Geekdom is no longer a boys club, and DC Comics is cashing in big time by tapping in to the not so new market of girls who love comics.
While their new line of DC Super Hero Girls is made up of saccharine sweet, mildly pandering versions of some of DC’s most well-known heroines and vileness’, their presence means fan girls of today are getting what their mothers seldom did, attention.
Wonder Woman and Supergirl had brief moments in the limelight in the 70’s and 80’s, but the comic book marketing machine has notoriously neglected female audiences as a viable source of revenue, until now.
The last decade of fem-power in the geek scene, from Buffy to Rey, has proven that not only are girls geeks, but guys don’t mind strong female heroes either.
The “fangirl” women of today may have endured the teasing and weird looks that come with being a geek, but their daughters are living in a new age. For many the sight of a shiny new cape or shield on a Target end cap is a beacon of hope, and for DC that means big money.
DCU president Diane Nelson said in a recent issue of Forbes Magazine;
“Our overall consumer products represent a $6 billion business. The DC brand brings in about half of that. We think the DC Super Hero Girls can be bigger than a $1 billion brand,”
The promised sales figures show how wrong marketers have been in the past about how well girl comics might sell, but Nelson went on to explain that it’s about more than the potential revenue;
“If you look at Batman and Superman, there are adaptations that appeal to six-year olds, as well as 40 year-olds. I hope that young girls get the things I hear about from every fanboy—an incredible sense of empowerment and aspiration. It’s about getting hope and inspiration from powerful role models. It’s about saving the day, alongside men.”
DC released a special issue of DC Super Hero Girls OGN for this year’s Free Comic Book Day, as well as a series of Webisodes and an hour-long special on Boomerang, all in addition to the new line of toys and costume apparel at Target.
The Internets’ reaction to the series and the toys has been mostly positive, with a few bloggers complaining about everything from the lack of multi-cultural representation, to the standard complaints that it is just too “girly”. While the adults all have something to say about DC’s new approach, here at Grizzly Bomb we wanted to know what the target audience thought.
We spoke with fangirl, cosplayer , and all around geek girl Hannah D. Hannah has been going to cons since she could walk, and free comic book day is one of her favorite days of the year. At the age of ten she falls roughly in the middle of the 6-12 target demographic.
She read DC’s Tiny Titans, and IDW’s My Little Pony comics. Hannah agreed to watch the first season of DC Super Hero Girls Webisodes and let us know what she thought of the new show and toys being marketed to her and her ilk.
Her initial reaction?
“Well, the animation isn’t really that good. It’s not as good as, like, Batman. Not even Teen Titans , Go!”
Yikes, we’re not off to a great start here.
GB: Aside from the animation, what did you think of the cartoon?
Hannah: First, Wonder Woman has no muscles, so that’s not accurate at all. A lot of the characters are not really accurate, but it’s a cartoon for little kids, so they won’t know.
Did you still like the characters, even though they weren’t comic accurate?
I liked them. I know some moms and dads think comics are violent, so they won’t let their kids watch like, Batman, or even The Flash. So, this show is good because moms and dads will let their kids watch it.
Would you recommend it to your friends?
I would recommend it. The characters are like cool teens and they can be good role models for girls. They don’t make Batman toys for girls, really, but this way you can have a Batgirl if you want. Boys can play with them too, and then people can play Batman together. Everyone can have good role models that help save, well, the world.
Did anything else stand out to you?
I like that their clothes are like real clothes. Sometimes in the comics they are short or too sexy, and I can’t wear that, but I can wear this. I would totally cosplay Harley Quin, she’s my favorite. Oh, and there is no Joker, which I don’t like.
Any final thoughts?
It’s pretty good. They can be good role models, and it did really make me want the toys. Also, it is a little sexist against the boys. They should be on the team too.
It looks like the DC marketing team has done their job; create strong role models for little girls while encouraging toy sales.
Target’s recent elimination of gender-based toy display, along with the shift in the industry’s approach to marketing to girls, means that the children of today are seeing characters like Wonder Woman and Batman as being on the same level. It won’t happen over-night, but in the very near future, it seems we won’t have ‘girl heroes’ and ‘boy heroes,’ just Heroes. Way to go, DC, for leading the charge.
How do you feel about DC’s new vision? Let us know in the comments below, or visit Grizzly Bomb’s Facebook page and join the conversation.
Images: DC Comics, Target, Warner Bros. Television