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Paul Dini Wants Female Fans to Read Black Canary/Zatanna OGN

Paul Dini has been pretty outspokenly pro-female fans in the past, even in the face of direct opposition.  He’s also well-known for writing a lot of female characters that do well with female fans, such as Harley Quinn and Catwoman.  But Dini admits that many female fans of comics characters were made fans by other media outside of comics because of the success of shows like Batman: The Animated Series.  It is those fans that he hopes to attract with the upcoming Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell original graphic novel with artist Joe Quinones.

In a recent interview with PREVIEWSworld, Dini talks about those fans and what they can find in his upcoming comic:

I think there is a new breed of female fan that has grown up with superheroines over the last twenty years and continues to embrace them. I don’t think they are inspired just by comics, but by the TV shows, movies, and cartoons they watched, and games they played when they were younger — so many tell me they were fans of  Batman: The Animated Series, or anime, or Dr. Who or Star Wars, the list is endless.  And they bring a great sense of humor and play to things like comic conventions.  I saw an article on cosplay in Entertainment Weekly last year and almost half the cosplayers on a two page spread where dressed either like Harley Quinn or Zatanna!  It seems to me if they identify with the characters that much, there’s an audience there that would appreciate some comics that reflect their sensibilities.  I just hope our little GN strikes the bullseye.

It’s nice to hear a comic creator talk about the female fan as something other than a demographic to be dismissed.  This OGN has been in the works for a very long time at this point, so it’ll be interesting to see how it is received now that it’s finally about to see the light of day.  Dini also had an interesting observation to make about why he likes to write supporting characters:

The DC Universe is a vast playing field, and it definitely has its quarterbacks and star players in characters like Superman and Wonder Woman. But everything is cyclical, and even Batman had some down years in the late sixties after the TV show and Bat-Mania had run its course.  It doesn’t hurt to focus on some of the lesser-known players in special projects now and then to try and turn them into more fully developed characters, and in some cases, fan favorites.  Certainly Hawkgirl’s exposure in the Warner Bros. JLA series did that for her. It’s great to do the big Batman story to end all Batman stories, but if the rest of the superhero pantheon becomes as well-known, then that gives writers and artists more chances to tell big stories about characters who might always remain supporting players.

This is a point seriously worth considering for DC and companies like it as they hopefully look to add more diversity to their lines.  By letting writers and artists take on characters that aren’t as well-known as the famous heroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, they give the characters a chance to be more fully developed and thus get more fans interested in them. There’s only so many Batman films you can make, right?  It would be worth tracking how comics do when they feature more unique, less well-known characters that are given into the hands of creators who really want to develop them versus only well-known characters (usually straight white males) being given the full support of the company.  After all, Geoff Johns took often neglected character Green Lantern in hand just over a decade ago and the comics did so well that DC invested in an (admittedly pretty horrible) Green Lantern film. Why wouldn’t this work with other characters and the right mix of creators left to craft interesting stories?   Hopefully Dini and Quinones’ book does well enough that DC has to consider this approach because it’s not only creatively interesting, it’s profitable.

(via Newsarama)

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  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be preordering that one!

  • Jake Mertz

    Hmm, looks very interesting. Also very nice that it’s just going to be a GN. I’ll probably pick it up.

  • Rachel Roberts

    Pre-ordered. I will now forget about it and it will be a nice surprise birthday gift for myself. Yay!

  • Emily Neenan

    I am a female fan who got into superhero characters via other forms of media than comics! I am a sought-after demographic?! This is mad! Is this what it feels like to be a white male with the right comics-cred, feeling welcome and wanted? Probably not, since you never notice something you always have!

    (PS, it’s working, I’m definitely getting this, it sounds awesome! Take note, comic-publishers! My money works to buy things too!)

  • Anonymous

    I’m already waiting for my big Zatanna movie! ;-) I would love to have one, I think it could be a lot of fun (unless they don’t try to come up with a “realistic” explanation for the magic!)!

  • Anonymous

    I think his point about there being an influx of women and other “non-traditional” demographics getting into comics via movies and TV adaptations is SO important because it sort of shows just how bad Marvel and WB often are about closing off other demographics they could be getting money from.

  • Mark Brown

    I’m not sure DC’s management knows what “profitable” means, actually.

  • locuas

    Didn’t Paul Dini marry a magician who looked like Zatanna?

  • Gerald Kirby

    Really looking forward to this. If this does well enough it might show DC that there is a market for stories set outside of/before the New 52.

  • Anonymous

    They recognize—sort of—that such does still exist, inasmuch as the DC Animated Universe still continues as the extremely short digital-only weekly “Beyond” comics, which take place in the Batman Beyond era.

    But they’re not particularly well advertised, and it seems sort of like an afterthought or someone’s pet project more than an actual decision on DC’s part.

  • locuas

    I think it might be because Terry is a fan-favorite that has been expected to join the comics for some time now, but they can’t add him into the main series without replacing Bruce. So they may have decided to make the comics out of continuity with the new 52.

  • Anonymous

    My interest in comics came from Batman TAS and X-Men (the best in my opinion).

  • Anonymous

    I’m excited about this, I love both of these characters from both the DCAU, and stories like Kingdom Come and Justice. I just hope they do better by them than they did with Hawkgirl. I LOVED Hawkgirl in the JLA, and so I picked up her comics. I didn’t mind that I was reading about Kendra as opposed to Shayera, but they didn’t really capture what made Shayera such a memorable character in the television series and translate that to Kendra.

  • Anonymous

    After all, Geoff Johns took often neglected character Green Lantern in hand just over a decade ago and the comics did so well that DC invested in an (admittedly pretty horrible) Green Lantern film.

    Oft-neglected? On the contrary, Kyle Rayner won himself fans during Judd Winick’s run, and a generation grew up watching John Stewart on Justice League. The only thing neglected was the thought of leaving well enough alone for the sake of Johns’ Silver Age fetish.

  • Rachael Reynolds

    Yes! I became a huge fan of both Black Canary and Zatanna from watching JLA and JLA: Unlimited when I was younger. It’s so disappointing that they’re in so few comics, and even when they are they’re generally shoved aside in favour of a male main characer *cough*Batman*cough*.
    Paul Dini is fast becoming one of my favourite writers, so I really hope execs stop shafting him sometime soon…

  • Thomas Hayes

    They are about to bring him in this year, in fact. There’s a DC weekly series just announced that Terry will be a major character in.

  • Jay Salinas

    Profit? yes. Relatability? no.

  • Dan Palla

    SUATMM! Two of my favorite DC characters starring in one ogn? Awesome. I’m also a fan of how Dini writes ZZ so couldn’t be happier on that front.

    While I am male, and i was massively in to the Batman animated series. What got me into the world of comics was actually my big sister. Some grea
    t memories of walking to our lcs (rip) and her buying comics I wanted to read but our mother wouldnt have allowed (wasnt a T yet) and keeping them in her room for me. So yeah that’s my comment no one will read because it’s on an article from yesterday lol.

  • Anonymous

    They should just hand the company over to the people in charge of their animated department, like Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and Andrea Romano. The comics are hit and miss. They’ve done some really good things with this reboot, and some really bad things. And their live action franchise sucks. Even the Dark Knight trilogy, which were good movies, weren’t good Batman movies. They make a good elseworld story, but that’s it. And the rest of their films have been blah at best. But the animated productions have all been consistently great. And they’ve been great in terms of the diversity of characters highlighted. Sure, many of the videos are Superman or Batman, but you had a great Wonder Woman, the recent Flashpoint, several JLA ones that gave equal weight to all the characters, etc.