One of the most prolific writers in comic-book history laces into the notion that comics should pay more attention to men.
Comic books continue to be a battlefield when it comes to gender politics. On one end, you've got people who are rallying for equal representation for women and the LGBT community in mainstream funny books. On the other hand, you've got people who feel that these groups are a small minority and that comics should always favor the people who, supposedly, read them the most -- dudes.
And that subject was brought specifically to the person who is probably writing more comics right now than anyone else -- Brian Michael Bendis. He's the man who made Ultimate Spider-Man happen, he wrote multiple Avengers books for years, and now he's killing it with the current X-Men comics. Bendis is maybe rivaled only by Chris Claremont in his ability to churn out both volume and quality.
Bendis has a tumblr, and there he's more than happy to answer fan questions -- because Brian Michael Bendis is an awesome guy. Here is one anonymous query he recently received.
I understand trying to make comics female friendly, but aren't you guys worried that you're going to lose your core audience which is male? In the X-books you've had more focus on the likes on these females like jean and kitty while it should be Cyclops who has been the star of the X-Men comics for years. What warrants these characters more page time than him? Jean and kitty are secondary characters. You guys listen too much to women bitching. They cause so much freakin drama in comicdom.
Now, I could weigh in on how X-Men is a team book and always has been, how Cyclops actually does get a lot of attention, or that Jean and Kitty are far from just bit players in the grand scheme of decades of storytelling. But I don't need to, because Bendis cut right through all of that and got to the heart of the matter. Here's his response:
Wow. you are the first person who I am kind of glad asked your question anonymously because I don’t want to know you.
As a reader of my work I want you to listen to me very carefully: you have major major issues. Almost every line of your question reeks of complete misunderstanding of yourself as a man and of women in general.
It’s okay to find yourself more interested in something than others, of course it is, it’s okay to like Cyclops more than Jean Grey, but for you to draw the line at women characters not being interesting to you because you are a man or that you think I am being manipulated by some bitching women is really out there.
And as a reader of the X-Men whose entire philosophy is about tolerance and understanding… you are missing the point.
That last bit about the philosophy of X-Men cannot be understated. The X-Men have always been for the disenfranchised, the misunderstood, the marginalized and the minorities of the world. In other words -- heteronormative dudes are kind of the LAST people a writer should have in mind when penning an X-book. And we're glad that Bendis openly acknowledged that here.