Friday, July 01, 2005

Sexy Superbabes!

Sorry for the title ... but according to Wizard , this is the way to get people to pay attention to all things comic-book-related.

John Riley of Grasshopper's Comics posts this over at ICv2:

As a retailer who has worked long and hard to establish a family-friendly, kid-positive atmosphere, I find these covers to be irresponsible. These days we all work daily to dispel the stereotype that comics are little more than soft-core porn, and yet the headline on our industry fan magazine is primarily concerned with 'Superbabes That Make You Sweat' and 'Jessica Alba's Push Up Bra.' When a mother comes to the counter to purchase something for their child, whether it be comic or game related, they naturally survey the counter to see what this hobby is all about. Is this really what Wizard wants to communicate to the non-hobbyist? That comic fans are primarily interested in Superbabes and push up bras?

Bravo, Mr. Riley. If I ever find myself in Williston Park, New York I will seek out Grasshopper's Comics. You're my kind of store.

I often hit comic shops with my daughters in tow. Or sometimes my wife. I'm trying to pass on a love for comics to my girls, and my wife's been interested in some series in the past. If any of the ladies in my life feel comfortable enough to look around, they'll find stuff they enjoy.

It's that "feeling comfortable" part that's the issue. For the guys reading this, up to and including shop owners and Wizard staffers: you know how you feel going into "Victoria's Secret" with your wife/significant other? That vaguely uncomfortable feeling? That feeling that you don't quite belong there? That maybe you're not really welcome? That probably stopping by weekly to chat and buy new product would be .... wierd?

"Summer's Sexiest Superbabes!" doesn't do anything to dispel the idea that comics has a sign on the clubhouse door saying "No Girls Allowed!".

I'm not even sure who this "casual consumer" is that the cover is aimed at. Most people buying in a Local Comic Shop are the hardcore - they read Wizard or they don't, but it's not based off the cover image. It based on content, habit, or both.

And the mythical "newsstand"? I know at my local grocery, Wizard is shelved next to Nick, Jr. Magazine and coloring books. It's targeting kids asking their mom to buy them Wizard because they've been "really good this week". Seeing "Superbabes That Make You Sweat" will simply send Mom the message that she should pick up a videogame magazine instead.

Or that nice Nick, Jr..

I'm not saying comics all need to be rated G. But mainstream comics don't need any help crawling into a straight white male ghetto. We don't need Wizard .


zilla said...

i'm with you mark and i can relate to the "uncomfortable" feeling on a different level. think about us guys who have been away from comics for a while - i def had that uncomfortable feeling the first few times i went to the LCS. it's hard to drop back into a culture where people pride themselves on "knowing stuff" (about titles, crossovers, underground, authors, artists, etc.). luckily the staff at one of my locals was super cool - throw in the friendly neighborhood CBR and i was back to feeling comfortable in no-time. more directly though - i def agree w/ you - the front racks need to be super clean - we need more women reading comics - not less.

zilla said...

ps i think this is the first time i thought we might have been able to make use of "trackback" (i could have posted a few paragraphs on this on my blog and just linked from here - i guess that's the premise). anyways - se la vie.

Mark Fossen said...

That uncomfortable feeling probably applies across *most* hobbies, I expect. Accessing that secret world is part of the fun, maybe.

But I suspect that if I got a sudden urge to start *quilting*, for example ... went to a quilt store ... I would not feel embarassed by pictures of half-naked men with huge bulges everywhere.