I cannot speak strongly enough about how interrelated I think women and children readers are and how both are extremely important to the future of comics. Women make 80% of the retail purchases in America. EIGHTY PERCENT. And that means that more often than not, if a kid is shopping, it’s with mom. So if the comic industry wants to have a future and hook readers young, they need to target both women and children. If a woman is reading comics, she’ll be more likely to let her kid read comics. And if a kid is raised in a house where one or both parents read comics, I think we all already know that he or she will be more likely to read comics. Kids who never know comics exist are going to have a hard time finding them when they’re at an age that most superhero comics are geared towards. And even better in all of this is the fact that if mom reads comics, she’ll have no problem with her daughters reading comics, which increases the future female readership of comics as well as just the future male readership of comics. There’s no loss here for the comics industry. It just takes foresight. Creating more comics for kids and women, making sure they know they exist, and making sure they’re accessible could genuinely change the future of the industry. Some publishers are already doing a great job making stuff for one or both (Top Shelf and Archaia both leap to mind). We just need a greater segment of the industry to take those demographics seriously.
That’s just one response from Janelle Asselin, former DC editor (now at Disney, working on kids’ magazines, I believe), in an interview over at the wonderful DC Women Kicking Ass tumblr that’s well worth checking out; Asselin talks about her graduate thesis on (the lack of) women in comics, and it’s both eye-opening and depressing. Go read.