by Beau Smith
On a daily basis I’m engaged in some form of communication with everyone that’s a part of the business, creation, and selling of comic books. It’s been that way for over 25 years. For a while now, and even more so in the last year, there’ve been complaints and uproar about why there aren’t more women writing and creating comic books. The subject seems to be a high horse that everyone wants to ride. Not me.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that I want women banished from the creation of comic books. That would be wrong. I want LOTS of women to create and write comics, but only if they’re good writers.
This request, or should I say demand, that women should be writing comics seems to be aimed at Marvel and DC Comics for the most part. Superhero books still dominate the business of comics and superhero comics are still mainly bought by the male gender. Just a fact. It could change, but trust me, it’ll be a slow change. I’m talking about decades to change, not overnight. Since the 1980s the number of women writing and drawing comic books has increased far beyond what we would’ve thought in the 1960s, but it has been slow.
For the most part, women don’t read superhero comic books as much as males do. Maybe one day they will, but I doubt if it’ll be in my lifetime. (I plan to be around for a lot longer, so don’t get your hopes up.)
No one should be given the writing duties of a comic book because of their gender, race, sexual preference, religious beliefs, or the way they comb their hair. They should be a good writer first and foremost.
The person that should be writing Wonder Woman doesn’t have to be a woman, it should be the writer who makes the character and the story compelling. Does the person writing The Black Panther need to be African-American? No. It should be the person who makes the character interesting to read for the widest audience.
The editor or publisher that hires a creator based only on their race or gender should be shown the door. A great story has no race, gender, or political leanings on the computer screen. It should just be the best story possible. If the writer’s gender or race happens to match that of the character in this great story, then wonderful, but it shouldn’t come before the great story.
The fact that superhero comics is still very much a male dominated business is just a fact. You want to change it? Then more women need to write as genderless as Gail Simone, Ann Nocenti, Chuck Dixon and Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray. They write great stories for all fictional characters, male and female.
In a “Beau Perfect” world, the only people writing superhero comics would be West Virginian males over the age of 50 with a beard, a ball cap grafted to their head, and a strong desire for Chili Cheese Fritos. We know that’s not gonna happen, but a guy can dream.
You don’t have to prove you’re a man or a woman to me, but you do have to prove you’re a good writer. Do that and I’ll not only keep buying your comics, I’ll tell everyone else to buy them as well.
The Flying Fist Ranch