In May comics creator Hope Larson sent out a survey to “a couple hundred girls and women who reads comics in their teens or tweens” [sic] about how they got into reading books in that form, and what they liked to see. She shared the results on her LiveJournal blog, but within weeks deleted that blog in favor of a dedicated website, leaving a path strewn with dead links, as in this interview with Kelly Thompson. So one reason for this post is to share the new web address for Larson’s results.
Among her findings:
3) Pink, sparkly cutesy comics about boyfriends, ponies, cupcakes and shopping are widely reviled. Condescend to female readers at your peril, writers and comic publishers.So I guess that’s why girls don’t like Babymouse.
To be fair, the readership for Babymouse starts younger than the teens/tweens Larson was polling. But it does suggest that the more salient finding than the above is “5) Girls need good stories in a variety of genres.”
In other words, the problem may not be “Pink, sparkly cutesy comics” but bad pink, sparkly cutesy comics and/or only pink, sparkly cutesy comics.
However, even that feedback might not be helpful to creators and publishers since some bad material in any format seems to sell just fine, and some good material fails to find the audience it deserves. Many fans of any artistic genre have difficulty accepting this, feeling that someone must be at fault somewhere.
TOMORROW: Pointing the finger of blame.