MemberJuly 17, 2021 at 4:51 am
I confess that I don’t follow contemporary authors as much these days, and superhero stories not at all, as there is no comic store within 70 miles of me. That being said, I can name at least a couple good female creators off the top of my head. I feel like the question is more contemporaneous than anything; twenty some years back when Christina Z was writing Witchblade I don’t recall there being any substantial controversy relating to her gender in regards to her writing ability, stories or subject matter, any more than the stories created by the (all female) manga team Clamp. Maybe there was, but it didn’t seem to be reflected in her books sales or popularity. To be fair, if there were ever any gatekeeping, it was likely largely on the part of publishing houses prognosticating what “would” and “wouldn’t” sell. If there’s anything thing to be learned from Japanese comics, it’s at least that there’s probably a market for anything, and anyone. Unfortunately, and I think especially in the age of antisocial media, many people seem to be finding their tribes in “us vs. them” situations, which takes many forms (boys vs girls, elephants vs donkeys, Scots vs Irish, Irish vs everybody). My hope is that the worst of the bile from this is coming from the “noisy few”, and observation seems to bear this out, but I digress.
The thing to remember in relation to this primary question, I think, is that most of your easily named mainstream comics were created specifically with young boys in mind as the audience. It shouldn’t be terribly surprising that the broader market would then remain predominantly male in that landscape. Whether this has led to the infantilization of the readership (as Mr. Chaykin insists) is a separate question, but trying to take a product focused on such a narrow group and restructure that for a completely separate buying group… Well, there’s probably going to be better ways to tap that market.