That touch of Minx

Contrary to what the New York Times wants you to think, John McCain is suspending his campaign so he and Sarah Palin can catch up on all the blog analysis of the failure of Minx Comics. Here’s your briefing book; follow the links for… even more links.

David Welsh at Precocious Curmudgeon:

My strongest impression of the Minx books I’ve read (all of the books in the first wave and some of the subsequent ones) is that they felt incomplete, that they were at least two rigorous edits away from being a finished piece of entertainment. Whether DC was assuming lower standards among the books’ target demographic or not, I have no idea, but all of the marketing in the world really shouldn’t excuse generally mediocre product

Anna at Tangognat:

It didn’t seem like there was much in the way of marketing for the line, and I’m not surprised that it is folding. In some ways it seemed like a halfhearted attempt to capture the YA book market, without actually investing in the types of stories that teen girls would want to read.

Dirk Deppey at Journalista:

No, I think the bigger problem is that building a line — indeed, an entire category — of books for the bookstore markets requires a great deal of patience and endurance, and there’s very little evidence that DC Comics has ever demonstrated these qualities in their publishing efforts.

Christopher Butcher at Comics212:

Most importantly, I don’t think the rise or fall of this line says anything at all about the validity of “comics for girls” or any variation thereof… There are still plenty of excellent graphic novels for the YA market, and for girls in particular, out on the stands. I also think that there’s a market for more, and that every publisher looking to enter the market can learn from the successes and failures of MINX to create something that will ultimately succeed.

KadyMae in her LJ:

Hot tip: Teenaged girls with crappy lives don’t want to read books about other teenaged girls with crappy lives who go to school where everybody else shits on them too and there’s nothing they can do about it. They want to escape from their crappy lives for a few hours into a world where they are important and have power and do meaningful things and have adventures. (Oh, and a little m/m ho-yay never hurts.)

She also notes, “We sold the Minx books to *some* of the Manga readers, but mostly we sold them to people in their 20s who liked slice of life alt/indy comics anyway.”

Kevin Church at Beaucoup Kevin:

I honestly think it was marketing. I saw no posters or copies of the Minx books outside of the direct market – something I was looking for at local and chain bookstores following the announcement that Cecil Castellucci was involved and googling her name because it sounded sort of familiar. The initial New York Times Article mentioned that there was a “significant” marketing budget in place with Alloy Marketing + Media handing the campaign, but I never saw where it was being spent.

Hope Larson at I was fakin’:

Minx could have been good, and important. I really believe that, and I’m sorry to see them go, but most of the books they published are not very good. They have suspect artwork and dull, predictable plots, and would probably seem pandering to anyone over the age of 12. They’re safe. To quote some ad copy from the back of Marjorie Dean, College Junior, a girls’ series published in the ’20s: “These are clean, wholesome stories that will be of great interest to all girls of high school age.” I don’t think kids in the ’20s believed that, and neither would kids today. (Although, haha, their parents might.)

Lea Hernandez at Dangerous Beauty:

Shelley Bond said she saw girls reading manga in a bookstore and wanted that audience.

Yay!

That would’ve been the time to do something like I pitched to Paul Levitz (which piqued his interest enough for him to have me contact Dan DiDio and Shelley Bond at different times): manga-influenced superheroine books. A Batgirl book where she is searching for her long-lost brother Tony. (Yes, Barbara Gordon has a Secret Agent Man brother.) Wonder Woman. Black Canary. Zatanna. Supergirl. Amethyst. Harley and Ivy. Importantly, make these books that didn’t just take the names of the characters and run with them, but do books that were grounded in what the existing fans of those books like, with an appeal to draw in new female readers.

(Click for interesting history lesson about failed lines and DC and girls.)

Johanna Draper Carlson at Comics Worth Reading (1):

I’ve previously speculated that the books were selling better in the established comic direct market than bookstores, which wasn’t the goal for the line, although it plays to DC’s strengths and comfort levels.

But then, the line was formed out of jealousy. Shelly Bond, the editor behind the imprint, said she “pitched this line as an alternative to manga, but also as an alternative to traditional fiction” — in other words, why aren’t these kids buying OUR comics? Which is typical DC thinking.

Too much of the promotion revolved around what the books weren’t, instead of what they were.

Johanna Draper Carlson at Comics Worth Reading (2)

And more at…

Mariah Huehner at tired fairy Mariah was involved with the Minx launch and has an excellent discussion of the marketing and gender issues.

Becky Cloonan at Ink and Thunder. A thoughtful post by an experienced comics creator.

Brian Wood’s LJ gives a firsthand account from a Minx creator.

Katherine Farmar at Whereof One Can Speak, who compares the American and Japanese comics marketing models.

Heidi MacDonald at The Beat (1)
Heidi MacDonald at The Beat (2)
Heidi MacDonald at The Beat (3)
This last post has lots of links to other discussions. I hope you weren’t planning on doing anything else today. Also, read the comments on all three of Heidi’s posts as they are fascinating freewheeling discussions.

2 Responses to “That touch of Minx”

  1. [...] seen a lot of railing on the quality of the books here, particularly from teachers and librarians who are normally advocates for graphic novels, and that [...]

  2. For those curious, I’ve gone and added a fuller range of thoughts to the end of the Minx line:
    http://comics212.net/2008/09/26/very-minxy/

    - Chris