Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis is probably one of the most successful and acclaimed graphic novels of the last decade. This week, the film version – co-written and directed by Satrapi herself – debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. In the fall, it will be released in North America with an English voice cast of Gena Rowlands, Catherine Deneuve, Kirsten Dunst, Iggy Pop, and Sean Penn.
Is there a more compelling story than Satrapi’s life and her accomplishments? Is there a more successful woman working in the comic book industry? (And by “industry” in this case, I refer to the actual industry, not just the genre-niche occupied by Marvel and DC)
But somehow, a limited-edition statue and the cover to a book that was the eighty-ninth best-seller in March are bigger news.
Don’t get me wrong: These things deserve to be mocked. But they deserve to be mocked swiftly and briefly, and then ignored.
Warren Ellis made a great point in his Bad Signal mailing list yesterday:
If your issue is that there aren’t enough female voices writing your favourite corporate-owned superhero titles, then, frankly, your problems are deeper and broader than you think.
Keep fighting. Keep kicking. But never, ever act like the women already working in the medium aren’t there, just because they’re not writing Batman or Supergirl.
It’s worth remembering that change seldom begins in the mainstream. Marvel & DC are going to continue to put out whatever crap sates their primary audience until they notice someone else making more money doing something differently. They deserve to be called out when they do the particularly stupid stuff, but that’s not nearly as important as recognizing the people who actually are changing things.