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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.

ProFile Friday(ish)

Jo Chen (Chinese: 咎井淳; pinyin: Jiù Jǐngchún; born July 4, 1976) is a comic book artist and writer best known for her highly detailed painted comic book covers. She is also known by the pen name, TogaQ, and is known as Jun Togai (“Togai Jun” 咎井淳) in the Japanese comic industry.

Chen was born in Taipei, Taiwan and emigrated to the United States in late 1994. She published her first comics independently at age 14 and soon came to the attention of a Taiwanese publisher. She began her career in the U.S. comic book industry with her art work for the Racer X mini-series, part of the Speed Racer series published by Wildstorm/D.C. Comics in 2000. She established herself producing interiors and covers for titles including Darkminds: Macropolis, Battle of the Planets, Robotech, Fight For Tomorrow, Taskmaster, The Demon, Thor, and (Batman &) Robin.

Under the pseudonym TogaQ, she and author, Kichiku Neko (aka, Narcissus) created the yaoi doujinshi-turned manga series, In These Words, about criminal profiler-psychiatrist Katsuya Asano and the serial killer he helped capture. The title was eventually picked up by Japanese publisher, Libre Publishing and serialized in the boys’ love comic anthology, Be x Boy Gold. They have since published a 3-part prequel about Katsuya’s first job in New York City and his relationship with homicide detective David Krause, as well as several illustrated novels.

Currently she is most well known to American comic readers as the cover artist of Marvel’s Runaways, and Dark Horse licensed comics of Joss Whedon properties such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly/Serenity.

In other media, Chen has also produced packaging artwork for Microsoft’s popular Xbox Fable, Fable: The Lost Chapters, Fable II and Fable III RPGs, and done covers for PlayStation Magazine (a Final Fantasy cover for the January 2002 issue and a Tomb Raider cover for the February 2003 issue).

She is the younger sister of artist Christina Chen and lives with her family outside of Washington, D.C.

And to answer the question on everyone’s mind right now, you can get In These Words on Kobo eBooks. And she and Kichiku Neko are on Tumblr as guiltpleasure (NSFW).

ProFile Friday

Cynthia Martin is an artist best known for her work on the Marvel Comics Star Wars title during its waning years in the mid-1980s. She was one of the few women working in mainstream American comics during that time.

Martin’s clean lines and strong sense of movement during action scenes set her apart from other Star Wars artists of the time. Her work displayed the influence of Japanese manga long before it became common in American comics.

Martin was born and educated in southern California, and became a professional comic book illustrator at the age of 22. The first comic Martin worked on was the Ms. Victory Special #1 (AC Comics, 1985).

In 1985, she met Mary Jo Duffy at the first convention she attended, in Los Angeles. Ann Nocenti, the editor, called her about a week later and offered her the Star Wars assignment. She first she did the covers for issues 92 and 93, and then the pencils for most of the issues between 94 and 107. Besides AC and Marvel, Martin has worked for DC Comics, Eclipse Comics, First Comics, Topps Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and a number of other small presses.

In recent years, Martin has been illustrating early-reader “graphic biographies” for Capstone Press. She also illustrated Edge Books: How to Draw Comic Heroes. According to her bio on Silver Phoenix Entertainment, Martin’s currents projects include books for ABDO Publications and the graphic novel Shadowflight. She contributed to Marvel’s Girl Comics anthology and penciled the first two issues of Honey West, written by Trina Robbins and based on the novel and television action heroine of the same name.

On May 1, 2010, Cynthia was inducted as an Honorary Member of the 501st Legion international costuming organization in recognition of her contributions to the Star Wars saga.

She currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska.

With the recent news about the Star Wars license moving back to Marvel, I’ve been thinking about Cynthia Martin’s work on the series in the late ’80s. Thought I’d share it and more!

ProFile Friday

Emanuela Lupacchino is an Italian artist best known for her work on X-Factor for Marvel.

She was a biotech researcher before deciding to follow her passion for art and comics, and she attended an Italian comics art academy for three years. Her work appeared in the Italian series L’Insonne as well as some short stories in anthologies. She also worked as a character designer for role-playing game books and as an illustrator.

Her first big break into American comics was in 2009, when IDW hired her to pencil Angel: Only Human. In 2010 Marvel hired her to pencil X-Factor with writer Peter David. She has since penciled a Castle tie-in graphic novel (Storm Season) written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, a run on Valiant’s Archer & Armstrong written by Fred Van Lente, and covers on various DC titles such as World’s Finest and Ame-Comi Girls, as well as IDW’s Star Trek.

She cites The Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens as a strong influence on her approach to sequential art.

Find Emanuela’s books on Amazon!

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.

Market Monday: November 6th, 2013 New Releases

Book of the Week

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Look Straight Ahead by Elaine M. Will

Jeremy Knowles is a 17-year-old outcast who dreams of being a great artist. But when he suffers a severe mental breakdown brought on by bullying and other pressures at school, his future is called into question, as is his very existence. Can he survive the experience through the healing power of art? And just what does it mean to be “crazy,” anyway?

Singles of the Week

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Alex & Ada #1, co-written by Sarah Vaughn

From JONATHAN LUNA (GIRLS, THE SWORD, Spider-Woman, ULTRA) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But when Ada is dropped into his life, will Alex keep her? This will be JONATHAN LUNA’s return to comics after three years off since the end of THE SWORD!

~Preview~

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Captain Marvel #17, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, colored by Jordie Bellaire 

THE CAROL CORPS ISSUE! THE special oversized issue to end all oversized issues! In the aftermath of Enemy Within, Carol Danvers must rebuild her memories through the eyes of her biggest fan. Find out why this is such a fan-beloved series! 

~Preview~

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Legends of Red Sonja #1

Dynamite Entertainment presents a bold new experiment in graphic storytelling, as the biggest female stars in the worlds of prose, television, gaming and comics gather together to tell thrilling stories from the life of Red Sonja, which combine to make up her greatest adventure yet! This issue includes stories by Bram Stoker Award Winner Nancy A. Collins, and beloved Batman scribe, Devin Grayson, all braided together by an epic framing story told by Red Sonja scribe Gail Simone! This book is designed to appeal not just to fans of Sonja, but also the countless readers of these talented writers! [Also includes art by Carla Speed McNeil]

~Preview~

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Shahrazad #1, written by Kim Hutchinson and Kari Castor, colored by Nei Ruffino

A new heroine rises from the legends of the ancient world. Shahrazad was known for her amazing stories of 1001 Arabian Nights, but now it is time to tell her story! She lives a life unlike anything you could imagine. An existence that spans generations as well as genres. In this new ongoing series, Shahrazad stares into the storms on the horizon with determination, but the forces of nature, and of history, are not to be taken lightly!

Collection of the Week

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Marvel Firsts Vol. 1: The 1980s, includes work by Mary Jo Duffy, Louise Simonson, and June Brigman, 

Roll up your jacket sleeves, and dust off your Rubik’s Cube as Marvel heads back to the eighties! From Alpha Flight to Zabu, heroes old and new grab the spotlight in their own titles in this first classic collection of the decade’s most dazzling debuts! All your favorites are here—including Dominic Fortune, Captain Universe and the New Mutants—plus Marvel’s first “event” miniseries!

Includes SAGA OF CRYSTAR: CRYSTAL WARRIOR #1 and POWER PACK (1984) #1. 

More new releases under the cut!

Read More

Market Monday: October 14th, 2013 New Releases

Book of the Week

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Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

In this tender, bittersweet, full-color graphic novel, a young woman named Clementine discovers herself and the elusive magic of love when she meets a confident blue-haired girl named Emma: a lesbian love story for the ages that bristles with the energy of youth and rebellion and the eternal light of desire. First published in French by Belgium’s Glénat, the book has won several awards, including the Audience Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, and the live-action, French-language film version of the book won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2013.

Singles of the Week

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Star Trek: Khan #1, art by Claudia Balboni

"Shall we begin?" Don’t miss this all-new mini-series event overseen by Star Trek Into Darkness writer/producer Roberto Orci! Witness the shocking origin of Khan Noonien Singh from his earliest years through his rise to power during the epic Eugenics Wars! Behold the events that led to his escape from Earth aboard the Botany Bay! Learn the truth behind his re-awakening by Admiral Marcus and Section 31! It’s the origin of Star Trek’s greatest villain, only from IDW!

Collection of the Week

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Divas, Dames & Daredevils, including art by Barbara Hall and Fran Hopper

Wonder Woman, Mary Marvel, and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle ruled the pages of comic books in the 1940s. But many heroines of the WWII-era have been forgotten. Through twenty-eight full reproductions of vintage Golden Age comics, Divas, Dames & Daredevils reintroduces their ingenious abilities to mete out justice to Nazis, aliens, and evildoers of all kinds. Each spine-tingling chapter opens with Mike Madrid’s insightful commentary about heroines at the dawn of the comic book industry and reveals a universe populated by extraordinary women - superheroes, reporters, galactic warriors, daring detectives, and ace fighter pilots - who protected America and the world with wit and guile.

[Note: Print version is in black-and-white, eBook in full color]

More new releases under the cut!

Read More

So remember when sundry idiots and people who should know better said some ignorant crap about diversity in comics? No, not that time, or the 80 other times this year— I mean, that one last week on a panel about a superhero documentary.

Now, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a documentary about diversity in comics? GUESS WHAT. The Ladydrawers collective— who for years have been posting comics on Truthout about women’s rights and racial and sexual diversity— are trying to do just that!

The Ladydrawers documentary Comics Undressed is an ambitious project with the primary aim of addressing media justice in comics and popular culture. We intend to portray the underlying forms of discrimination that impact representations of women, queers, trans folk, non-binary gender people, and people of color. We seek to support a diversity of racial, gender, and sexual identities that make up our society as well as unveil the surprising economic injustices and cultural biases that occur. Our goal is to present a sincere heartfelt documentary that captures our love for comics while critiquing the structure of the comics industry.

The thing is, they have just 4 days now to raise $7,000.

If just one-fifth of my followers donated just one dollar, then they’d make it. If you’ve already donated, you can go back and add a dollar to your existing pledge!

And let’s not forget that another Kickstarter-backed documentary, Wonder Women! was later aired on PBS, the same network that will be airing the aforementioned superhero documentary. Wouldn’t it be great if PBS themselves had a counterpoint to the ignorant crap said in the “promotion” of their own documentary? But it can’t happen without you!

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 ;)

ProFile Friday

Alex de Campi is a British-American comics writer and music video director.

De Campi was educated at Princeton University, majoring in Art History. Prior to her writing career, she worked as an investment banker in Hong Kong.

She first rose to prominence as a comics writer with her 2005 mini-series Smoke (published by IDW Publishing, art by Igor Kordey), which was nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Limited Series, and her 2006 manga series Kat & Mouse (published by Tokyopop, art by Federica Manfredi).

De Campi’s work falls into a variety of genres, with Smoke being a political thriller, and Kat & Mouse detailing the adventures of two mystery-solving high school students (a “CSI for tweens”); she has published work for children (e.g. Agent Boo) and for the European market (her French language sci-noir series Messiah Complex). In 2009, she and artist Christine Larsen launched the Valentine mobile comic, which pioneered the presentation effects of digital comics, which was the main focus of her "Uncanny Valleygirl" column at Bleeding Cool.

In 2011, she launched a Kickstarter campaign for the follow-up to SmokeAshes, where she raised $32,455. After a public falling-out with the planned artist, de Campi rallied some of the best artists in comics to draw each issue, including Carla Speed McNeil, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Colleen Doran. The publicity and the talent surrounding the project led to the paperback rights being purchased by Dark Horse Comics and a Smoke/Ashes omnibus was announced.

De Campi has also ventured into filmmaking, directing a number of music videos, including the video for Amanda Palmer’s “Leeds United”, the animated video for Flipron’s “Raindrops Keep Falling On The Dead” (which was featured at the 2008 Marfa Film Festival, and SXSW in 2007), The Real Tuesday Weld feat The Puppini Sisters’ “Apart of Me” (shown at Soho Shorts in 2008) and for The Schema’s “Those Rules You Made”, which made it to number 1 music video worldwide in YouTube in August 2007. She has given a “BBC Two Masterclass” on shooting videos, for Blast (a BBC initiative to encourage creativity in young people), focusing on her October 2007 video for The Real Tuesday Weld versus the Puppini Sisters.

De Campi currently splits her time between London and America.

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