This week, DC Comics announced their DCYou campaign that is promoting DC’s post-Convergence line-up of books. If that sentence felt like nonsense to you, let me put it another way: DCYou is a marketing campaign trying to grab readers who aren’t interested in DC’s big upcoming crossover event. So they’re trying to hype the books that the cross-over event will lead to.
Honestly, this wouldn’t be newsworthy if DC hadn’t included the word “diverse” in their ad campaign. There’s been a wave of momentum in comics pushing for diverse comics, i.e. comics that aren’t helmed by white men, fictional or otherwise. Most of DC’s titles have dudes on the covers, and most of DC’s titles have dude creators, so it’s slightly disconcerting to see their new line-up touted as diverse.
As the ever on-point Janelle Asselin says at Comics Alliance:
You don’t throw the word “diverse” into a press release and then fail to include more of your diverse characters and creators. But then… let’s look at the numbers. As Tim Hanley (ever regular with his Numbercrunching) recently posted, the July 2015 solicits that went out last month marked DC’s lowest month of the year in terms of women credited in the solicitation copy. Obviously, more women does not automatically equal diversity, but one would hope that a company that has created a campaign all about “the fans” and “stories for everyone” would actually hire more people who are representative of different groups.
So yeah, people are definitely giving DC the side-eye over this move.
For one group of fans though, the DCYou campaign has given them a chance to ask DC for more diverse comics. Using the hashtag #PoisonIvyLeague and #DCYou many comic fans have taken to twitter to petition DC to make good on their promise of diversity, and give them a comic for eco-activist/villain Poison Ivy.
Considering that both Catwoman and Harley Quinn currently have their own solo titles, it’s not far-fetched for fans to request one for Poison Ivy. The three sometimes-villainesses often appear together in comics (like Gotham City Sirens), and many comic readers wonder why Ivy is the only character of the trio not getting any attention.
— Jason unmasked (@jjkat82) May 9, 2015
Since DC revamped its universe in 2011 with the New 52, Pamela Isley a.k.a. Poison Ivy has been briefly seen in Birds of Prey, Detective Comics, and Rotworld, but those storylines took place in 2012. Since then, she’s made a few appearances in Batman: Li’l Gotham (which doesn’t count for reasons), Sensation Comics #32, Batman #40 and the Batgirl Annual #2. Not to mention the current Harley Quinn book where the overly sexualized nature of Harley and Ivy’s friendship has made some fans intensely uncomfortable.
A handful of appearances isn’t enough to satisfy Poison Ivy fans though. While fans realize that Ivy is a more difficult sell than Catwoman or Harley Quinn, they’re still pushing for stories that look at Ivy through a more modern lens, less villainess and more misunderstood feminism/activist. In their own words, here’s what some fans have to say.
— keiry (@KeiryJasmin) May 20, 2015
— MissLunar (@MissLunarmagick) May 20, 2015
My shop is ready to pre-order 20 copies of a solo Poison Ivy mini-series of her attempt to become a hero. #PoisonIvyLeague
— Jeff Smith (@TheComicHunter) May 20, 2015
This would be a great opportunity for DC to prove that the company is devoted to fans and diversity, but it’s hard to have hope considering she hasn’t seen a solo title in her 49 years of existence. All hope is not lost for Poison Ivy fans, however, as she is scheduled to lead a team of heroes and villains in Justice League United #11 and #12. It’s a far cry from a solo series, but this could be just the vehicle Poison Ivy needs to get re-established outside of the Amanda Connor/Jimmy Palmiotti Harley Quinn book. Baby steps!