Sunday, May 14, 2006

Part of the problem with comic shops has a lot to do with target audiences. Comics, especially those printed by Marvel or DC, are aimed at young straight white men who they hope to get hooked for life. This is a tiny, tiny audience, and obviously, not the only people who are interested in comics. However, the quick-and-dirty demographics look around at the shops I've been to support that the marketing works just enough to keep the big two companies and a few independent presses around. Tacoma, my uni's town, is a very diverse community racially and ethnically, but this diversity is not present proportionally in the comic shop. When I frequented the comic shop by my uni, I don't recall ever seeing another woman (unless I went with my female friends) or a non-white customer (again, unless I went with my friends). At the shop I frequent now, I do see women and non-white customers, though not in proportions that I should for the community's make up.

The target audience also determines the way that covers, storylines, and art turn out. And while, every superhero or villain wears his/her share of spandex, there's a clear divide in how men and women are depicted. There's gratuitous tits and ass shots of women, while with male characters, they might show off their pecs or arm muscles. If the depictions were equal on the gratuitous side, male characters would be subject of cock and ass shots. Male characters are obviously not portrayed that way, because straight men do not want to think about Batman's ass or Captain America's cock. They can accept that Superman's chest is bigger than their own as long as they don't have to think that his cock might be too or that Storm could beat them up.

This post is why I think we need to have more spaces for women and people of color to make comics. We can't count on straight white men to take us into account as customers- they are still in the 50s in their thinking. However, everyone will follow something popular, so let's get out there and make good comics.


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