Comic Fodder

Women and Comics: The Market Notices

If the lively discussion about women and superhero comics got you thinking, you can read more about the subject in today's The Wall Street Journal. Matt Phillips has a fascinating article--"Pow! Romance! Comics Court Girls"--that has top billing in the Marketplace section of the paper.

Marvel and DC each see girls as a huge growth opportunity based on how they have fallen for Japanese manga. Statistically, manga accounts for two-thirds of all graphic novels sold in U.S. bookstores. I knew it was high, but I didn't realize it was that high. Anecdotally, every time I go into a chain bookstore and check out the graphic novel section, I have to wade through tweens and teens sitting in the aisle reading manga. And I have noticed that there are as many girls as boys. Barnes & Noble's graphic novel buyer is quoted as saying that manga sales are roughly split among boys and girls.

The most telling part of the article for me:

The artistic conventions and techniques of manga can differ markedly from U.S. comics. For example, female characters in manga tend to be less voluptuous than the superwomen in U.S. comics. Such curvaceous characters can be tough for young women to relate to, says Nicole Lewis, a 19-year-old manga reader who is going into her sophomore year at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "It's a little off-putting," Ms. Lewis says of some female superheroes in American comics. "Especially to young women who don't look like that at all."

Bill covers Dark Horse for Comic Fodder, but missed the popularity explosion of manga among teens by a few years.