Minx in Chief

Newsarama’s Matt Brady interviews DC’s Karen Berger about Minx. Berger provides additional detail on some of the titles and the philosophy behind the line.

“There’s no one out there, when you think about it, doing a line of graphic novels for teenage girls. You have manga, but it’s import and, while there’s a lot of really great stuff, it’s not fully for teenage girls.”

Discounting the heavily branded Shojo Beat.

“Scholastic has a few titles, but those are skewing younger or older. No one is really attacking this area in a full-fledged way with a major imprint, and we’re doing it.”

And I suppose it’s true that, while Tokyopop’s global books do feature a number of teen-girl-friendly stories, Tokyopop has always resisted the kind of categorization that Viz employs (Shojo Beat, Shonen Jump, Signature, etc.). She never actually mentions Tokyopop, though perhaps there might be some coded references:

“We’re not bringing in manga storytelling devices, we’re telling clear straightforward stories in a way that we feel they should be told, but we’re not adapting any manga. We’re looking at this as an alternative to manga – as an alternative to young adult fiction – we’re trying to find a new area of contemporary fiction.”

Consider me torn. I would like for this line to succeed, because more good comics for young adult readers always makes me happy, and in spite of the fact that I’m staring 40 square in the eye, I tend to like a lot of the comics already available for young adult readers. I’m glad that DC finally decided to engage this audience in a serious way and handed the enterprise to people who, as Warren Ellis put it, are “more curatorial than editorial.” And the quality of the talent attached certainly seems to bear that out; I’m genuinely excited by the possibilities of the books.

But there’s just something about the way it’s being framed that’s making me stompy. Tons of publishers have released great material for this audience, whether original or licensed. Stamping “Minx” on it and hiring a marketing firm doesn’t make it new, no matter how shrewd the execution.

3 Responses to Minx in Chief

  1. Lyle says:

    Dang, couldn’t get this link to load at all last night. This part:

    “About three years ago, Shelly Bond, who’s been a Group Editor at Vertigo for many years, pitched me the idea to do Minx,” Berger said. “She was really looking at the influence of manga, for the most part, and really wanted to do a line for teenage girls that was an alternative to manga.”

    Makes me feel better, if only because I’m the world’s only Shelly Bond fanboy. I’ve always found her to have an exceptional ability to spot good comics and to display a good amount of insight into the market.

    I guess if DC wants me to get more excited about the line they could talk about the books them selves or just have Berger repeatedly say “It was Shelly Bond’s idea.”

  2. David Welsh says:

    That’s good to hear. I have to admit to being kind of lazy about tracking editors and trying to use their records as a guide in the same way I would a creator (or in the cast of manga, an adaptor, who can make all the difference).

    But honestly, the likely quality of the books themselves has never been an issue for me, at least based on the attached talent. It’s this “I invented the internet” marketing approach (which I hate no matter who’s doing it) when “At least we beat Marvel to the punch” would probably be more accurate.

    And the name. But you know how I nitpick.

  3. Lyle says:

    I learned to notice Bond’s name (then she was Shelly Roeberg) when I was trying to track my comics in a database (which was going to be a step towards orgainizing them via a dewy decimal-inspired system, which would have let me organize superhero titles by “subject” versus by title) and I noticed her name popping up again and again. Soon afterwards, I went to my first San Diego and talked with her, getting her to gush about Bill Willinham, who’s first Vertigo project was about to be announced. At that con’s Vertigo panel, I noticed she was the editor answering questions about all my favorite titles. (Literally… all of the titles that were discussed that I was a big fan of were hers, while titles I was kinda into belonged to someone else. It was striking.)

    Bond is usually the person behind Morrison and Milligan’s work at Vertigo (though I think Human Target started with an editor who left the company) as well as Steve Seagle, Michael Lark and Bill Willinham. (obligatory fanboy lecture.) She was also responsible for bringing Dave Hahn to Bite Club.

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