There’s been a lot of chatter on the interwebz today about Marvel choosing The View as the outlet to announce the news that former-Alpha Flight/current X-Men member Northstar will be proposing to and marrying his boyfriend Kyle in upcoming issues. Since most of the comics-reading community has seen this coming, instead of crying “Spoiler!” the loudest voices have been asking “Wait. Isn’t that a show for soccer moms?”
To which my replay is, “So what.” As someone who loves comics, I want EVERYONE to know about them and read them – not just the current majority audience. I’d love for soccer moms to pick up Astonishing X-Men or any of the X-Men comics.
If you didn’t see The View this morning (and I’m guessing you haven’t) The Mary Sue has the clip. It’s very short and a bit teleprompter-y; it’s pretty obvious the ladies are out of their depth with this announcement (let’s just thank the stars Elisabeth Hasselbeck didn’t have anything to say for the minute of airtime this received). But the point is a whole ton of people whose (most likely) only comic purchase is Archie for their children now know about something pretty cool happening at Marvel Comics. Something that they might even be interested in reading. Gasp!
Statistically speaking, women in the U.S. spend approximately $2 trillion each year. Women account for approximately 85% of all consumer purchases. So ignoring The View‘s demographic is a stupid move, even though comic publishers have done so for ages. While I am not at all a fan of gender advertising, telling target audience of The View that a New York Times Best Selling author of paranormal romance novels is writing a comic book with a wedding is good marketing sense.
I think this was a really smart move on Marvel’s part. It’s a bit sad how unconventional a move it was, and even sadder that it baffles people. But I’m hoping it does enough good that comic publishers start to take advantage of opportunities like this instead of passing them up. I’d absolutely love to see something like DC Comics announcing their newly gay character on Ellen. I’m still holding out to see comic previews in magazines like Bust and not just Maxim.
In the very little bit of commentary around Marvel’s news, Whoopi Goldberg said, “You know what I love about this. When I was a kid and buying these magazines, you never saw this array of people. There are black people there. There are gay people. It’s kinda amazing!” While we definitely should be striving for more, there is diversity in comics. And there’s diversity in comics because there’s diversity in their readership. Comics aren’t just for white dudes. They’re for everyone. And everyone should get the opportunity to hear about them.