August 19, 2013

Dear Marvel and DC Comics - More Super Heroine and Female Character Merchandise in Our Stores, Please!

Salve Omni!

I hope you had a most excellent weekend, Dear Reader!  Mine was a bit hectic, yet, in a sense, therapeutic.  I am referring to the sacred art of what we females call retail therapy...yes, I went clothes shopping...haven't done that in a while!  For my birthday this year, I received gift cards to some pretty awesome stores, from some very awesome people.  When I learned that some of the stores on my list were having a this-weekend-only sale, I just couldn't resist!

While walking around the local shopping mall on Saturday afternoon, I decided to keep my eye out for cute, geeky apparel that I could add to my wardrobe.  With geek culture alive and thriving more than ever in the modern world, it seems that many popular store chains such as Torrid, Hot Topic, Forever 21, and Target, offer a small to fairly-decent selection of geektastic merchandise (in other words, a plethora of T-shirts), mostly targeted at teenage girls and boys and very young adult men and, then, women.  This is great news for the modern person - I really wish I had more choices when it came to geek-inspired clothing back when I was a teenager; but alas, no!  I did have a few Dr. Seuss T-shirts (and Cat in the Hat slippers), Mickey Mouse tees, an Oscar the Grouch sleep shirt, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs pajamas, and...wait for it...a Pee-Wee's Playhouse sleep shirt (I am so not making this up).  Back in the day, I found that availability was sorely lacking in comic book-themed merchandise and apparel - well at least for girls and women.  I don't think that boys and men had that great of a selection either other than a few printed T-shirts, but for girls and women, it would be a very rare thing to find such a treasure!

Now, as confirmed by my recent shopping trip, you can find a decent selection of comic book-related clothing and accessories, just about everywhere you look.  That is great and all...but the choices are still greatly limited.  You mostly find Marvel Comics characters, and mostly, you see the same popular ones like Iron Man, The Avengers (Thor, Captain America, etc), Spider-Man, The Hulk, and The X-Men (mainly Wolverine), printed over-and-over again.  Then, there are the popular DC Comics characters, such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern.  See a pattern here?  If not, don't fret...all shall be revealed in the next paragraph!

Recently, I read an article announcing that the popular chain, Forever 21, was to debut a Marvel Comics-inspired clothing collection in their stores for back to school.  What joy!  I was ecstatic!  I knew that there would be a slim chance that my curvy, 31 year-old body would fit into most of this chain's cute clothing, but I felt at ease, knowing that there are now some cute geeky options just for young women out there.  No more having to scour the men's T-shirt sections for quirky, hard-to find shirts to wear to comic-cons and Science Fiction cons, etc.  So I grabbed my laptop and went directly to Forever 21's website to check it out.  Big disappointment!  I will say, there was a surprising assortment of leggings, sweatshirts, tank tops, crop tops, bodysuits, tees, and even a dress, available; with a vintage print of either Iron Man, Wolverine, Thor, Spider-Man, and The Hulk.  Or, an all-over comic book print that looks pretty cool.  So why am I disappointed?  Well it seems that the novelty here is to take a few well-loved Marvel characters (all male, may I add), and add them in vintage prints to women's clothing.  It's different, but not a very novel idea.  Hey Marvel...isn't X-Men a part of your franchise!!!???  And doesn't X-Men have some fabulously awesome female characters that you could promote?  Especially for a fashionable women's clothing line?

Who wouldn't want to wear a cute top or accessory with a print of Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, or even Mystique on it?  I know girls and women like to give props to their superhero crushes (I know I love me some Iron Man and Batman), but what about some swag for girl power using the images of super heroines and female comic book characters?  Other than the occasional Wonder Woman pop-art tee, I've seen very little on that front.  I guess the fate of women's geek-themed clothing, especially when comic-book related, is subject to the predominately-male favorites.  With a steady increase in female attendance at comic-cons, perhaps the marketing department heads of these major comic book giants will look to encompass the new demographic majority; because women play a large role in geek culture, too!!!