MARV WOLFMAN responds
Probably no book with the exception of "The X-Men" brought more females into buying superhero comics than Marv and George Perez's run on the Teen Titans. Marv was responsible for the creation of Terra, Starfire, Raven, Kole, and several other powerful women characters, and a lot of us are still mad at him for bumping them off/turning them evil/marrying them off against their will. But dangit ... he's hard to stay mad at, cause he's actually a really nice guy. Other comics work includes something called "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and "Tomb of Dracula." Marv is currently working on projects for the large and small screen, including "War Planets" and "Elfquest." (GS)
I think it generally means killing female heroes is supposed to elicit more emotions from readers than killing male readers. Of the list I killed only two, and two were created to die (Terra and Kole) though Kole was, in retrospect, a mistake which I did because other writers complained we weren't killing off any of my characters in Crisis, and if I wanted their characters to die I had to kill one of mine.
I think the wholesale slaughter is because there's a lot of writers who think all major character motivation is made by killing folk and women characters are easier to kill than male characters since so few of them are major heroes on their own. It is true that although some of the best characters are female characters almost no female starring book has ever survived with the exception of Wonder Woman, and that survives only because of licensing potential; its sales have never been good. The reason for that is, I fear, that most boys want to read stories about big muscled guy heroes showing off than gal heroes. They want the girl heroes there in the background, and even important to books, but they rarely if ever buy a book starring a female. Younger boys I think are frightened to some degree by the overly muscled women even while they may find a sexual delight in them.
Having always created lots of female characters, and doing some good work on them, I think, by making them all individuals (whether someone liked the Titans or not, Starfire, Wonder Girl and Raven were not in any way the same person in different latex costumes), I find most female heroes that other writers do are simply cookie-cut outs. Since a very few of these are anything special, it's easy to knock them off. Acknowledging that does not condone it. It merely explains it.