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Thing the first: If you aren't watching The Disney Channel's Gravity Falls, you should be watching it. It's gorgeously animated, genuinely funny, surprisingly self-aware, and it has an amazing musical soundtrack. It's definitely a show with that particular sense of humor that makes it feel like it belongs on Cartoon Network much moreso than it belongs on The Disney Channel. I mean, just look at this opening sequence:

Thing the second: Here are some more comics that are good!

The Legend of Bold Riley: Princess Rilavashana SanParite is one of the best adventurer-princess characters I've encountered in a long time, the artwork by Vanessa Gillings and Kelly McClellan is incredible, and this book overall is just so. damn. good. By the way, here's a free 55-page preview.

Ntombinde, the Girl Who Loved Danger: This comic is one of the rarest of the rare, a page-length weekly newspaper comic printed in independent weeklies across the United States. Fortunately, even if you don't have access any of the newspapers that print Ntombinde, you can still read the (uncolored) version of her weekly adventures at Sterling Clark's website, or you can buy her collected adventures in graphic novel format. I'm having a hard time finding where to buy the Ntombinde graphic novel online, but I bought my copy directly from Sterling Clark when I met him at DCCC, so if he or Studio S is appearing at any comic conventions in your area you should definitely check out his books.

Battlepug: This comic is exactly what it says on the tin, and it is glorious. It's clever, irreverent, a helluva a lot of fun, and beautifully illustrated by Mike Norton (whom you may remember as one of the best artists on Marvel's Runaways). Plus I think that this page just kind of speaks for itself. ETA: And Battlepug just won the 2012 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic!! AWESOME!!

Monekybrain Comics is a new imprint that just launched with five amazing-looking titles, three of which have female protagonists, all of which you can check out extensive previews of here.

The Whole Story is a new comics website that lets you name your price to download beautiful DRM-free, high-quality PDF comics. You can find new comics by Ryan North (Adventure Time, Dinosaur Comics), Meredith Gran (Marceline and the Scream Queens), Katie Cook (Star Wars), Shaenon Garrity (Smithson), Ryan Estrada (Aki Alliance, Flight), David Hellman (Braid), Andrew Hussie (YES REALLY), and Nam Dong Yoon. In addition to about a dozen other talented artists and writers. So trust me when I say that this site is really, really worth checking out.

Speaking of indie comics! Love and Rockets is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary at Comic-Con this weekend. And if you've never read anything by the Hernandez brothers before, you are seriously missing out.

And now, our concluding link for this post, for all of you writers out there: Five Ways that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Can Make You a Better Writer.
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In follow-up to this:

But, Ms. Whiny Entitled Fangirl, you may ask, don't you know that sex sells? Don't you think it's unfair to ask Marvel and DC to stop making comics that appeal to the Scaly Basement-Dwelling Stereotyped Fanboy just because you want to buy a couple of their products?

The obvious answer to that is: Good comics appeal to everybody, including the Scaly Basement-Dwelling Stereotyped Fanboy. So doesn't it make more sense to make comics that more people are going to want to buy? And good comics can be sexy. They just shouldn't be sexist.

First, an observation: I'm not sure why so many guys are defending Marvel and DC's insistent push to cater only to the typical bottom-feeding Scaly Basement-Dwelling Stereotyped Fanboy in the first place. (For the sake of brevity, the Scaly Basement-Dwelling Stereotyped Fanboy shall hereby be referred to as Ghost, in honor of his comments here.) I mean, isn't that a huge insult against your gender and your hobby, you guys reading this? For the executives at Marvel and DC to treat you as if you are a desperate lonely slob who could never make it with a real woman and thus have to content yourselves with comics about scantily-clad superheroines being raped instead? To assume that you are all the Ghosts of the world? To assume that this (NSFW) is the only way to appeal to you? To assume that you would actually rather have that than this or this?

Isn't the fact that Marvel and DC target a mythical stereotype of a skeezy comics fanboy an insult to everyone across the board, whether you're male or female?

And therein lies the problem. Oh ye Ghosts of the world, let me make an assumption of my own: I think that you would enjoy this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this. Maybe you would enjoy this (NSFW) or this (NSFS) more than all of the previous. But the point is, I bet you wouldn't NOT buy a comic because it had this on the cover. If you really wanted a Wonder Woman statue, you wouldn't NOT buy this statue just because she's not topless. You might not buy it for other reasons, but that's neither here nor there. We're talking about sex appeal in this post. Sex appeal!

But the same doesn't work in reverse. A whole lotta people are not going to buy Heroes for Hire because of that disgusting sexist cover. For example, see here. And a whole lot of people aren't going to buy that Mary-Jane statue or anything Marvel-related for a looong time, because of the fact that said statue is disgusting. Sexist and ugly. Double-threat!

So here's the issue. Sexy stuff appeals to everyone, including the Ghosts of the world. Sexist stuff may get the Ghosts of the world to fork over their hard-earned money without a blinking moment of hesitation, but it alienates a huge chunk of the potential audience that could otherwise be reached. So why not just be sexy, not sexist? Why not appeal to everyone, instead of just the scaly basement-dwelling few?

Oh, and by the way: the above-mentioned marketing model works. Runaways, a good old-fashioned teen superhero story with lots of sexiness and little sexism, is Marvel's best-selling digest in April. And for more proof that sexy money talks louder than sexist money, scroll to the bottom of this post.

I've said this before in a previous wank: Marketing towards men =/= alienating women. You can make, and market, comics that appeal to stereotypical male interests, such as manly he-men punching semitrucks and beautiful women kicking righteous ass. You can do these things without insulting or degrading anyone. Just make that beautiful woman a person and not a sex object. It's not hard to do. Give her realistic anatomy and a functional costume, give her a personality, and draw her in a pose that reflects that personality. Note that "realistic anatomy" can be hubba-hubba hot, a "functional costume" can still be sexy as hell, and a powerful action pose, such as kicking or punching, can show off a woman's anatomy without forcing her to pose like a limp blow-up doll in the process. So now, voila, you can appeal to your target demographic and not alienate anyone else who might be interested in buying your comics.

Standard disclaimer, because I really shouldn't have to explain this, but recently certain Eisner-nominated comics journalists have proven otherwise: Real, actual pornography is different. The market rules are different, and you can alienate whoever the hell you want with your sexual fantasies. But mainstream superhero comics are NOT pornography, they are NOT YOUR sexual fantasies, and any attempts to answer an argument about marketing mainstream superhero comics with examples from pornography are just really, really missing the point.

Further linkage: A marketing guy who actually knows what he's talking about makes some good points about money, and how, like, it's smart to not discourage us wimmins from spending such. ;) And Websnark weighs in with an insightful post about brand management here. And a nifty post here from Stars and Garters, which may be a new blog with only two posts, but both of them rock so far.