“How the Success of Marvel’s Female Superheroes Heralds a More Inclusive Age of Comics”

“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…”

http://www.vulture.com/2015/05/marvels-female-superhero-renaissance.html

Advertisements

“Cinemax Developing Bruce Lee-Inspired Crime Drama ‘Warrior’ From Justin Lin”

“А passion project for martial arts icon Bruce Lee and Fast & Furious director Justin Lin is headed to the small screen with a deal at Cinemax. The premium cable network has put in development drama series Warrior, inspired by writings of the Enter The Dragon actor. Lin is set to direct the potential pilot, written by Jonathan Tropper, co-creator of Banshee, Cinemax’s first homegrown hit from its current foray into primetime drama programming.

Warrior is described as a visceral crime drama that traces the path of a gifted but morally corrupt fighter thrown into crisis after corrupt quest for vengeance is undermined. It was the first project for the TV division of Perfect Storm Entertainment, Lin’s joint venture with Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Studios.  A couple of months after the launch of PSE’s TV operation in 2013, the company partnered with Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, and Bruce Lee Enterprises to develop Lee’s material into TV series…”

http://deadline.com/2015/05/bruce-lee-crime-drama-warrior-justin-lin-cinemax-1201430580/

“Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network Builds Heat With Young Latinos”

“For the first year of its on-air life, the El Rey Network has been about as DIY as any microbudget indie movie ever was, an apt trait, given the net’s origins.

Comcast gave filmmaker Robert Rodriguez a distribution commitment for the channel in the spring of 2013; El Rey snuck on the air with a soft launch in December, after Univision came onboard as a financing and operational partner. The Austin-based filmmaker and his team at FactoryMade Ventures effected some quick hires, and bought up as much programming as they could find — and afford — that focused on Rodriguez’s love for genre pics, 1970s pop culture (think “Starsky & Hutch”) and other cool stuff that would appeal to movie- and TV-loving millennials, particularly U.S.-born Hispanics.

Rodriguez also reached out to friends including Quentin Tarantino and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to get a handful of original series off the ground quickly. (The launch timing was dictated by Comcast’s obligation to carry multiple minority-owned channels, per the terms of its 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal.)

Now that they’ve made it through year one, Rodriguez and Co. are expanding the programming to include a broader range of original fare and fan-friendly ideas, such as the People’s Network initiative, which solicits material directly from viewers…”

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/robert-rodriguezs-el-rey-network-builds-heat-with-young-latinos-1201450851/

“Why Ava DuVernay joining Marvel would be a big step forward”

“As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) encourages federal and state agencies to look into the lack of female directors working in Hollywood, Marvel Studios is reportedly considering hiring “Selma” director Ava DuVernay to head up one of their films.

According to the New York Times, the ACLU asked the agencies to examine how the hiring for TV networks, movie studios, and talent agencies occurs. “Women directors aren’t working on an even playing field and aren’t getting a fair opportunity to succeed,” Melissa Goodman, director of the L.G.B.T., Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the A.C.L.U. of Southern California, told the Times.

Kathryn Bigelow is still the only woman to have won the Best Director Oscar, which she received in 2010 for her film “The Hurt Locker…

As for DuVernay possibly coming on board at Marvel, a woman has never directed a film released by Marvel Studios…”

http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Culture-Cafe/2015/0513/Why-Ava-DuVernay-joining-Marvel-would-be-a-big-step-forward-video

“Hollywood Accused of Gender Bias in Hiring Female Directors”

“The ACLU is asking federal and California civil rights agencies to investigate what it calls “the systemic failure” to hire female directors in the entertainment industry.

The ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women’s Rights Project said Tuesday they were moved to act after compiling statistical evidence of “dramatic disparities” in the hiring of women as film and television directors. This was bolstered, they said, by anecdotal accounts from more than 50 female directors.

“Hearing such an outcry about it, and when it’s backed up with statistics, it’s a pretty solid sign there’s discrimination going on,” Ariela Migdal, a senior attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, said in an interview Tuesday.

Fewer women are working as directors today than two decades ago, according to the ACLU. It cites research that shows women represented only 7 percent of directors on the 250 top-grossing movies last year. That is 2 percentage points lower than in 1998…”

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/hollywood-accused-gender-bias-hiring-women-directors-30980156

“Hasbro and IDW Creating All-Female Transformers Team”

“Fresh off confirming plans for a shared Transformers universe, Hasbro has now revealed that it is working with IDW Publishing to craft an all-female Transformers team.

The news broke via USA Today that the team will consist of six new female Autobots who join to form new “Combiner” character, Victorion. Expect the group to appear first in comics with July’s Transformers: Combiner Hunters miniseries, with Hasbro debuting a toy line sometime later this year…”

http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/04/27/hasbro-and-idw-creating-all-female-transformers-team

“Furious 7 and diversity: Why Hollywood needs to catch up with reality”

“Vin Diesel still recalls the bad old days of street-race apartheid. In 2001, his breakthrough movie, The Fast and the Furious, powered into multiplexes featuring separate but equal factions of outlaw hot-rodders from across the racial divide—glowering Latino gearheads, African-American wheelmen with cornrowed hair, a pack of Asian “tuners” known as the Little Saigon crew—all competing for drag-strip primacy in late-night L.A.

“There were cliques not totally unlike The Warriors or other gang movies,” says Diesel. “It was segregated in its own way while still trying to incorporate a multicultural theme.”

But over the franchise’s transformation into one of the highest-grossing series of all time, boundary lines of turf and skin color have become increasingly blurred. By the fourth installment, 2009’s Fast & Furious, members of those factions had banded together to form a United Nations-like “family” of scofflaw speed demons, including an ass-kicking Latina (Michelle Rodriguez), a Korean-American cool guy (Sung Kang), a golden-boy cop-turned-criminal (Paul Walker), and Diesel’s own ethnically ambiguous, chrome-domed dragster Dom Toretto.

At last, here was a cast that reflected the reality of our country’s racial makeup: 37 percent of Americans now identify as nonwhite, and the U.S. Census Bureau projects a “majority-minority” population in 2043. The importance of the Furiousmovies’ multiethnic ethos is not lost on Diesel, who is gearing up for Furious 7, in theaters April 3.

“It doesn’t matter what nationality you are.  As a member of the audience, you realize you can be a member of that ‘family,’” he says. “That’s the beautiful thing about how the franchise has evolved…”

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/04/01/furious-7-and-diversity-why-hollywood-needs-catch-reality