Gail Simone, Female Characters, Comic Shops And A New Edge Of Spider-Verse #2 Variant For FCBD

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At the weekend Gail Simone wrote on Facebook,

Had a retailer in MA say they wouldn't have much interest in an upcoming project with female leads because "the activism in comics is wearing" on him.

Holy shit, have fun in the tar pits, guy.

Further commenting,

"Activism" my ass. When all the books were guy leads, the excuse was that the audience was all male. That is no longer the case. What's the excuse now, Sherlock?

Retailer Jeffrey Tundis of the store in MA, Time Capsule, then replied, saying,

Sad, but true. Many of my customers are getting worn out by it too. And not just feminist activism, but (to a much lesser degree) racial and other political motivations compromising quality story-telling – the newest issue of Thor being a prime example.

Some of the creators' work I've seen promoted just don't measure up quality-wise as it seems there is a rush by some of the larger companies to sign any female writer or artist to make up for the foolish lack of such in recent years – remember Marvel's sudden decision a couple of years ago to cancel every female lead book? Now, in a flip-flop rush to make up for such actions, I find a lot of it to be pandering, and honestly I'm surprised more women aren't offended by it (but rest assured, I've heard the same complaints about "quotas" being filled by some female customers, too).

I still wish you well. You always deliver solid work. Hope Swords of Sorrow does better than the similar-sounding Prophecy crossover from 2012.

Gail replied,

I guess Jeffrey Tundis has outed himself here as the manager of the comic store i spoke of. And yes, I totally believe women customers are coming to your shop saying how mch they hate"quotas," that sounds 100% plausible and not like sad bullshit at all.  quotas, for god's sake,someone give me strength.

 And Tundis answered,

the last time it happened was Saturday. A woman came in with her husband and daughter. I tried to recommend Ms Marvel for her daughter, and she just rolled her eyes and made a "ugh, talk about meeting your quotas" comment (in reference to the book). I was more surprised than you.

 I have the feeling that may have been less about gender than about race… but the conversation continued.
However,  Mike Wellman of The Comic Bug of Manhattan Beach and Culver City, California, has his own take and it involved putting his money where his mouth is. And expects to make a lot more as a result. He told Bleeding Cool,

After listening to both the publishers and the retailers over the last few days, I had a bit of an epiphany that is like to share. Let me know what you think!

Why we chose to reprint Edge Of Spider-Verse #2 as our FCBD premium variant

Edge Of Spider-Verse #2, like Action Comics #1, Showcase #4, Giant-Size X-Men #1 and Dark Knight Returns #1 before it, marks the beginning of a bold, new era of comics. An era where diversity isn't just represented because it's politically correct, it's here because it's now, after so many years, being celebrated! Embraced! Devoured!

Spider-Gwen as we all know, isn't the first female super-hero by a long shot. BUT she is the first one in my 21 years of retailing to BLOW the doors off the sales chart. And the companies took notice, much like when Nirvana's Nevermind stormed the charts.

Marvel and, even more so, DC have taken notice and introduced bold and exciting new publishing agendas with an emphasis on bringing the comic book reading audience books that reflect and represent THEM!

It's an exciting time. Once word spreads to the public at large of what's going on, there are going to be some people coming in (or coming BACK) to get in on the action.

Why do I say EOSV #2 is the BEGINNING of a new era?  Because, like Showcase #4 and Dark Knight Returns, it organically, almost accidentally filled such a desire for certain content and

With it, the floodgates are now wide open to deliver a variety, nay, a plethora of titles no longer with the disclaimer that "female driven comics don't sell" or "culturally diverse lines aren't as successful as the proven formula".


A new Edge Of Spider-Verse #2 variant by Siya Oum, who will be the first female creator to work on the Spider-Gwen character. And a new edition of the first appearance of the Spider-Gwen character tearing up the charts. Available for ten bucks on Free Comic Book Day exclusively at The Comic Bug stores in California, who are running it as a Free Comic Con Day as well.

We're still having events at both our Manhattan Beach and Culver City shops. In addition, we've rented out the CULVER CITY TEEN CENTER and are partnering with comic book publishers such as ASPEN COMICS and Valiant Entertainment to bring you the BIGGEST and BEST Free Comic Book Day event we've ever held! And now we have room to spread out and make sure everyone has a comfortable and FUN time!

Seen as the beginning of a new wave in comic books. And perfect to pick up for new customers, going to a free Californian Comic Con… with the artist of the comic on hand to sign it. Sounds like a pretty solid way to create customers of the future and to expand the audience and demographic base of a comic book store.

Maybe other retailers could take inspiration from such a plan?

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About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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