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Marvel’s A-force set to bring more female readers to comics

Marvel’s A-force set to bring more female readers to comics

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At a time when there is an ever-growing female readership, Marvel has announced a new comic book title, as part of the Secret Wars event. A-Force has been marketed as a female version of The Avengers, and will feature an all-female line-up. It will be co-written by G. Willow Wilson, who recently rebooted Ms. Marvel as a Muslim woman, and Marguerite Bennett.

A-Force is set to feature famous female comic book superheroes like She-Hulk, Storm,
Jean Grey, and Pepper Potts. These established heroes will be joined by up-and-coming superheroes like Scarlet Witch (who will star in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron), as well as an entirely new hero: Singularity.

The mix of old hands, up-and-comers, and new arrivals, will help Marvel demonstrate a much more progressive image; much removed from the less palatable reputation the comic book community has hung around their necks.

Marvel is very much winning the socially progressive race. It’s comic book, television, and film productions are all reflecting a varied view of society, as was once the case with X-Men in the 1960s. Television programmes like Agent Carter, starring Hayley Atwell, and characters like Black Widow in The Avengers, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson.

Marvel’s historic commitment to tackling social issues in their comic books, right up to today, is a marked difference to their competitor, DC. Whilst Marvel have built a reliable roster of female characters, which they are now drawing heavily upon, DC have very few female superheroes at all, let alone many who would pass the Bechdel test (to analyse whether or not a female character is well-developed).

When asked this question, DC would probably point to Wonder Woman as a strong female character. Yet Wonder Woman is possibly the most mistreated superhero in DC’s roster: constantly passed over for live action adaptation, in favour of less well-known, male, superheroes like Green Arrow and The Flash. Wonder Woman has not had a live action adaptation since the 1975 television series starring Lynda Carter. She will not have another until 2017.

All whilst Marvel are surging ahead with a comic book series featuring all females.

A-Force is part of Marvel’s Secret Wars series, which will reboot the Marvel universe. Marvel have obviously taken opportunity of this, not just to refresh the narrative, but improve upon the foundations of the enterprise; with new characters and new storylines.

Marvel should be, and is rightly being, applauded for this commitment: it’s simple to come up with an all-male superhero team (The Avengers minus Black Widow, easy), but Marvel are not guaranteed success with A-Force: fans could react against the new series, the books could go unsold, the writers could mess it up. Yet for the sheer bravery which is required to take a risk on a new idea, Marvel deserve immense credit.

Also, A-Force looks to be a pretty awesome comic. It features strong and interesting characters, and will undoubtedly help draw in more female readers. It is a breath of fresh air blowing through the musty dank chambers of the comic book community.

 

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