*more than two hundred million dollars*).

Assume (as DC seems to do) that no female reads

*Batman*; this means that about 70K males do (I'm using March 2006 sales data for everything), out of a total universe of DC buyers of 200K (the sales of

*Infinite Crisis*; sadly, that was by far the best seller, so it makes sense in a handwaving sort of way to use it as the total population size).

Again, let's use DC's apparent idea (otherwise

*ASB&R*makes no sense) that no woman reads comics. As, on the other hand, women

*can*read comics (cf almost everybody in my f-list), we can handwave away gender-specific factors and argue/model/assume that there are 200K potential female buyers of

*Batman*who aren't buying any comics right now.

Lets introduce the revolutionary concept of

*level of cooties in a comic*. Assuming -yes, as DC seems to do- that there is an inverse relationship between what male and female readers want (in few words: no, DC, there isn't), we say that a comic has a level of cooties

*k*(k between 0 and 1) if it has enough "girlie stuff" to make a proportion k of the potential female readers buy the title, and a proportion k of the male readers drop the title and step back in horror. (The symmetry of the assumption looks very implausible, but consider the counterproposition: it means that female readership could be raised without losing any male readers - which is exactly my point anyway.)

The key observation in the model is this:

*there are more women not reading comics (in this model) than men doing it, so raising the level of cooties gives you more readers in the aggregate*. Say your level of cooties is k = 0.1. Then 7K of your 70K male readers will be off in the forums screaming (very manly, we hope) at you, while

*20K*females will pick up the issue, for a net gain of

*13K*readers. Sweet.

For symmetry reasons, a reasonable equilibrium point is to aim at having the same number of male and female readers (this assumes that the maximum level of cooties in a particular comic book is about the same as the maximum

*level of boobs*or attractiveness to males; not a more unreasonable assumption that everything else here). We do a bit of algebra and arrive at

*k = 0.26*approx. At that level of cooties, you lose about 18K male readers, but win over 50K female readers, for a net gain of 32K readers, or about a 50% extra readership - my figures in the last post were off a bit (note to self: don't do this while asleep).

(ETA: A non-symmetric aim -as many women as possible- would theoretically raise total readership even above this number, although then arguably you have to consider second order effects, and in particular the convexity of the boobies as a function of cooties *is twelve*).

Anyway, 50K extra readers at USD 2.5 per issue is USD 125K per month, or USD 1.5M a year. With bank deposit rates at perhaps 6.5 points a year, this is equivalent -over the long term- to a single payment of about USD 23M, which is an estimate of how much free extra money they aren't bothering to take out of fear of cooties.

Ah, but then, DC/Marvel aren't about the comics these days, but about the

*movies*, right? According to the trusty internet,

*Batman Begins*grossed USD 370M. Using the same set of assumptions about cooties and such, if the

*Batman*title were optimally female-friendly, the movie would have grossed USD 555M dollars - an extra USD 185M. Plus the USD 23M of comics, we can headline this at a nice-sounding "more than two hundred million dollars".