In 2011, DC decided to relaunch their monthly comic book titles, adding and canceling story lines until they ended up with 52 titles. Everything started over at issue number 1 and while there are several discrepancies with the timelines, ultimately this allowed for some drastic changes. The comic books themselves are glossier and bolder, they have a chance to start back over and experiment with new and diverse characters. The comics are meant to please their life long reader while attracting new demographics.
Sadly, most of these new start ups fell flat and DC decided to cut their losses leaving the fringe readers hanging. They have also made some controversial moves that have backfired and infuriated their audiences in a bad way. I am hinting at the Batwoman storyline, in which they refused to allow the writers to marry Barbara to her girlfriend. This caused major push-back and they had to drop the series altogether.
According to comicsalliance.com, while DC did increase their sales, only 5% of the buyers were new to the DC universe and 93% of the readers were men. So the whole ‘attracting new audiences didn’t really work, but there’s still hope. Another source said that: “A DC Comics survey concerning ONLY the New 52 titles found that there was a 7% female readership. Their online survey showed a 23% female readership. Another survey, conducted by a political consultant on Facebook, found that 40% of fans identified as female.“* Women do not make up the majority of the readers, but that does not mean that they should be discounted as an audience.
Including well-written female characters not only attracts more female readers, but it also will change the way that men and teenage boys perceive women.