Hello, my name is Daniel Ballow and today I’d like to talk to you about sexism. Especially regarding the release of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. (Or as it should have been called, “Superman/Batman: Supergirl.”)
Before I continue I’d like to give some background information:

I do not readily identify myself as a “feminist,” but I am a gender egalitarian and opposed to sexism. I believe holding onto our fixed gendered perspective and focusing on what separates us, and what has been separating us is a barrier to true gender equality. I believe modern feminism often sabotages itself in this regard.

I believe that something is only a gender issue when the person performing the action or the observer contextualizes it as such. There is almost always an explanation for things that don’t necessarily have anything to do with these things.

I’m not one to cry “objectification” whenever artists tend to fall into the tendency to “idealize” female heroes. Most living creatures sexual objects alongside whatever else we are, and it would be dehumanizing to mask that fact (though this does not excuse nonsensical renderings, and poses that serve no storytelling purpose. I’d chalk that up to “bad storytelling, not sexism).

I give this context to set up that I firmly believe that something is only a gender issue when it is contextualized as such, and I am decidedly hesitant to label something as “sexist” for the aforementioned reason. But in spite of all of this, the more I thought about the title of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, the more I realized how undeniably sexist this name-change was, and how it would be hypocritical of me not to object to it.

Superman/Batman: Supergirl (I read the story in paperback form) is one of my favorite Superman stories of all time. As far as I am currently aware, the original storyline aptly titled “The Supergirl from Krypton” sold very well, as well as the trade paperback. (Be sure to respond with any contrary data so my disappointment will subside, please.)

It was exciting news that the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies movie would be followed up by an adaptation of the “The Supergirl from Krypton.” But it was a peculiar move to name the movie “Apocalypse.” The movie itself was stellar, featured one of the best-animated fight sequences of all time with (ironically) Wonder Woman. The adaption from the source material was true to the spirit of the source material, so why the name change?

According to a newsarma interview:

“I think the main reason why they didn’t call this piece Supergirl is because for some reason the Wonder Woman home video that we made, which was very, very good and filled with (fe)male* characters, didn’t sell well,” she told us. “And so marketing people said, female titled pieces don’t sell well. So this is a female piece, it’s got a very strong feminine character in it but they called it Superman/Batman: Apocalypse just to get people to come into the video stores and buy them.”

http://www.newsarama.com/film/superman-batman-apocalypse-interviews-100929.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+Newsaramasite+%28Newsarama.com%29

I spoke with my father about this some time ago before writing this. He asserted that chauvinism wasn’t the motive behind the name change, and that the decision was of pure monetary motivation. I would not argue that the decision was sexist, but the thought process behind the decision was sexist. Because according to the marketing people’s assertion, “female titles don’t sell.”

It became sexist when gender was contextualized as the reason behind Wonder Woman’s less-than-ideal sales. They made this a gender issue, and I will call them out for doing so.

According to www.the-numbers.com, the “consumer spending for Wonder Woman was listed as $6,974,613. Batman: Gotham Knight was listed as $8,059,255. Superman: Doomsday was listed as $9,442,880.

At face value, this data would back up their claim, but there are other reasons for this.
First, the Batman animated movies were riding off the success of the ’89 film all the way to the Joel Shoemaker movie, the award winning animated series (airing around the time I was first cognizant, contributing to me becoming the DC fan I am today), The Batman, and Batman Beyond.
When you generate movies and television shows in such a way, it generates nostalgia for young viewers. You create “comfortable memories” associated with the character.

Superman has the success of the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve film series, The Lois and Clark tv show, Superman the Animated Series, Superman Returns, and Smallville.

If you look closely, there is a direct correlation between the success of the animated movies and the legion of fans generated by different media.

Wonder Woman has not had a solo television series since 1979. To expect her animated movie to perform as well as Gotham Knight or Doomsday is like asking Batman to rely only on the success of the Adam West tv show. There are not many young fans left that have grown up with Wonder Woman outside of her “Superfriends” and “Justice League” appearances.

Wonder Woman has not had an award-winning animated series, another animated series, a romantic comedy, a primetime drama, a beloved classic that’s generated more comic book writers than any other, or a highly successful reboot.
She’s only had her solo comic book series for decades, and Lynda Carter. On that alone, however, the sales of her animated movie outsold Green Lantern: First Flight ($6,070,921), Justice League: The New Frontier ($5,232,076), Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths ($5,220,061), Batman: Under The Red Hood ($6,656,692), and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse ($5,847,410).

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies had the advantage of featuring both Superman and Batman, making it to ($7,996,266). Yet, that by itself apparently was not enough to guarantee the success of the sequel. “Supergirl” was consciously removed from the title because “girls don’t sell.”
(That’s right… the Catwoman film featuring Halle Berry movie did poorly because she’s a woman…*)
*Sarcastic.

The title of the project was affectively changed on a dubious, gender biased decision.
How could you let this happen?
The title was not “just changed.” A poor business decision was made. Not everyone knows Supergirl even exists. The potential, interest in the origin of this prospective character may have been lost because the title
As it is, a passive observer might interpret:
a) a vague reference to the Fourth World by Jack Kirby, something that even less people know about, or…
b) indicating the name of another disaster movie.
I was fishing through back issues one day, as a couple walking into a comic book store for the first time, apparently. The girl was presently surprised by the amount of female heroes there were (as she should be). Then remarked at astonishment, that a “Super-woman” existed (referring to the Supergirl statue she was eyeing.)

The thing that upsets me more than sexism is hypocrisy. I would prefer to think that DC comics to take the principles their beloved icons fight for very seriously.

I’m not asking anyone’s resignation.
I would like this letter, or the summarized contents thereof, to be drilled into the skulls of whoever is responsible for this.
I would like some kind of public indicator that this ought not to have happened at all.
I want nothing like this to EVER happen again.

Sincerely,
-Daniel