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Marvel’s ‘Her-Oes’ Brings Superheroines Back to High School

Peter Parker’s not the only one going back to high school. Marvel superheroines like the She-Hulk, Ms Marvel, Namora, and the Wasp are heading back to homeroom this April in a new miniseries called “Marvel Her-Oes,” which its writer describes as “‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ but with female characters.”

But here’s the twist: Not only is Marvel publishing a book aimed at teen girls; it’s also being written by a woman. Grace Randolph, best known for her work on Boom’s “Muppets Peter Pan,” will be teaming up with Craig Rosseau for the book.

“I would love to write something that women would see on the comic book stands or in Borders, and they’d say, ‘That looks really cool.’ I want Janet and her friends to mirror conflicts that women have. There’s comedy in this, but they’re not all smart alecks. Sometimes female characters are all, ‘Oh no, you didn’t!’ I wanted to make them real so readers will go, ‘Yeah, this is like me.’ I find it frustrating that more women don’t bother to read comics because they have such great female characters that they’d really enjoy.”

And — ok, we already went through this with “Girl Comics” before, but let’s just admit up front that “Her-Oes” is not the best or most subtle title of all time and move on to the book itself, because it’s hardly the first time that superhero comics have reached for questionable puns. At least it’s not called “Sheroes”? Besides, I’m a lot more interested in seeing Marvel follow through on the promise of “Marvel Women” by hiring more female creators and reaching out to the female demographic than quibbling over the name.

Randolph warns that she doesn’t “want guys to look at this book and go, ‘Ugh…a girl!’
This isn’t all hearts and unicorns. There’s going to be action and fighting.” Still, I think it may be tough to have your cake and eat it too; going for the teen girl angle will probably turn off some existing superhero fans, but if publishers want to expand their audience, they have to reach outside the base. Which sounds like a tautology (and is), but it has nonetheless been a problem for the industry, so it’ll be really interesting to see how this and other Marvel Women projects are marketed.

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