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Veering into what I like to call “overlap” territory, I’d like to help get the word out about Outwrite DC, an LGBT book fair in Washington DC having its fourth annual event in August. They are still looking for sponsors and exhibitors, and they have assured me comics creators are welcome!
So if you are a comics creator or prose/poetry writer or zinester of LGBT themes, can be in the DC area the first weekend in August, and have $40, you can exhibit at Outwrite DC. Northwest Press is already signed up, so you will be in great company. Also welcome to exhibit are arts-and-crafts creators, preferably of a queer or writerly bent.
If you want to help out even more and/or don’t have anything to shill, you can become a sponsor for as little as $100. If you do have something to shill, sponsors above the $250 level get a complimentary exhibitor’s table.
Hope to see you there!

Veering into what I like to call “overlap” territory, I’d like to help get the word out about Outwrite DC, an LGBT book fair in Washington DC having its fourth annual event in August. They are still looking for sponsors and exhibitors, and they have assured me comics creators are welcome!

So if you are a comics creator or prose/poetry writer or zinester of LGBT themes, can be in the DC area the first weekend in August, and have $40, you can exhibit at Outwrite DC. Northwest Press is already signed up, so you will be in great company. Also welcome to exhibit are arts-and-crafts creators, preferably of a queer or writerly bent.

If you want to help out even more and/or don’t have anything to shill, you can become a sponsor for as little as $100. If you do have something to shill, sponsors above the $250 level get a complimentary exhibitor’s table.

Hope to see you there!

Heroines of the Comics for Drew Friedman’s perusal

I was recently made aware of Drew Friedman’s upcoming Heroes of the Comics, coming out in August, featuring full-color portraits and profiles of important comic book creators from the 1930s through the 1950s. My initial reaction was some delight, because Fantagraphics put up a picture of Lily Renée’s profile, and that’s always good when people remember her. But of course my delight was tempered the more I read on. The table of contents in the preview lists only two other women in addition to Renée, Marie Severin and Ramona Fradon (misspelled ‘Fraden’), out of 84 people. The summary on the back of the book says, “Featuring subjects popular and obscure, men and women, as well as several pioneering African-American artists.” When women make up 3.5% of your list, (and “several” African-Americans = 2 of them), you’re almost better off not trying to pass them off as a selling point of the book.

What makes this list all the more disappointing is that Friedman himself stated at MoCCA Fest that he felt it was important to profile creators overlooked by both fans and people in the industry, specifically citing Bill Finger. Of course, lists like this are always going to cause some kind of debate over inclusions and omissions, and I understand this book isn’t just about introducing people to forgotten creators, but the people who know Bill Finger was the real creator of Batman still vastly outnumber the people who have even heard of Lily Renée.

Bearing all that in mind, here is my list of women who could have been in this book.

Elizabeth Holloway Marston

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Friedman features the team of Superman’s creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, as a single entity (#8), so why is Wonder Woman co-creator William Moulton Marston (#24) all on his own? Elizabeth’s contributions to the creation of Wonder Woman are well-documented. And if you wanted to be thorough, you could include the Marstons’ third partner, Olive Byrne, as the inspiration for Wondy’s metal bracelets!

Virginia Hubbell

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No Golden Age comics history is complete without mentioning #22 on Friedman’s list, Charles Biro and his lurid Crime Does Not Pay. Until recently (with David Hajdu’s The Ten-Cent Plague) however, no one mentioned that most of “Biro’s” stories were actually by a young woman known as “Ginny”. Her colleagues Pete Morisi and Rudy Palais praised her as a superior creator to Biro. Palais even said that “Charlie couldn’t do what she did in a million years.”

Ray Hermann

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Hermann (aka Rae or Ruth) was a publisher, editor, writer, (and possibly penciller and inker) whose career spanned fron 1940 to 1955. Her company, Orbit Publications, was a founding member of the Association of Comic Magazine Publishers, for which she served as Secretary and Board Director. The ACMP was founded in response to the rising anti-comics sentiment in the United States, creating the first Publication Code for policing the content in comics, but comics were not subject to formal review to use their seal of approval, and it was largely ignored, but its Publication Code formed the backbone of the later Comics Code. She was also one of the few “advice columnists” in romance comics who was actually a woman

Helen Meyer

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Whenever comics history discusses Dr. Frederic Wertham and the Kefauver hearings on “juvenile delinquency”, EC publisher Bill Gaines is lionized as the only person in the comics industry who stood up to and demanded to be heard. That, my friends, is what we call a damn lie. Helen Meyer was the publisher of Dell Publications and was instrumental in securing the Disney, Warner Brothers, Little Lulu, and Popeye licenses for Dell’s comics line. What follows is from Meyer’s testimony:

We must give our American children proper credit for their good taste in their support of good comics. What better evidence can we give than facts and figures…Dell’s average comic sale is 800,000 copies per issue. Most crime and horror comic sales are under 250,000 copies. Of the first 25 largest selling magazines on newsstands - this includes Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, Life, and so forth ─ 11 titles are Dell comics…With the least amount of titles, or 15 percent of all titles published by the entire industry; Dell can account for a sale of approximately 32 percent, and we don’t publish a crime or horror comic.

Dr. Wertham, for some strange reason, is intent on condemning the entire industry. He refuses to acknowledge that other types of comics are not only published, but are better supported by children than crime and horror comics. I hope that his motivation is not a selfish one in his crusade against comics. Yet, in the extensive research he tells us he has made on comics, why does he ignore the good comics? Dell isn’t alone in publishing good comics. There are numerous outstanding titles published by other publishers, such as Blondie, Archie, Dennis the Menace, and so forth. Why does he feel that he must condemn the entire industry? Could it be that he feels he has a better case against comics by recognizing the bad and ignoring the good?

Meyer was made CEO of Dell Publications in the early 1950s and remained so until its sale to Doubleday in 1976.

Ruth Atkinson

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Either created or co-created the long-running Marvel Comics characters Millie the Model and Patsy Walker. Comics history is cruel to the pioneers of genres that have fallen out of favor, but both Patsy and Millie kept Marvel afloat in the 1950s. Even amid the Marvel superhero revival of the 1960s, Millie the Model comics were still among the top 100 series circulated each year, bringing in almost $220k at its peak that decade in 1965—equal to almost $1.7 million today.

Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht

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Feuerlicht was the Editor-in-Chief of Classics Illustrated as well as an acclaimed historian. She began working at Gilberton, the publishers of Classics Illustrated, as an assistant editor in 1953. By then end of her tenure in 1961, she had been made Editor-in-Chief and created spin-off titles like Classics Illustrated Junior and other non-fiction comics like The World Around Us. She was known around the Gilberton offices as “Roberta the Conqueror”.

Honorable Mentions

  • Ruth Roche: Friedman lists Jerry Iger (#6), who with Will Eisner (#7) founded the Eisner-Iger shop. He leaves out Ruth Roche, his later business partner. Roche started as a writer at the Eisner-Iger studio in 1940. She soon became Iger’s associate editor; later they became business partners, and the studio became the Roche-Iger studio. She stayed with the Roche-Iger studio until it ceased publication in 1961.
  • Marion McDermott was an editor for St. John publications, including one of the first graphic novels ever produced, It Rhymes With Lust. She also edited such titles as Teen-Age Temptations, Teen-Age Romances, Authentic Police Cases, and Fightin’ Marines. Artist Ric Estrada credits her encouragement for helping him develop his style
  • Joan Bacchus. Though her first attributable published comics were in 1966 as part of the Black history series Golden Legacy, it is very likely she contributed, under her maiden name “Cooper”, to 1947’s All-Negro Comics, making her the first African-American woman published in a comic book.
  • Patricia Highsmith. Though best known as a thriller novelist, Highsmith’s only “honest” job her whole life was writing comics for various companies including Timely (Marvel) Comics!

ProFile Friday: In Memorium

Isabelle Daniel “Barbara” Hall Fiske Calhoun, best known for her work (as Barbara Hall) on “Girl Commandos” and “Pat Parker, War Nurse” during the Golden Age of Comics, died this past Monday, April 28, 2014 at age 94 in a nursing home in White River Junction, Vermont, not far from the Center for Cartoon Studies. Her daughter Ladybelle and son in law Brion were with her for the last days of her life. She died peacefully and without struggle. Drawing and painting remained her main interest in her final days. “Art is prayer,” she frequently said

Hall was born in 1919 into an old Southern family. Her ancestors had fought the British during the Revolutionary War, and later fought on the Southern side in the American Civil War. She studied painting in Los Angeles, moving to New York City in 1940. She showed her portfolio to Harvey Comics in 1941, and was hired to draw the comic “Black Cat”. Her next strip was “Girl Commandos”, about an international team of Nazi-fighting women. This comic was developed from “Pat Parker, War Nurse”, about a “freelance fighter for freedom.” When stationed in India, this nurse recruited a British nurse, an American radio operator, a Soviet photographer, and a Chinese patriot. Hall continued this strip until 1943. Girl Commandos was taken over by Jill Elgin. On January 8, 1946, she married writer and playwright Irving Fiske and became Barbara Hall Fiske.

Hall continued her art career as a tempera and pastel painter. Together with her husband, she began an alternative living group/artists and writers’ colony in Rochester, Vermont, called Quarry Hill. (Later it became known as the Quarry Hill Creative Center.) She and Irving Fiske had two children, Isabella (Ladybelle) and William.

In the Sixties, through her daughter, Ladybelle, she met and became friends with many well-known underground cartoonists, including R. Crumb, Trina Robbins, Kim Deitch, Spain Rodriguez, and others. Ladybelle met Art Spiegelman in 1966 through Trina Robbins and also, concurrently, through a group of Spiegelman’s fellow-students at the State University of New York at Binghamton. In 1978, Ladybelle, Spiegelman, Françoise Mouly, and some other Quarry Hill residents created Top-Drawer Rubber Stamp Company, which featured art by Crumb, Spiegelman and many other cartoonists and artists. This hand-made art rubber stamp company provided employment for several Quarry Hill residents for a time.

Barbara Hall Fiske designed several images for Top-Drawer including angels, an image of William Blake (Quarry Hill’s favorite poet and artist), and more.

Hall divorced Fiske in the 1970s, created Lyman Hall, Inc. (after a collateral ancestor who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence) to run the Quarry Hill property, and took the name Barbara Fiske Calhoun after her second marriage in the 1990s.

One of her “Pat Parker, War Nurse” stories was reprinted recently in Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics edited by Mike Madrid.

There’s six hours to go to back Sequart’s She Makes Comics documentary! The film has already hit it’s base goal of $41,500, and it’s stretch goal of $50,000, giving them the opportunity to make a 15 minute bonus documentary about Jackie Ormes, the first African-American woman cartoonist. Now they’re hoping to close with $55,000 so that they can upgrade all the DVDs and digital downloads to a Special Edition with over 150 minutes of extras, including:
Audio commentary
Extended interviews
Two short intro-to-making-comics featurettes (one for writers and one for artists), featuring some of the biggest writers and artists in comics today giving practical advice on how to get started making your own comics!
All they need to reach that goal is another $2,422, just slightly over $400 an hour. And all it takes to receive the (potentially Special Edition) digital download is just $20! So if 121 of you have been on the fence about backing, or have just plum forgot until now, what are you waiting for?? You’ve got until 3am EST.

There’s six hours to go to back Sequart’s She Makes Comics documentary! The film has already hit it’s base goal of $41,500, and it’s stretch goal of $50,000, giving them the opportunity to make a 15 minute bonus documentary about Jackie Ormes, the first African-American woman cartoonist. Now they’re hoping to close with $55,000 so that they can upgrade all the DVDs and digital downloads to a Special Edition with over 150 minutes of extras, including:

  • Audio commentary
  • Extended interviews
  • Two short intro-to-making-comics featurettes (one for writers and one for artists), featuring some of the biggest writers and artists in comics today giving practical advice on how to get started making your own comics!

All they need to reach that goal is another $2,422, just slightly over $400 an hour. And all it takes to receive the (potentially Special Edition) digital download is just $20! So if 121 of you have been on the fence about backing, or have just plum forgot until now, what are you waiting for?? You’ve got until 3am EST.

If you are like me, your life revolves around comics, the women who make them, and documentaries. There have been many fine comics documentaries, some of which have included or even been about ladies, but the Sequart Organization has teamed up with director Marisa Stotter of Respect Films to produce what is shaping up to be the best one yet!

She Makes Comics “will celebrate eighty years of female creators telling amazing stories in comics. From early superhero artists like Ramona Fradon to iconoclastic 60s creators like Joyce Farmer, from 80s innovators like Karen Berger to present day writers like Kelly Sue DeConnick, the film will let female creators tell their stories.” The film will also pay significant attention to female fandom and the history and evolution thereof (with stats and such from former DC editor Janelle Asselin who did her graduate thesis on the subject!)

But of course, there is the pesky business of needing the funds to complete it. That’s where you (via Kickstarter) come in. It’s already 26% funded after only three days. Beyond the standard rewards of a shoutout in the credits, a digital copy and/or DVD of the finished film, posters and T-shirts and such, you can also potentially get yourself drawn into a book about the history of women in comics by Jill Thompson or Colleen Doran! Or, if you are an aspiring creator, you can get your script/pitch reviewed by Janelle Asselin!

So come join all these awesome people (as well as backers such as Jimmy Palmiotti, Fred Van Lente, and Dean Haspiel to name but a few) and support what promises to be an incredible look at the latest and greatest of women comics creators as well as fans like you.

Webcomics Wednesday
White Noise by Melinda Timpone

White Noise is a full color webcomic, a scifi, post apocalyptic, super hero kinda thing. The story follows Wren, who has left his home in the Deadlands after an attack by the mysterious group known as the Herald. He’s made his way to the States, where he must keep his origins a secret or risk elimination by their uncompromising justice system, while he tries to decide on a course of action. He also has a tail! And certain freaky abilities

You can follow Melinda (and the comic itself) on Tumblr at madsniperd!

Webcomics Wednesday

White Noise by Melinda Timpone

White Noise is a full color webcomic, a scifi, post apocalyptic, super hero kinda thing. The story follows Wren, who has left his home in the Deadlands after an attack by the mysterious group known as the Herald. He’s made his way to the States, where he must keep his origins a secret or risk elimination by their uncompromising justice system, while he tries to decide on a course of action. He also has a tail! And certain freaky abilities

You can follow Melinda (and the comic itself) on Tumblr at madsniperd!

Due to both the forthcoming Peggy Carter TV series and my recent introduction to The Bletchley Circle (watch it!), I’ve been in a real mood for stories about awesome ladies doing awesome things in World War II. Reading up on Catel’s biography of Rose Valland has added to that.

While debating the merits of ordering a copy from Canada, I read the two preview pages Catel has on her website. I then took the liberty of translating them to share with you all! Enjoy!

ProFile Friday

Catherine Muller, known as Catel, is a French writer and artist.

When she was 12, Catel discovered the works of Claire Bretécher, one of the first female cartoonists in France, sparking her ambition to become a comics artist. She graduated from the l’École supérieure des arts décoratifs (School of Decorative Arts) in Strasbourg. She began her career children’s books, published by Hachette, Epigoni, Nathan, and Dupuis Hatier. Her work includes about fifty illustrated books, some of which were selections of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. She also illustrated L’Encyclo des filles (The Girls’ Encyclopedia) published by Plon.

Catel first branched into adult media in 2000 by writing scripts for the television show “Un gars, une fille” (“A guy, a girl,”) while continuing with the series Luciewhich she calls “the French Bridget Jones”, opening the way for more comics with certain contemporary female concerns. In 2005, she won the Audience Award at the Angoulême festival for the World War I-set graphic novel Le Sang des Valentines (Blood of Valentines) illustrated and written in collaboration with Christian De Metter.

Over the course of her career, Catel has created or co-created several books about famous or important women, starting with singer Edith Piaf, an eponymous book co-created with José-Louis Bocquet. Her next book, also with Bocquet, Kiki de Montparnasse, about the early 20th century actress, model, and artist, received the Grand Prix RTL in 2007 and the Prix-Essential FNAC station in Angoulême 2008.

With Claire Bouilhac and Emmanuelle Polac, she drew a book about the art historian and French Resistance member Rose Valland. With writer Philippe Paringaux, she created Dolor, about actress Mireille Balin, which was selected out of competition at the Angoulême Festival 2010 and was awarded the “thunderbolt” at the “Bulles en Nord” festival. Her third collaboration with José-Louis Bocquet, Olympe de Gouges, a biography of the 18th century French feminist and author of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen, won the the Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Héroïne Madame Figaro 2012 in the category Biographies/Documentaries.

Her first solo biographical work, Ainsi soit Benoîte Groult, was inspired by her friendship with Groult, a respected French feminist novelist. It received the 2014 Prix Artémisia for exceptional comics work by women.

Currently, Catel is working on Lilac Kharkov with Claire Bouilhac, the story of the mother of actress Mylène Demongeot, who had escaped the Russian Civil War. She also started her next graphic novel with Bocquet, on the life of Josephine Baker. 

Catel’s only work currently available in English is Lucie s’en soucie (as Bluesy Lucy) and Kiki de Montparnasse, and I hoped by profiling her here, I could help in some small way to bring some attention and spur some interest in bringing more of her work over. (I for one think it’s a shame the Rose Valland book won’t be available when The Monuments Men movie comes out, in which Valland is played by Cate Blanchett).

And, just throwing this out there, I happen to speak French.

Webcomics Wednesday

What It Takes by KEZ

Six years after the human race is nearly destroyed in a complete clusterfuck of circumstance, those that are left have to figure out how to survive in a world they never anticipated outside of nightmares. With over 97% of the global population dead, the majority of cities are are empty, and those still occupied are controlled by gangs warring for control of limited resources. The modern world has ceased to exist, and the weak are exploited by the strong. In short, there is no government, no comforts, and no place for compassion in the cruel, new world. But there is hope. A City in a Place (or rather, A SIT-E in APPLEYS) is said to have an elected government, working technology, and the ability to protect its resources. The City is also looking for new recruits…so long as they meet certain qualifiications. Too bad everyone wants what they’ve got!

Colbey is a martial artist who survives the end of the world. Armed with knowledge, experience and a machete, she is searching through what’s left for a man named Peter Wolfe. 

KEZ makes me look like a total slob, she runs two webcomics (one of which just ended and she is adapting into a prose novel) while in medical school. She also wrote her undergraduate thesis on The Art of Webcomics! Can you say “coolest doctor ever”? She is also a self-described “netflix addict and Terry Pratchett junkie.” You can find her here on Tumblr as kezhound.

ProFile Friday

Faith Erin Hicks is a Canadian comics creator/cartoonist from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Born in British Columbia, Hicks moved to Ontario at age five. She was homeschooled with her three brothers. After studying animation at Sheridan College, she drew backgrounds to the George of the Jungle animated series.

She first came to prominence as a cartoonist with her long-running webcomic Demonology 101, which she worked on all through college. After it ended, Hicks created a short spinoff of the D101 character Sachs entitled A Distant Faith.  Her first traditionally published graphic novel was the zombie-movie inspired comic, Zombies Calling, published by Slave Labor Graphics in 2007, which was soon followed by the boarding school fantasy The War at Ellsmere in 2008. 

She continued doing webcomics, including the dystopian comic Ice (originally published on Modern Tales) which ran from 2003 to 2010. She also worked briefly in traditional comic strip publishing with the 12-part Jenny Has Six Brothers, serialized in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. She combined the two approaches when she launches The Adventures of Superhero Girl in 2010, serializing it both online and in the Halifax free weekly The Coast. A collection was published by Dark Horse in 2013

Hicks has also collaborated with writers on a number of projects. In 2010, she drew Brain Camp, written by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, published by First Second. In 2012, she collaborated with writer J. Torres on Bigfoot Boy: Into the Woods for a Canadian children’s publisher. In 2013, she adapted Prudence Shen’s unpublished novel Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong for First Second. She has also taken licensed work, such as a Nextwave short story in Marvel’s Girl Comics anthology, and Dark Horse’s adaptation of the video game The Last of Us (the comic is subtitled American Dreams), written by the game’s writer, Neil Druckmann.

Hicks’s origins in webcomics has stayed with her throughout her thriving print career; she frequently serializes her comics online before its print publication, including 2012’s Friends with Boys and Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. The success of those books has led publisher First Second to serialize other graphic novels ahead of publication as well. Bone cartoonist Jeff Smith has referred to the process as “the Faith Erin Hicks model,” and plans to do a series of his own that way.

For future projects, Hicks has expressed a desire to do a historical fantasy comic based in Asian history.

The Ladies Making Comics Manifesto

You may have heard that sundry idiots as well as some people who should know better saying ignorant crap about fans and characters who are not straight white men, refer to one of the most prolific and talented cartoonists working today as “some girl named Faith Erin Hicks”, and irritate the hell out of my history nerdery by asserting that Joan of Arc was the only medieval female knight.

Some good Twitter rage got going, which ultimately led to the following exchange:

As part of my never-ending quest to make this blog be the best it can be, I got it in my head a couple weeks ago to write a manifesto or mission statement for the purpose of keeping it straight in my head what I want to do and accomplish here. Now seems like a good time to put it out there.

Ladies Making Comics is dedicated to the unique power of the graphic narrative as a tool of women’s expression throughout the past, present, and future of the medium.

We celebrate the women, from all walks of life, who have embraced the comics form for its ability to tell their stories, from deeply personal autobiography, to fantastical heroics, to the unmentionable topics of politics, religion, and sex, and who push boundaries artistic, narrative, and social. 

We believe in liberating women’s voices from obscurity, both past and present, and to challenge the entrenched narrative of comics history. We affirm that the history of comics is more than the story of the establishment of the current industry with a few independent and international curios. Instead, it is the story of both the symbiosis and conflict between industry and art, the cycle of influence among artists and movements worldwide, of its gains and losses, successes and failures, and the struggle of perception by non-readers. Women (as well as other historically under-represented groups) have been deeply involved throughout, and should be understood as an inherent, not ancillary, part of this evolution of the medium.

We hope, in some small way, to be on the vanguard of a creative revolution that topples the two-company monopoly, the insularity of the readership, and national and linguistic borders, so that the full scope and potential of the comics medium is laid bare. In doing so, we hope to encourage reevaluation of comics beyond the existing industry-centric perspective, and bring brilliant voices of women and other under-represented groups out from the shadows.

While this statement was written merely as my vision for this blog, it encompasses my sincerest hopes and dreams for the medium as a whole, including its critics, historians, and blogosphere. I welcome anyone and everyone to adopt and adapt it for their own use.

Especially if you’re a publisher ;)

Webcomics Wednesday
A Redtail’s Dream by Minna Sundberg

"A Redtail’s Dream" is a webcomic telling the tale of a young man and his dog on a very much involuntary journey on the other side of the Bird’s Path, in an artificially created dream existence. As the only ones aware of their unusual situation, the duo has been given the task of bringing their fellow villagers back into their own reality before their souls are passed on to the realms of Tuonela. And the two are attempting to do so with zero enthusiasm.

Available in English and Finnish!

Webcomics Wednesday

A Redtail’s Dream by Minna Sundberg

"A Redtail’s Dream" is a webcomic telling the tale of a young man and his dog on a very much involuntary journey on the other side of the Bird’s Path, in an artificially created dream existence. As the only ones aware of their unusual situation, the duo has been given the task of bringing their fellow villagers back into their own reality before their souls are passed on to the realms of Tuonela. And the two are attempting to do so with zero enthusiasm.

Available in English and Finnish!

REVIEW: A Distant Soil vol. 1: The Gathering by Colleen Doran

Princes and monarchs will contend
Who first unto your land shall send
And pawn the jewels of the crown
To call your distant soil their own.
—Henry David Thoreau

This weekend, I attended Boston Comic Con at which the talented Colleen Doran was a guest. Doran was literally the first woman in comic books I ever encountered, when I began reading The Sandman when I was 16 (though technically, both Jenette Kahn and Karen Berger’s names were on those books as well).

Her art struck me deeply even then, back when I barely grasped comics art and admittedly spent more time on the words than the pictures. In the third volume, Dream Country, she and Neil Gaiman reimagined the Element Girl’s existence as a tragedy. The Element Girl constructs a synthetic face from the elements so she could enjoy meeting an old friend for lunch, only to have it fall into her food— of course that sequence itself was memorable, but Doran was also able to clearly draw in the friend’s face confusion, horror, and concern in one expression, in just one panel. And Doran’s miniseries with J. Michael Straczynski, The Book of Lost Souls (soon to return, at long last, from Image Comics), was one of the first comics I started buying in issues, and the first I bought for the artist.

So it confuses even me to realize that I’ve previously never read more than a few dozen pages into A Distant Soil, Doran’s most famous work. It has been available for free on her website for as long as I can remember but whether due to my short attention span or continued attachment to paper, it just hasn’t gotten read. But I have been anticipating the definitive re-issue ever since it was first announced, and have followed the travails of the restoration process: learning the printer had destroyed the original negatives, tracking down long-sold off art, hiring restorationist Allan Harvey, and a generous gift of a high-resolution scanner and computer with the necessary processing power from JMS are but a few of the peaks and valleys. All told, the restoration has cost upwards of $100,000.

I was able to pick up a copy early at Boston Comic Con from Doran herself, and I think Doran and Image should not have too much trouble earning that back. (Full review under the cut.)

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