"Hm, so you want me to enforce an across-the-board change of creative direction that would potentially alienate our current reader base (of shameless mouthbreathers) in order to attract a demographic that has not expressed an interest in our industry in any sort of meaningful numbers? Yeah, we've tried that before. A lot of times. And it's always ended up with us tanking, a lot of artists getting fired, and our fans writing in en masse to call us fucking idiots. So unless you can give us some reason to believe that putting pants on Wonder Woman isn't going to cause petty uproar, then we're going to keep making our money in the pin-up industry. Fuck your feminism."
Except comic book nerds vocally complain about absolutely everything. DC and Marvel do not use the things comic book nerds complain about on the Internet as actual indicators of how they should run their business.
What do comics fans complain about most loudly? Company-wide event stories. You know, the exact thing that makes the publishers more money than anything else.
So no, it's not that at all. It's not that DC is gun-shy because they tried putting pants on Wonder Woman and people on the Internet whined about it. If DC were really that damn concerned that people would stop buying books because they hate stupid-looking Jim Lee costume designs, they would not have subsequently put him in charge of redesigning EVERY MAJOR CHARACTER'S COSTUME.
And if you think comic book nerds are complaining any less about the new uniforms with their piping and V-necks and Superman-armor than they did about Wonder Woman's pants, well, I'll grant they've gotten less MSM coverage, but I don't think they've gotten any less comment-thread vitriol. (Actually, from a marketing perspective, MSM controversy is probably a good thing -- with the possible exception of Fox News scare stories
, and sometimes even then
I can't think of any actual example where DC or Marvel depicted a female superhero (or, hell, supervillain) in a less sexist fashion and sales suffered as a result of it. Wonder Woman's sales actually INCREASED when JMS took over, albeit briefly. I certainly can't think of a case where a publisher has tanked and a lot of artists gotten fired. Fans writing en masse to call them fucking idiots, on the other hand, is what is referred to in the business as "Wednesday".
You want to change things? Stop finding bad examples and start producing good ones, then find a way to make them popular somehow.
These things are not mutually exclusive.
As far as books that don't display this particular brand of sexism and have attained some popularity, I can think of a few -- Love and Rockets, Bone, Strangers in Paradise, Walking Dead, Scott Pilgrim -- but no major superhero books leap to mind.
Superhero cartoons are an altogether different matter, though.
Do we even need to discuss how monumentally fucking better DC's animation division is than its comics division, or can we just take that as read after the past 20 years?
The disconnect between the animation people and the comics people continues to baffle me.