I am a girl. I like to read comics. I like it when women are involved in the production of comics. I especially like comics predominantly about women and are not just there as sexy accessories. And I think it’s complete bullshit there is still this ‘no girls allowed’ attitude when it comes to comics. There’s a feeling that ladies are out to single handedly ruin comics for the menfolk 5eva or that girls have only started reading comics for some ulterior motive.
Because apparently now getting into comics because you enjoyed a franchise in a different media (I don’t know, say, a film?) is suddenly one of the worse things girls are doing to comics and oh God, won’t someone think of the dudebros?!
The first ever comic book I ever read was Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ring of Fire. I was about 12/13 and my younger sisters’ primary school were hosting a book fair and it was of those where you could pre-order something from the ‘catalogue’ (more like, may be four sheets of paper at best) and BtVS: Ring of Fire was available to order and I just assumed it was one of the spin-off novels because I already had a few of those. So I was very surprised when it turned out to be a comic, but that didn’t seem to bother me because I read the damn thing so much, the book fell apart, hahaha. But it all turned out okay because it got reprinted in one of the comic omnibuses, happy days. I wasn’t suddenly a comic convert overnight or anything like that, but I willingly read a comic book because I enjoyed Buffy on TV.
Several years later, and I mean several, I was in my first year of university when I heard about The Umbrella Academy which I only knew about because it was written by Gerard Way who was the front man of My Chemical Romance and at that time, I really liked My Chemical Romance so why wouldn’t I want to read it? And so I ventured each month to a comic book store about 20 miles away just to pick it up each month. And then it ended and that was the end of that for sometime.
But that was a self contained story, one which didn’t have 50+ years of continuity and history behind it, which is really off putting for people who want to get into reading Marvel or DC, myself included. And then shortly after I saw The Avengers, somebody on Tumblr recommended Kieron Gillen’s run of Journey Into Mystery, obviously I had seen the Marvel films so I knew who Loki was and at this point I didn’t really fancy Tom Hiddleston (oh Lordy, do I now) nor was I a ‘Loki apologist’ (and even I did, it wouldn’t have mattered) but the basic story just sounded fun (“Loki died! Now he’s a teenager! He makes a friend and gets a puppy!). And that was the beginning of my slippery slope of a relationship with Marvel, I started to read more titles, I started buying issues regularly, I started buying trade paperbacks, I started reading titles by other publishers and now I can’t stop, won’t stop.
Basically, all of my comic reading started because I was already invested in related media. And that’s not a bad thing, I’m 98% certain that companies like Marvel and DC want more people to start reading comics after watching the films. And I don’t understand why girls are being accused of being fake fans because that’s how they got into comics (girls are also being called fake fans for various other reasons as well, mind).
And then there’s the whole school of thought that comics are a man-only pastime because ‘they provide escapism for men’ but now girls are reading comics and publishers are doing more to cater to girls by writing more well-rounded female characters and not drawing ladies as tits on legs?!?!?!?
The times, they are a-changing and I’m excited about it. I mean, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies though, female superhero titles are way more likely to get cancelled early (I have no official stats on that or anything, just something I’ve noticed from experience) and there are yet to be any superhero films starring female characters (though there’s going to be Wonder Woman soon-ish and a Black Widow movie is allegedly in the works), but I’m staying positive.
As a side note, I also read a lot of manga in between Buffy and Umbrella Academies, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish, mostly because a lot of manga is very blatantly marketed towards girls and as a result of this I grew up on a very healthy diet of magical girls.
And there is no way whatsoever Marvel were not pandering to their growing female fanbase with Loki: Agent of Asgard #1. I mean, Loki showering and posting slash fic online, please.