Thursday, June 25, 2009

The LA Times Boondoggle: Girls Guide to Comic Con 2009

The LA Times, which you think would be a little more hip to how these things would be preceived, has published a "Girl's Guide to Comic Con" that is either somewhat low or fairly high on the offensive meter, depending on where you stand.

First off, LA Times, I know that you've been down to Comic Con before, and, you know what? You should know better. There have been thousands upon thousands of women who have been down to Con, and they all found better things to do than follow the lightly regarded sexism in your Entertainment article.

Secondly, in a world full of this novel thing called the internet, I find it hard to believe that there are groups of people out there that aren't hip to the idea of female fans of SF and fantasy and comics and videogames. Its not novel anymore. Then of course, the 4th estate is still busy running articles titles "Pow!Zap!Bam! Comics aren't just for kids anymore!" proving that they haven't moved beyond the 1970's. Is it really any wonder why newspapers are dying with that sort of brilliant writing?

Get it through your thick heads LA Times: Women go to movies, they read comics and fantasy and science fiction and they spend money on them. Very likely more money than men if we can believe that that much of what happens in other parts of retail hold true.

My own experience was watching the Sandman series in the 1980's turn comics demographics on their ears: women loved comics, when they were written like that. The Vertigo line was essentially a women's comic line, since women will buy horror and fantasy and it just goes to show how far off Minx was in buying material when they decided not to do a single fantasy book. Checked out any of the manga demographics or storylines? Nana is not the leading example.

Seriously, I'm literally out of breath with shock and surprise over the LA Times who you just think would know better but clearly didn't. When my wife gets angry at me for schooling my two daughters on the finer points of the Time Lords and trans dimensional engineering (You're turning her into a little geek! she says, quite rightly), I have to point out that the geeks won.

And yet, now I'm worried that the geeks who won are the ones that never got laid, never appreciated girls as equals but different equals and only celebrated the ones that basically pretended to be guys with breasts. I'm worried that these geeks never moved beyond the masturbatory fantasies of what "they would do with girls when they got them" as opposed to having actual partners in life, in sex, in pretty much anything. I'm worried that they won't recognize that Gwen in Torchwood is a more well rounded character than anything they've put up on the screen in all these damn comic book films. i'm worried that they never figured out that there are a whole host of different stories other than power fantasies out there.

The women I know become passionate lovers of characters and franchises when the stories are good. That doesn't mean that they need a token character with boobies to act as their stand in, it does mean that they expect a level of characterization and cleverness well beyond the usual crap. Yes, they will buy the tie ins, yes some of them will pick up the action figures, but then they're no different than the boys when it all comes to it. Perhaps this will galvanize the folks at Comic Con to release demographic information on attendees this year. Who are those 140,000 unique visitors that they capture each year now? Wouldn't we like to know?

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