One of DC Comics' top-tier artists said publicly that he wanted his next comic to be something that appeals to women, so female comic fans and their supporters should be ecstatic, right?
Well… not necessarily, especially when the words "Twilight" and "romance" are involved.
At a panel during Toronto's Fan Expo this past weekend, former Batman writer/artist Tony Daniel was describing the type of book he wanted to draw for his next project, saying he was looking for something that appeals to women, "that hits on the Twilight audience." He said his newest comic, Superman/Wonder Woman, fit the bill.
"I mentioned maybe, can we create a book that targets a little bit more of the female readership that’s been growing? And maybe a book that has a little bit of romance in it, a little bit of sex appeal, you know, something that would, for lack of a better example, that hits on the Twilight audience," Daniel said he told his editors. "Millions of people went to see those [Twilight films] in the theaters because [they had] those kind of, you know, subject matter: the drama, the characterization with love triangles and forbidden love...
"Literally, a month later they asked me, 'Hey, what do you think of Superman/Wonder Woman?' And I think it took all of maybe three seconds for me to say, 'Yeah, that’s great. Let’s do that.' Because that’s exactly what I was describing that we need," Daniel said.
In current DC stories, Superman and Wonder Woman are involved in a relationship, and the Superman/Wonder Woman that launches in October (from Daniel and writer Charles Soule) will incorporate their burgeoning relationship.
Although the comic should be highly anticipated, since it stars two of DC's best-selling characters, the Twilight reference didn't sit well with some people in the internet comics community. In fact, it got enough of a reaction that The Hollywood Reporter picked up the story.
Some wondered if Daniel meant that Wonder Woman herself "pulls in the Twilight demo." Others worried that the statement implied women only want to read romances. "I’m headdesking at how the thought process is to go to the automatic idea that women just want romance," blogger Ami Angelwings wrote.
On the self-described "girl geek" fan site The Mary Sue, a blogger noted that a fan at the panel who called herself "Liz" asked a follow-up question about whether DC was only making the book romantic in its appeal to women.
After a joke about drawing "butt shots" of Superman, Daniel clarified that Wonder Woman is "very strongly written, she’s not, you know, I mean she holds her own. And you’re going to like the interaction between Superman and Wonder Woman as well as their private lives, Diana and Clark. I mean, we have a lot of fun with their interactions and we’re going to have that drama. And on different levels, there’s a lot of layers to it that make it, you know, a little bit more of a more enjoyable book for me to draw and I’m sure for Charles. We’re both doing something kind of new with this, so it has a perfect recipe, I think, and it’s something I really want to do. I really think you’re going to like it a lot. Let me know. Just get on Facebook, let me know."
The fan wasn't convinced, and she wrote about it on a blog on io9. She also told The Mary Sue, "I know I don’t speak for every woman, but I think I can with this statement: All we want are good, well written characters and stories."
This is the second time this week that disdain for Twilight has shown up on comic book sites, as many fans reacted to a redesign of the DC character Lobo by comparing his look to Twilight vampire Edward Cullen. "Maybe he will sparkle too," one fan posted.
But to be fair, the creators behind Superman/Wonder Woman have made it clear over the last few months since the project was announced that their book is not just a romance. In June, Newsarama asked writer Soule about the dangers of writing a comic that's only based around two characters in a romance, and he answered:
"It's not the next Before Midnight movie. The book is, at its heart, a huge, epic, action-filled story. I mean, you have to have that with these characters, with the things these people can do, what these characters are outfittedly capable of, and then the types of guys that come gunning for them. It's going to be huge. I wouldn't necessarily want to write or read a book that was them sitting in the back of a taxi having an argument or something like that.
The stories will be written on a scale that befits these characters. But at the same time, I personally think it's fascinating to think about what they would say to each other, what they talk about, the way they have different approaches to solving the world's problems. I think that's grounds that have been sometimes explored here and there — I mean, there are books that have walked down this sort of path — but I think there's a lot more that can be said. And that's one of the things that really interested me about the project in the first place. And I look forward to exploring it."
Daniel also told Newsarama:
"To be honest, I'm a pretty happy camper with this book, because it fits all my interests and tells a good story. All the things I'll be drawing and the story we're telling here is really almost tailor-made for me. I'm just really excited to get the chance to do these characters and all the different types of moments I'm going to be able to do, and each character's development, and the drama between the characters. I love that kind of stuff. I love to read it. And now I get to draw that, as well as the big action set pieces, and these gigantic battles we have with shared villains and new villains.
"It's just a really big, intergalactic, Christmas kind of thing. I can just go to town and have a blast with it."