Writing last week about Princess Leia and the context surrounding her character as an empowered female in storytelling resulted in some of the highest hits this site has seen. “Slave Leia Sells? Amy Schumer, Boy Toys and the Star Wars Fandom Double Standard” was tweeted by Bitch Media and acknowledged on Full of Sith. On that podcast, Bryan Young noted that Twitter user @tonks17’s motion to rebrand Slave Leia as Leia the Huttslayer had over 10,000 notes after it was posted on Tumblr. And despite the reported “ire” from Disney|Lucasfilm over the GQ cover, John Boyega noted on Instagram that he was finishing up a photo shoot for the magazine.
Prior to the Huttslayer attire controversy, I joined a fantastic group of women on Mos Eisley Comicport to discuss the conclusion of the Princess Leia miniseries from Marvel.
Today’s episode is a series wrap-up for Princess Leia, with some extremely special guests! Tricia Barr (Co-host of Fangirls Going Rogue, Co-Author of Ultimate Star Wars), Sarah Rodriguez (Author of Agent Carter: Season One Declassified, Co-Host of Woman Up! Podcast) Aarthi D (Co-Host of Back in the Field), and Kelsey Marquart (Editor-in-Chief of Nerdy But Flirty, StreamFriends Co-Host) chime in with their thoughts on Marvel’s first canon Star Wars miniseries!
Back in October 2014, FiveThirtyEight conducted a deep-dive statistical analysis into the gender composition of characters and creators in the comics from Marvel and DC. The number-crunching in “Comic Books Are Still Made By Men, For Men And About Men” reveals that not a lot of headway has been made in balancing the number of female characters in stories, and this mirrors some of the criticisms leveled at Star Wars. Del Rey’s adult novels have introduced female characters with varying levels of success; some are well-done, others not so well. As I mentioned in my piece last week, the adult novels aren’t leaving female characters intact to continue on in stories. The Star Wars comics, even before Marvel’s takeover, were beginning to show signs of improvement in gender and racial balance. Dark Horse’s Legacy comic headlined Ania Solo and featured many prominent female characters, Marvel’s Star Wars and Darth Vader series also have introduced intriguing female characters like Sana Solo and Doctor Aphra, who help diversify the canon. What every one on the podcast noted was that the Princess Leia miniseries does an amazing job of introducing all sorts of women into Star Wars canon.
I’ve noted some members of the entrenched Star Wars and comics fandoms aren’t necessarily enamored with the Princess Leia comic, but the sales suggest a lot of people are. The series debuted with over 250,000 copies sold, a spectacular figure by all accounts, making it the top-selling comic for March. In addition, Princess Leia #2 took the fifth spot in March, overtaking perennial bestseller Amazing Spider-Man and beating out every single title from DC. The third issue broke the 100,000 barrier and the monthly top ten, and the fourth issue performed almost as well. (Sales figures on July’s fifth issue are pending.) Without a doubt Princess Leia sold extremely well in the monthly issues format, not just in relation to the other Star Wars titles from Marvel but against longstanding superhero titles, as well.
The galaxy far far away is a big place. Hopefully the lesson learned is that Star Wars stories can be as diverse as its fanbase.
Listen to the show here:
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.