In the spring of 2007 DC comics released its first book under the new Minx line of graphic novels. DC comics, known primarily for the caped crusading men of steel (and ill-fitting costumes) was pleased to introduce the line which was aimed primarily at teen girls. It was a bold and interesting idea, which recruited the talents of known comic artists and talented young adult writers to create something decidedly different from what was already on the shelves.
After a little more than a year, the Minx line was closed… so what happened?
The first Minx release, The Plain Janes by young adult author Cecil Castellucci is a well crafted (and well reviewed) graphic novel which set many of the standards by which the rest would follow. The Minx line eschewed the superhero tradition (especially the ill-fitting costumes) for a more realistic kind of storytelling. The books tend to focus on “real” people with “real” problems such as Jane’s struggle to fit in at a new school while dealing with the past (she survived a terrorist attack in a nearby city), or Shira’s difficult relationship with her father and new interest in shoplifting in Alisa Kwitney's Token. The artwork was also a departure from the usual superhero standards which depicted women (and men) in impossibly proportioned bodies, bulging from spandex suits three sizes too small. The women in Minx's line were drawn to reflect the same realism which set the stories aside from the usual comic book fodder. What this perhaps the problem?
Was a focus on realistic stories and realistic bodies what teen readers were looking for? The most popular teen fiction out there is populated by vampires, wealthy debutants and wizards. Are readers looking for people who look, talk and act like them, or are they looking for an escape, a vision of who or what they would rather be?
There have been many reasons suggested for Minx’s demise. Some blame marketing, some say the books simply weren’t shelved in the right place at bookstores, while others think Minx just needed a little more time to find its audience.
What do you think? The Calgary Public Library has several titles in the Minx line, so if you’re interested place a hold on a copy and let us know what you think. Was DC on right track? Do girls enjoy comics as much as guys? Take a look and let us know!