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.)


  1. This is one of those “don’t get me started” issues. First off, I loved the Plain Janes, but I was surprised that I did, because of DC’s (and Marvel’s) track record with comics for girls. I am a big fan of romance comics, and was really excited when Vertigo announce a few years back, that they would be doing a limited romance series. The problem was, that when it came out, it wasn’t a romance comic, but a comic making fun of romance stories. It wasn’t even done in a way that showed that they liked or even understood romance comics, but rather showed that they were embarrassed by them. The same went for last years I Heart Marvel line. Some of the stories were almost identical, right down to the “he’s gay and he’s really after the girls boyfriend, and not the boys girlfriend” twist. WTF? It wasn’t even funny the first time. If that’s how you’re going to treat the material, then just don’t bother. Do you know what I really think is going to sell comics to girls. Sincerity. That’s what made Plain Janes so great, and I hope they don’t drop the ball on this, as they have at other attempts in the past. Stuff like this isn’t going to boom over night. It’s going to take a little faith, LOVE (for the projects) and nurturing.

  2. well, i do like mary jane series and well, i thought the one little story about inhumans royal couple in i heart marvel was quite sincere, but what do i know, eh?

  3. wow, that was some cool coverage by WSJ, but it made Midtown Comics seem so sad and filled with old men. It’s pretty filled with all kinds of people usually.

  4. I’m glad that “the big two” keep hiring writers in an attempt to attract women readers.

    So where’s the part about the artists who draw in a style that makes women not want reach for an eyefork? Comics being a visual medium and all.

    Oh, yeah, right.

  5. “i thought the one little story about inhumans royal couple in i heart marvel was quite sincere”

    I missed that one, because I had already been turned off by some of the others. If you liked that one, I see if I can find it somewhere and give it a chance.

  6. I enjoyed the “Web of Romance” issue by Tom Beland. It was a nice, sincere exploration of Spider-Man’s relationship with Mary Jane. If Marvel did a “best of” anthology, I’d nominate it. (And as an added bonus, Spidey asks the Mandrill for romance advice!)

    I also discovered SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 during Free Comic Book Day, and it too showcases one of the more interesting marriages in superhero comicbooks.