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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:

image

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

Open Call for any and all Submissions!

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, that means many things for me—I’m about to go into a food coma on Thursday, time for me to panic about Christmas presents, and I’m getting a baby niece in about two weeks :D—but most importantly, it means I’ve got FINALS.

While I’ve already got the whole job thing in the bag, I still have to actually finish law school (and my parents may or may not be bribing me with a trip to visit all my old haunts in London if I get above a certain GPA my final year :3).  And I must be responsible and minimize my “study breaks”, so while I expect to be able to keep a cursory eye on the latest news, some of the more fun “bonus” material will have to take a back seat until December 13th.

That’s where y’all come in!  Please, please, please submit whatever you’d like to see featured on this blog.  Fan art, other blogs, webcomics (though I do have about a 6 month queue for Webcomics Wednesday, I’m technically always accepting suggestions) links to your/your favorite indie comics and where to buy them.  The remaining major features of Native November (Webcomics and ProFiles) are already queued, but I’m still looking for lady-made fan art of Native comics characters.  Have some thoughts about women in comics? (in general? a particular one?)  Send along an essay!  Any lady of comics you think deserves more attention?  Bring attention to her here!

I can’t guarantee I’ll post everything, but please help me get through these next four-ish weeks!  And then I’ll be back with holiday cheer as well as all sorts of new features I’ve been planning.  Not to mention, a Womanthology release party!

You can submit things either by the submit function or by emailing ladiesmakingcomics at gmail.  Thank you all so much in advance!

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