So DC comics announced a reboot that, it turned out, cut down on female characters headlining books and female creators making them. Some fans complained about it in a public way.
Now DC is making an announcement that they’re going to hire more female creators.
To be honest, my first response is, “Nice!”
And that is likely to be my only response. I’ve read quite a lot of posts on this subject now (Thanks, When Fangirls Attack. You continue to be a fantastic linkblog.) The responses range from people who believe that DC will not make the changes they promise in their announcement, to people who believe that DC was already making those changes and now will lose some of the credit they deserve. The assessments of the incident at the San Diego Con range from people who believe that when Dan Didio asked for names of female creators he was sincerely rallying the crowd and trying to elicit suggestions from the people in the room, to people who believe he was brow-beating them into shutting up.
Sometimes I fear the crank is going out of me. I’ve been writing for 4thletter and io9 for years, and editing Fantasy Magazine and Lightspeed Magazine (Nominated for a Hugo, Worldcon Attendees! Vote for us!) for nearly a year. Writing and editing are wonderful ways to have varied experiences, learn new things for a living, and make it so the universe you picture in your head actually exists in reality, if only on paper. This is, I think, what the DC editors are doing in the reboot – on a much larger scale.
The work is also very difficult. Constant deadlines, clashing schedules, tons of details to work out, and hours spent in ‘thought’ which sometimes produces nothing but a headache and growing anxiety. Sometimes you have to roll out the very best thing you can at the moment, and work on improving it.
And sometimes that’s not good enough for the people who get what you have. I’ve been kicked by commenters for everything from bias to proofreading to content to outright stupidity. Sometimes the commenters were just being jerks. Sometimes they were right on the money. Neither time was a lot of fun for me. But sometimes you can take a kick like that and use it to make things better. Which is what DC seems to be doing.
It’s rare that I finish any internet drama hopeful, and sympathetic to all sides. The women and men who asked the difficult questions at San Diego have my respect. It’s hard to get up in front of people whose work you clearly adore and ask aggressive, awkward questions in a room full of people who can shout at you. And then there’s that announcement. I love feminism. I love DC comics. An explicit statement making a commitment to feminism on the part of DC Comics makes me happy.
Hurray for Cons.