Superheroine: Taking the Lead!

From the creative teams and their readers, to the heroes themselves, the world of comics is filled with men. Why wouldn’t it be? With the dominance of male driven story lines, for years it has seemed as though companies like DC and Marvel could care less about marketing towards women. It is hard to find comics with a strong female lead, at least it was, until now.

X-Men #1 (2013)
X-Men #1 (2013)

With the success of blockbuster superhero movies, comics have been growing in popularity. As this popularity has grown and expanded, so has the audience. The Avengers movie made a record breaking $200 million in U.S. box office sales its first weekend. Much of that $200 million can be attributed to the 40% of viewers that were in fact female. There is a newer generation of comic book readers, many of whom are women or girls. As female interest in comics has grown, major publishers have started to capitalize, marketing their product towards female readers. This is a good thing, because a big part of this push has been creating comics with a Female lead. This push did not come to my attention until Marvel recently announced that its highly regarded Thor series is now going to feature a female Thor. Yes, thats right, Thor! The mighty god of thunder. A brute, known for getting caught up in his own masculine pride is now going to be a female? Well, why not? I can understand how some people may be upset by this for nostalgia’s sake, but as a male I myself cannot come up with a real reason for why this change can’t work. Right now several of the best selling comics feature female leads. Part of DC’s “New 52” relaunch included a Harley Quinn series, which at the moment is one of MsMarveltheir top sellers. In may 2013 as part of their “Marvel NOW” relaunch, Marvel released the new “X-Men” series. X-Men is one of the biggest names in comics, and Marvel decided the next step for this storied franchise was to feature an all female cast. It is the first X-Men series to feature an entirely female team. Earlier this year Marvel released another two monthly series featuring female leads with Captain Marvel, and Ms. Marvel. This summer, during my weekly trip the comic shop, it was almost a guarantee that I would see at least one father walk into the store with his daughter. Most of the time it was not just the father who was there to purchase a comic book. I saw plenty of younger girls come in to pick up that months issue of Captain Marvel, or Ms. Marvel. The best part about this is that, these series are not just written for little girls. Ms. Marvel is one of this years most critically acclaimed comics. I asked the store owners what ongoing series were their favorite, and they both had Ms. marvel in their top three. Comics will probably always be dominated by male characters, but its nice to see the star be a female. I am glad that publishers are catching on to the breadth of their audience, it is a good thing for comics. 

  3 comments for “Superheroine: Taking the Lead!

  1. kirbykrackle
    September 23, 2014 at 12:44 am

    I love your post and Ms Marvel is definitely one of my favorite Marvel books. (She-Hulk is another great female starring series, and Lumberjanes if you want to dip your foot in the indie pool.) However, the word “heroin” in your title refers to the drug not the female “heroine”, and I thought this post was about superheroes taking on drug dealers or doing drug themselves (Poor Roy Harper.). Just letting you know so people don’t get the wrong idea about your post.

    • imalone
      September 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Thank you for pointing out my spelling error, I don’t know how I missed that.

  2. crobert2
    September 26, 2014 at 3:24 am

    While it is great to see comic strong female roles in comic books, one can only hope that it spreads to other minorities as well. Many heroes are white males, what we do not see are a lot of African, Asian or Hispanic American heroes. The ones we do see are often cookie cutter or re-skinned versions of already made super heroes. For example War Machine, an African American soldier who gets a Iron Man suit of Armor. He is a minority character however he is not very unique, he is using a super hero persona that has already been used. This is not exclusive to Marvel, in DC John Stewart a prominent Green Lantern is also a re skinned character. There have been two other white male Green Lanterns before him. For comic characters to grow I feel they need more characters like Storm from X-men, a minority figure with a unique power that has not been previously done before. I hope to see more like her, a new and interesting character with new powers and a different view on the world around them.

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