“Promoting women-led series might seem like a novel move for Marvel, but it’s not. What’s novel is that they’re succeeding. Over the years, Marvel writers and editors have tried their hands at a number of series with female leads, but they rarely panned out, and in each case, the books were quietly canceled. One starring Peter Parker’s daughter, May, Tom DeFalco’s Spider-Girl launched in October of 1998 and, despite the protests of its fanbase, was canceled in 2010. X-23, which starred a mutant named Laura Kinney, ran for only about a year and a half — from September 2010 to March 2012. Although there have been other woman-led superhero series in Marvel’s past, they’ve been few and far between.
But now the women of Marvel are taking off in their own right. With female readership hovering at about 47 percent and women as the fastest-growing comics-reading demographic, Marvel is finally succeeding with a more diverse lineup of superheroes.
Spider-Gwen — a story set in a universe where Gwen Stacy, not Peter Parker, is bitten by a radioactive spider — is one of Marvel’s top sellers, with more than 250,000 copies of its first issue sold. Ms. Marvel, which launched just last year, is already one of the most successful books in Marvel’s lineup as well. Captain Marvel has one of the most dedicated fanbases in comics history. The new Thor features a woman in place of the hunky Hemsworthian Thunder God, and she’s outselling dude Thor by 30 percent. Silk, Black Widow, Gamora, Angela, and Spider-Woman are all female-led titles that Marvel’s launched in the past few years, and A-Force is another big step forward.
So what changed? Why are these new Marvel series succeeding where other series from the company failed? There are a few factors at work: the rise of digital comics, the growing power of female-dominated online fandom, and an increase in women creating comics…”