Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dad Takes On Comic Companies' Lack of Girl Superhero Costumes

Description: A caucasian girl with blond hair
poses in her home made Ms. Marvel costume- a blue
tunic emblazoned with a lightning bolt over a red shirt &
The tumblr user Captain Milkshake has a daughter who loved to read comic books and have them read to her.So when she was invited to a superhero-themed birthday party she wanted to attend dressed as her favorite super hero: Ms. Marvel. Unfortunately, there weren't any official Ms. Marvel costumes available for purchase. While he happily made an awesome looking home made costume (pictured at right), Mssr. Milkshake also realized this was part of a larger problem in the comics industry-- a distinct lack of female inclusive merchandise.

He also posted an open letter to Marvel Comics that doesn't just go into how he made the costume but also WHY, and uses that reason to make the case for having more female-inclusive superhero-related merchandise. It's more than just a company leaving piles of money being left on the table. As he outlines in his open letter, it goes a bit deeper than that (although it's an issue as well):

My daughter was recently invited to a Superhero themed birthday party for Thor Odinson. Naturally she leaped at the opportunity. As I’m currently reading Marvel comics with my daughter at bedtime, I thought it to be perfectly fitting that she goes as the one and only Ms. Marvel. I searched my local Forbidden Planet and to no surprise I found nothing there. ‘No biggie’, it was a long shot, but I’m sure would have something. I was even more disappointed to find the results for girl super hero fans under the search ‘ms.marvel girls outfit’. It started off ok, the first search result being a Spider Girl outfit, closely followed by Captain America girl’s outfit, but that’s where the options stop for 6 year olds. Second page of results give a Spider Girl outfit again but this time in pink (really?) and page three, Sexy Batgirl and Sexy Red Riding Hood, which I don’t need to go into detail over. 
OK, time to rack up the dad points here. There’s only one way Ms. Marvel is going to celebrate Thor’s 6th birthday and that means I’ve got to make one. A flustered trip round Croydon resulted with a blue dress (reduced from £60 to £10), the yellow fabric from a pillow (£3), a glittery blue mask (£2) and some cheap red polyester (£2, per foot). A further expense being getting the dress taken in (£18) and the tights and top we already had. I exercised my sewing machine skills and the result, you see above. £32 worth of work pad off in my view. Providing one goes down this route in the future I wish you all success in buying a blue dress in the first place, let alone one in the right size. 
When it finally came together, my little one fell in love with it. With hindsight, I’m glad I made it over buying one already put together, but I write this not as a rant but as a plea to make merch more girl inclusive. Ms. Marvel is an incredible concept who empowers a multi-cultural demographic and to be honest, this needs to be pushed harder!!! 
I love the avengers as much as the next guy and it’s great that we get to buy cool toys that allow us to shoot silly string webbing from our wrists, or smash things with over sized green fists, but maybe Ms. Marvel Embiggend Fists is what we need to see on the shelves AS WELL AS her angry green counterparts. But should the merch for all of Marvel toys be so male-centric? It may be a shame that this is the truth, but I believe this post could be the start of something good, if even it gets the wheels turning a few degrees.
Yours in hope
Captain Milkshake

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