Many moons ago, I read an article in Wizard Magazine about why women were a minority as far a comic book readership is concerned. Granted this was an article written in the nineties, when comic books became highly oversexed. In a nutshell, the article said that most women were not really engaged in big, macho guys beating the crap out of some monster with an impossibly large gun (I will not get into the symbolism of the matter), and being surrounded by gravity-defying women wearing something resembling a band aid. I can see the point in that. Fast forward to 2008, and I was reading in Wired Magazine about the incredible female readership manga has. Why? There are manga that cater to things women find engaging in a comic book. The article mentions story and relationships as the main draw. Now, do keep in mind that these are generalizations, and that there are exceptions to every rule. Where am I going with all this? Let me explain.
Early on, when I decided to write graphic novels, I wanted to write stories that would appeal to women as well as men. The logic was (and still is) that if a woman finds what I’m writing interesting, it is a good story. It takes a casual walk through any comic book store to realize that keeping a male audience engaged is not that hard. Hell, some companies have been built out of catering to the more basic male needs. As I was once told proudly at a comic book convention: “If your books have to do with scantily-clad babes, bring them to us!” I have no problem with scantily-clad babes, God bless them all, but as a writer I want to go for something a little more sophisticated. Besides, the muscle-bound hero, semi-naked babe, slugfest-loving market is well represented. They certainly don’t need another person grinding the same stone.
Anyway, I felt quite satisfied as a writer when I discovered women enjoyed my work. I guess I can say “mission accomplished” in that regard. To me, a good story is a good story regardless of the medium. I know of women who loved playing Myst, who love reading comic books and who love watching sci-fi. And no, they don’t live in a basement and play Magic on Friday nights. I’ll see you in the page.