Mamo 419: White Privilege

Mamo!

Straight came Outta Compton like a box office rocket, so Mamo is on the scene to discuss the movie’s champions and critics, including (professional contrarian?) Armond White’s thoughts on the film and black activism in general. Plus we spend five or ten minutes with Fantastic Four, cuz it’s us.

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Voncaster
Guest

I don’t know how long westerns or musicals were popular. In my mind it was several decades. I would say slashers in US were extremely popular for about a decade. From the mid 70s to the mid 80s. Perhaps there was a slight slasher resurgence with Scream.

I would peg the start of the modern super hero movies trend with X-men and Spiderman (Burton’s Batman was huge but didn’t start the super hero movie trend in my mind). Around 2000 and 2002. The genre has been going pretty strong for about 15 years. So I think general audience fatigue will come into play sooner rather than later. I don’t think there is another 10 years at the center of popular culture to milk out of the comic book genre. I could be wrong. Will comic book movies last a relatively long time like westerns or a relatively a short time slashers? I’m banking on the the trend being closer to the latter, especially in the internet age.

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I have no doubt that women read comic books. I doubt very seriously that most female comic book readers are reading the comic books that Holywood is turning into movies; primarily male power fantasies. My general observation is that females find much more to identify with in Manga and Vertigo, than they do with Marvel and DC fare. The Marvel and DC fare is what is being made into movies presently.

The comic book shelves are much more diverse than Holywood comic book movies.

Matthew Price
Guest

I don’t think the appeal of the MCu is on the basis of a male power fantasy, and while the representation has a long LONG way to go towards anything representing the audience, I think the female fan base is already there for the storytelling milieu. Myths and legends are a lot more than just simplistic power fantasies, and ghettoizing stories into “girl stuff” (vertigo, manga both of which have massive male fan bases) and “boy stuff” (hero books, which have a massive female fan base) isn’t productive.

Voncaster
Guest

Yes certainly males and females read Marvel, DC, Vertigo, and Manga. It was brought up in the podcast that females read comic books. Which is not surprising to me, but its also not a very nuanced statement. I would love to see numbers on gender readership for DC and Marvel monthly books.

2014 Atlantic article on female comic book reading:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/07/just-how-many-women-read-comic-books/374736/

If you have a better, more up to date article or database I would love get link to it. My anecdotal observations were off, but not way off.

The Atlantic pegs the number of females reading super hero books at the 30-45% level. Much higher for female created super hero books (1 out of 9) and female led super hero books (1 out of 4).

My point was not to ghettoize. But to say there are comic books out there, the article mentions Y and Fables specifically (Vertigo titles), which have a higher female readership. If you think studios should appeal more towards women with comic book movies, there are at least two routes to take. Adapt DC and Marvel fair to be more inclusive. Or make some comic book movies that appeal more towards women. The first thing that came to my mind was the later, and not the former. I suppose the studios can and should to both.

I don’t want to ghettoize, but there are gender preferences, and exceptions, for all media including comic books.

Matt Gamble
Guest

The last study I saw done was for late last year and counted females at 47% of the comic book audience.

Voncaster
Guest

I don’t doubt that. But what titles each gender reads is important.

This is example is not real, just purely to illustrate the importance of titles. A shop sells two books Hulk and Inuyasha. Both titles sell equally well. Hulk has 75% males audience and 25% female audience. Inuyasha has a 75% female audience and 25% male audience. Females make up 50% of the comic book readership. But it is innacurate to say females are as interested in MCU as males.

In other words 50% female comic book readership does not mean 50% female super hero comic book readership.

Its possible that females are as interested in DCU and MCU as males are. But without cited stats, I personally have my doubts. Just like I don’t believe that even though males read Ranma 1/2 that that the readership is roughly equal by gender.

Voncaster
Guest

Matt the study you read cited 47% female comic book readers or 47% of females reading the DC and Marvel comic books?

Matt Gamble
Guest

It was total readership. Marvel’s female percentage is around 37% (and they’ve launched a bunch of female led titles since this research, partially to try and increase this number even more), I don’t think DC has ever posted that info. I do know that for female led titles the female readership is around 62%. One interesting thing in the research was that female comic book fans tend to increase as they age, while male readership tends to decrease. Also because of this, female comic book reader education levels tended to be higher than their male counter-parts. This might have some correlation to the more sophisticated comics that might not be female led (Y and Sandman for example), tend to have strong female fan bases as well. Of course, those comics also tend to have a much better gender ratio than mainstream superhero comics. It’s all interesting stuff.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

The site Graphicpolicy.com has done various looks into demographics looking at Facebook data. Basically who likes the pages of comic book companies, also combing likes for “comics”, “graphic novels” and “managa”. Data from 2013 to 2014, they got a population of 32 million fans in the US with a very even split of 48.13% women and 50.63% men.

Note just because someone “likes” a page doesn’t mean they buy comics, so it’s an imperfect data but good survey data is hard to come by. I know for sure DC Comics does a lot of surveys on their audience and I’m guessing Marvel does too. However, they rarely share any of that data as it can help their competitors.

More recently they did an article on Marvel demographics. The split for Marvel’s Facebook page was 63.16% men, 36.84% women.

They also did one on Wonder Woman and for American fans, the split was 53.93% women and 46.07% men. So it does shift on female lead titles and perhaps the fact that there are a lot more male lead superhero titles than female lead titles, might have to do with the lack of female fans when it comes to superhero comics.

That said, when Marvel made Thor a woman, it was reported that sales jumped around 30% (that was ignoring the initial jump, but the sales after the series numbers leveled out a few issues later). Also it’s been reported that Marvel’s best selling digital comic is Ms. Marvel, a female Muslim teenager.

Marvel comics certainly has been making a move to make their characters more diverse, so that it’s not just a bunch of white guys. I think they are going that way because it makes good business. That there is more growth in being diverse as new fans pick up their comics. As a lot of women are already reading comics, just not Marvel (and assuming DC?) comics.

Voncaster
Guest

Thanks for all the comic book readership info. Times have definitely changed since I hit the comic shops weekly.

My purely anecdotal evidence (what I see at comic shops and bookstores), would be more male skewed for super hero books. But its been a long time since I bought weekly comics. I mostly buy comics in book stores or online now. So if Marvel and DC are making headway in attracting females that is great.

Again I didn’t mean to ghettoize anyone; this book or movie is only intended for this type of person. Certainly I don’t like that feeling when I read books, listen to music or watch movies.

My kind of instinctual reaction to comic book movies should be made appealing for men and women, was to think of the types of comic book movies Hollywood is not making: Vertigo, Manga (although Anime is huge), Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, and Pantheon. Surely successful comic book movies could be (and have been) made outside of superhero books. Which whether they appeal to women or men, I would personally be more interested in than DCU and MCU stuff. I’m very much looking forward to the ScarJo Ghost in the Shell and Black Hole if that ever makes it out of development hell.

The other argument is equally valid. Women (and every other demographic) are interested in super heroes and so those books and movies could do more to be more inclusive. That is a fine argument to have as well. My mind just immediately jumped to the other argument; try some non super hero comic book movies.

But I can also see how my initial post could be seen as advocating for strict walls around content and audience. That was not my intention.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Voncaster actually the data that I provided actually backs up what you were saying that overall at least for Marvel, the majority are men. However, that isn’t the case for superheroes that are female like Wonder Woman, which has a slightly larger women audience. So perhaps the demographics might shift if Marvel or DC Comics start publishing more female lead comics. As I mentioned, it’s definitely where the growth is happening, especially it seems with digital comics.

As for more movies from Vertigo, Image and other independent comics, I would love to see that considering that they are done well. I’m not too interested in seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Sandman, as I don’t think it’s going to be very good, as I think it’s a series that is hard if not impossible to adapt into a movie. Neil Gaiman had a script and was ready to direct “Death: A High Cost of Living” but because it’s would be just a small budget to mid-range movie, it didn’t quite seem to find a home.

Y:The Last Man I think is something that would work better as a HBO show, rather than movie, same thing for Fables. Actually, Fables was shopped around various tv networks and many were interested, but broke away from Fables going their own way. Which is how we ended up with tv shows like Once Upon A Time and Grimm. Writer Bill Willingham refers to these tv shows, as Fables’ illegitimate children.

Queen & Country, a sort of female James Bond would make an amazing movie. Last I heard Ellen Page was attached to star in it, but it’s suck in development hell.

A lot of non-superhero comics have been picked up for movie, but are stuck in development hell. They generally aren’t going to be big tent pole movies and therefore lack the urgency to get made compared to superhero adaptions.

Matt Gamble
Guest

AMC has a pilot of Preacher that is supposed to run later this year. 100 Bullets got a pilot order from somewhere as well but that got shut down, supposedly it will be made into a movie instead. James Gunn has been pushing to make a We3 movie, which would be a solid fit.

Then you have stuff like Rat Queens being made into an animated series (which could be a blast) and I’d be stunned if someone doesn’t try and adapt Bitch Planet into a TV show or movie.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Make no mistake, I like NON-SUPERHERO comic books adapted to films (Ghost World, A History of Violence, Snow Piercer, American Splendor, Sin City, TinTin) – most of these have been great!

Matt Gamble
Guest

I’m pretty sure you’d love Matt Fraction’s version of Hawkeye, Kurt. It’s all minutia and exists in the margins of the life of a super hero. It’d make a killer HBO show.

Rick Vance
Guest

At that point though you can just cut out the middle man and go straight to Casanova.

Kurt
Guest

I should give this HAWKEYE thing a try. Outside of the more iconic graphic novels (Sandman, Watchmen, Kingdom Come) I’m not much of a comic book reader. I did pre-order a series called JENNY BONES, because I really like the artist — http://store.clandestinerepublic.com/product/jenny-bones-legend-of-the-peril-squad-pre-order

Rick Vance
Guest

Only if you have a good comic shop.

I feel bad for whoever has to try and fill Chuck D’s shoes in that eventual PE movie. Harder than You Think is perfect trailer music.

Sean Kelly
Guest

I don’t really get the bias people have against superhero movies. Perhaps, it’s because I am part of a generation (people born in the 1980s), who doesn’t really know a time without summer blockbusters.

The original BATMAN films came out between the ages of 7 and 15 and I was 18 when X-Men came out and kicked off the current superhero boom.

I’ve seen nearly every superhero film to come out in the last 15 years, only missing out on a few. FANTASTIC FOUR was pretty much the first such film that I was planning to see and decided otherwise.

I see a lot of films and even as my tastes evolve as I get older, I still expect that I will always have a place for mindless popcorn fare.

Rick Vance
Guest

The simple answer for me is at the modern Superhero movies in the world post the Marvel explosion the movies feel like they came off an assembly line in a way that the earlier popcorn movies do not. It all looks the same and feels the same and carries the same general tone. Now this wouldn’t be a problem if everything wasn’t completely in lock step in trying to cut a piece of that massive pie for themselves.

Kurt
Guest

Extruded plastic dinguses.

Sure it’s not the first genre to feel assembly line, but it’s the one happening now, and I stopped seriously caring for the genre after I saw the first Iron Man movie and saw that we were leaving the phase 1990s-early 2000s experimenting (Batman Returns, Dick Tracy, Tank Girl, Singer X-Men, Raimi Spider Man, Ang Lee Hulk) and Nolan was getting out of the ‘Crime-Drama’ Batman game after The Dark Knight Rises.

Marvel Studios, as anyone reading this website surely knows by now bores me to death, and that DC / Sony / Fox are playing copy-cat to Marvel is depressing. Sure every now they squeeze out a very smart entry (30-45 minutes worth of The Avengers, Guardians of The Galaxy, and I suppose from what I’ve heard, the Netflix Daredevil show), but the quality/quantity ratio is pretty poor for all the money spent.

Gerry
Guest

I had no idea that Watto was a negative Jewish stereotype. That sucks. He actually becomes Hasidic at one point.

I never realised that the sand people were Arabs either.

Given that George Miller never cast any Aborigine people in Mad Max Fury Road, what is it about directors called George? On a superficial first glance they seem to have “issues”.

The sand people are treated as evil for enslaving the future Darth Vader’s mother. What about the majority of real slavers in the world, white American and British people?

They are portrayed as the people on the dark side of the Force, and the majority of “goodies” in Star Wars and every other film and TV show ever made, as well as the baddies in said films and shows. i.e. they get most roles, portraying good bad or indifferent characters.

One group that consistently seems to get portrayed negatively is African Americans. On practically every American cop show and a lot of films they’re portrayed as criminals.

Did / does that have any influence on white American policeman who seemingly murder African Americans when they stop them for traffic violations etc? God knows. It’s an interesting question to ponder.

Jonathan
Guest

I’m so, so, so happy that the lead character of Finn is Star Wars in a young black man. That’s very significant.

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