The comics blogosphere is abuzz with news and commentary on the demise of DC’s Minx imprint, a line of comics aimed at teen girls/young women. Although it had been years in the making, Minx was launched just under a year ago. So far, it looks like it’s the brand that’s leaving the market, not necessarily the books.
Truth be told, there were a few of us hating on Minx right from the get, wondering what DC was thinking, trying to lure the girls away from manga. “You wanna piece of the Sho-Shu-Ko action? Bring it. Let’s see what you got.” Or maybe it was just me, posturing as some bosozaku chick.
But acting like a smug delinquent and wanting something to fail are two different things, and personally, I’m surprised that Minx folded. This isn’t a perfect analogy, but nonetheless I’m reminded of the struggling local comics markets in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Vietnam, which are smothered in manga and fighting for a readership.
Minx was developed as an alternative to manga, and any alternative goes through phases of growth and development. It’s easy to define something as what it’s not, harder to say what it actually is. Minx is not manga. Minx is ________ (fill in the blank).
The fact that Minx didn’t really have a chance to really fill in the blank is what troubles me. Sure, as Dr. Seuss said, “Business is business and business must grow” – but you can’t force growth. This kind of thing takes time. It’s not a matter of translating pages and putting a label on the spine and feeding it to kids who watch the same thing on tv or read the scans on the internet. It’s growing something new. Can that kind of growth really happen in under a year?
My editor twittered me about a few local retailers who said that Minx books were, for the most part, well received. So far, it looks as though at least a few of the books will still be around, despite the imprint crumbling under the pressures and expectations. In a way, the fall of Minx may be the best thing that could have happened – the imprint essentially getting out of it’s own way, out of the way of the books so that the books can just be books instead of part of a mission.
Because when that happens, we can look forward to this: girls who read Hot Gimmick and Hana Nori Dango while passing along their dog-eared copies of Waterbaby and Burnout.