How a toxic history of harassment has damaged the comics industry

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At the recently concluded Small Press Expo in Bethesda a very cool thing happened. A bunch of awards were presented to several talented, unique cartoonists who are turning out though provoking, beautifully crafted work, influential work. The winners were all popular and well deserved. And they all happened to be women. It was a thing, for sure, and much talked about. What struck me, first off, was just how strong the work was–Sophie Goldstein’s multi leveled future history of a world where having a baby became a rebellious act, Emily Carroll’s mastery of horror and structure, Eleanor Davis’s powerful examination of self-sabotaging quests for self-esteem in many settings.

The other thing that struck me was the contrast with the other conversations I was having at the show. Talking with people I used to work with in the “mainstream” comics industry about the long lists of men who would never have given Goldstein, Carroll or Davis a shot at telling their stories. Because they are women, and those people didn’t think women could make good comics.

Ta-Nehisi Coates really enjoyed his first day as a Marvel writer

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There is no matter more important in the United States right now than the matter of race. Between mass incarceration, permanent economic disadvantages, lack of access to health care and education, police shootings and the rise of overt racism it’s never been clearer that there are two Americas, and if you’re black, you don’t get […]

French women cartoonists launch a website “against comics sexism”

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A new French language website called BD Egalite (more or less “comics equality”) has launched to address rampant sexism in the French comics market. The charter has been posted in English with a few calls for action including this:  Given that « masculine comics » have never been narrowly defined or limited, it is degrading for […]

D&Q’s 25th Anniversary spotlights the long march of female cartoonists

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Over the weekend, Drawn & Quarterly got some much deserved attention in the New York Times for their 25th Anniversary and the astonishing accompanying book. First in a round-up of creators and books, and then a longer profile called 25 Years of Drawn & Quarterly, Champion of Female Cartoonists, which probably isn’t the headline you […]

Mad Max Fury Road: A citadel in the Uncanny Valley

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After attending an afternoon showing of Mad Max Fury Road, I stood outside the theater in a daze. I was almost literally speechless, and my PTSD continued as I hopped in a cab to go to a dinner engagement. Fury Road’s insane, relentless, vivid and non-stop car chase was so senses shattering that it felt weird to actually BE in a car in the real world. I kept expecting the taxi to rear end a war rig or see an Interceptor career towards us at a 45 degree angle or have a Polecat suddenly dip towards our cab, lobbing a grenade. The real world suddenly seemed like a distant echo of the thunderous one that had seared itself on my eyeballs for the last 120 minutes. My visceral reaction was so different from how I felt after any number of recent CGI extravaganzas. I’d forgotten about Age of Ultron by the time I crossed the street. I left Guardians of the Galaxy humming “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” and loving raccoons, but the plot quickly receded into the rearview mirror. Perhaps this is because of my own subconscious processing of real images as opposed to animated ones — the practical effects of Fury Road are so much more memorable and powerful—and expensive.

Is Climate Change Thwarting Your Nefarious Plans? We Offer Some Real Estate Tips!

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The Onion reports that with the rapid melting of the Arctic ice cap and permafrost, many secret lairs once hidden have been exposed. “Last week a giant ice sheet broke off and split my prized underground complex nearly in half,” said Dr. Raygun, a self-described psychotic mastermind best known for his diabolical thought-control experiments. “Now […]

Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club and “the toxic ever present white gaze.”

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There’s no question but that in American culture the predominant view is one that is rich, white, male, straight and Christian. And while “The male gaze” is pretty well known, we’re getting to learn about the “white gaze” as well. Have you ever wondered what it looks like? Now we know. Except it’s from peace loving New Zealand AND America.

It’s true: women know how to read comics

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About six months ago, I took a victory lap. And I’m gonna take another one. Because I was right, all along. Last’s week’s twin announcements of the revamped DC line-up and Marvel’s all-woman A-Force showed that even the big two have embraced the idea of a diverse readership as a sound business model. It was only four years ago, when the New 52 launched, that there was an outcry about only 1% of the creators being female, and DC co-publisher Dan DiDio got put on the spot and reacted with a less than conciliatory tone.