It’s a Woman’s Comic Book Universe, Haven’t You Heard?

March 21, 2016

When you hear the word superhero, the first person that comes to mind is most likely male. Batman? Probably. Superman? Likely. Spiderman or Captain America? Definitely maybe.

The reality is it might take you a moment to come up with a female counterpart.

Now this isn’t necessarily your fault as up until recently comic books and movies based on comics have been squarely aimed at a male audience. But times are changing and the audience of one of Marvel Studios’ most recent movies, Avengers: Age of Ultron, was 41% female.

With nearly half of the audience being female one would think we’d have blockbuster female-fronted comic book movies every summer.

You’d be wrong. We don’t even have one. Yet…

Since the 2008 release of Iron Man, there have been 15 Marvel Studios films all featuring male heroes as the lead characters. DC isn’t much better with nine superhero movies since Batman Begins in 2005 with eight of those focusing on a singular male hero.

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Marvel has the spy hero Black Widow in the Avengers line up but after first appearing in Iron Man 2 back in 2010 she hasn’t been up to much besides being relegated to side-hero status on the Avengers. She doesn’t even make it onto most Avengers merchandise!

DC seemed as though it may pull ahead in the female super hero movie race when they cast Gal Godot as Wonder Woman back in 2013. But, here we are three years later, having to wait another year for her stand-alone film.

There is some promise on Marvel’s side of the fence with female fronted television shows like Agent Carter, focusing on the strong female character Peggy Carter who creates the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D (Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division).

Now, that’s all well and good but, while Peggy Carter most definitely kicks ass, she isn’t a superhero in the traditional comic book sense of the word.

Last year Marvel debuted the Netflix series Daredevil which features female characters in key leading roles. These women serve greater purpose than as sidekicks or a love interests and I count that as a victory. It is, at the very least, a step in the right direction!

An exciting entry in the comic book television universe is another Marvel Netflix production, Jessica Jones. 

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This dark and violent series actually takes place right after her brief time in the superhero spotlight, with Jones trying to rebuild her life as a private investigator specializing in cases with people who have “remarkable abilities” in New York City.

Jessica Jones averaged 4.8 million viewers in the 18-49 age range per episode over a span of 35 days after its initial release, which compares favorably with shows airing on traditional networks.

Not to be left behind, DC features several strong female superheros on their CW shows Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow and have Supergirl patrolling the skies on CBS. Those shows are all doing fantastically well in the ratings and proves audiences are accepting female superheros as readily as their male costumed counterparts.

The comic book universe is no longer just a man’s world. It’s time for the boys to step aside and let female viewers have someone on screen to connect with.

I want to see a future where superheros aren’t subjected to gendered marketing. I want to see as many little girls dressed up as Black Widow for Halloween as I see boys dressed up as Batman. I want to see a superhero world where all viewers can feel at home no matter their gender. Equal representation is important and I think the comic book cinematic universe should finally take note of that.

Why let television have all the fun.

From the time she could crawl, Marina La Frossia’s mantra was always Make Mine Marvel! Raised on superhero stories and gravitating toward anime as she got older, the sequential story holds a huge attraction for Marina. Her writing demonstrates that influence. Marina is a self-professed comics uber-nerd and was bitten by the cosplay bug — hardand she hasn’t missed a MegaCon convention in her hometown of Orlando, Fl. in years. When not immersed in the world’s of Marvel, DC, Hello Kitty and Adventure Time, Marina pursues an English Degree at UNF in Jacksonville, FL. She is fiercely protective of female roles, super or otherwise, within the comics universes and will continue to blog about it.