What I’m Thankful For
Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. While it lacks the costumes of Halloween, the presents of Christmas, and the revelry of New Year’s, my family’s Thanksgiving traditions have been the constant in my life that have meant the most to me every year. When I first visited Japan, my travelling companion and I discussed the merits of living there. The one negative I came up with? ”I’d miss Thanksgiving.” When I lived in London for my junior year of college, I still made a full Thanksgiving dinner for my suitemates (though, due to my ignorance as to exactly how long it takes for a turkey to defrost, was made and eaten on Sunday, and by myself since my suitemates had lost interest in my peculiar American customs at that point).
The food is delicious, the family drawn in from far-flung places, the history is complicated and not always nice, and it’s a time to reflect on what’s good in my life. And here’s what is:
Trina Robbins - The foremost comics “herstorian”, Trina has been a constant inspiration and mentor to me. Her love and dedication to women in comics is like her religion, and I am very grateful to the groundwork she’s laid when I decided pick up her torch. Very few people could have been as excited as I was when I discovered that Fran Hopper was still alive, and only Trina could surpass me. I look forward to her ultimate history of women in comics, Pretty in Ink, when it comes out next year.
The flourishing of female talent - This year has seen some of my favorite lesser-known talent become superstars. Fiona Staples, whose art I’ve been loving since her turn on The Secret History of the Authority: Hawskmoor, is killing it month after month on Saga. Almost nothing would stop me from buying the new Brian K. Vaughan series, but it gives me such hope for the future that even someone like him who could have his pick of superstar artists would rather look for a new voice, and a woman at that. In addition, Kelly Sue DeConnick, whose writing I’ve loved since her first (Sif and Rescue) one-shots for Marvel back in 2010 has now taken up the challenge of writing not one, but two ongoing series, Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble, which have been some of the most fun comics I’ve read in a long time. And she’s announced her first creator-owned series, Pretty Deadly, with another artist on my list, Emma Rios. Rios’s star has risen over the past year due to her work on Spider-Man (including Spider Island tie-in Cloak and Dagger), Doctor Strange: Season One, and a few issues of Captain Marvel! And speaking of Spider-Man artists, let’s not forget the woman who has drawn both Peter Parker and Miles Morales! Sara Pichelli gave first life to the new Ultimate Spider-Man, and then teamed him up with Peter Parker in the first 616/Ultimate universe crossover, Spider-Men! Honorable mention must go to IDW Publishing for having such faith in the appeal of female creators that they brought Womanthology back for a new space-themed miniseries.
Sisters doing it for themselves - This is a blatant continuation of the above list. Kate Beaton continues to be wonderful and redefining comics on her own terms just by being herself. Spike spear-headed the revival of female-friendly, sex-positive anthology Smut Peddler, not only paying the creators, but also getting it into her head to do a horror anthology next (She’s still taking pitches until November 30!). Raina Telgemeier continues to create comics that appeal to the next generation of female readers (and creators!) with this year’s New York Times bestselling Drama. And according to my mother, a teacher, Jennifer Holm (with her brother Matthew) are getting an even younger generation with Babymouse. Amy Reeder rebounded from her dismissal from Batwoman with the charming one-shot Halloween Eve, and after chatting with her at NYCC, I am assured that we will see plenty of new work from her in the coming year. Becky Cloonan, of course, remains Becky Cloonan.
Art books celebrating women in comics - Amanda Conner got two— The Art of Amanda Conner and The DC Comics Sequential Art of Amanda Conner. Marie Severin got The Mirthful Mistress of Comics. Ramona Fradon’s was announced and revealed such heavy hitters as Howard Chaykin and Walt Simonson among her admirers. And I look forward to the forthcoming Definitive Reference to the work of Jeffrey Catherine Jones; I hope we can get a DVD release of the documentary about her life.
Lana Wachowski - Thanks again for getting me into comics. Your speech when receiving the HRC Visibility Award made me laugh and cry, frequently in the same sentence. Your courage to be yourself is admirable and inspiring. Now where’s the rest of Doc Frankenstein?!
All of My Readers - All 13,595 of you! You are all the best reason to get up in the morning.
Non-comics things I’m grateful for include my almost-1-year-old niece (who is currently toddling around my parents’ kitchen as I type), my gainful employment, my new meds that don’t make me tired all the time, the fact that we’ve been spared a Romney presidency, my new “This Machine Kills Fascists” laptop sticker, and friends who push me to be the best me I can be.