Hope Larson hits the nail on the head regarding DC’s recently discontinued Minx line:
“Minx could have been good, and important. I really believe that, and I’m sorry to see them go, but most of the books they published are not very good. They have suspect artwork and dull, predictable plots, and would probably seem pandering to anyone over the age of 12. They’re safe. To quote some ad copy from the back of Marjorie Dean, College Junior, a girls’ series published in the ’20s: ‘These are clean, wholesome stories that will be of great interest to all girls of high school age.’ I don’t think kids in the ’20s believed that, and neither would kids today. (Although, haha, their parents might.)”
My strongest impression of the Minx books I’ve read (all of the books in the first wave and some of the subsequent ones) is that they felt incomplete, that they were at least two rigorous edits away from being a finished piece of entertainment. Whether DC was assuming lower standards among the books’ target demographic or not, I have no idea, but all of the marketing in the world really shouldn’t excuse generally mediocre product. It does all the time, I know, but I always prefer it when rigorous marketing is applied to a product that matches in merit the effort expended to sell it.
Listen, every demographic group needs to settle at least a little. “Ninety percent of everything is crap,” and so on, whether you’re talking about movies or television or mystery novels or video games or what have you. But it strikes me that girls who like to read don’t have to settle as much. The television shows aimed at them may be moronic, the movies rare as hens’ teeth, the cartoons nonexistent, but the books that respect their taste and intelligence seem relatively abundant. The books that don’t respect their taste and intelligence but do so with polish and verve are even more abundant, so why should this audience go outside of its comfort zone from prose to graphic storytelling when the return isn’t all that hot?
And while it might only demonstrate my own biases, even girls who like graphic novels don’t need to settle for half-hearted efforts. Even if 90% of shôjo manga is crap, the remaining 10% is readily available and dwarfs Minx’s line in volume. Even if Minx had made its best possible creative effort, it still would have faced an uphill battle, and I really don’t think DC devoted its best editorial efforts to Minx.