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Words of comfort for those lamenting you’re not at Comic-Con

All the cool news, people, and other exclusives you’re salivating over? If you were actually here, you wouldn’t be aware of 95% of it. I for one am not looking forward to a week or more of finding out about cool stuff I missed and whining, “But I was even there!”

Webcomics Wednesday
Monster Pop! by Maya Kern

Monster Pop! is a comic about two best friends and the slice of life adventures they share! Monster Pop! is set in an alternate Earth where monsters coexist with humans; sometimes they integrate well, sometimes they clash. This comic is heavily influenced by shoujo manga. Monster Pop! includes musical and interactive elements: Every now and then there will be a page with animation and/or music and most of the main characters have their own blogs (which you can find linked on the cast page).

Kern’s Tumblr

Webcomics Wednesday

Monster Pop! by Maya Kern

Monster Pop! is a comic about two best friends and the slice of life adventures they share! Monster Pop! is set in an alternate Earth where monsters coexist with humans; sometimes they integrate well, sometimes they clash. This comic is heavily influenced by shoujo manga. Monster Pop! includes musical and interactive elements: Every now and then there will be a page with animation and/or music and most of the main characters have their own blogs (which you can find linked on the cast page).

Kern’s Tumblr

Women Among the Eisner Nominees

In under two weeks at San Diego Comic Con, the 2013 Eisner Awards will be announced. And while I can’t say if this is the first time it’s happened, there is at least one woman nominated in most categories. The exceptions are for the most part based in the distant past of gender disparity in comics (Best Archival Collection/Project - Strips and Comic Books), a dearth of translated European material (Best U.S. Edition of International Material)

By far, women dominate the Early Readers award, which is very enheartening with regards to acclimating the youngest generation to the ubiquity of women in comics

There are still some strange oversights: no nominations for Fiona Staples as an artist, for Amanda Conner at all, and only one female colorist nominated when Jordie Bellaire, Bettie Breitweiser, Rachelle Rosenberg, Laura Martin, and Laura Allred have all worked regularly.

Still, it’s an impressive show of recognition for women in comics, and hopefully the sign of a regular upward trend. And I’m personally excited to see that Shelli Paroline, my fellow Boston Comics Roundtable member, nominated multiple times for her work on Adventure Time!

The full list of female nominees are under the cut.

Read More

ProFile Friday

Liz Berube, (born January 7, 1943) also known as Elizabeth Safian, was a romance comics artist for DC Comics in the 1970s. She illustrated fashion features, horoscope pages, tables of contents and other various ornamental pieces. She was also a prolific colorist for DC and Archie comics.

Berube was born in Brooklyn, NY and attended Martin Van Buren High School in Queens where she started a comic strip for the school newspaper, which has been continued by different students to this day. She then went on to study cartooning at the School of Visual Arts. After leaving SVA, she became a colorist and assistant editor for Archie Comics. In the early 1960s, she met DC editor Jack Adler, who brought her into the publisher.

In the late 1960s, her newspaper strip Karen was carried by Newsday Syndicate in 40 newspapers at its peak. She has called Karen “my alter ego.”

In 1970, she began working on DC’s romance comics line, bringing more modern, stylized art to the genre, which was still being drawn in the realistic style that had become parodied in Pop Art. She worked on such titles as “Date with Debbi”, “Falling in Love”, “Girls’ Love Stories”, “Girls’ Romances”, “Heart Throbs”, “Secret Hearts”, “Young Love”, and “Young Romance”. She was offered the position of editor of the whole line, but as a 24-year-old single mother, she preferred the flexibility of working from home that pencilling and coloring allowed and declined. The line folded a few years later in 1973.

She worked as a colorist for Neal Adams’s Continuity Graphics from 1985 to 1989. Throughout her career she has worked on children’s books, cards, and other commissioned work.

Berube currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Webcomics Wednesday
Witchling by Renee Nault

The small town of Lymes sits on the border of a mysterious forest that no one can enter. In the attic of Chateau Lymes, an orphan girl named Jane is haunted by strange dreams of the forest. Jane has always been different - she can talk to animals, and cats flock to her. As her dreams begin to spill into her waking life, Jane finds herself drawn toward the forest for answers.

Issue 1 available in print; Issue 2 to be posted August 1.
Nault’s Tumblr

Webcomics Wednesday

Witchling by Renee Nault

The small town of Lymes sits on the border of a mysterious forest that no one can enter. In the attic of Chateau Lymes, an orphan girl named Jane is haunted by strange dreams of the forest. Jane has always been different - she can talk to animals, and cats flock to her. As her dreams begin to spill into her waking life, Jane finds herself drawn toward the forest for answers.

Issue 1 available in print; Issue 2 to be posted August 1.

Nault’s Tumblr

A film based on a comic book that was created by a woman just won the most prestigious film prize in the world, the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or, the first for a comic book movie.
It is also the first queer love story to win a Cannes Palme d’Or.
The comic is Julie Maroh‘s Le Bleu est Une Couleur Chaude. Published in French in 2010, an English translation titled Blue Angel is due out in October. It is the story of a young woman whose ideas on love and romance are turned upside down when she falls for a confident blue-haired young woman. The book is also highly acclaimed, having won the Audience Prize at the Angoulême Festival.
The film, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, appears to be titled La vie d’Adèle - chapitre 1 & 2, suggesting that this film is the first part of a multi-part adaptation. No word yet on an Anglophonic release for the film, but Blue is the Warmest Color appears to be the international title of choice.
You can watch clips of the film and press panels at Cannes on the film’s festival profile. Félicitations to Julie Maroh and everyone who worked on the film!

A film based on a comic book that was created by a woman just won the most prestigious film prize in the world, the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or, the first for a comic book movie.

It is also the first queer love story to win a Cannes Palme d’Or.

The comic is Julie Maroh‘s Le Bleu est Une Couleur Chaude. Published in French in 2010, an English translation titled Blue Angel is due out in October. It is the story of a young woman whose ideas on love and romance are turned upside down when she falls for a confident blue-haired young woman. The book is also highly acclaimed, having won the Audience Prize at the Angoulême Festival.

The film, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, appears to be titled La vie d’Adèle - chapitre 1 & 2, suggesting that this film is the first part of a multi-part adaptation. No word yet on an Anglophonic release for the film, but Blue is the Warmest Color appears to be the international title of choice.

You can watch clips of the film and press panels at Cannes on the film’s festival profile. Félicitations to Julie Maroh and everyone who worked on the film!

Webcomics Wednesday
Sticky Comics by Christiann MacAuley

Sticky Comics is my (mostly) humorous bunch of random drawings, scrawlings, and comics. (If you Google “sticky comics”, you will find there’s an erotic comic series called “Sticky”, but unfortunately, that’s not my work.)…Cartooning makes me laugh, which is one of my favorite things to do ever.

Christiann’s Tumblr
(This one’s for you, Mom)

Webcomics Wednesday

Sticky Comics by Christiann MacAuley

Sticky Comics is my (mostly) humorous bunch of random drawings, scrawlings, and comics. (If you Google “sticky comics”, you will find there’s an erotic comic series called “Sticky”, but unfortunately, that’s not my work.)…Cartooning makes me laugh, which is one of my favorite things to do ever.

Christiann’s Tumblr

(This one’s for you, Mom)

This weekend is MoCCA Fest in NYC, and that’s where I’ll be!  If you’re a lady and are going to be around Friday night, come to the Drink and Draw Like a Lady event at THE PRODUCTIVE, 40 W. 38th Street, 5th Floor.
I can’t wait to meet and discover a bunch of new lady creators and great work over the weekend!

This weekend is MoCCA Fest in NYC, and that’s where I’ll be!  If you’re a lady and are going to be around Friday night, come to the Drink and Draw Like a Lady event at THE PRODUCTIVE40 W. 38th Street, 5th Floor.

I can’t wait to meet and discover a bunch of new lady creators and great work over the weekend!

About three years ago, actress and playwright Marielle Heller adapted Phoebe Gloeckner’s raw and unflinching Diary of a Teenage Girl for the stage, and now she has posted what appears to be a teaser trailer for a film version!

The story revolves around 15-year-old Minnie Goetze, who lives in San Francisco in the 1970s, emerging from a neglectful homelife into an out-of-control haze of adolescent confusion and self-discovery, involving sex, drugs, street life, and suicidal feelings.

Gloeckner is one of my favorite artists, though I have trouble reading even her short stories due to the intense relationship I feel towards her characters, all of whom suffer abuse of one form or another (so trigger warnings abound!). Sean T. Collins recently posted an unpublished interview with Gloeckner from 2003 where they discuss how she handles a lot of upsetting material in a way that doesn’t sensationalize it. Which, in my opinion, is what makes it so upsetting. It is nigh impossible to keep emotional distance from a Phoebe Gloeckner story—it is just too real. In addition, her art style, due to her training as an anatomical artist, is very realistic, making the characters come to life in the reader’s mind far more intensely than most other artist. 

Collins also discusses how her work is almost totally ignored by the comics establishment except in the context of “women in comics”. While this is less true now than it was in 2003, I agree that Gloeckner is still criminally underappreciated, in far too small a proportion given her talent. Hopefully this film will help correct that oversight and bring her work both comics and mainstream attention.

Coming up this weekend is the 10th Annual University of Florida Conference on Comics, the theme of which this year is "A Comic of Her Own". It’s goal is:

…to facilitate this dialog and foster the scholarly exploration of intersections between women’s writing in comics, women represented in comics, and the women who read them.

In other words, everything I care about in life, and I wish I could be there! Keynote speakers include Trina Robbins (of course), Leela Corman, and Megan Kelso.
The program details a number of tantalizing panel topics, ranging from the use of comics for women’s autobiographies to exploring sexual and racial identities of both real and fictional women, from women’s place in the world of webcomics to historical movements and contexts for women’s comics.
One panel of particular interest is Carolynn Calabrese's defense of Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas. She noted, as I did, that several male reviewers spent more time critiquing the femininity of the work and the tropes of the genres (genres it defined for the coming generations) without analyzing it in its historical context. Carolynn has informed me that one of the critics whose reviews she and I took issue with has agreed to run her critique after the conference, so watch this space for updates!
If you can make it to Gainesville, Florida this weekend, why not check it out? And report back!

Coming up this weekend is the 10th Annual University of Florida Conference on Comics, the theme of which this year is "A Comic of Her Own". It’s goal is:

…to facilitate this dialog and foster the scholarly exploration of intersections between women’s writing in comics, women represented in comics, and the women who read them.

In other words, everything I care about in life, and I wish I could be there! Keynote speakers include Trina Robbins (of course), Leela Corman, and Megan Kelso.

The program details a number of tantalizing panel topics, ranging from the use of comics for women’s autobiographies to exploring sexual and racial identities of both real and fictional women, from women’s place in the world of webcomics to historical movements and contexts for women’s comics.

One panel of particular interest is Carolynn Calabrese's defense of Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas. She noted, as I did, that several male reviewers spent more time critiquing the femininity of the work and the tropes of the genres (genres it defined for the coming generations) without analyzing it in its historical context. Carolynn has informed me that one of the critics whose reviews she and I took issue with has agreed to run her critique after the conference, so watch this space for updates!

If you can make it to Gainesville, Florida this weekend, why not check it out? And report back!

Weekly roundup of cool news: March 3-9, 2013

Here’s a new feature I’m trying, to draw attention to some of the news things I curate elsewhere and also get to talk about them more in-depth.

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Red Sonja roundup: As you’ve probably heard, Gail Simone is going to be writing that “iconic non-DC female character” Red Sonja for Dynamite starting in July, and she gave a ton of interviews on the subject with Comic Book Resources, Comics Beat, GeekMom, and MTV Geek. Though for my money, Simone’s best quote comes from the press release:

What I love about Sonja is that she isn’t polite, she says what she means and if you give her any lip about it, hello, sword in the gut. She’s smart, she has a heart, she has some compassion. But when it’s go time, she’s a hellraiser, a mad general, she’s a sword edge virtuosa, she’s death on wheels. She is the woman you never want to mess with. I can relate, Sonja. No offense to all her guy writers, but THIS Red Sonja is about sex and swords! It’s everything you love about Red Sonja, except with more monsters getting stabbed in the eye.

We’ll be getting covers from Fiona Staples, Nicola Scott, Jenny Frison, Colleen Doran, and Stephanie Buscema

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Penny Arcade’s Strip Search, a web reality series searching for the “next big webcartoonist” is three episodes in now. The winner will be getting $15,000 and will be “embedded” in the Penny Arcade offices for a year. In the first episode, contestant Katie Rice voiced relief at seeing just one other woman, but it turned out half of the original 12 contestants were women! I’d like to think that’s a nice little microcosm of the current direction of comics. The other women contestants are Abby Howard, Amy Falcone, Erika Moen (which frankly doesn’t even seem fair to the rest), Lexxy Douglas, and Monica Ray.

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Though I meant what I said the other day about not expecting women to make comics about (predominantly) Women’s Issues, they can and I’d like to share a few that have. Paula Knight talks about talking about miscarriage and the comics she’s made to deal with hers. This reminded me of Diane Noomin’s comic about her four miscarriages, which she discusses in an audio interview with the Jewish Forward. On the other side of the ex-pregnancy coin, Samantha Meier interviewed Lora Fountain, the creator of “A Teenage Abortion”, from Wimmen’s Comix #1, published before abortion on demand was legal in the US and depicting a teenager attempting to get a back-alley abortion— a process that struck me as a dystopian fever dream, but of course was all too real. Fountain also edited Facts o’ Life Sex Education Funnies, which she also talks about. I own Facts o’ Life and find it still basically holds up except for the absence of HIV/AIDS, which was not yet a thing when it was published.

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There are ElfQuest T-shirts on WeLoveFine.com in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Wendy and Richard Pini’s classic fantasy comic. A new story is running on boingbong.

Bonus Art Thing:

Emily Carroll has a new comic up, "The 3 Snake Leaves", and you never want to miss a new Emily Carroll comic.

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Today is International Women’s Day (if you hadn’t already heard), and I’ve been moping about most of the day trying to figure out what to write about. Doubly so because it’s frankly been a long time since I posted much of substance and I feel pressure to be impressive. But then I realized the two problems were somewhat related.
When I started this blog, it was on a whim, joining the ranks of Tumblr with a bunch of other comics fans I “knew” online. I chose the topic of women comics creators mainly because it was different from all the “women superheroes” blogs that attracted me to Tumblr in the first place, and also because many of my favorite creators happened to be women— the ranks of which have perhaps unsurprisingly grown immensely since then.
Lately I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a “woman comics creator” as both a subset of the group “comics creator” and as a thing unto itself. I know of plenty of creators who embrace the latter, and equally as many who despise the distinction. Where do I stand on all that? It’s hard to say.
On the one hand, to pretend there’s any kind of gender parity in the world of professional cartoonists and comics creators is laughable. And speaking strictly from a business perspective, it obviously comes from the same place as gender disparity in any other industry— these industries were old boys’ clubs for so long and they still haven’t shaken that, even if they’re trying. I feel it at my uber-corporate job, where my immediate manager is a woman, but everyone else up the chain is a man. So on that level, I feel having a forum to discuss and promote women creators is as important as the women employee’s network at the company I work for.
On the other hand, I absolutely reject the idea of women being pigeonholed as “women comics creators”, not to just be thought of as creating “girl books”, and having every pen-stroke judged through the lens of one’s gender.
On top of all that, there’s a little voice that needles at me whenever I think “too hard” about comics that it “doesn’t really matter”. For that little voice, I am grateful to the work of Geena Davis and her Institute on Gender in Media, who work tirelessly to remind us that girls need to see strong images of women in mass media to grow up with a healthy self-image and limitless ambition, and that having women producers of mass media increases those images. (The example I always think about is that Dame Judi Dench became James Bond’s boss when Barbara Broccoli took over as co-producer of the franchise.)
But when I see male critics writing flippant reviews (and oh did I) of Moto Hagio’s Heart of Thomas, failing to note or even recognize her towering reputation (second only to Tezuka in the pantheon of mangaka), and the book’s historical value in the scheme of both the boarding school and boys’ love genres (both immensely popular and seen as “girls’” genres), and criticizing her ‘overly feminine’ art style, I see red. And I remember why I want to focus on women and their artistic achievements.
Damn whatever navel-gazing criticisms I might have of myself, and I respectfully disagree with any women creators who feel that blogs like mine and any all-women projects don’t ultimately do women any favors. Women’s voices are important in every possible sphere, whether they’re talking about “women’s issues” or creating in “girls’ genres” or telling more “universal” stories and reaching for a diverse, more “mainstream” audience (though don’t get me started on the fact that “universal, mainstream” stories are almost always about straight white men), women’s contributions in any media should be valued and encouraged.
And that’s what this blog is all about, Charlie Brown.
(Image: “Every Woman a Wonder Woman” by Lucy Knisley)

Today is International Women’s Day (if you hadn’t already heard), and I’ve been moping about most of the day trying to figure out what to write about. Doubly so because it’s frankly been a long time since I posted much of substance and I feel pressure to be impressive. But then I realized the two problems were somewhat related.

When I started this blog, it was on a whim, joining the ranks of Tumblr with a bunch of other comics fans I “knew” online. I chose the topic of women comics creators mainly because it was different from all the “women superheroes” blogs that attracted me to Tumblr in the first place, and also because many of my favorite creators happened to be women— the ranks of which have perhaps unsurprisingly grown immensely since then.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a “woman comics creator” as both a subset of the group “comics creator” and as a thing unto itself. I know of plenty of creators who embrace the latter, and equally as many who despise the distinction. Where do I stand on all that? It’s hard to say.

On the one hand, to pretend there’s any kind of gender parity in the world of professional cartoonists and comics creators is laughable. And speaking strictly from a business perspective, it obviously comes from the same place as gender disparity in any other industry— these industries were old boys’ clubs for so long and they still haven’t shaken that, even if they’re trying. I feel it at my uber-corporate job, where my immediate manager is a woman, but everyone else up the chain is a man. So on that level, I feel having a forum to discuss and promote women creators is as important as the women employee’s network at the company I work for.

On the other hand, I absolutely reject the idea of women being pigeonholed as “women comics creators”, not to just be thought of as creating “girl books”, and having every pen-stroke judged through the lens of one’s gender.

On top of all that, there’s a little voice that needles at me whenever I think “too hard” about comics that it “doesn’t really matter”. For that little voice, I am grateful to the work of Geena Davis and her Institute on Gender in Media, who work tirelessly to remind us that girls need to see strong images of women in mass media to grow up with a healthy self-image and limitless ambition, and that having women producers of mass media increases those images. (The example I always think about is that Dame Judi Dench became James Bond’s boss when Barbara Broccoli took over as co-producer of the franchise.)

But when I see male critics writing flippant reviews (and oh did I) of Moto Hagio’s Heart of Thomas, failing to note or even recognize her towering reputation (second only to Tezuka in the pantheon of mangaka), and the book’s historical value in the scheme of both the boarding school and boys’ love genres (both immensely popular and seen as “girls’” genres), and criticizing her ‘overly feminine’ art style, I see red. And I remember why I want to focus on women and their artistic achievements.

Damn whatever navel-gazing criticisms I might have of myself, and I respectfully disagree with any women creators who feel that blogs like mine and any all-women projects don’t ultimately do women any favors. Women’s voices are important in every possible sphere, whether they’re talking about “women’s issues” or creating in “girls’ genres” or telling more “universal” stories and reaching for a diverse, more “mainstream” audience (though don’t get me started on the fact that “universal, mainstream” stories are almost always about straight white men), women’s contributions in any media should be valued and encouraged.

And that’s what this blog is all about, Charlie Brown.

(Image: “Every Woman a Wonder Woman” by Lucy Knisley)

Market Monday - March 6, 2013

Featured Book of the Week:

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Lost Vegas #1, art by Janet K. Lee

The EISNER AWARD-WINNING team of JIM McCANN & JANET LEE reunite to create a universe filled with intrigue as one gambler-turned-slave has 24 hours to go all in and pull off the greatest heist the universe has seen. WELCOME TO LOST VEGAS! Aboard this luxurious casino-filled traveling space-station you will find the highest stakes games from every corner of every planet, unheard-of winnings, and the greatest attractions anywhere!

~Preview~

More of this week’s comics by ladies under the cut!

Read More

Market Monday - February 27, 2013

This week’s featured new release:

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Spera vol. 2 HC, includes art by Kyla Vanderglut

Exiled princesses Pira and Lono travel to the bustling city of Kotequog to avoid the clutches of Pira’s mother, the Evil Queen. Obtaining jobs as adventurers, the two best friends set out on a series of quests that land them in perhaps more excitement than they’d bargained for. Told in four chapters and a series of stand-alone shorts, each drawn by a different rising talent in comics, Spera: Volume 2 brings the same gorgeous artistry as its debut installment.

The series, based off the original webcomic experiment, brings artists together from around the globe to showcase their talents as some of the premier fantasy artists in the industry. Spera will appeal to art lovers and children of all ages, especially fans of The Legend of Korra, Patricia Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons, Disney’s Tangled, and the Flight series.

~Preview~

More of this week’s comics by ladies under the cut!

Read More

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