In the interview, Levitz states:
I’m not sure that young women are as interested in reading about superheroes. The fundamental dynamic of the superhero story has historically been more appealing to boys than to girls. There are any number of very successful superhero comics over the years that have had a better gender balance than others, but the genre as a whole has been a more male genre.
Take a look at the cover for Superman/Batman Apocalypse. See that woman in the corner? Recognize her? No? Are you sure? It’s Supergirl, who is the star of this movie. But as I’ve mentioned, they don’t want you to know that. Because girl movies fail and aren’t big successes like Green Lantern: First Flight. That must have been a success, right? Because they are making a big ole Hollywood movie starring him. (It wasn’t though, and made less than the Wonder Woman movie).
So why, you might ask, does that picture look nothing like the Supergirl who is on the cover of the comic books? Good question. Here’s what Lauren Montgomery was heard saying about it the cover.
“Most people know that the title of the book was “Superman/Batman: Supergirl,” which you would assume that the movie would be named that. But since our wonderful Wonder Woman DVD didn’t sell so well they decided that girl movies don’t sell so well so we need to trick everyone into buying it by calling it Superman/Batman: Apocalypse,” Montgomery joked. “We had to fight just to get her on the cover, which they put her skanky version so those boys would buy it.”
Go marketing! If Lauren Montgomery sounds a little cynical it maybe because she tried to get DC to create a Batgirl Year One movie. More about that here.
Need more? Here’s what Andrea Romano, who does the voice casting for the movies, told Jill Pantozzi of Newsarama about how they downplayed Supergirl.
“I think the main reason why they didn’t call this piece Supergirl is because for some reason the Wonder Woman home video that we made, which was very, very good and filled with male characters, didn’t sell well,” she told us. “And so marketing people said, female titled pieces don’t sell well. So this is a female piece, it’s got a very strong feminine character in it but they called it Superman/Batman: Apocalypse just to get people to come into the video stores and buy them.”
Tricky! It’s very similar to the “bait and switch” Disney is doing with Tangled. You know that upcoming movie about the cool bandit who goes out on adventures and finds a chick with long hair. Oh, maybe you’ll recognize it under it’s original name. Rapunzel. You see, the Princess and the Frog film didn’t do as well as they thought it should. So Disney decided it was because boys don’t like princess movies. So they are hiding that this is a princess movie. I’m so glad they didn’t include the gads of boy centric movies (Atlantis, anyone?) that bombed in their analysis.
I find this trend to be extremely troubling. Hiding girls? Pretending that a movie doesn’t include girls to get boys to watch it? Making female characters look “skanky” (a word I despise) to sell? Do we really want a world where women are considered liability in the pursuit of profit? Here’s a question — why not spend a little money and market to women? Why not take some of the time and money spent thinking of ways to trick you consumers and spend some money expanding the audience?
The really fucked up part? Superman/Batman: Supergirl (Fuck that Apocalypse shit) was hands down probably the best DVD cartoon film DC has put out to date. I rented it on iTunes, bought the film on iTunes and THEN bought the special edition DVD. And oh wait, I’m a guy.
And what’s even more fucked up than that, when I made this post on my blog earlier this week, I had a number of comic book fangirls tell me over and over again that if they had known that the film was about Supergirl, they would’ve bought the movie. Instead they thought it was another Batman/Superman team-up and passed on it. Way to market to the masses, DC.
And what’s this crap about strong women not appealing to boys? Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a hit series for 7 years and it’s comic continuation has been the number one independent comic for the last 4 years; Xena: Warrior Princess, during its 5 year run it was the most popular show in the world; Witchblade, Sailor Moon, She-Ra, you can go all the way back to Jem & The Holograms. All successful franchises. And all of them had a strong male demographic. So you cannot tell me that boys are uncomfortable with watching strong powerful women.
And of course let’s not forget Cassandra Cain’s run on Batgirl. Even though she averaged out at the end of her run around 25K and did far better than the likes of Aquaman and Green Arrow (two legacy characters). It’s the titles featuring the two white men who get reboot after reboot after reboot after reboot.
Privilege, it’s a hell of a thing.