Jul 30th 2011 By: Laura Hudson
A few days ago, I wrote an editorial
about DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio's response to fan concerns about the extremely low numbers of female creators involved in the DC Comics relaunch this September -- and, to be fair, mainstream comics more generally -- and the impact that such a disproportionate gender split has both on a company's culture and creatively, particularly if it is trying to reach outside an insular audience to a broader one.
Last night, DiDio and fellow Co-Publisher responded to the concerns that had been raised by fans and critics with a post on their official blog The Source, titled "WE HEAR YOU
Over the past week we've heard from fans about a need for more women writers, artists and characters. We want you to know, first and foremost, that we hear you and take your concerns very seriously.
We've been very fortunate in recent years to have fan favorite creators like Gail Simone, Amy Reeder, Felicia Henderson, Fiona Staples, Amanda Connor, G. Willow Wilson and Nicola Scott write and draw the adventures of the World's Greatest Super Heroes.
DC Comics is the home of a pantheon of remarkable, iconic women characters like Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman and Supergirl as well as fan favorite characters like Black Canary, Katana, Mera and Starfire. We're committed to telling diverse stories with a diverse point of view. We want these adventures to resonate in the real world, reflecting the experiences of our diverse readership. Can we improve on that? We always can-and aim to.
We'll have exciting news about new projects with women creators in the coming months and will be making those announcements closer to publication. Many of the above creators will be working on new projects, as we continue to tell the ongoing adventures of our characters. We know there are dozens of other women creators and we welcome the opportunity to work with them.
Our recent announcements have generated much attention and discussion and we welcome that dialogue.
Jim Lee & Dan DiDio
DC Entertainment Co-Publishers
This is an enormous and very positive departure from how DC Comics has dealt with controversies about gender and race in the past, which was almost uniformly not to comment. Staying silent about fan furor is often easier and smarter from a media perspective, since making any official comment -- even to refute it -- still lends a spotlight to the issue and typically generates a second wave of media attention.
Although there have been been some quibbles about the language in the post (only "dozens" of female creators?), this is as direct an acknowledgment of these concerns as anyone could ask for. Seeing two of the top execs at DC Comics say, quite literally, that they hear us, that they want to improve and have stories that better reflect the experiences of a diverse readership, and notably that they welcome
this dialogue is incredibly heartening.
While it remains to be seen what sort of meaningful changes in either attitudes or hiring practices will follow, it certainly leaves me feeling more optimistic than I have in some time, or maybe ever. With bold recent initiatives like DC's line-wide relaunch of their comics and forays into digital distribution, they have shown us that they're not afraid to reexamine the way that they do business and take chances. Let's hope that this willingness to change doesn't stop there, and continues in a way that fulfills the promise of their relaunch by reflecting -- and writing for -- the larger and more diverse audience they seek, and the one I very much want them to have.