Welcome to this week’s adventures in climbing the cliffs of insanity. What did I learn this week? One, there is actual hard evidence that show women read comics (about time); two, as a reader, I can develop a really hopeless crush; and three, that I should let my eldest daughter brainstorm plot ideas for my writing all the time.
Turns Out Women Reading Comics Are Not More Elusive Than Unicorns
So, do women read comics? It’s been contended for a long time that they don’t, at least not in sufficient quantity that it makes it worthwhile for a business to market product to them.
Facebook’s answer? Hell yes.
Heidi MacDonald at The Beat has a breakdown of Facebook’s statistics and algorithms by comics blogger and political consultant Brett Schenker that concludes at least 40 percent of comic readers are women.
From the article:
Every month, Schenker does a search based on various terms and FB spits back a precise demographic breakdown. In this case, Schenker searched for various comics related “like” terms. He does it every month, and the stats for September can be found here. The results were some 11,600,000 people in the US who “liked” the various terms. The gender breakdown was a lot closer to what observations suggest it might be.
There are pie charts and graphs accompanying The Beat‘s article at the link, including a breakdown of readers by age.
So what’s next? If I were in the comic business like Marvel and DC, I might conclude there’s an untapped market for my product that could increase my profit margins. Women, of course, aren’t a monolithic block in what they like. Even geek moms aren’t a monolithic block or you’d see a whole bunch of sameness on this site. But I’d start with three-dimensional female characters in great stories where the art doesn’t actively drive women away.
The lead doesn’t always have to be a women, else so many women wouldn’t be fans of Batman or Iron Man. And if you’re a guy worried about women cooties getting on your male-dominated comics, Marvel’s Brian M. Bendis (Daredevil, Avengers, X-Men) has some choice words for you.
Speaking of Great Stories About Men….I’m Kinda in Love with a Guy Dead for 800 Years Or So
Some real-life stories fall into “you can’t make this stuff up” category. That’s the case with the life of Williams Marshal (1147-1219), Earl of Pembroke, and history’s greatest knight. I’ve been fascinated by this long-dead knight since I was in my teens.
The obsession was renewed when I started researching Marshal and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, his patron, for a book I was writing. That’s when I discovered Elizabeth Chadwick’s historical fiction books that feature Marshal, The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion.
Why is Marshal so interesting? His story begins when he was almost hanged at age five for his father’s treachery by England’s King Stephen, continues when he caught the notice of Queen Eleanor as a young landless and penniless knight, then he developed the reputation as the greatest fighter in and out of tournaments during his prime, and once unhorsed Richard the Lionheart in battle, though he left the future king alive.
For an encore, Marshal married the heiress to one of the richest lands in England, Isabella of Pembroke. They apparently had a happy and loving marriage, according to chronicles of the day, and definitely had a fruitful one, with ten children. Marshal because an noble of the realm, and ended up as Regent of England when the French invaded, leading armies in the field when he was approximately seventy years old. And, yes, he won.
Why there isn’t a movie of this guy’s life, I have no idea. Marshal does show up in a supporting role in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, played by William Hurt. And, I admit to using him a little bit in my own fiction. It’s no fun creating immortals if you can’t pull some people you love from history and give them new life.
Speaking of writing…
Can You Plot Novels via Texting? Yes.
My eldest daughter is currently doing Americorps for a year, which means she’s traveling, and so texting has been our primary source of communication. We ended up discussing my fiction in one exchange, as I’ve just received some print copies of my latest release. She had definite ideas about what the next book in that series should be and suggested a direction for a character that I’d never thought about before, a direction that’s absolutely great.
So, while my sales might not be on the same level as Janet Evanovich or Mary Higgins Clark, I’ll stack my daughter up against Alex Evanovich or Carol Higgins Clark any time.