Saturday, November 25, 2006

One "Minx," un-saucy

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingDuring the energy crisis of the 1970s, Toyota was suddenly kicking ass here in the US. GM was blindsided by consumers' sudden desire for smaller cars. Unable to instantly retool, GM tried to spin itself as the small car expert--which claims rang hollow, as most of their lines comprised two-ton metal slabs.

DC Comics, having noticed that girls are flooding bookstores to read manga, has now moved to better exploit that new market--even more nimbly than a capital-intensive, risk-averse Rust-Belt conglomerate like GM.

For years, people in mainstream comics pulled their hair trying to figure out how to bring young women into the comics market. Given that most comic book stores then (much as now) were the personal feifdoms of socially stunted male nerds, the outlines of the marketing challenge were as expansive and unmistakable as those of the bloated razor-phobic cranks behind the cash registers. Everybody in the business knew girls were capable of enjoying comic books, and not just because they had in the past. And everybody knew girls wanted comics about people in relation to people, rather than weapons, costumes, powers, things. The chicks are koo-koo that way.

And DC came closer to cracking the code, early on, than other publishers, with their Vertigo line--specifically with their Neil Gaiman--luring in bright, artsy, self-consciously alternative readers of both sexes.

But for some reason it took the largely inexplicable (to me) allure of the cookie-cutterish Japanese approach to comics to lure in massive numbers of young female readers. Surely the sunny, standardized sexlessness of the art helped. And to the surprise of probably no one but me, it happened in big bookstores.

Take a few minutes, if you would, to read this article about how DC is planning to get in on the action. See what you think of first comic of their new Minx line, unwinningly entitled Plain J.A.N.E.s., like some lame spy spoof in a second-tier porno rag. Me, I think it looks like a non-artist's attempt to emulate Dan Clowes, with pacing that would make me lose interest in about six pages, were I still a wee teen. Should it really take one whole page to set up a commonplace situation, exchange three tiny balloons' worth of dialog and muddle through a couple largely indecipherable expressions?

New York Times article on DC's Minx line

Thanks to Chuck for the link.

See you Tuesday. Bring your inking kits again!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We're famous!

The folks at Newsweek lovingly created this slick little slideshow giving an overview of comics--much of it shot from the original art. Thanks to Chuck for this.

Newsweek slideshow

(Art by Jack Kirby)