In his latest column for ICv2.com, retailer Steve Bennett uses discussion about the new, if temporary, look for the Riverdale gang to consider efforts by DC and Marvel to appeal to the tween set using existing characters:
… this isn’t an either or situation, you can have classic and post-modern versions of characters existing side by side with each other. DC is already selectively practicing this. To appeal to the mainstream super-hero reader there’s the Trial of Shazam Captain Marvel and for everyone else there’s Jeff Smith’s upcoming rendition of the classic incarnation. It’ll probably come as no surprise that I prefer the utter wish fulfillment of the original, but until a lot more kids start coming into Dark Star I can’t ignore the way copies of Trial of Shazam has been flying off our shelves.
If you want to do a dark Supergirl, fine, just so long as somewhere there’s one who, you know, might actually appeal to girls. Say a Supergirl with a manga style story that focuses more on Linda Lee Danvers and her cat than super-heroics, or a version of X-23 where she’s the strange new Goth girl at school with the terrible secret who slowly learns to reach out past her pain (anyone who says girls could never enjoy the fantasy of a character who “cuts loose” the way boys do hasn’t an inkling just how mean and vindictive your average teen-age girl can be).
Bennett’s conclusion isn’t surprising: Marvel seems to be in the lead, with titles like Power Pack and New X-Men – he doesn’t mention the Marvel Adventures and Johnny DC lines, or Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane — both publishers could be doing a lot more.