What Women Want From Comics


You may have noticed that Marvel, DC and their various imprints have been expressing confusion for some years as to “what women want” from comics. So, I thought I would help them.

I set up a (completely non-scientific) poll and asked woman who read comics to answer the questions. I had no particular agenda, but there will be inevitable bias, as I am human, with thoughts and experiences of my own. I received 424 completed responses.

Here are the questions I asked and the responses I received:

1. When you were young, did you read comic books you bought for yourself? (As opposed to reading your brothers’ comics or getting them from a parent or relative.)

1. Yes 286 67.77%

2. No 136 32.23%

2. What kind of comic books did you buy most (Choose One)?

1. Superhero 249 59.86%

2. Romance 7 1.68%

3. Horror 9 2.16%

4. War 0 0.00%

5. Manga 94 22.60%

6. Other 57 13.70%

3. Thinking about your favorite character from the comic books you read (or *a* favorite character) were they:

1. Female 242 57.89%

2. Male 176 42.11%

4. Still thinking about your favorite character, were they special because of:

1. Something they had (a magical object or talisman) 12 2.86%

2. Something they were (A Princess, a God, an Alien, etc.) 55 13.10%

3. Something they did (fought bad guys, solved mysteries) 147 35.00%

4. Some innate quality (a beloved icon, a charismatic leader, a furious fighter, a persistent snoop, etc.) 206 49.05%

5. Thinking about that favorite character, or any characters you liked the most what description below would best describe them? (Choose all that apply)

1. Voluptuous 51 1.79%

2. Hard-bodied 97 3.40%

3. Outgoing/Friendly 189 6.63%

4. Tactiturn 72 2.53%

5. Idealized 91 3.19%

6. Realistic 154 5.41%

7. Popular 76 2.67%

8. Loner 161 5.65%

9. Ambitious 162 5.69%

10. Laid-back 83 2.91%

11. Princely 14 0.49%

12. Princessly 35 1.23%

13. Heroic 267 9.37%

14. Damsel in Distress 16 0.56%

15. Chaste 24 0.84%

16. Sensual 98 3.44%

17. Weak 16 0.56%

18. Strong 320 11.23%

19. Driven by Emotion 208 7.30%

20. Driven by Reason 162 5.69%

21. Fighting for Justice 295 10.35%

22. Fighting for Revenge 86 3.02%

23. Fighting to Save Humanity 172 6.04%

6. Thinking about comics you read now, are you likely to seek out the same kinds of characters as you described above?

1. Very likely 200 47.51%

2. Somewhat Likely 137 32.54%

3. Neither Here nor There 55 13.06%

4. Somewhat Unlikely 21 4.99%

5. Very Unlikely 8 1.90%

I also asked two text questions:

Please describe the ideal character you would have liked to have seen in a comic as a child (to the best of your ability to do so.)


Please describe the ideal character that you would like to see in a comic now.

For the all responses to the text questions — including the excitingly predictably attempts at trolling (you can tell because they contain synonyms for “penis”) — please visit this link. For the full results of the questions above, go here.

I will take the liberty of summarizing the results of this poll, as *I* interpret them.

Dear Marvel and DC –

Women read comics. Women who read comics have been reading comics since they were children, just like men who read comics.

Women who already read your comics like superheros – male or female – who are strong, independent and who fight for justice.

Women who already read your comics would like to see female superheros with a dark side, and who don’t need to be rescued, but can find their way out of danger *on their own.*

Women who already read your comics, would like to see more diversity, including more superheros of color, more LGBT characters and more body-type diversity.

Above all, women who already read your comics, would like to see you figure out that what women want isn’t that complicated.


Women Who Read And Buy Comics

This post originally appeared on Okazu. Republished with permission.

Want to see your work here? Email us!

Image via Girls Read Comics

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin