don’t think any of the men you’re speaking of would say that the line SHOULDN’T have more women. It’s obvious that it should, but is sacrificing quality for ideolgy a smart move? You always lead with your best material because that’s what paves the way. I’m sure there are any number of reasons why one pitch was chosen over another, and nothing sells a pitch better than quality. MINX is a line for women, not “by women, for women”.

    There’s also no argument that there are plenty of excellent female comics creators out there. I can safely say I’m better off for having read some of their work, and it’s a shame that more aren’t involved… at this time. I’m sure more women will be involved with MINX in the future…. unless people would rather complain about the name, creator line-up, and editorial decisions instead of actually buying the books based on their content thereby killing the entire line before more women can be brought aboard.

    It’s your choice. Vote with your wallets.

  5. “In other words: we need role models.” YES, YES, YES. I cannot BELIEVE how many people (including, sadly, Huehner) are interpreting “why aren’t there more female creators for a line aimed at women?” to somehow mean “men can’t create books for women”!! Nobody has ever said men cannot create female-friendly books; there are loads of examples of that! Just like there are loads of examples of female-friendly male comic book retailers but that doesn’t necessarily mean a female consumer will feel as comfortable as she might with a female employee! Wanting female creators has nothing to do with thinking men can’t do the job, and men who persist that the two mean the same thing are making the mistake of believing this is “all about them.” It’s a personal preference, one that I believe (based on my own experiences as a reader) is probably shared by many, many more young women and girls than the Minx people think. It’s the difference between “this is written/drawn for me and it’s nice” and “this is written/drawn for me and it could have been written/drawn BY me because I can really identify with the women doing it.”

  6. With a line that’s ALL ABOUT gender, marketed a girl readers, claiming to service those girls who might not like whatever else is out there, focusing on girl characters, the concept of gender neutrality is pretty much thrown out the window.

    No one’s attacking the male creators on the line, and many believe that the books will probably be good- it’s just that some find it quite strange that a line that’s for girls has barely any female creators working on it- and no female artists at all for that matter.

    Shojo Beat has no problems finding female cartoonists for new illustrations, and they’re a magazine that reprints japanese manga [all by female artists btw]- Jen Wang does illustrations for several features [2 in the November issue, and I’ve noticed a couple others, all credited, and very keen!], Junko Mizuno does newly commissioned illustrations for the Horoscope, Chynna Clugston’s artwork was used on a Mod article, and it’s edited by Lauren McCubbin. http://www.laurennmccubbin.com/about
    The “How To” sections are nifty, with instructions by female manga artists.

  7. Just to address the comment from Elayne, I’m not actually interpreting it that way, I just posed the question, which is valid. Some people have made it out that way on various forums and I was just offering my particular take on that. It clearly matters to people that there is an absence here of important voices in the line, and that’s also valid. I just hope that the quality of the books themselves will be judged separately as much as possible.

    That said I think it’s good to question why there aren’t more women involved and I’m glad the marketing/name and assorted issues are being discussed. My post was more about the fact that, at least in the books I saw, the content is solid. To me at least. One of the great (or possibly contentious) aspects of creating work in a public forum is that there are nearly infinite ways it can be interpreted.

    Thought I’d clarify since I’m being quoted and all. :} And that’ll probably be my last work on the subject since I had no idea anyone would read it besides a few friends and I am way not comfortable with this kind of thing. Hope everyone tries at least one of the titles that appeals to them when they come out, I think they’re worth it.

  8. I read a lot of people complaining that there are not that many female artists here for the launch. Many of the artists you’ve mentioned either are too busy with prior commitments (Colleen Doran, Hope Larson, Jill Thopmson) or have a hugely over manga influence to them (Lea Hernandez, Jill Thompson, and Tintin). Its not DC didn’t reach out for female creators, its just that they had better offers elsewhere from a larger publishing firms (Scholastic, HoughtonMifflin). DC also wanted to separate themsevels as much as possible from manga. They wanted to create american comics for american girls, not emmulate a “hot” style for the millionth time. They wanted their books distinct, in look and size (they’re not in digest form, but average Young Adult book size).

    I personally found this to be extremely refreshing. As a young cartoonist myself (18), it pisses me off to no end that I see girl after girl, boy after boy (although not nearly as much girls) cartoonists draw in manga style. Its one to be influenced by a genre of art, but to copy the whole style practiacally verbaitm is mind boggling. WHY?!?!

  9. There’s plenty of female cartoonists out there who are unattached. Just look all over webcomics….. Heidi’s past post on The Beat listed more then anough talented artists, and probably could of gone on much longer, some of whom still haven’t had printwork [or not much printwork]. http://www.jenwang.net/ I’d love to see a Jen Wang GN for example.

    Colleen Doran’s also mentions several comics pros who aren’t currently attached to anything- Mary Wilshire, Cynthia Martin, Jill Karla Schwartz, Anne Nocenti, Louise Simonson, and June Brigman…..

    I think DC’s missing a major boat by not having Manga influenced artists, though in all honesty, creators like TinTin Pantoja and Lea both have very distinctive styles that blend american and international influences- much like Sonny Liew, who Karen makes a point is influenced by the same kinds of comics as Lea and Tintin. There’s many talented artists who have cartoony styles that could be seen as manga style that DC could of pursued… the artsits you mention are in no way copying it verbatim.

    Pricing them at 10 dollars, making them digest sized [if not TP size, but still smaller then TPB’s], b+w sure sounds like trying to catch the manga audience to some degree to me.

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