Marvel Comics, like the stereotypical buyer of its products, is trying to figure out how to meet women. Tired of waiting for members of the opposite sex to wander in to the comic book store, the company is going where the women are by teaming up with CBS’ long-running soap opera Guiding Light. The comic book publisher this week began placing a special insert into some of its titles that has superhero group the New Avengers visiting Springfield, which is home to the Guiding Light’s characters. Next Monday Guiding Light returns the favor with an episode titled “She’s a Marvel,” in which one of the show’s characters gains superpowers.
“We were really attracted to this as a way to get access to a new audience,” said David Gabriel, Marvel Publishing’s vp-sales and marketing. “The soaps’ audience is all women and ours is all men.”
Sure, the lead is a little pointed, but the article goes on to chronicle Marvel’s recent attempts to woo female readers with titles like Runaways and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane:
While these titles feature the usual superhero derring-do, they have more focus on romance and relationships, and girls and women who look more like actual girls and women.
But while that seemed like a good idea, that wasn’t really enough. “It’s a hard battle to get girls into comic book stores,” said Gabriel. “We assumed that just because a girl was the main character that it would appeal to them.” Instead, what the company has found is that women are more likely to read a standard comic book title involving writers they already like. So now the company has commissioned work by Joss Wheedon, creator of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the Anita Blake series of vampire mysteries.