Tag Archives: gender

Baltimore Comic Con 2014: Comics by the Numbers Panel

Over this past year, the comic landscape has changed as diversity has spread across the comic pages, as well as behind the scenes with the creators making them. Though a stereotype persists of the “comic reader,” the characters are reflecting the real diverse audience. At this past weekend’s Baltimore Comic Con 2014, The Beat‘s Heidi MacDonald and I discussed the comic audience, where we presented hard data (and the comics history of it) showing that comic readership is more diverse than ever and there’s more going on than grabbing headlines when decisions are made.

Thank you all who came out to watch and asked some great questions.

Below you can see the slide shows that were presented, so you can follow along!

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Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook

It’s the first of the month and that means a new look at the demographics of people who “like” comics on Facebook. This data is compiled using demographic data from Facebook, and is limited to the United States.

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

Facebook Population: Over 24,000,000 in the United States

The total population has remained the same from last month. The Spanish-speaking population last month was 13.33%, and this month is 14.17%.

Gender and Age

Last month women accounted for 45% and men were 57.50%. Women remained the same as last month, but men increased to 58.33%. The results add up to over 100% due to the fact Facebook with large numbers doesn’t give an exact amount to the single digit.

facebook gender 9.1.14We’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age.

facebook gender age 9.1.14Compared to last month, those under the age of 25 have shrunk percentage wise. The gain was in those age 26 to 33. Here’s all of the raw data.

facebook gender age raw 9.1.14Relationship Status

Compared to last month, the numbers have remained pretty steady. The amount of individuals married dipped a bit as well as those in complicated relationships and those divorced. Those separated increased from last month.

facebook relationship 9.1.14And for those that like pie charts.

facebook relationship pie chart 9.1.14Education

Compared to last month, the results for education is pretty much the same.

facebook education 9.1.14Gender Interest

Compared to last month those marking their interest as unspecified has increased.

facebook relationship interest 9.1.14

And that wraps up this month’s report.

Demo-Graphics: Doctor Who

It’s Monday and we’re looking at the latest Facebook Fandom breakdown. It’s been about a year since I did a report about Doctor Who, and with the latest season premiering this past weekend, it seemed like a perfect time to follow-up on last year’s report.

This data is gained through mining Facebook and includes about 50 terms related to Doctor Who, its characters, etc.

Since last year’s report some of the terms used have changed as well as general improvements to Facebook’s algorithm and system have occurred. So, changes in results may be due to that.

Facebook Population: Over 4,600,000 in the United States

That’s a decent increase of about 600,000 individuals since last year.

Spanish speakers account for now 520,000 fans, 11.3% in the United States.

Gender and Age

Previously, women made up of 50% of the population. Now, men now account for 52.17%, and women 47.83%. Both have made gains since last year, it’s just men have done so more.

doctor who genderWe’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age. It’s interesting that women that are 17 and under are a majority in their age group.

doctor who gender ageHere’s the above data in its raw form.

doctor who gender age

Relationship Status

This statistic has changed a lot since last year with many more options available to choose from. The percentages have shifted to the new categories, but it’s not easy to compare the two. What has stood out to me in the new stats is the amount of women married or widowed.

doctor who relationshipAnd for those that like pie charts.

doctor who relationship pie chart

Education

Like relationships, the education choices have expanded, so it’s difficult to compare it to last year. But, what’s amazing is women outnumbering men in almost every category other than “doctorate degree,” “college grad, and “high school grads.”

doctor who education

Gender Interest

This category too has expanded with more choices than ever before. But, compared to last year, it looks like there’s been a slight decrease in those interested in the same sex.

doctor who gender interest

Demo-Graphics: The State of “Gamers” 2014

It’s Monday and we’re looking at the latest Facebook Fandom breakdown. It’s been a year since I did a report about “gamers” in the lead up to Gen Con. So, welcome to the “first” annual State of Gamers.

This data is gained through mining Facebook and includes over 160 different terms from a variety of games, publishers, and more. The terms I used are varied, and many, from the name of games to the name of publishers and terms like collectible card game. For this I did my best to stay away from generic terms for genres (like Fantasy) and terms that specifically mentioned video games. I also avoided games like Monopoly or Scategories, I wanted to focus on the games you’d find at Gen Con.

We’ll compare this report to last year’s, but much has changed since then. The terms used have changed as well as improvements to Facebook’s algorithm and system. So, changes may be due to that, and not due to general gains in the industry.

Facebook Population: Over 24,000,000 in the United States

The fandom for board games it would seem is about the same as the general comic fan population, whose size we got the same way. Since last year the population has increased by about 14 million, though that’s mostly the changes in Facebook algorithm.

Spanish speakers account for now 2.6 million fans, 10.83% in the United States.

Gender and Age

In 2013 Men dominated as the majority with 61.54%. Things have changed since then as men now account for 55% of the population and women make up 44.17%.

games gender 8.11.14

We’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age.

games age gender 8.11.14Compared to last year, the percentages of the population has shifted much older, especially women. Here’s the above data in its raw form.

games age gender raw 8.11.14

Relationship Status

This statistic has changed a lot since last year with many more options available to choose from. The percentages have shifted to the new categories, but it’s not easy to compare the two. What has stood out to me in the new stats is the amount of women divorced or separated, but there’s an even greater number married compared to the men.

games relationship 8.11.14

And for those that like pie charts.

games relationship pie chart 8.11.14

Education

Like relationships, the education choices have expanded, so it’s difficult to compare it to last year.

games education 8.11.14

Gender Interest

This category too has expanded with more choices than ever before. But, compared to last year, it looks like there’s been a slight decrease in those interested in the same sex.

games gender interest 8.11.14

 

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook

It’s the first of the month and that means a new look at the demographics of people who “like” comics on Facebook. This data is compiled using demographic data from Facebook, and is limited to the United States.

Since it hasn’t been too long, this data is a repost of what ran previously during San Diego Comic-Con. In it I looked at comic fandom, as well as Marvel, DC, and Indie/Small Press comics and compared it all to the 2013 results. You can read 2013’s report here. You can also read reports for Marvel, DC, and Indie/Small Press.

Since last year, our technique as well as Facebook’s system, have gotten better, returning more data to look at. This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan.

In 2013 40 terms were used to compile the report. In 2014, that has expanded to over 100.

Facebook Population: Over 24,000,000 in the United States

Comic fandom on Facebook is 13.4 million more individuals since last year. Much of this has to do with the increased amount of terms, as well as Facebook’s improvement in getting the data. We do report weekly on a fraction of the terms we use, and that grows about 200,000 people a week, not discounting duplicate individuals (folks can be counted twice in that report, unlike this report). Comparatively, Facebook itself grew by 8 million individuals over the same time period. Comic fandom is now about 13% of the social network, compared to 6% n 2013.

In 2013, Spanish speakers made up 5.47% of the population. Today, they account for 13.33%.

Gender and Age

Since 2013, women lost ground in the population of folks from the United States on Facebook. They dropped 0.15 percentage points. However when it comes to comic fans, that’s not the case. Women gained 5.38 points, and now account for about 45% of comic related likes, up from 39.62% in 2013. Men account for 57.50%, compared to 60.38% in 2013. The results add up to over 100% due to the fact Facebook with large numbers doesn’t give an exact amount to the single digit.

Here’s the changes for comic fandom as well as Facebook since last year.

comics change

Here’s how gender breaks down for comics in 2014.

comics gender 7.24.14We’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age.

comics gender age 7.24.14Just like Marvel and DC, those 17 and under dipped from last year as far as percentage of the total population. Here’s all of the raw data.

comics gender age raw 7.24.14Relationship Status

The amount of choices as far as relationship status has changed since last year, increasing by a lot. Here’s where that data is currently for comic fans.

comics relation status 7.24.14

And for those that like pie charts.

comics relationship status pie chart 7.24.14Education

Like relationship status, education now has more choices too. Instead of trying to compare the two, here’s the data.

comics education 7.24.14Gender Interest

Gender interest has changed as well, however we can compare that a bit. Men interested in the same sex dipped slightly last year, while women interested in women was almost half as much as far as percentage.

comics gender interest 7.24.14And that wraps up this month’s report.

SDCC 2014: Demo-Graphics: The State of Comic Fandom

It’s San Diego Comic-Con, and our second annual demographic “State of Comic Fandom.” This data is compiled using demographic data from Facebook, and is limited to the United States. You can read 2013’s report here. You can also read reports for Marvel, DC, and Indie/Small Press.

Since last year, our technique as well as Facebook’s system, have gotten better, returning more data to look at. This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan.

In 2013 40 terms were used to compile the report. In 2014, that has expanded to over 100.

Facebook Population: Over 24,000,000 in the United States

Comic fandom on Facebook is 13.4 million more individuals since last year. Much of this has to do with the increased amount of terms, as well as Facebook’s improvement in getting the data. We do report weekly on a fraction of the terms we use, and that grows about 200,000 people a week, not discounting duplicate individuals (folks can be counted twice in that report, unlike this report). Comparatively, Facebook itself grew by 8 million individuals over the same time period. Comic fandom is now about 13% of the social network, compared to 6% n 2013.

In 2013, Spanish speakers made up 5.47% of the population. Today, they account for 13.33%.

Gender and Age

Since 2013, women lost ground in the population of folks from the United States on Facebook. They dropped 0.15 percentage points. However when it comes to comic fans, that’s not the case. Women gained 5.38 points, and now account for about 45% of comic related likes, up from 39.62% in 2013. Men account for 57.50%, compared to 60.38% in 2013. The results add up to over 100% due to the fact Facebook with large numbers doesn’t give an exact amount to the single digit.

Here’s the changes for comic fandom as well as Facebook since last year.

comics change

Here’s how gender breaks down for comics in 2014.

comics gender 7.24.14We’ll next look at how the percentage of women and men break down through age.

comics gender age 7.24.14Just like Marvel and DC, those 17 and under dipped from last year as far as percentage of the total population. Here’s all of the raw data.

comics gender age raw 7.24.14Relationship Status

The amount of choices as far as relationship status has changed since last year, increasing by a lot. Here’s where that data is currently for comic fans.

comics relation status 7.24.14

And for those that like pie charts.

comics relationship status pie chart 7.24.14Education

Like relationship status, education now has more choices too. Instead of trying to compare the two, here’s the data.

comics education 7.24.14Gender Interest

Gender interest has changed as well, however we can compare that a bit. Men interested in the same sex dipped slightly last year, while women interested in women was almost half as much as far as percentage.

comics gender interest 7.24.14And that wraps up the 2014 state of comic fandom!

Demo-Graphics: The State of Indie/Small Press Comics

Earlier today we brought you demographic reports based off of Facebook data for Marvel, and DC. Up next is independent/small press comics! Basically, everyone not the “big two.”

For this report I looked at comic book publisher likes that are not the big two or part of the big two. For this report, Vertigo, Zuda, Icon, are not included though they share similar comics as to other in this report. For this report, terms like IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Fantagraphics were included. Manga was left out of this as well.

In 2013 62 terms were used to generate these stats. In 2014 that number has shrunk to 49. However Facebook updated their system in late 2013, returning more data than ever before. Both reports just focused on individuals in the United States.

Facebook Population: Over 3,200,000 in the United States

The indie/small press population has grown since last year by about 1.2 million individuals.

In 2013 Spanish speakers accounted for 13.00%. In 2014, that percentage dipped a bit, and is now 12.5%.

Gender and Age

In 2013 men accounted for 54% of the population and women 46%. A year later, that has shifted a bit with men now accounting for 57.50% and women 40.63%. In the growth since last year, it was almost 2:1 men.

Here’s the changes of the stats since last year.

indie changeHere’s the stats for gender.

indie gender 7.24.14This is how gender changes as far as percent over age.

indie gender age 7.24.14And the raw data.

indie gender age raw 7.24.14Relationship Status

Since 2013, Facebook updated this statistic so there’s more choices than ever, so it’s a bit difficult to compare this year to last year. Here’s the statistics as they stand for 2014.

indie relationship status 7.24.14And for those that like pie charts.

indie relationship status pie chart 7.24.14Education

This statistic too has changed since 2013. Here’s the expanded data as it stands this year.

indie education 7.24.14Gender Interest

This statistic too has changed since last year, with more options. Compared to 2013 though, men interested in men is roughly the same when you include the “men and women” option. Women interested in women though has dipped.

indie gender interest 7.24.14Join us at 6pm when we look at comic-dom as a whole!

Demo-Graphics: The State of DC Entertainment

With San Diego Comic-Con under way we’re looking at the demographic data for various publishers and comics. We’ve already posted Marvel‘s stats, and later today will be a look at indie comics, and the industry as a whole. Up next is DC Entertainment.

This statistic breakdown, we’ve looked at terms like DC Comics and Vertigo Comics, but not specific comic series or characters. It’s a focus on DC Entertainment and its publishing imprints. Think of it as looking at the DC brand. Since 2013, Facebook has changed their system, which has resulted in greater, better results.

Facebook DC Comics Fan Population: Over 4,400,000 US

Compared to 2013’s statistics, the DC population grew by about 1.7 million. The 2014 report also looks at just the United States, where as in 2013 it looked at 20 countries. So, over the year, DC has built up their social media presence in an impressive way.

In 2013 Spanish speakers accounted for 16.19% of the population. In 2014, that amount dropped to 14.55%, but keep in mind this is just focused on the US, and not internationally, which likely accounts for the drop.

Gender and Age

In 2013, men accounted for 68.72% and women were 30.71% of the DC population. Flash forward about a year, and men now account for 68.18% and women are now 28.64%. Both of those have dropped, mostly as there’s a significantly higher amount of individuals who are not marking their gender.

Here’s how the stats have changed since last year.

dc changeAnd here’s the stats in a handy pie-chart.

dc gender 7.24.14

And here’s how gender shapes up by percent over age.

dc gender age 7.24.14Here’s the full raw numbers as far as age and gender. As you can see, like Marvel, the individuals under the age of 17 has shrunk, with the gains distributed in those over the age of 22.

dc gender age raw 7.24.14Relationship Status

Since 2013 Facebook has greatly expanded the stats for relationship status, so we can’t really compare it. Here’s the latest results.

dc relationship status 7.24.14And for those who like their data in pie chart form.

dc relationship status pie chart 7.24.14Education

The stats for education have also been updated, providing more choices. Here are the new statistics.

dc education 7.24.14Gender Interest

This statistic too has been changed since last year. However, the percentages for those interested in the same sex has dipped since last year.

dc gender interest 7.24.14That wraps it up! This afternoon we’ll be looking at indie comics, and even later how comic fandom has changed as a whole since last year.

 

Demo-Graphics: The State of Marvel Comics

In June of 2013, I looked at the Facebook demographics of Marvel. Over a year later, I thought it’d be good to revisit that, and see where the comic publisher/movie studio/juggernaut is at in our newly renamed Demo-Graphics. This Friday, we’ll also look at DC Comics, Indie Comic fans, and the comic industry in general.

For those that don’t know, this data is mined from Facebook’s demographic data using terms that correspond to likes, groups, etc. For this report, we’re not looking at Marvel Comics specifically, but also Marvel Studio, Marvel Entertainment, and more. So think of this as the Marvel brand.

Unlike 2013, this 2014 report also focuses just on the United States. Last year’s was about 20 countries. Also since last year Facebook has updated their system, making this a bit of an apples and orange comparison, but still, general trends when it comes to percentage changes should be interesting.

Facebook Marvel Comics Fan Population: Over 11,400,000 United States

That’s down from last year’s 12.9 million individuals, but we’re also looking at 1 country, instead of 20.

Compare that number to the greater comic fandom which is about 24 million fans in the United States.

Since last year, Spanish speakers have shrank as part of the population. In 2013, they were 17.25% and in 2014 it now accounts for 14.39%.

Gender and Age

In 2013 Men made up a little over 75% of the population and women just under 25% for those interested in Marvel. In that year, the company has made some massive improvements. Men now account for 63.16% and women now 36.84%.

Since last year for Marvel has decreased 12.29 percentage points, and women have increased 12.39 percentage points. Marvel has clearly made women a priority and that has moved the dial.

marvel gender 7.24.14

Here’s how the gender plays out over age.

marvel gender age 7.24.14Also changed since the previous year is how the ages break out in percentages. Those under 17 have dropped significantly, going from 24.6% of the population in 2013 to only 9.27% in 2014. Those 18-21 are about the same, and the percentage lost for those under 17 have been distributed to those over 22. Here’s the full raw numbers for 2014 as far as age and gender.

marvel gender age raw 7.24.14Relationship Status

There’s been some massive changes in the “relationship status” statistics. They’ve been expanded greatly, with more options, so comparing the two are very difficult. Here is where Marvel is in 2014.

marvel relationship status 7.24.14And for those who like their pie charts.

marvel relationship status pie chart 7.24.14Education

Education too has changed since last year giving a lot more options. Here’s the full stats for those interested in Marvel.

marvel education 7.24.14Gender Interest

This too has had the statistics expanded. Generally though, individuals interested in the same sex have dipped by a few tenths percentage points since 2013.

marvel gender interest 7.24.14Stay tuned today as we bring you more, including DC and the general Comic-dom!

What’s at Stake: Wonder Woman and the “F” Word

wwbestofrest13It’s been less than a week and the announcement that comics writer Meredith Finch and artist-husband David Finch are taking over as Wonder Woman‘s new creative team with issue #36 is still an open sore, the constant media reminder of which continue to drive me into a fury. On the one hand, because half of the commentators hardly care or don’t see any harm in the creative change; on the other hand, because savvy writers who do get it are just as outraged.

Some might think “outrage” and “fury” are harsh, maybe even over-reactive descriptors. But consider for a moment our collective comic book fandom outrage when Orson Scott Card, homophobe extraordinaire, was slated to write 2013’s Adventures of Superman. Comics fandom won a major battle with help of media coverage, the artist Chris Sprouse, a petition by AllOut.org, and comic shop owners who refused to stock a comic written by Card. (This was not unlike the response to Gail Simone’s firing from DC’s Batgirl that got her quickly rehired.)

Recalling these moments in recent comic book history (hmm, both having to do with DC’s creative choices…), imagine now that Orson Scott Card had been asked to write a well-known gay or lesbian character, and that he had stated in interviews his desire to make the character decidedly “not that gay” or generally uninterested in the narrative purposes put to the creation of an LGBTQ comic book hero. We’d be burning down DC’s boors and firing Dan DiDio! (We should anyway after this.)julyww32

So why aren’t we now? To put my and other commentator’s frustration into context, let’s consider the facts of the Wonder Woman creative team change. On June 30th USA Today announced that Meredith and David Finch, a wife-and-husband duo, would take over Wonder Woman, signaling the end of the three-year and 36-issue-long era of Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and to a lesser extent Goran Sužuka and Tony Akins. While this team defined an entirely new Wonder Woman steeped in the mythos of a redesigned Greek pantheon of hipster gods, badass goddesses, and an as yet unbeatable First Born, all good comic book runs must come to an end.

Alone, this announcement was a disappointment: Meredith Finch is an almost unheard of writer, unless of course you’ve read Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Tales from Oz, a series of one-shots. Bleeding Cool, who wrote several articles based on “informed sources” starting in February 2014 about the potential for David Finch to take over drawing Wonder Woman and the suspicion that his wife, Meredith, would write, decided to take a look at one M. Finch’s oeuvre, reviewing it in view of the possibility that she might write the Amazon princess’ monthly. The reviewer, who badly needed a copyeditor, concluded that despite an abundance of sexist imagery, the comic displayed “a definite awareness of feminine stereotypes,” and, ultimately, was about warriors being warriors, “which is probably what you might want for Wonder Woman.”

oz10-600x922Zenescope Entertainment is essentially the Playboy of the comics industry, a company whose income is derived solely from comics based on public domain fairy tale and fantasy narratives that are populated with scantily-clad, huge breasted women and the warriorest of warrior men. Their “warrior women” usually look something like the image to the left, with dialogue by M. Finch. All of this said, it is exciting to see a new female creator come on board at DC, though her politics seem to accord generally with the “we’re not feminists” stance of DC’s creative heads.

WonWoman

“Hey, there, stud. I’m not a man-hater, just a strong woman.”

Turning away from Meredith’s inexperience, her husband, David Finch, is not the greatest artist for female characters, and the art he supplied for the “big reveal” is atrocious, unrefined, and cookie-cutter. His is a Wonder Woman who looks like she works at a strip club in order to show how empowered women are by showing their skin. In other words, a “strong female character” made for men, like basically everything else. For a discussion of some of the problems with the strong female character trope, see Shana Mlawski’s poignant article.

These were just my thoughts from the night of June 30th. Then came July 1st and the Comic Book Resources interview with M. and D. Finch. Some highlights of the interview include David Finch’s curt “No.” to the question “Have the two of you collaborated on a creative project together, either in comics or outside of it?” and the quick follow-up by Meredith, in which she points out that, in fact, she’s helped him on plotting and layouts for years. Finch then came up with a brilliant save by pointing out that he probably ignored any advice she gave, complete with “[Laughter].” What a guy!

When asked what direction the team will take, either following Azzarello’s mythos or not, Meredith responds that, “we’re definitely going to steer the book a little more into a more mainstream — I guess I’d say there will be some superhero stuff in it. It really will still be a very character-driven book, though.” The desire not to tread on Azzarello’s heels in understandable, especially for a complete newcomer to superhero comics writing. But, for me and many other readers, Wonder Woman of the New 52 has been defined by Azzarello’s reluctance to bring the book into the larger DCU, especially his resistance to incorporating Superman as a love interest. As noted in their interview, M. and D. Finch fully intend to bring in Superman.

WonderWomanV5

“I’m not a feminist! Just strong! And sexy…”

Thus far in the interview we’ve seen variations on viewpoints regarding the type of character Wonder Woman is and should be, the genre of narratives she should be engaged in, and her level of involvement in the DCU. Azzarello’s reluctance to bring Wonder Woman into the DCU is, of course, a point of frustration for many readers, and though I highly admire his Wonder Woman run and would love to see it continue for a hundred issues, the character’s critical presence is lacking from the DCU in a major way that Superman and Batman, who have multiple books to themselves, are not. Eric Diaz at Nerdist has some solid thoughts about Wonder Woman and her current place in the New 52 line-up.

The interview ends with a question about what aspects of Wonder Woman the team hopes to play out in their opening issues of their run. M. Finch wants to write a Wonder Woman of the 1970s, a female icon of power and strength. D. Finch wants to draw “a strong — I don’t want to say feminist, but a strong character. Beautiful, but strong.” With these closing words, D. Finch articulates the central concern of this creative team change. With his final lines he highlights the greatest challenges for female characters across all media today:

  1. Strong women aren’t by default feminist because
  2. Feminist isn’t something we want to label female figures of authority
  3. There is an inherent and contradictory relationship between attractiveness and strength
  4. Superheroines must be overcome this contradictory relationship by being beautiful and strong, resulting all too often in hypersexualizations like Power Girl

I’m not the first to voice my objections: Susana Polo at The Mary Sue offers a summary of the issue, Janelle Asselin at Comics Alliance gives a short background to Wonder Woman’s entirely obvious feminist legacy, and Jenna McLaughlin at Mother Jones provides some insight from the director of the documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.

Whether commentators and Internet trolls like it or not, Wonder Woman has had obvious feminist deployments by comics writers and in the feminist movement in general, and her origin in William Moulton Marston’s bondage and male-dominance stories of the 1940s hearkens to a history of radical writers, mostly female, suggesting that the patriarchy get a taste of their own medicine. Wonder Woman’s Themyscira was an updated, superheroic version of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s feminist utopian Herland (1915). Utopian visions of female-only worlds abound in the history of science fiction and fantasy literature.

9780415966320_p0_v1_s260x420I do not mean to suggest that feminism advocates for a replacement of the patriarchy by a matriarchy, one in which women rule over and enslave men. Rather, these examples serve the point that, like it or not, Wonder Woman is a feminist icon. However, as Lillian S. Robinson warns in Wonder Women: Feminisms and Superheroes, we should not confuse her iconic status in the history of women’s rights and the feminist movement for feminism in general. As Shana Mlawski points out, strong female characters on their own, can harm the fight for equality for women by using scantily-clad, sexy, but strong kick-ass women to cover up the lack of social equality or justice outside of the comics, movies, and films populated by Xenas, Buffys, and Wonder Womans.

Moreover, “feminism” is a continuously evolving, often overlapping, and sometimes contradictory set of individualized, group-specific, and differently-theorized feminisms. Feminism is not a monolith, but a nexus of ideas about social justice and equality. Characters like Wonder Woman may stand as an icon, but they are far from descriptive of feminism as a whole; they describe particular feminisms. Janelle Asselin at Comics Alliance, for example, offers a critique of the current Azzarello and Chiang run, arguing that the retconning of Wonder Woman’s born-of-clay origin and the revelation that she has a father, namely Zeus, was a negative change for the character. Her biological attachment to Zeus undermined her self-made status.

Sensation-WW-1-537676042a9e82-07339885-3496f

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1

What’s at stake, then, in denying Wonder Woman the feminist title is not necessarily denying that she can be analyzed as a feminist character or, even, that she will cease to be used as a feminist icon in the ways that she has been for 74 years. It is instead a misogynist attempt to rein in positive social change in the mainstream comics industry, to deny readers’ desire for characters that bring about social and ideological change not just in the DCU or the Marvel Universe, but in our world as well. It’s also a slap in the face to common sense: there’s just no humane reason not to be feminist.

We want heroes who make change, and heroes cannot make change if they are denied identities that advocate for social justice. We want a Wonder Woman who’s not afraid of the “F” word and a creative team who understands that.

At the very least, come August we’ll have a new Wonder Woman comic to turn to: Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman.

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