Nearly a decade ago, Cheryl Eaton created a site called The Ormes Society. It was named after Jackie Ormes, the first African American woman cartoonist and creator of Torchy Brown. The site was devoted to recording the work of African American women in comics and when the site started, Eaton came up with 13 names.
There are many more now. Eaton took the site offline for a while, but after last week’s kerfuffle over the lack of women of color in writing gigs at the big two, it’s back! Regine Sawyer and @theblerdgurl aided with support and an even longer list of creators. Future plans include interviews, previews and more valuable resources. From the FAQ:
Q: Hey, I’m a black woman in comics and/or animation and I’m not on this list! What gives?
A: You give–your information to the Ormes Society so that you can be added immediately! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide the name you use for work and a link to your online portfolio and/or personal page. We’ll add you right away.
Q: There are so many amazing women creating. I’d love to hear more about their experiences and maybe ask for a bit of advice. Do members make convention or panel appearances? I would love for an Ormes Society panel discussion to be held at my local convention!
A: Please feel free to visit the pages of individual creators to check out their convention schedules and locate information on upcoming signings. Ormes Society panel discussions are held in conjunction with the wonderful Women in Comics (WinC) organization. You can always visit the Ormes Society events section on Facebook for further information. And be sure to join!
I am so thrilled the Ormes Society is back, not just as a reminder of how black women are making their mark in comics. These are the stories and experiences we need to get comics to an even more powerful and relevant medium for today’s culture. Top art: Josie and the PUssycats variant cover by Alitha Martinez.
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.