Friday, 12 August 2011

Women and Comics (The Positive Side!)

JenniPosted by Jenni

Warning: this post is link heavy!

I recently wrote about women and comics, and it seems that I’m writing on that topic again. The reason? Since my last article, something pretty amazing has happened, and that’s a project called Womanthology.

Okay, here’s the point that I admit I’m pretty biased, being involved in the project myself. But that’s beside the point. I figured I’d show a contrast to the negativity of my previous article, and some of the steps that are being taken.

Womanthology is the title of a new anthology featuring over 140 women – artists, writers, inkers, everything you need to make a comic. It was the initiative of Renae De Liz, a 28 year old comic artist - click here if you’re curious as to her work. Her goal was “to showcase the works of all female creators, and shine a spotlight on this small percentage of the industry we love.” Unlike many anthologies, Renae opened it up to anyone interested, and there was so much interest that there’s a waiting list for if a second one happens! But, you may be asking, why is this so interesting? Well, here’s the thing – we needed to raise the money for the publishing, and so a kickstarter was set up. Rewards were offered by both the women involved in the project and other artists (one notable reward was a postcard with a hand drawn sketch from Neil Gaiman on it).

It took just 18 and a half hours to reach the necessary funding - $25,000. By the end of the month the funding was open, it passed the $100,000 mark.

If nothing else, this shows that there are both women wanting to be involved in comics, and people wanting to see their involvement. Especially since the recent occurrences at comic-con (for those not quite as into comics as me, it is discussed nicely here and here and has led to a statement by DC on it here).

It’s not just this project that I’d like to draw attention to – another move into a more equal world in comics is the new Ultimate Spiderman. For anyone who hasn’t seen and doesn’t mind spoilers, Peter Parker (in the Ultimates universe at least) is no longer Spiderman. Instead, we have Miles Morales, a biracial teenager. Despite the sickening racism that we’ve seen in the comment sections of many articles on this decision, the overall response has been positive. We’ve seen articles such as this which show the importance of diversity within the comic book industry.

Since comic-con, a few blog-sites have reported on the gender-flipped justice league who I think are a fantastic example of fan-response in the vein of the Womanthology album – it’s all about showing the comic book industry what angers us, and what we want to see.

For me personally, I went to watch Captain America. Unlike X-Men: First Class, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite there being just one female character instead of the multitude in X-Men, she was well-written and had a plot of her own. Though she wasn’t given much focus (but then again, any character that wasn’t Captain America got about the same amount), the idea of her being a woman in a male world was addressed (if briefly) and she was shown as being capable and deserving of her job. So I left that film far happier than I did the last Marvel outing, and I would highly recommend it.

To return to the original topic – Womanthology – I believe it shows a number of things. Firstly, the interest in seeing a more diverse world of comics. But secondly (and to me, most importantly), what a group of people with an idea can do. The project was started May, and since then over 140 women have been involved in writing, drawing, and organising it. Four times the original target was made, and it’s be reported on in various places - like this. Simply put, it’s a fantastic testament to the creativity and enthusiasm of women who like comics everywhere.

Also, I’m just happy because I have a fantastic artist in the form of Sherri Rose working away on my script right now.

I’ll wrap up there for now, and hope this short-and-sweet article has given you an insight into the positive moves in this particular area of media.

1 comment:

  1. Gender bent Justice League looked cool. Been meaning to see Captain America because of the pretty, but now I have another reason :)