Thursday, September 25, 2008

I meant to hold forth about that whole Minx thing earlier today, but work and other stuff got the best of me and by the time I had a chance, many other more astute comics bloggers had already had their say. I did post a tweet about it late on Wednesday night, let the record show.

I'll try later to link to as many as I can think of.

When they first announced the plans for a line of graphic novels aimed at the tweenage girls demographic, I thought it would be a good idea- it's definitely a segment of the potential comics-reading public that hasn't been catered to by anyone except manga publishers. I thought it would be at least an interesting experiment and at best a savvy move to get DC product on the shelves in the bookstores that are such a desirable market. Then, they announced the name, which just sounded all kinds of wrong the more I thought about it. The creator lineup announced later didn't thrill me much either; it was full of safe choices and familiar-to-the-DC-offices creators, and while I admire the work of Andi Watson, Mike Carey, Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel very much, I couldn't help but wonder if this was the kind of people that should be tapped to write and/or draw stories aimed at the target group, especially when there were many other deserving creators that had been doing work in this vein already such as Lea Hernandez, Becky Cloonan, Raina Telgemeier, Hope Larson, Vera Brosgol, Lucy Knisely, Jen Wang, and many more.

While I did follow the story, as a forty-something male I was nowhere near the target audience so I didn't really plan on buying any; however, DC comped me on the first two: The Plain Janes and Re-Gifters. Click on the links for my reviews. While I thought they were both interesting stories (especially the latter), I had my doubts about whether they were really all that attractive to the kids they were shooting for, even though I will freely admit that I don't have a clue exactly what teenage girls want to read- my own daughter is now well past her teens, and didn 't like to read anyway. Couldn't get her interested to save my life. Anyways, a while later, I was sent a copy of Ross Campbell's Water Baby, which I didn't care for at all. I really had begun by then to wonder what the thought processes were behind some of the projects I'd seen so far and were upcoming. It just seemed that the only thing the decision makers could think to do was greenlight more books about young girls for young girls, real Afterschool Special kinds of things. While Emiko Superstar and The New York Four, (neither of which I've read) certainly looked good, with Steve Rolston art on the first and the Local team of Ryan Kelly and Brian Wood on the other, both still seemed like just more of the same-old.

Not being privy to the decision making process, and only knowing what I've read from many of the people involved as well as those far more in the know than I could ever be living hundreds of miles away from NYCNY, all I can do is make conclusions based on assumption and idle speculation. Still, as LJ-user kadymae (whose real name eludes me right now, and I'm really sorry) says:

Hot tip: Teenaged girls with crappy lives don't want to read books about other teenaged girls with crappy lives who go to school where everybody else shits on them too and there's nothing they can do about it. They want to escape from their crappy lives for a few hours into a world where they are important and have power and do meaningful things and have adventures. (Oh, and a little m/m ho-yay never hurts.)

I don't (and neither does anyone else, except the people who made the decision) have a definitive answer why; bottom line is that it didn't perform up to expectations, and neither DC or its parent Time Warner is an altruistic corporation. That said, I think it's unfortunate that it had to get axed so abruptly, and there wasn't any sort of effort made to perhaps step back and analyze why it wasn't working, and go forward with changes. One year just doesn't seem like long enough for a line to find its audience, even in today's uncertain economic climate. Anyway, imprints will come and imprints will go, and life will go on. I really hope those left at sea because of this will soon find something to pick up the slack, and I hope that any unreleased projects will find an outlet somewhere somehow. And by all that is holy I hope that this doesn't give people, especially those in positions to have opinions that actually matter, the idea that teenage girls won't read comics. I don't think anything could be further from the truth.

Other links to the story:

Tom Spurgeon

Heidi MacDonald part one part two

Kevin Church

Becky Cloonan

Brian Wood

"Maxo" of Great Ceasar's Post

Valerie D'Orazio

Lea Hernandez


Steve Rolston

And on many of those links you'll find links to others' reactions to this event.

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