DC Comics has taken some heat over the past couple weeks for some licensed apparel that implied, or outright stated, that boys can be superheroes but girls have to settle for being superheroes' girlfriends or wives. The criticism reached a point where DC itself had to issue a statement promising to review its licensing process.

Another example of a licensee making a bad gender-related decision flew a little lower on the radar last week, but in this case the licensee, Wonder Forge, issued an apology itself. The game makers failed to put any playable female characters in its game, Justice League: Axis of Villains, and people -- particularly a concerned parent -- complained about the Target-exclusive game.

Author and dad Peter V. Brett wrote on his blog about how he planned to play the game with his daughter, but opened the box "to find four player heroes to choose from, and at least two dozen villains, and not a female in sight." Not even Wonder Woman.

Wonder Forge's vice president of marketing and communications, Kimberly Pierce, issued this apology:

First off, let me just say that we screwed up, and everyone here knows it. It’s an internal regret for our team that we did not include female super heroes in the game.  And it’s a personal regret because so many of us are parents of daughters, who understand firsthand the importance of developing playthings that are inclusive and convey to girls a sense that they can do or be anything... It has inspired good internal dialogue on the subject and a renewed commitment to featuring female characters in our super hero games.

Apparently some enterprising players have created their own superheroine cards to include in the game, so players aren't at a total loss if they open up Axis of Villains to find nothing but dudes.

Still, licensees for comic publishers are hopefully learning a lesson about the products they're producing. Boys and parents of boys aren't the only people buying the stuff you make. Don't act like they are.

[Via ICv2]