MAUREEN McTIGUE responds
Known as simply "MO" on the Net, before she got too busy being one of DC's hottest new editors, Maureen enjoyed a very close relationship with Net fans, posting often on a variety of subjects. Right now, among other things, she's editing what actually looks to be the "Wonder Woman" run that rivals George Perez's for dignity and quality. For that she has my thanks, and I wish her the best of luck -- Diana's a tough nut to crack, apparently. (GS)
Well, female characters are an interesting lot. They have been through everything possible, including death, of course, but mostly being regulated to limbo. Characters that aren't handled well get set aside until someone decided they have an idea for them. These ideas are sometimes good ("Sandman," recent "JLA") and sometimes they aren't ("Justice League" at various stages).
Let's see: to be honest, I got interested in comics thanks to two cute male characters (Changeling and Kid Flash ... which is odd, 'cause most girls would say it was Robin for them). Female characters are very difficult for male writers to get. Strong women scare many men, it's partially that simple. I make fun of the Super-guys because of what Lois wore to her wedding. If a female artist drew her, her dress would have been much hipper and classy, not the old-fashioned dress (with the big bow in her hair) that she wore. It's Lois Lane for crying out loud! She's the smartest, street-wise, classiest, city girl this side of the four-color world. Other female characters aspire to be her. (Me? I want to be Black Canary.)
I think a lot of the characters you list got hit in various purges -- ["Crisis on Infinite Earths"] in particular -- but in recent years, things have changed for the better. Take a good look at Barbara Gordon and Black Canary. Oracle has become one of the most important behind-the-scenes characters in the DCU, and Black Canary has never been cooler (she had a sonic scream for crying out loud). Supergirl is holding her own, she has a whole new life and importance in the DCU. Huntress is playing both sides of the law, but she still whines a bit too much for my tastes. The Legion girls are pretty cool, with all the various powers and levels of importance. The Titans girls are getting back to their own later this year. Jade will have a new place of importance in "Green Lantern." Who else? Actually, let's take a look at the male characters: Everyone says that super-heroes are male fantasies. This is what the guys would be if they could -- huge muscles and limited character growth ;). So, being that men are the primary force behind the comics, the men take center stage. I do totally believe this. I think there are plenty of guys who can write good characters, both male and female (I like what Chuck Dixon, Stuart Immonen, and Ron Marz do).
I do think that everyone knows who their main audience is and what they would rather see. I think that DC, with stuff like Girl Frenzy which is out the last week of April, shows that we're trying to reach to the female audience. But I think only one of the seven books was even written by a female writer (or maybe two). But that one I know - "Lois Lane" - was not only written by a female, but also pencilled. And it's great! It's Lois being a tough, no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, no stopping until the story is filed reporter on the go. Also, with imprints like Vertigo, we have managed to reach a wider, not totally comics oriented market (audience) with non-super-hero characters, and not only female characters.
It's a weird place to be in, one of three female editorial members, liking super-heroes as much as I like but not being able to get more female readers, let alone more female characters. I'm not sure where I'm totally going with this right now. It's been a long day and maybe I'll e-mail you again with some more takes on this topic. I hope what I've rattled off here is of some help or interest to you. So, until we type again, have a good one!