Letter from a DC Fangirl

Dear DC Comics,

I know this is harder on me than it is on you. I am just one woman among countless fans, and it’s starting to be pretty apparent how much you care about your fans. So, after more than twenty years of loyalty and love, I’m going to be frank with you. Our relationship is in trouble.

1464_400x600 I was so young when my cousin introduced us, and I’d sneak looks at you until I was old enough to get an allowance and have you for myself. I loved your late 80s and early 90s style. I still have some copies of Wonder Woman, The New Teen Titans, Justice League (America, Europe, International, and New_Teen_Titans_Vol_1_28even Task Force), and Batman & the Outsiders to remember the good times. Through all the changes, I stood beside you. I was there when Eclipso attacked, when Gotham was declared No Man’s Land, and I hung in there for every “crisis” you could come up with. I watched Superman die and Metropolis try to cope with his loss. I followed along as Dick finally took up the cowl, and then put it down again. So many stories. Some were good, some were bad, but through it all I still felt like part of something wonderful.

Then you had some work done. The new 52 hit, and you became a hot ticket item. Suddenly, my friends who had never read comics before had a lot to say about you! It was nice to feel like my passion was spreading to new people. Like always, some stories were great and some sucked, but there were a lot of our old friends who weren’t happy. I went to bat for you. I defended you to my friends and family! I pointed out all your good qualities, and whitewashed the bad because I wanted you to do well. Sadly, it was soon obvious that you didn’t care about my feelings.

Justice-LeagueGreat characters never reappeared, and fan favorites started acting completely counter to their normal behavior. Quality character arcs fell by the wayside in favor of shock value and company profit. It was clear that the bottom line and the big bosses’ ideas were more important than treating your creators well. Lots of amazing creators disappeared for a variety of reasons which reflected very badly on your management. Your choices didn’t make sense and started driving away the writers and artists who kept us reading! Fans read a comic when the character they love is well written and drawn. Your talented creators make your company, not the other way around.

Most upsetting is your overall attitude CTW_Cv0_PREVIEWStowards women readers and female characters. Comics have always been over-sexualized, but your unending trail of insults over the last few years has gone beyond what we’ve come to expect, even from this industry. Many great characters’ personalities were tweaked and flattened so that they can fit into what you thought was a sexier mold. The fact that you assume that women need a Superman/Wonder Woman Twilight-inspired romance to become interested in comics is just one recent example of how your female stereotyping has reached ridiculous levels. Finally, when you asked thousands of amateur artists to draw one of your most prominent female characters about to commit suicide in a bathtub, it’s flat out insulting. Can something like that harley-quinnbe part of a tasteful storyline? Sure, but asking non-professionals to take on such sensitive subject matter is inappropriate. I cringe just imagining some of the entries you must have received. AND THEN some of your big-wigs took to social networking to make excuses and play down the incident. Jim Lee (who I basically hate at this point) blamed US for not waiting around to see the rest of the story. I don’t care how the panels fit into the (unexplained) context of the story, you could have easily gleaned their drawing abilities from a more appropriate panel. You picked a horrendously irresponsible topic for this contest. It’s downright disgusting. Apologize like an adult, hire a PR department, and move on.

Grow up. Stop blaming your audience for not liking your choices, and start making choices your customers will like.

I don’t really know where this leaves us. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m still with you when I’m in public. I’ve always flirted with Marvel, Dark Horse, and others, but now I’m seriously considering ending my monthly commitment to you. It breaks my heart, but even the good memories from our early days aren’t enough to make up for the choices you are making. Shape up, or it’s over.

Sincerely,

Kimi
A DC Fangirl
www.goldenlasso.net

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5 comments

  1. Stephen Y says:

    This is very close to the struggles I’ve had with DC of late. Another re-boot..? I was ready to go. Until they stopped short in order to keep Batman and Green Lantern storylines, as those were making money. Then…Wonder Woman might get…and keep pants! I was happy. As I’ve always wondered why the one-piece swimsuit was at all appropriate for the ultimate feminist. Then…they let Grant Morrison kill a kid. I’m saddened, and enraged. I loved Damian Wayne. He brought something interesting to Robin again.

    Finally the Harley Quinn thing, and the inability to see how misogynistic it is. – I’ve dropped down from 46 DC books to 8. And I’m seriously considering quitting comics altogether. Bad, DC Comics! Its just horrible how you’re letting yourself be run. Jim Lee needs to go. Bring a woman back to DC…you lost more than you know when Karen Berger left. – Just a fan, who learned to read by reading your comics – as his father started collecting them in 1959 and still hasn’t stopped…Oh…and did I mention I owned a comics store back in the late 90′s…Just some of my feelings on your changes. – You’ve probably already lost me…but I hope you can find a way to bring me back. – Anyhow…enough of my anger and frustration at DC…Love your cosplay. Love your blog! Thanks for putting that together. You’re not alone. And…even some of us guys feel similarly.

  2. Geoffrey Runge says:

    I knew about the Batwoman thing, which I found bewildering given how long they have had out gay characters, and how much pride they’ve taken in it over the years. I stay away from comics sites because I don’t want any kind of spoilers ever, so this Harley thing is news to me. I am going to have to think about this. I am not sure, but I think that I have seen Harley portrayed as despondent to the point of suicidal before. I don’t think that her mental illness is ever handled responsibly or realistically, is it? Is anyone’s in comics?

    I read Wonder Woman, and I think it’s hilarious that Azzarello doesn’t have time for this romance business. On the one hand, they missed an opportunity to put her in pants, sure. On the other, I can only think of one or two cheesecake poses in the whole run so far, and they have tried to play up the T&A angle when they had her fully clothed in virginal white bodysuits too. So I can’t get annoyed about that.

    Do I like everything about the new 52? No. But they’re doing some stuff right. Snyder has hit his stride with the Zero Year storyline. Morrison knocked it out of the park with the first 18 issues of Action, and Batman Incorporated has been a blast. GL was solid until that corner of the universe got a bad case of the cross-overs. Manapul does a killer double splash with an Eisner style title in every issue of the Flash, which almost makes up for the loss of Wally. And then Vertigo has Astro City and The Wake!

    I don’t have the money to read all the titles I want, but I am happy with what I am reading. I will keep voting with my dollars by reading the books I think they’re doing right. But I will also vote for Lazarus and Fatale over at Image every month. To their credit, they have been quick to switch out creative teams that aren’t working. Hopefully the backlash over this Batwoman thing (which will kill that book) will allow the creators and editorial people to show Warner why they need to keep their hands to themselves.

  3. Venessa Baez says:

    Kimi,
    Like you, I grew up reading DC comics and fell in love with the characters. But recently with all the change that’s been happening, the bad changes have been starting to outweigh the good. I’ve found myself leaning more towards Marvel. I especially miss the way female characters were once more portrayed as strong, independent…but now I feel are redesigned to be mere eyecandy.

  4. Robert Monroe, Jr. says:

    Dump DC and start reading Terry Moore’s “Strangers in Paradise”, “Echo” & “Rachel Rising” and Los Bros. Hernandez’ “Love and Rockets”. You’ll be glad you did!

  5. Chris says:

    Diana didn’t – and still doesn’t – need pants. DC have already done enough
    damage turning this iconic character into a soulless, sword wielding Xena clone, without them also further de-feminising her. The costume’s not the problem. The problem is Geoff Johns, Dan Didio and Jim Lee…

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