Comic BooksOpinion

Gatekeeping is Killing the Comics Industry

Bailey Olmstead ’20/ Emertainment Staff Writer

Gatekeeping is killing the comics industry. Those that take it upon themselves to decide who does not have access to this community are giving themselves and those in this field a bad name. In an industry so plagued by stereotypes of middle-aged fat guys in mothers’ basements, it seems that newcomers, and women in particular, are made to feel unwelcome. And this isn’t found in most other mediums. No one is telling women they can’t watch Game of Thrones, so why are women being made to feel they aren’t allowed to enjoy the medium?

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The Big Bang Theory. Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Television

This is a real image CBS used to advertise The Big Bang Theory, a bunch of women being shocked by the inside of a comic book store. The fairly overt implication that the only people who read comics are men and they’re probably never around women so the idea of them appearing in the store is mind blowing enough to be the plot to AN ENTIRE EPISODE.

Not to harp on the Big Bang Theory, but another joke made at the expense of women in relation to comics is this one:

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The Big Bang Theory. Photo Credit: Warner Bros Television

And to answer the question, it’s this universe. Because in 1974 Wonder Woman was portrayed by a blonde actress, Cathy Lee Crosby.

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Wonder Women. Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures.

And then afterwards they make a joke about her breasts. Now, the argument can be made that this is a problem with the show, and not with comic book culture in general. And that would be right, if for the fact that the jokes have to originate from somewhere in comic book culture, because that’s where the show draws its inspiration. The sexism in comic book culture is so rampant it’s become a trope on a TV show.

Gatekeeping isn’t just a problem with women either. People who draw their enjoyment from the movie/TV versions of the characters, and then want to go into the comic world are also shamed for not shelling out $40 for the Civil War anthology before the movie came out.

Comic books culture is treated as such a laudy and exclusive medium that it’s causing the medium to die. And it’s the people who love the medium to a fever pitch that are the ones ruining it. If someone can get past the convoluted continuity and huge amounts of back story just to be turned away by some guy who thinks he’s better because he’s been reading comics longer, that’s shrinking the industry. In a time when printed media is already facing a crisis, there is no reason to make it harder and less desirable for people to enjoy the wonderful and vivid medium that comics are. It’s time to tear down the gates around this community, and let others in. Superman would think you’re a bad guy for not letting women and newbies read comics, and no one wants Superman to think they’re a bad guy.

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