This May, Vertigo will publish STRANGE ADVENTURES #1, a collection of science fiction short stories as only Vertigo can do them.
Written and drawn by some of the comic industries most sought after talents, STRANGE ADVENTURES also features some exciting new talents making their Vertigo debut!
Contributions by women include:
"All The Pretty Ponies" written by novelist Lauren Beukes, and "The White Room" written by Talia Hershewe. I can’t find all that much about Hershewe, except that she might be an NYU student. I have sent a Facebook message to the Talia Hershewe I found there, so I’ll keep you posted!
There has been much speculation over the last month or so about a project known as Teenage Satan. The Twitter feed had been hinting at a debut at Boston Comic Con and today at the show the project was unveiled in a panel on women at comics.
Blond child to her mother while watching brown skinned & black haired me fly a kite at the beach: “Mommy, she looks like one of the bad guys.” Over and over again, getting louder and more insistent despite mother’s shushing.
August 2010, Ocracoke Island (North Carolina). This made me feel brown.
“Ugh! Gawd, you guys, it’s JUST A KID’S MOVIE! Is it really that important?”
Superhero comics have just always been that way, you guys! They can’t just “parrot” your “causes”!* It’s not their job to pursue ~social justice~ by diversifying the genre!** (Even if the company’s identity was defined by a man who actively tried—and largely succeeded—in bringing in diversity that had not previously existed in the genre)
Since its launch in 1999, DC Comic’s Birds of Prey has carved out an important role in comics. Beyond the strong writing, beyond showcasing two pioneering and iconic female characters - Dinah Lance, the Black Canary and Barbara Gordon, now Oracle and formerly the Silver/Bronze Age Batgirl, it is generally recognized as being an on-ramp for many women into the world of superhero comics.
In 2009 after 127 issues, DC canceled the book along with several others in the wake of the Battle for the Cowl. Fans however, continued to ask DC for the book’s return. And in January of 2010, DC announced that Birds of Prey would be brought back with Gail Simone at the helm. Simone, who took over the book at issue #56 and was lead writer through #108, is the book’s most popular writer.
Birds of Prey will celebrate the first anniversary of its return next month. Last week Gail Simone was kind enough to chat with me about it.
What we found was that in G-rated movies, for every one female character, there were three male characters. If it was a group scene, it would change to five to one, male to female.
Of the female characters that existed, the majority are highly stereotyped and/or hypersexualized. To me, the most disturbing thing was that the female characters in G-rated movies wear the same amount of sexually revealing clothing as the female characters in R-rated movies.
And then we looked at aspirations and occupations and things like that. Pretty much the only aspiration for female characters was finding romance, whereas there are practically no male characters whose ultimate goal is finding romance. The No. 1 occupation was royalty. Nice gig, if you can get it. And we found that the majority of female characters in animated movies have a body type that can’t exist in real life. So, the question you can think of from all this is: What message are we sending to kids?
A former SCAD professor of mine, Bob “Ana May” Pendarvis, has been organizing a comic anthology called the “Sugar Ninjas.” This year, they are once again seeking entries from female comic artists of all kinds to submit their work. (I myself was featured in the first anthology, the first and only time Sister Claire has been in print!)
Edit: Some people have asked if the requirements mean “female bodied” only. I am not organizing the event, but I am sure that anyone who is not a cis male is welcome to join. This is about promoting minorities in comics, and as men are the majority, (And Bob is really openminded and not 100% cis himself) so you needn’t worry about that. In fact, I think he would really like to have some trans women included in the group.
A note from Bob:
While we are very “pro-girl”, we are by no means “anti-boy”. Bob had a great time teaching guys, too, and doesn’t want anyone thinking he failed to notice how talented they were. Still, the SUGAR NINJAS exist to promote the idea that girls can be just as creative as boys, and that seeing how we are in the 21 century, gender should be considered irrelevant. The comics industry has been a notorious boys-only, “girls not allowed” club for most of its existence. Even today, the average mainstream MARVEL or DC comic is much more likely to have been written and/or drawn by men, not women. There are all sorts of reasons and excuses for this situation, but it is an undeniable fact. The SUGAR NINJAS hope to help create a greater appreciation for the potential of using more female creators and publishing material geared for all people!
I chatted with Bob on Facebook while writing the Sugar Ninjas wiki page and he’s such a cool guy and way enthusiastic about promoting lady creators. Check it out!
I’ve got finals coming up meaning that for the next 3-ish weeks, I need to limit my internet time. So I want to schedule some posts for the coming weeks. I need some recs and requests for Webcomics Wednesdays and ProFile Fridays! What/who do you want to share?
Recent discussions about the gender disparity in the Big Two got some speculation going, and one thing people brought up is the difference between breaking into comics and breaking into Marvel and DC. So I’ve decided to make charts on the wiki of how women and men creators break into the Big Two!
I’m looking for (very, very abridged) “breaking in” stories for writers and pencillers currently working for (or have worked for in the past 5 years) Marvel and DC. It’s a big project, but I think it’s really important to help get to the bottom of this 90-10 gender gap at the Big Two. (And don’t worry, you don’t have to register!)
There’s a list of creators that in my estimation are not interviewed nearly enough, one such example is colorist Laura Allred. You can find several interviews with both Mike and Laura Allred together, but few rarely focus on Laura solely. So I recently crossed my fingers and shot off an email to Laura seeking to do an email interview. Much to my sheer delight, she was game for a discussion of her career as a colorist…
Lily Renée Wilhelms Peters Phillips, (born Lily Renée Wilhelms, c. 1925, Vienna, Austria), often credited as L. Renée, Lily Renée, or Reney, is an Austrian-American artist, writer, and playwright. She escaped from Nazi-occupied Vienna to England and later New York, whereupon she found work as a penciller at Fiction House on such titles as The Werewolf Hunter, Jane Martin and Senorita Rio. She is often considered one of the worst artists to have ever lived.
I mentioned earlier that I’m trying to give Wikipedia another chance, and to that end, I posted my WIC entry on Lily Renée on Wikipedia proper.
Yesterday, IP address 188.8.131.52 was apparently bored and went on a trolling spree. He not only hit Renée’s page, but also Ilmari Unho, Ville-di-Pietrabugno, Otto Hamman, and Z-drug. As if I needed another reason to keep the WIC Wiki separate.
I’m not holding Wikipedia as a whole accountable for this, and it’s obvious the trolling was scattershot and was no real value judgment on her work, but it is yet another reason why I like being in control of the WIC Wiki— I could ban this IP for the rest of time. On Wikipedia, the most I can do is change it back.
Molly Crabapple is a woman of many hats. She’s the artist who, with writer John Leavitt, has created the graphic novel “Scarlett Takes Manhattan” and the webcomic “Backstage. “She has contributed to Marvel’s “Girl Comics,” “Strange Tales” and other publications and is the founder of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, which she’s spoken with CBR News about previously. Her illustrations have appeared in dozens of publications, including the “New York Times” and the “Wall Street Journal.”
Her comic, “The Puppet Makers,” which was originally developed for DC Comics’ now defunct web-based Zuda imprint, is currently being distributed by DC Digital. It’s a murder mystery tale based in the steampunk court of Louis XIV, a setting which is the perfect match of her artistic sensibilities and the period’s rococo style. Crabapple is also raising money on Kickstarter for an animation project with Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt titled “I Have Your Heart,” designed the logo for “The big bag” at this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival and recently signed a deal with First Second to create an original graphic novel.
Having recently spent time in Paris, CBR News spoke with the artist upon her return to the States.
The first is that true gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.
And if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.” My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality - my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.
This is spot on. For a patriarchal society, equality is threatening and assigned as the “real sexism” because women aren’t “in their place” where they “belong.” It challenges the system by asserting the notion of women as equal human beings and not property, and frankly, the fact that people have been unwittingly brainwashed to perceive the world under these terms pisses me the fuck off.
I was hanging out with some local comics artists, which includes Shelli Paroline, who has worked on Boom’s Muppet Comics, and she said that children’s publishers are starting to ask for more comics “for boys”. Now if you don’t think that sounds ridiculous enough, here’s how you make a comic “for boys”: cut out all female characters, with the possible exception of a teacher, a mother, and a few background girls if you absolutely must have the, in say a school setting. No one ever stops to wonder if this might just be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Female equality being perceived as domination starts early.
Monica Breen and Alison Schapker, exec producers on Fringe, have had another project, the heightened-reality crime drama called Pulp, in the works for a while, to be produced as a TV show by Fringe co-creator JJ Abrams. It was developed as a pilot but never filmed.
Deadline reports, as part of a story about their Fringe deal being renewed for another series, that Pulp may now be published as a comic book series or graphic novel from DC Comics.