§ Here’s a swell sounding event from the Bay area: Women in Comix Then and Now: San Franciscan Cartoonists from the 1970s to the Present :
This roundtable conversation will delve into San Francisco’s underground and wimmin’s comix herstory. Through the lens of visionaries Trina Robbins and Mary Wings, two of the founding mothers of this movement, and through discussion with Cartoon Art Museum bookseller Heather Plunkett and contemporary graphic novelist Maureen Burdock, we will explore how women cartoonists have established this genre of politically engaged sequential art, how the field and community have changed over the past four decades, and how we might imagine and help shape the future of women in comics.
I think these explorations of female cartoonists from the more-than-recent past are incredibly important, both as proof that women have been doing comics for along time, and to examine how they have been marginalized or written out of the history books in general. I see Wimmen’s Comix discussed in histories of women in comics, but hardly ever in histories of COMICS. For a book that gave the world important work by Aline Kominsky, Lee Marrs, Diane Noomin, Michelle Brand, Trina Robbins, Roberta Gregory, Dori Seda, Mary Fleener, Carol Lay, Phoebe Gloeckner and Melinda Gebbie, that’s an oversight.
§ I was happy to see that Ron Wimberly, whose PRINCE OF CATS was one of the most overlooked books of last year even though it was published by DC Comics, has what looks like a lucrative gig drawing P. Diddy and Calvin Johnson for Nike. More here.
§ I also enjoyed this transcript of A panel where Jimmy Palmiotti just rambled on about his life and the development of comics in the 90s.
§ Here’s a planned comic book movie few have noted: Derek Cianfrance, director of Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines ‘A Cotton Candy Autopsy’ the first story in the obscure ’80s comics Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, an early attempt at indie comics from DC’s Piranha Press line, by Dan Sweetman and David Louapre. The story involves clowns who escape a burning circus, and yes, it is weird.
§ Geek Mom went to GeekGirlCon and had a great time.
§ Speaking of Geek Mom, occasional Beat contributor Kate Kotler is going to BE a mom and is writing a Diary of a Geeky Pregnancy. Congrats, Kate!
§ Since gender issues are so much in the news, here are some more takes on it. Martha Thomases looks at cosplay and harassment:
There are many more cosplayers at conventions than there were when I first started to go. There are many more women and girls at conventions than when I first started to go. As one would assume, this means there are many more female cosplayers. And here’s my problem. I don’t really get this. Maybe for Halloween, I’ll pull something together for a party or to answer the door for trick-or-treaters. I have no desire to make costumes, nor to wear them around thousands of strangers. Let me be clear. This is my problem. The people who cosplay are clearly enjoying themselves, and I have no desire to deprive them of that joy. If anything, it’s my loss that I can’t be less self-conscious when I’m out in public. And yet, there are many who can’t let cosplayers enjoy themselves, especially not female cosplayers. Some guys think they are entitled to go up to women and say repulsive things to them. Some guys (sometimes the same guys) think they are entitled to assault these women physically as well as verbally.
Because an admiring glance or a respectful compliment, the kind of attention the cosplayed might appreciate, is exactly the same as a guy who rubs his erection against you while describing how much he wants to rape you.
§ Legendary Disney animator Floyd Norman says he’s going to write about SONG OF THE SOUTH, so keep checking back.
Having no corporate agenda, I’m able to speak freely on the subject. I’ve written Uncle Remus stories myself and worked side by side with Walt Disney in years past. Back in the forties as the Disney studio struggled to survive, The Old Maestro had no intention of doing anything other than creating great entertainment. Some may call it corny or simple minded as Walt reflected on his childhood in other films as well. “So Dear to my Heart” was another motion picture that tells the story of an America long forgotten. Walt may have been somewhat naive when dealing with the post Civil War American South. However, Disney was a storyteller, not a historian.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.