Okay, gotta confess that I haven’t really been concerning myself with DC Comics and their apparent kerfuffle¹ regarding their line-wide reboot and almost complete out-shutting of female talent. This is mostly because I don’t read any of their comics.
But apparently the institutional DC response to this situation has been “Well it’s not like we know of any women that we could hire.” This has led to not one, but two distinct bits of complete and utter truth-to-power today:
- An online petition² addressed to DC contains (as of the time of this writing) eighty-nine names of supremely talented creators; have fun at home and pick out all the webcomickers!
- Aaron Diaz³ pointed out why many of these eighty-nine women, if approached by DC, might turn them down:
If you’re a budding female artist with fresh ideas, why enter the industry doing the 15th reboot of an 80 year old property you don’t own?
My own reading of Diaz’s position places the most emphasis on the last three words: you don’t own. Let’s say that DC called everybody’s bluff and gave, say, Jess Fink the art gig on, say, Wonder Woman (a book which, incidentally, I would buy the crap out of, if only to hunt down every single hidden boner than snuck into the final artwork). And let’s say that Wondy became the biggest thing that DC’s seen in the past 30 years, books flying off the shelves, movie deals getting signed every which way, big blockbuster success all around.
Jess Fink is not going to see any money of that hypothetical movie. Maybe the Warners Entertainment checks give her the time to come up with her next original story, but that’s the most that it would do. The fame and fortune that these creators get will, almost without exception, come from their own ideas, their own creations, their own stories — stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end, not ongoing zombie properties.
DC wants to cut themselves off from some of the best creators, with the best ideas, making the best comics, out of a sense of faux ignorance? Awesome, they can knock themselves out. I’d love to be wrong about this. I’d love to see the amazing talents that DC claims not to know exist given free rein and paid not just with a rate, but with an ongoing stake in what they create. We all know it ain’t never gonna happen, and in the meantime, I can still buy a bunch of my comics directly from the creators4 and get to read things I haven’t seen a thousand times before.
¹ I love that word.
² Those things never work, but are on occasion amusing to read.
³ The Latin Art-Throb.
4 Case in point: I just became the 300th backer of the Narbonic Kickstarter campaign; a little late, I realize, but still two full days to go.