J. Caleb Mozzocco at [email protected] had a good post yesterday about women in comics. Again? Yes, again. Mozzocco tries to put a positive spin on things — pointing out that writers G. Willow Wilson, Amy Woolfram, Ivory Madison, Grace Randolph and Marjorie Liu all debuted this year or last year. And Amanda Conner, Amy Reeder Hadley and Nicola Scott are drawing mainstream comics, while a few folks like Colleen Coover and Kathryn Immonen have been working on slightly more offbeat fare.

It’s a nice piece, although praising a book by saying “it hasn’t been cancelled yet!” sort of speaks for itself. More to the point, will we EVER get to the day when there is more than one woman allowed to write comics? I’m encouraged to see Wilson, Wolfram, Randolph and Madison come on the scene, but when it comes to women writers in comics, Gail Simone has sort of cornered the market, through no fault of her own. 

For some reason, for women to break into writing “mainstream” comics has been ever harder than women drawing mainstream comics, perhaps becuase artists are generally more in demand than writers. It actually strikes me as odd, since writing — in journalism and novels, at least, two fields where women readers are a given — women writers have near parity with men. Off the top of my head, I would say that three of the all-time greatest comics writers have been women: Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel and Posy Simmonds. All are cartoonists who write and draw, of course, but even reading a few panels of their work shows a mastery of language and dialogue that anyone would envy.

Maybe I’m just cranky at the end of the year, but any idea that women in comics in the mainstream have progressed over the last few years is wrong. A colleague and I were trying to come up with the name of a noted female industry figure other than Karen Berger, and the list was shockingly short. Try it yourself. Diana Schutz and Jann Jones. Shelly Bond. I sincerely hope I’m forgetting someone, because that’s just one more than there was five or 10 years ago. (Yes I know Francoise Mouly, but we’re sticking to the “mainstream” for now.)

While indie and manga scenes have given rise to dozens of notable women creators on all levels, there are still only a tiny handful of mainstream female “superstars.” For instance, the New York Comic-Con has announced dozens of featured guests — including the tech writer for Newsweek, the marketing director for Bandai, and the guy who covers video games for MTV News  — and only two women, Barbara Canepa and Colleen Doran. Now, Canepa co-ccreated one of the most successful properties worldwide over the last 10 years — W.I.T.C.H. — and Colleen is Amerca’s Sweetheart, and I think both of them have given a little bit more to the industry than the guy who covers video games for MTV News. No offense. In fact I can think of a dozen women who have done more for comics than the guy who covers video games for MTV news.

Looking at the guest list thus far,  I do wonder, what do you have to do to get recognzied in this industry anyway? If you are a man, draw an issue or two of CAPTAIN AMERICA. If you are a women, you must slave away your whole life, and hope that some day, some guy somewhere deigns to put you into a history book.

Am I overstating the case? Maybe a little. But only a teeny, tiny bit. I’ve been in this game for a long time, and looking around, women aren’t in any better position than they were 10 years ago. There are many reasons for that, among them, yes, sexism of some kind, but also women who don’t want to compete at being as loud and attention-getting as men are expected to be. It’s a complex issue.

To end this on a high note, one area seems to have made major progress in the last decade — and it’s not where you think! DC now has 9 or 10 female editors at all levels, including, by my count, four or five in the DCU. That’s a sizable percentage, and I can only imagine what kind of influence it will have down the road. Let’s hope that these young women have long, distinguished careers and don’t become “symbols” of anything other than their own tastes and abilities. That would be true equality.

88 COMMENTS

  1. In the NYCC’s defense, they had me as a guest of honor last year, and had several other female guests, and quite a nice Women In Comics panel as well.

    Gail

  2. I’d like to see more ladies as far as fans and pros and whatnot -but isn’t the real problem that there just isn’t a whole lot of interest among women for all things comics… or is this just not true anymore? I’d imagine there are a whole lot more men trying out for those same positions than women… if you look at it from another angle: I’m sure there are more individual men getting rejected for pro positions in the industry than there are women… well, maybe… I really don’t know:)
    I don’t think I’m alone when I say I wish more women would think comics were cool:) C’mon ladies!

  3. Interesting post, Heidi. It does seem that women cartoonists still have to work twice as hard to earn half the attention as their male counterparts. But I’d also say I’ve noticed more a lot more women in the comics biz and fandom in the past ten years.

  4. Heidi, I know your heart is in the right place, but superhero comics….I think women creators are better off exploring different avenues. I’m absolutely enamored with Wilson’s writing, but I’d much rather read her doing a personal work like Air than Vixen. I like Vixen, but really, no matter how well she does on it, it’s *never* going to appeal to the babymen.

    Really, with superhero comics, the problem is babymen. Babymen are really about the only customers left. They want exactly what they had when they were kids – books with the most recognizable, established superheroes made by people who best mimic the stuff done when they started reading comics. Comics made by women are a change to what the babymen had growing up, so they’re not going to accept the change any better than they’ll accept any other change.

    I think women can and will have a proper place in the comics world. I think it’s going to come from women like G. Willow Wilson, Danielle Corsetto, and Ai Yazawa – women who are doing phenomenal work on projects they have control over.

    BTW – How dare you not mention Corsetto or Yazawa in your article! They are modern day masters!

  5. I’m with Oliver. I think that more women are interested in comics now than has been the case in the past, but it’s still nowhere close to being a 50/50 split.

    I’ve headed several projects on the indie level (yet “mainstream style”) and have to sort through piles of submissions for not-as-indie level stuff. Quite honestly, at least 90-95% of the submissions come from men, that includes artists, writers and those who do both.

    On the other hand, in my own freelance work, I believe I’ve probably worked for as many female editors as I have male editors. If it’s not 50/50, it’s close.

    Although probably impossible, it would be interesting to see a gender breakdown of submission vs. acceptances in the comic industry. My guess is that they would be close to par (ie. 10% of submissions are from women, 10% of “new hires” are women).

  6. As someone who routinely yells to get her voice heard at any con, on any blog, w/ editors, w/ companies, I can tell you – I think Heidi is more right than not. Been doing this..hmm, a dozen years? & I’ve had experiences of horrible sexism & also ones where I am sure my being a woman (though admittedly not a mainstream comics artist, & a partner of a male artist) has helped me out.

    Something to consider in all this is that many younger female creators have decided to tackle their stories online. The very successful, self-promoted “Girls With Slingshots” by Danielle Corsetto comes to mind. It may be that it’s not just sexism in the industry that has women creators not lining up to apply to DC & Marvel, but also, their whole take on comics is different. They’re post-Love & Rockets, post-Maus, & the really younger ones, post-Fun Home. I’m sure some of them don’t get superheroes or care about them, & feel their own personal work is more important. & then they print collections through Lulu.

    I have yet to meet a young comics gal who says to me, “Wow, I wanna work for Marvel!” It’s more, they see the sort of in-between indie & mainstream setup I’ve carved out w/ Joe, & they want that, or something like that.

    Kudos for your mention of Posy Simmonds. I could eat her words like cake. The fact that Tamara Drewe got much more support than Gemma Bovary did, I think shows that slooooowly, the market for comics aimed at women IS growing. A little. Sloooooowly.

  7. Kenny, just to expand upon this a bit….I *KNOW* women creatros are better off doing thigns than superhero books, since in the book publishing world and manga and indies, they are Rampant! Epidemic! You can’t get rid of them.

    However I knwo from personal experience that there are lots of women who like superhero comics. who love Marvel and DC, and read them just as avidly.

    There may well be a class of “babymen” who buy a lot of comics, but there are also young men and young women below the age of 30 who are passionate about their comics — I know because I’ve met many of them.

    Put it this way — I don’t think any of the Girlwonder.org readers are, pound for pound, are any less knowledgable or passionate about comics than a Newsarama poster.

    (Yes, Kate, I am baiting you!)

  8. D’oh, hit save too soon..

    I have met *some* women artists who say they wanna do heroes, @ cons. It’s just not what I usually come across.

    (& the title made me think of Doonesbury, it’s what Mike says to Mark as they hit the road “to find America”.)

  9. The one caveat I’d add is that if you ignore US “mainstream comics”, and instead look at the graphic novel-alternative scene and at manga (which surely dwarfs the declining superhero comic world these days), the picture is very different.

    An awful lot of girls seem to read manga (at least that’s how it seems down here in NZ), and often they’re reading shojo books drawn by women. That’s also leading to more young women who are making their own comics.

    And so many of the great alternative cartoonists are now women, it’s impossible to keep track. Ditto with webcomics. (Mind you, these days, I’m not exactly keeping up with everything – it just seems like a heap of the comics that catch my eye these days are by women: Gabrielle Bell, Lauren Weinstein, Hope Larson, Liz Prince, Genevieve Castree, Julia Wertz, Sarah Oleksyk, Sarah Glidden, Vanessa Davis, Miss Lasko-Gross, and so many more!).

    You’re totally right, it seems to me, if you’re talking about DC-Marvel, etc. But I also suspect that the reasons mainstream comics are so unwelcoming to women are the same reasons they are withering and dying while the rest of the comics world is thriving.

    Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking… ;-)

  10. Jeanette Kahn? Louise Simonson? Laura Allred? I’m not sure what you mean by “noted female industry figure” but I could keep going. This isn’t to say that there isn’t endless room for improvement, but let’s not leave people out just to prove a point, either.

  11. Gail Simone is a guest for the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. The preliminary guest list also includes Ramona Fradon, Hope Larson, and Posy Simmonds, with more names to be added in the future.

  12. Yeah gene, it would be great to see Ann Nocenti write comics again on a regular basis – when she’s not too busy being stalked by the same deranged person who was giving Colleen Doran grief online a few months ago.

    ~

    Coat

  13. Well, as a young woman who does want to write comics professionally in the not-to-distant future, my feeling about the whole “capes vs. indie” thing is– I want the same opportunities every male writer has. At this very moment, I have outlines and/or scripts for stories that I feel would fit each and every major publisher and imprint, as well as some of the more prominent smaller/indie companies. I don’t like the idea that I’ll never get the opportunity to write for everyone of them just because I’m female, whether it’s because “girls just don’t write these kinds of books” OR because “that genre is dead, you should be glad not to work in it.”

    (As a side note: genres only die if you let them– people said westerns were dead, but look at the Assassination of Jesse James and Appaloosa. If the stories are compelling, people will want them)

  14. “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”

    Men (not “babymen”) are the majority readership of most Marvel/DC product. Women need to be able to write stories which interest this demographic in order to get jobs writing those comics which are read by said demographic. For example, the most common answer to the question “how do I break into comics?” is “self-publish your own stuff” which means if you’re any good at that we’ll hire you… maybe.. if we’re desperate. I have much respect for what someone like Danielle Corsetto does, but that doesn’t mean she’s the right person to work on pretty much ANY Marvel/DC comic.

    So there you go.. the answer to why there are so few women working on Marvel/DC properties and no sign of sexism anywhere. How silly of me.

    Also, it’s worth pointing out that it was commonplace to see people ranting about how Gail Simone should write Wonder Woman and it would be the greatest thing ever, but now that she is doing exactly that have sales skyrocketed? Have they even increased? (aside from the typical creative team change bump, that is) Clearly, this is sexism at its worst, right?!?!?

    How about this – instead of the quarterly “women in comics… and it’s all because of those sexist bastards” rant, you just promote good comics written by women and end each of those posts with a kind message urging the major comics publishers to take a closer look at them and their work? Oh, right… that post would get less than ten comments while posts like this get quite a few more than that, don’t they?

    It really is becoming a shameful display on this blog, and it became irksome a while ago.

  15. Just a note, Abby Denson does have a short story in Spider-man Family which came out this week, illustrated by Colleen Coover, and don’t forget the X-Men manga that Raina Telgemeier and husband Dave Roman are working on together. I could name a few titles that might be better served by a female writer (Spiderman Love Mary Jane, Runaways maybe?) but this has probably been a better year than any other past for the big two.

    As for women thinking comics are cool… well, that’s a complex issue. Until the models on Ugly Betty are reading manga in the sidelines, and Cosmo gets a column for hot new graphic novels, and there’s a genre roughly corrosponding to Bridget Jones’s Diary in comic form, and their are comic shops that women aren’t too creeped out to go into, don’t expect women to go into a shop on their own and find superhero comics delightful. You don’t get a customer by having a product that doesn’t appeal to them and tell them they should just like it, you entice them into wanting your stuff and keep a variety of products in stock that they’ll come back for. If anyone thinks there’s any dearth of women comic readers, come into a shop when the new Buffy or Angel comes out. It was getting pretty ugly towards the end of the wait for issue #19.

  16. @ Fred: I didn’t say Danielle was the right person to work on Marvel or DC books. I’m aware there’s a certain art style the big guns are looking for. I think she has way more freedom than your average mainstream artist, & it’s all hers. In addition, on reflecting on my first sentence, maybe that’s a whole ‘nother problem.

    Why the kneejerk reaction – Danielle is not for Marvel or DC! Boom! Judgement issued. Well, if comics has an problem reaching beyond its standard audience, & I think most of it agree that it does, that instant reaction would be part of why. I’ve seen indie talent Colleen Coover draw some great mainstream characters. Why *not* a Coover & Corsetto girl-style mini-series w/ some superheroes? I bet they would tell a story that, I dunno, would appeal to young girls, an audience comics says it wants very much.

    I know that’s idealistic (and not the main thrust of Beat’s original post) & that there’s a certain language of mainstream hero comics. But there used to be more of a sense of playfulness with the heroes, in the comics of my youth. Post Dark Knight, EVERYTHING is gritty to hell, so serious. Humor & general light-heartedness has decreased. Hey, superheroes are our myths, they’re flexible. We should loosen up w/ them more often. We used to. Someone like Danielle wouldn’t maybe be a choice for Secret Invasion, but a more offbeat project? There’s been a Paul Pope Batman. Why not?

    As for the whole snarkilicious quality of saying bitching about sexism is irksome, if you experience it, you bitch about it. Have YOU had a famous older comics legend lean over @ a professional dinner, perfect stranger, & ask while licking his lips if I ‘really wanted to eat that dessert..sweetie..? Looked like I didn’t need it?’ Have you ever had your ass grabbed by someone you just met? (I rolled with this okay, it was at a party, things happen.) Have YOU had someone assume at a convention gathering, that you were staff help, not a creator, because “this thing is always a stag party”? Have you ever had a famous pinup artist yank his stuff off the table, saying you couldn’t look at it becasue you were a girl? (He was mostly kidding, but he didn’t know me! WTH.) I bet if you had, you’d talk about it. Now that shit is irksome.

    BUT, the one positive point you make, I will take you up on. I will update my own bloggages with works by female creators that I myself enjoy. I already give “Twisted Sisters”, “Fun Home” & Tamara Drew” as gifts – sometimes, you just gotta put the books in their hands.

    & Gail’s WW = win.

  17. Dylan, you said everything I feel but with class and tact. You’re awesome!

    Heidi, first of all, I’m not trying to be antagonistic (any more – I’m over that phase). I honestly feel like your perception of comics is…umm…clouded perhaps(?) by living in NYC. I go to NYC a minimum of once a month. The comic stores there are *packed* with people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities buying comics, so I can see why you would feel there’s an audience beyond “babymen.” But here in the MidWest (I live near Cleveland), it’s just “babymen.” The babymen are buying the superhero comics. No one else cares.

    So, I guess I feel like – do you have a point? Absolutely. There’s a lack of female representation working for Marvel and DC. But on the other hand, the audience for Marvel and DC is two things: 1) Insular and afraid of change 2) Shrinking. So, even though you have a point, it’s not going to matter.

    The market is correcting itself. Manga is the dominant seller in comics and there’s a *ton* of women working in manga. The “indie” and webcomic worlds are picking up great steam. Marvel and DC combined have a readership of about 300,00 by the most optimistic projections. Their day in the sun is over. So, really, I feel talented women creators are doing a favor both to themselves and those of us who want to read their work by working anywhere else than for Marvel or DC.

  18. I’d love to see more women writing mainstream comics, but to be perfectly honest here, the only female writers that have appealed to me over the years are Louise Simonson and Gail Simone. No one else, at least from what I’ve read, seems to be capable of crafting stories with mass appeal that don’t come off like something from a poorly-drawn independent comic.

    I do highly recommend picking up Gail Simone’s SECRET SIX series, though. Her WONDER WOMAN has been somewhat hit-or-miss, but SECRET SIX has been solidly entertaining for its first four issues and deserves more sales love than it’s getting.

  19. Let’s hope that these young women have long, distinguished careers and don’t become “symbols” of anything other than their own tastes and abilities.

    Amen to that.

    On the one hand, on the issue of women writers “breaking in” to the industry: I think that these days it’s harder for *anyone* to “break in” at the big 2 as a writer, male or female. There are five or six writing stars whose names sell comics at any given time, and they tend to be given the lion’s share of the continuing work – simply because they bring in the preorder numbers. This goes back to the whole “babymen” argument, perhaps, but the sales numbers tend to bear out the idea that the American comics audience is small, insular, and likes what it likes – which is more of the same. So that’s going to make it harder for a company to take a risk on anyone, let alone a woman, who your readers apparently think would be “better off” looking for work elsewhere. (Thanks. If I need any more advice on my writing career, I’ll be sure to ask.)

    In that respect, I think it’s actually gotten WORSE for women writers in comics – not directly because of sexism, perhaps, but because an industry and readership that already looked mistrustfully upon women writers and even women characters (I mean come on, we all know Wonder Woman isn’t in print because of the thrilling sales numbers) has gotten tighter.

    On the other hand, sweet god can we finally retire the “girls don’t think comics are cool” argument. Go to a Barnes & Noble. Go to the comics section. Tell me who is sitting on the floor reading manga by the handful, all afternoon. The continued parroting of that single unexamined assumption is, frankly, what makes me think I AM better off working somewhere else.

    And happy as I am to see some women “debut” as writers in the American industry, a more stable indicator of the health of “women in comics” might be women who get a second job, and a third, and a fourth. (Gail Simone for the win! I’m glad somebody brought up Louise Simonson, too.) I don’t know about you but I get a chill every time I see those photos with the perennial footnote: “Women in Comics Panel 1979 – does anybody remember who these people are?”

  20. My 15 year old son, too, confirms that the girls like manga and hopefully things are changing…. I’ve been reading the very funny “Girls With Slingshots” by Danielle Corsetto and again hopefully this all spills over into the mainstream which could use some improvement… I’m truely hopeful for the younger generation.
    I imagine throughout the years many a young guy has had to keep a lid on their comicbook love from their dates… but hopefully that foolishness is a thing of the past.

  21. Please do not use Nocenti as a role model for writers. Her material was awful and I see her as an 80s version of Bendis. Both her run on daredevil and her longshot mini were really, really terrible.
    Gail Simone on the other hand is an outstanding writer who truly understands the superhero.. and villain.

  22. Eva Hopkins said, “@ Fred: I didn’t say Danielle was the right person to work on Marvel or DC books.”

    I didn’t say you did. I wasn’t directing my post at you either. I used Danielle Corsetto as an example of someone whose work I admire but doesn’t fit the Marvel/DC model which is what would likely keep her from appearing on their radar when looking for new talent. The reason I brought that up is because the semi-regular post on The Beat’s blog is all about the lack of women working for Marvel and/or DC because there certainly isn’t a lack of women working in comics as a whole.

    “Why the kneejerk reaction – Danielle is not for Marvel or DC! Boom! Judgement issued. Well, if comics has an problem reaching beyond its standard audience, & I think most of it agree that it does, that instant reaction would be part of why.”

    It wasn’t a kneejerk reaction. I didn’t say she “is not for Marvel or DC” at all. I said her self-published work doesn’t lend itself to what Marvel and DC want to put out. I’m not saying she should keep her grubby hands away from my precious superhero comics at all. If they can give something like the Franklin Richards books to Chris Eliopolis, then they can do the same for people like Corsetto and Colleen Coover and Sarah Dyer and Joelle Jones and Hope Larson and so on…. as long as they continue to make money for their respective publishers, of course. I think that would be a really smart and fun thing for them to do because aside from their “kid-friendly” lines they have no levity whatsoever. Actually, a book like the recently relaunched Marvel Comics Presents would have been an ideal place for that sort of thing, but it barely limped along as it was. I just pointed out that most a lot of these revered female comics people aren’t the ideal choices to take over Spider-Man or whatever. I wasn’t saying they should never be allowed to write anything in the superhero realm. I just don’t know if I would risk MY publishing dollars on that type of project.

    “As for the whole snarkilicious quality of saying bitching about sexism is irksome, if you experience it, you bitch about it.”

    I figured my response would get this type of reaction and the similar comments in the rest of the paragraph which follows this line. I indicated that “It really is becoming a shameful display on this blog, and it became irksome a while ago.” This is in regard to the narrow view of this blog as to the reason there are so few women working at the big two comics publishers. It is in no way a blanket “sexism is a myth”-type of statement. If you want to bitch about sexism, then write a book… or at the very least, write a blog post about specific instances where it has actually happened instead of using it as the universal scapegoat for the ratio of female to male comics creators at the major comics publishers because THAT specific thing became irksome a long time ago. I’m talking about the act of filing quarterly taxes shortly followed by the required “Marvel and DC are sexist bastards” blog post that has become the routine of this particular blog… it’s bloody hell arse-chafing irksome, and I really hope people aren’t buying into it anymore. It’s tabloid journalism at its worst. Blog about specific instances of female creators being treated poorly by the higher-ups at comics publishers, and you’ll have people on your side in a second, but blog posts like these are shameful because they’re just made to start some shit to increase hit counts. That is what’s irksome to me – not any complaining about ACTUAL sexism, but the ease at which this blog tosses its accusations around without hesitation or, you know, facts.

    Those examples of things which have happened to you are terrible… the things not the examples themselves, I mean… those are good examples… you know what I meant. Men aren’t immune to unwanted sexual advances, though. Keep that in mind. You said, “I bet if you had, you’d talk about it. Now that shit is irksome.” Yes, and that’s exactly my point. That shit IS irksome, but there is none of that present in The Quarterly Beat Crusade Against Hypothetical Sexism. Furthermore, did these embarrassing things done to you by men in any way cost you a job or keep you from getting one? You may have felt that you weren’t taken seriously because you’re a woman, but that’s a long way from asserting that you didn’t get work because of it. It doesn’t really matter anyway, though, because The Beat loves to make that case for you at every possible opportunity whether it’s warranted or not.

    Yes, sexism exists out in the world, but it’s probably not the reason women don’t get jobs writing for the major publishers… maybe it’s just because most of them would suck at it.

    Now I’d like to mention a topic which has popped up in these comments more than once: Women reading Manga. Yes, lots of women (of all ages) read manga, and yes, manga is a kind of comic book… but maybe another reason women aren’t hired for jobs on the Marvel/DC side of things is because they don’t want their comics to look and read like bloody manga! “On the other hand, sweet god can we finally retire the “girls don’t think comics are cool” argument. Go to a Barnes & Noble. Go to the comics section. Tell me who is sitting on the floor reading manga by the handful, all afternoon. ” Girls DON’T think comics are cool. Girls think MANGA *IS* cool. Manga is more than just a type of comic book; it’s a cultural phenomenon. There’s more to the manga explosion than a supposed interest in good comics which have some appeal to girls. Reading manga is just the cool thing to do, and reading comics ISN’T. Try giving anything that’s not manga to a rabid manga-phile, and you will be looked at with a combination of scorn and bewilderment much like the one women get when they walk around most comic book conventions.

    Also, you wanna talk about creepy and icky behavior? Women and their obsessions with fan fiction, fan art, and the sexual objectivization of manga and pop culture characters is, to me, WAY more disturbing than a scantily-clad Red Sonja on the cover of a comic book. (Although it’s on par with those guys who request sketches of naked comic book characters at conventions… gross, dude.)

    It’s not a one-sided us against them war that The Beat likes to turn it into every time there’s a “women in comics” disturbance in the force.

  23. Sorry for adding another post, but I have something else I want to mention.

    I think Marvel and DC comics are poorer for not having Devin Grayson as a regular writer on at least ONE of their comics. I really liked her work.

  24. “That is what’s irksome to me – not any complaining about ACTUAL sexism, but the ease at which this blog tosses its accusations around without hesitation or, you know, facts.”

    There’s an excellent reason why you won’t hear those sort of specifics on a public forum, and it’s called libel. The impossibility of proving interpersonal “he said, she said” cases without multiple witnesses and hard evidence makes stating such allegations online an invitation for a lawsuit, regardless of how true they are. Remember that it was the physical evidence of Packwood’s own diary that ultimately did him in, even though two dozen female staffers had publicly accused him of harassment.

    Another reason: Choosing to blow the whistle will make you– and your motivations, character, and job performance– a target. (I’m sure Valerie D’Orazio could write a dissertation on the topic.) Causing trouble for influential people will tempt them to use that influence to cause trouble for you, and this is a small pond with a long memory.

    Given all the above, calling one’s peers out on sexism is always going to open you up for a battle (see: this thread), and after years of seeing the same infuriating behaviors toward and casual dismissals of women with only glacial changes at best, this shit just … makes you tired.

    “Furthermore, did these embarrassing things done to you by men in any way cost you a job or keep you from getting one? You may have felt that you weren’t taken seriously because you’re a woman, but that’s a long way from asserting that you didn’t get work because of it.”

    That’s a poor litmus test for judging the scope of the problem. A woman might get consistent freelance work, but that doesn’t mean the work will be valued (i.e., compensated) as highly as her male counterparts. A woman might keep her nine-to-five, but that doesn’t mean her professional opinion will be as valued as her male coworkers’, or that she’ll be promoted as quickly, or that she’ll be free from physical intimidation. Sexism might be pervasive in certain professional cultures, but the effects are often subtle.

    A few final points:
    * Arguing that sexism probably isn’t the cause of gender disparity in Big Two creative teams because “most women would suck at [writing]” is not only hugely insulting to aspiring writers but, I hope, a losing battle in an industry that coined the term “booth babe.”

    * Speaking as someone who has always found comics cool, manga isn’t “a kind of” comic book any more than a European comic is “a kind of” comic book. Words and pictures in a sequential narrative = comics. Arguing otherwise is splitting hairs.

    * Jill Thompson rocks my socks. For as many awards as she’s received, you’d think she’d be more of “a name” among readers than she already is. And ditto to the above Colleen Coover love … her illustration work is wonderful, and props to Marvel for hiring her for the X-Men: First Class shorts.

  25. As I sit here in O’Hare waiting to connect to Omaha, an eight-year-old girl is playing with a whole bunch of mini Star Wars figures. Meanwhile, a canonical comicbook based on a defunct television show continues to chart in the Top Ten.
    Forty years ago, Science Fiction was transformed when female fans, seduced by Star Trek, attended the WorldCon in San Francisco.
    Comics are undergoing the same transformation. Yes, there have been female superhero fans, usually of the Legion, Teen Titans, or X-Men. Now, it’s exploded, as others have mentioned. I have a female friend who’s been reading Secret Invasion. She’s squealing over Gambit in the new Wolverine movie. She’s debating if she should buy a VIP pass for NYCC.
    There’s one person you missed at DC: Sue Pohja. She’s the VP responsible for the booktrade market. Oh, and there’s Jennifer Gruenwald at Marvel!

  26. DC and Marvel Universes need a writer that manage action.
    Apart from Gail Simone and Devin Grayson I cant think anyone in the recent decade.
    Women writing superhero comics are very rare indeed.
    Maybe is a cuestion of the right sensibility.
    I know there are a ton of great female writers, but not in the SH biz.
    Gail is a great superhero writer, but one in a million.
    Give Gail JLA.

  27. I think the gender breakdown of the comments section here pretty much speaks for itself.

    “Marvel and DC are sexist bastards” are YOUR words, not mine, Fred.

  28. Go Heidi! Go Katie!

    I think of other parts of publishing that have better employment/executive stats but have a divided business with womens mags, mens mags, fiction, etc. Like the car companies and the vehicles they know we want, we’re also stuck in a choice trap that can also be a welcoming fraternity/sorority.

  29. Amanda Conner is indeed a guest at NYCC, & a damn talented artist. (Can’t wait to see you guys!) I remember seeing that awesome Previews cover she did. (Jealous!)

    Just because it didn’t cost me a job doesn’t mean it’s right. Also, of course men get advances made on them sometimes, too. Didn’t say it didn’t happen. Neither of those points comes close to addressing the meat of the issue. Which is yes, the sexism happens. In my own experience, it occurs *less* in the past few years. But yeah, none of that stuff was fun. Particularly almost begging artist X to show me his pinup work. :/ Why should I have to explain why I wanted to see some cheesecake? I had a few hundred bucks in my pocket that day & a present for my best friend to buy. I wanted to see. It was only when he found out I was working with Joe that I was “allowed” to look. I tried to laugh it off to save face, but that was awkwaaaaaaard.

    Last night, I talked for a long time w/ a fellow comics person (who will remain unnamed, seriously, he’s a pal) & he insisted..INSISTED TO ME..that there was no, zero, sexism within the comics industry. I was nutty for even thinking that way. He’d never witnessed it. We were shouting over each other.

    So I mentioned this thread to him. He said it didn’t really matter what DC & Marvel did about female creators, since their numbers were shrinking & soon it wouldn’t matter. I said it was a shame they couldn’t do a traditional superhero comic (basic same themes, costumes, overall storyline) but occasionally more inclusive, like in comics when I was younger. ’cause that would help their numbers. Of course, I immediately thought of Minx. :/

    I added how happy I was books like above-mentioned Tamara Drewe (which I type as often as possible, just to have the pleasure of thinking about it, so good) & Fun Home had been as embraced by non-traditional comics readers as they had been. Fun Home was Time’s Book of the Year. (& since my dad died when I was 22 & I’ve been beaten to it, thanks Alison Bechdel! No pressure!)

    We both agreed there’s a sea change happening. His professional experience, 5 or so years in, was that there was no sexism. My experience, a dozen years, I was sure there was.

    Forgive me, cause this is wayyyy up on a soapbox. In some ways, this reminds me of the transition time from ‘traditional’ early Ms. Magazine feminism, & the ‘do-me’ feminists that followed. A lot of the riot grrls were sincere but didn’t know how hard the Gloria Steinems, the few loud ones in a male world, really had it. Etc.

    My younger cohort didn’t see what I did, because it doesn’t happen in his circle, in his offices. Good. It shouldn’t. My feeling is, it’s still an issue, but pretty much most of those incidents were w/in the first 6 years of my career thus far.

    Sooo – bitter but w/ a smidge of hope. Maybe.

    My friend pointed out that unwanted attention or whatever can happen in any industry, so you gotta kind of expect it, part of life, etc. & that’s true. But in comics, women are so crazy outnumbered that I sometimes wonder if the men sometimes really hear or see things the same way.

    (Last: quick shout-out TO my partner, who has always, from the beginning, seen my creative value & wanted my input. Big ups, Joe.)

  30. A Google Web search on sexism, comic books, and industry had about 62,000 hits, many of them blog entries. The debate about sexism isn’t going to be resolved any time soon, and as long as superhero comics are considered mainstream, I expect the debate to continue, since the depiction of heroes and heroines is certainly sexist. Can anyone imagine a woman handling Power Girl in a series (Power Girl and breasts yields about 24,100 hits in a Google Web search)? Even if Power Girl is an extreme example of an intrinsically sexist character concept, other heroines are nearly as bad, and since readers seem to react more to artwork than to overall story content — would superhero fiction even exist without comics? How would a man and woman of comparable talent go about writing prose superhero fiction, where the sexist art wasn’t a factor?

    FWIW, I don’t consider manga a desirable alternative to superheroes, since it’s not an American art form, although there is, arguably, American manga.

    SRS

  31. Okay, not having read the other comments, I have this to say. I think there really could be more female comic writers in the mainstream, if so many women would stop selling themselves short and realize their worth beyond how sexy men find them.This isn’t all women, of course, but the ones that are this way, make it harder for the women who see through that kind of bull. More than once have I seen women who are great writers, put down what they’re doing, to dress up as their WAY less talented boyfriend’s, under dressed, over sexed, comic book character, so they can help him draw more people to his booth at conventions. WTF!?! When you talk to them later, you can see they hate it, and even resent the men (who are not their boyfriend) who are attracted to them for doing it, but they love their boyfriends (who are jerks) and want to make them happy. Maybe, that’s admirable that love would drive them to do it (and degradation for love has made for great subject matter in song and story) but in the end, counterproductive all around. I do believe that women have a right to be and feel sexy, and that when they are, men should have the right to look, but it should be on the woman’s terms, and not what ultimately defines her as a human being. Men have always been defined by who they help, and what they create, or destroy. I understand that it’s harder for women, but ultimately, the same holds true for them, too. If more women would realise that, the uphill battle wouldn’t be a battle anymore at all. Oppressors always shrivel and die when faced with people who know they can transcend them. I think women are wonderful for all sorts of reasons, beyond how they look, but so often, no matter how much I try to point these things out (and women shouldn’t have to rely on men pointing these things out to them, because most don’t) women only ever want to focus on their outer beauty. They’re trying to make one part, be the whole, and that’s when men only see a hole for their part. Be who you want to be. Life is to short for anything else. Besides, when a women is truly who SHE wants to be, that’s when she is at her most attractive, in life, love, work, and play. That’s when she is truly unstoppable. Don’t go complaining to the men about how unfair they’re being, when it’s completely in your power to make things be the way you would have them. Isn’t that the Little Lulu way?


  32. “women only ever want to focus on their outer beauty”. Pal, if I was focusing on my outer beauty, my soft ass would be in the gym, not slumped in a computer chair writing & coloring comics. I wish I had some freakin’ focus left over at the end of the day to focus on my outer beauty.

    “Men have always been defined by who they help, and what they create, or destroy. ”

    I think you mean well..but..

    Next time? Read the comments, for starters.

    No. I got nothing I can add to that, I’m flabbergasted.

    & now I’ll shut-up for awhile, ’cause this is not my Beat. ;)

  33. I guess it’s this first statement falls into the “manga ain’t comics” debate, but just want to point out that female authors/editors/publishing execs in Japan quite the norm.

    Also, there are many female executives at DC that are not in the public eye but are influential in the business of comics. Take a look at the DC masthead…..Terri Cunningham, Alison Gill, Amy Genkins, Cheryl Rubin, Lillian Laserson. I am sure I am missing people, but you get the gist.

    Oh, and Jenette Kahn was President of DC Comics for 26 years.

  34. Katie Moody said, “There’s an excellent reason why you won’t hear those sort of specifics on a public forum, and it’s called libel.”

    It can be reported without using names (Example, the incident with Taki Soma and Eva Hopkins’ post), but that’s not what typically happens here. The regularity at which this blogs cries about sexism is comical yet still irksome.

    “That’s a poor litmus test for judging the scope of the problem.”

    But that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Sexism at Marvel/DC causing a shortage of female creators. So… if it didn’t cost her a job or keep her from getting one, then sexism isn’t to blame.

    “Sexism might be pervasive in certain professional cultures, but the effects are often subtle.”

    Which is also why it’s hard to prove. If a woman doesn’t make as much as a man, why is sexism always the first thing brought up by women? Because it gets people’s attention and gets them off the hook of actually having to get better at their job? Because sometimes it actually IS sexism?

    Just because every time someone sees something in the sky they scream “UFO!” and one day they may be right doesn’t mean they’ll be taken seriously. They’ll most likely be ignored, as they should be.

    “* Arguing that sexism probably isn’t the cause of gender disparity in Big Two creative teams because “most women would suck at [writing]” is not only hugely insulting to aspiring writers but, I hope, a losing battle in an industry that coined the term “booth babe.” ”

    No, no, no. You read that wrong. I said that sexism probably isn’t the cause, yes, but I didn’t say that it’s BECAUSE “most women would suck at it.” That was your interpretation. I said MAYBE it’s because they would suck at it. Maybe means it’s a possibility. Just as saying MAYBE it’s sexism instead of saying it IS sexism all the time. The Beat said, “There are many reasons for that, among them, yes, sexism of some kind” which indicates that it’s more of a “maybe” than previous posts on this subject, but the entire tone of the post doesn’t match this little concession seen here. It wasn’t an insult, and I think “booth babes” are a terrible idea.

    The point is that you don’t know why there aren’t more women writing/drawing for Marvel/DC, and there’s probably more than one reason for that. However, this blog likes any excuse to use the word “sexism”, and it’s incredibly lame of them.

    “* Speaking as someone who has always found comics cool, manga isn’t “a kind of” comic book any more than a European comic is “a kind of” comic book. Words and pictures in a sequential narrative = comics. Arguing otherwise is splitting hairs.”

    I wanted to separate manga from the rest of comics, obviously, for various reasons, and reason #1 is that it wasn’t even the point of the original blog post. My point stands that to certain types of manga readers, manga isn’t a comic book; it’s only manga and it’s the only type of comic book they would read. Oh, I just realized where you misunderstood – I should have said “type of comic book” not “kind of” and I actually used “type of” later in that same paragraph. I didn’t mean to imply that manga is some sort of weird comic-like beast but isn’t a “real” comic like the ones from Marvel/DC and/or America. American comics are “a kind of” comic book as well, if that clears anything up for you.

    “* Jill Thompson rocks my socks.” Jill Thompson does, in fact, rock socks. Agreed.

    and The Beat goes on, ““Marvel and DC are sexist bastards” are YOUR words, not mine, Fred.”

    This is true. It’s a realization of the intent which these semi-regular posts have. You may as well use it as the headline. Although, as I said, this one was not as bad as previous posts, but as this previously quoted bit says, “There are many reasons for that, among them, yes, sexism of some kind”, Sexism, to you, is a given even though there are no facts anywhere in the post to support that claim. Marvel and DC are sexist bastards isn’t much of a stretch as far as an extrapolation goes.

    Eva returns, “Just because it didn’t cost me a job doesn’t mean it’s right.”

    Of course it isn’t right. Never said nor implied it was. I actually said those were terrible things which you endured. I was just asking the question to see if there was any factual evidence of sexism at Marvel/DC causing the shortage of women working there which The Beat’s blog post indicated.

    “Why should I have to explain why I wanted to see some cheesecake?”

    Maybe because he thought you would look at them and point and yell “sexist bastard!” for the rest of the convention in a crazy “Body Snatchers”-esque trance. Maybe because there’s no shortage of sexual harrassment cases in the news because some woman took offense to some guy’s jokey cartoon which is on his bulletin board inside his cubicle and now the guy is fired and this guy was afraid you would report him or something. Or maybe he was being a dumbass. I think you may be reading too much into this particular incident, but I’m not that guy so I can’t say for sure.

    “So I mentioned this thread to him. He said it didn’t really matter what DC & Marvel did about female creators, since their numbers were shrinking & soon it wouldn’t matter.”

    Sounds like he was trying to avoid the topic. He can’t insist that there is NONE because he doesn’t know what goes on in other people’s heads… or does he? Was it Charles Xavier? Nor can anyone else insist that there IS unless they have proof. Anyway, yes it does matter what Marvel/DC do about female creators regardless of circulation numbers because it just does. It’s just one of those things that matter, and that’s why so many people like to argue about it. I’m not saying there ISN’T sexism in comics, but I am saying that maybe it’s not THE (as in only or even the #1) reason why there’s a shortage of women working for Marvel/DC.

    Steven said “Even if Power Girl is an extreme example of an intrinsically sexist character concept.” I don’t think it is. Do you? I mean.. she has “POWER” in her name.

    “sexist art” Sounds like you’re saying it’s a given in superhero comics. How is it sexist?

    Personally, I’d love to do an experiment where a woman writes a pitch and sends it out twice–once with her name and once with a guy’s name–to see if it makes a difference. However, this could never happen because it would be too obvious and most publishers don’t accept unsolicited submissions. Same with just sending it with the guy’s name to see if it goes through, but it won’t because they wouldn’t even look at it. I think that would be a fun experiment though.

    I don’t particularly care if there are more or fewer women working in comics at any level or publisher because that’s not my particular crusade; my crusade plate is full right now. I do, however, care if there are women with good stories to tell not getting jobs to tell those stories due to a sexist attitude on the executive level at any and all comics publishers. So, if The Beat or anyone else has examples of this (names withheld to protect the guilty, of course), I would be interested in reading them…especially if they take the place of the quarterly rant against hypothetical sexism. Fact is always preferable to generlization.

  35. The key here is superhero comics.
    Manga and the european stuff are comics.
    But not superhero comics.
    Some manga maybe , but in most cases the writer is a man.
    Is very rare find a good superhero female writer.
    DC and Marvel publish those by the ton.

  36. First, thank you Heidi for the post. And huge thanks to Eva and Katie for being so patient with some of the posts here. It’s tempting to play sexism bingo but I’ll refrain.

    There is sexism in comics. It effects who is hired for what jobs all the time. It’s not always intentional, but it is systemic. The pervading attitude is that women write “women’s stories”, as though they are exclusionary and different than “male” stories which are presumably “universal”. And it’s not just male editors who perpetuate it.

    Look, comics don’t exist in a vacuum. They are influenced by our culture which values white male stories over anyone else’s. Look at the top movie, book, author, lists put out every year and you’ll usually find it dominated by men unless it’s been segregated into “other”. There is no comparative term for “chick lit” or “chick flick” that carries the same negative, belittling connotations. As another pop culture medium comics is just as culpable.

    Regarding superheroes…what about that genre would appeal to most women? What about it would make our voices feel welcome? Sure, there are some books and authors that give a more diverse perspective…and I applaud them. But even writers like Simone are often saddled with less than thrilling art which can completely counteract the quality of the story. And no, I don’t have a problem with boobs or sexy women. I have a problem when that’s ALL women are allowed to be, or it’s treated as some kind of personality trait. Male characters in superheroes books may not be full of layered nuances all the time, but at least they aren’t the same boring sexbot all the time. I’m generalizing, of course, but I don’t think I should have to cite all the examples everyone should already be aware of.

    Frankly, I’m tired of hearing the “women just don’t like superheroes” or they “don’t write books comics fans want to read” etc. How can you make that statement when it’s A. clearly not true by the numerous examples of Manga being MORE popular than super heroes and having LOTS of things in common with that genre and B. no idea how many women put in pitches or portfolios to any of the top comics companies. Not to mention ignoring the fact that women are discouraged long before they even reach that state in art school (women are encouraged to do different kind of art, usually children’s books)…also true of writing, btw, as there is plenty of sexism in Sci-Fi which has plenty of crossover in terms of fandom with comics and correlations with similar sexism.

    My point is that it’s dis-genuine to ignore all the factors that MIGHT explain why fewer women seems to pitch or submit work to superhero comics and claim that this post is some kind of knee-jerk sexism rant. Heidi has worked in this industry a LONG time, as have many of the other women posting. We might have a better perspective on not only the level of sexism in the industry, but also the different ways it manifests.

  37. I don’t know what the definition of mainstream is, but I feel compelled to mention the consistently excellent artwork that Jan Duursema has produced for years while at Dark Horse. It is truly a shame imho that her work has not received the recognition that it deserves.

  38. Eva, please go back and re-read what I wrote. You missed this one. “This isn’t all women, of course, but the ones that are this way, make it harder for the women who see through that kind of bull.” I know this is a hot button issue, but we can’t have civil debates if we quot each other wildly out of context. I mean, did you skip over when I wrote’ “I understand that it’s harder for women, but ultimately, the same holds true for them, too?” I’m just saying that there is a majority of women out there, who let there insecurities get the better of them, which leads to most of them falling short of their potential. I’m sure you, and many other women working in comics are an acceptation to this rule (Dame Darcy is my hero, for this reason, as are many women in and out of comics) but if you think I’m wrong, just google naked girls. If every women who’s ever had naked pictures of themselves, having sex, on line went to collage and entered confidently into business, politics, and the arts (and no, posing nude is not art, on it’s own) they could take over the world, and change it for the better, and for good. Shit, we’d have a Mars base by now. Let’s see some real girl power. I know it’s as strong as anything a man’s got, but if you’re going to ask sexist men to cut you a bit of slack, then you’re cutting that girl power short. Oh, and no, I’m not going to set and read all the comments on this, post. I’d like to, but I’ve got a daughter who wants to show me some of her fantastic drawings.

  39. I don’t know about anyone else, but if there’s a post by this point in the discussion that is at least one page-down hit, it’s getting glossed over, no matter what side you are on.

  40. I’m having a hard time keeping track of who’s arguing what, but I think I’m on the side that gets us a Naked Girl Mars Base.

  41. “I don’t know about anyone else, but if there’s a post by this point in the discussion that is at least one page-down hit, it’s getting glossed over, no matter what side you are on. ”

    Right, because THOSE are the posts that don’t have anything worthwhile in them.

  42. This column should be posted under economics. I mean who really cares. The comic book industry is just like any other market. The only color that matters is green. If you look back at all of the top selling characters, Batman, Spider-Man, X-men, Superman, Spawn……they were all created by men, duh!? The market dictates the rules and so far the work speaks for itself. I think if any group or minority is convinced the system is working against them is to go indy. Web-comics is an open-market, let the public decide.

  43. i guess if i was to pose an actual question to everyone here, it would be “why do some women try so hard to break into such a small aspect of comics that has made it pretty obvious they don’t want anything to do with them?”

    i’ve heard some pretty bad horror stories from both staff and freelance people at the bigger corporate companies.
    why bother?
    is the thirst to rewrite and re-tread some 50 year old work-for-hire story concepts so great that it clouds some women’s judgement that much?

    i know it’s done it to plenty of men, but they at least seem to be welcomed.

  44. Re Power Girl: Fred, your comments make me think you’ve never actually seen the character. The visual focus on her breasts is screamingly obvious, and writers’ use of them rated a section in her Wikipedia entry. And how on earth can you think that the word “Power” affects the nature of the character?

    I’ve seen people argue that superheroines’ portrayal isn’t sexist, that it’s just physical perfection for men and women both, but that argument ignores the parts of a heroine’s body that are routinely emphasized. The same emphasis is placed on breasts and bare midriffs that is placed on them in porn; the only differences between Power Girl and a PENTHOUSE COMIX character are dialogue and removal of the costume, voluntarily or involuntarily. A hero’s muscularity or bare midriff doesn’t make him sexually desirable.

    The influence of art on the perceived nature of a character makes me think that there are comics characters that one would never do prose stories about because their visual appeal is so important. Three of them would be Power Girl, She-Hulk, and Ms. Marvel.

    SRS

  45. I don’t mean to offend anyone here, but threads like this make me a little sad. I think it’s a case of the readers being ahead of the commentators and publishers. I honestly believe we’re close to a point where the readers don’t much give a shit what flavor of person delivers the book they like, they just want the books they like.

    To be honest, I expected a lot more resistance from the readers than I have experienced, but instead, I get the same kind of enthusiastic support of other writers who broke in at the same time. The READERS don’t ask me what it’s like to be a woman in comics…they don’t much care. They want to know if Donna Troy is going to guest-star in Wonder Woman, or if Catman’s going to kill Deadshot some day. It’s the journalists and some publishers who can’t seem to get over the gender issue.

    When I go to a con and see Amanda Conner or Jill Thompson or Nicola Scott, their lines of readers are ridiculously long. Those are readers, and fans of comic art. Those women don’t have to worry about how they’ll be accepted, that question is long dead, murdered in its sleep by the overwhelming evidence of these talented women’s fans. In short, they are simply better than the question. They are too talented for it to be an issue. The readers get that–why don’t the people who write ABOUT comics?

    My lines at cons tend to have a lot more women in them then most superhero writers, sometimes as high as fifty percent. I find that for most of these women, gender STILL isn’t much of an issue. They want to know the same things the guy readers do, they ask the same questions, they comment about the same things, and a huge great lot of them have the same aspirations to work in comics. Many of our best commentators and podcasters are female, and many of them are surprisingly devoted to superhero comics. I think the idea of an all-male readership is a dying myth, and if we don’t screw it up and alienate half the potential audience again, we could be seeing a boost in the female readership unlike anything we’ve experienced since the early days of Vertigo, or even better.

    I’ve been really impressed with some of the new females in ‘mainstream’ comics. Females have long been part of the engine driving manga and independent titles, both as creators and readers, but it’s a delight to see people like Ivory Madison, G. Willow Wilson, Amy Wolfram, Kathryn Immonen coming out and not only getting work at the big two, but perfoming with such distinction and producing some of my favorite books of the past year. I think they’re going to be the writing equivelent of artists like Nicola Scott, people who are so good at their job that the question of gender becomes a side issue at best. Nothing shatters the glass ceiling like quantifiable success, and hopefully these women will help make threads like this quaint and obsolete.

    And I didn’t see the great Jen Van Meter listed anywhere. She doesn’t do a LOT of work, unfortunately, but I think she’s one of the most underrated writers in comics. Every script she does is a gem. And man, I couldn’t agree with Jimmy Palmiotti more, regarding Ann Nocenti, a writer well ahead of her time.

    We may yet be a medium in transition, but I firmly believe that we’re at least moving in the right direction regarding acceptance of gender. Now, if we could only put similar effort into issues of orientation and race!

  46. While there is a level of acceptance being an issue, as sexism and racism and anti-gay sentiments exist to this day -the root cause is a lack of interest by none-white males… which is in turn due to many various reasons, but mostly is that superhero comics (which I admittedly I don’t read hardly at all anymore myself) have for a long time gotten into a vicious cycle and thus narrowing it’s appeal. The bright side is that while this is a diffecult pattern to break there is change and comics are getting more diverse. Hopefully anyway… like I said I don’t really follow superheroes…

  47. are there many examples of a Grant Morrison or Frank Quitely talent level female creator getting shut out of the “big two”?

    if not, what proof do we have of a glass ceiling at all?

  48. “I bet someone out there has already done a prose story with Power Girl, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel.”

    If by “prose story,” you intend to include superhero porn, then, yes, there have been prose stories written about Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Power Girl, and many other heroines, but I would hesitate to compliment the porn by calling it fiction. If you’ll take a look at the stuff, you’ll find that writers often resort to mind control as a means of getting the heroines to engage in sex, since they can’t justify the action otherwise, and plot content is often minimal. A story progresses simply by having the mind controller steadily increase the size of his harem. Controlling the heroines is supposed to be an end in itself.

    The people producing the porn undoubtedly read comics. Superjizz’s “Rape of. . .” trilogy actually did better at characterizing the Black Cat, Scarlet Witch, and Black Widow, than, say, Bendis has ever done, but, like other porn authors, Superjizz apparently considered describing rape as an end in itself — the motivation for doing the stories.

    I doubt that many comics readers have quite the same attitude toward heroines that Superjizz and his fellow writers do, but — take a look at what the people churn out (at http://www.superstories.net), and then, let anyone who’s posted re this topic try again to tell me how the sexist depiction of heroines doesn’t influence attitudes toward them.

    SRS

  49. Ooh: I missed the Ann Nocenti comments..her sweet, trippy “Someplaqce Strange” w/ John Bolton was one of my first college comic loves. Also, her late-80’s run on Daredevil were layered, action-packed & interesting stories, a lot of political stuff going on in there – some of the only superhero books I bought, back then.

    Gail: agreed; like I said above, sexism sucks, but I think it’s getting better: that sums it up IMO. (I got so feisty when I heard that bitching about sexism is irksome. :D) Also, thanks for the list of names of great new female mainstream talents. I’m gonna check that out. That is good news indeed. Our lines tend to have more women too, but we’re in a weird indie-but-pinupy position.

  50. Steven R. Stahl said:

    “would superhero fiction even exist without comics? How would a man and woman of comparable talent go about writing prose superhero fiction, where the sexist art wasn’t a factor?”

    Before Superman (or even the Phantom) appeared, there were some two dozen oddly-garbed (if not longjohned) crimefighters with wild names like the Shadow, Doc Savage, the Spider, the Golden Amazon (possible inspiration for Wonder Woman), the Moon Man, etc. You can dismiss them as irrelevant if you like but you’d have to be blind not to see the similarities. Their stories may or may not have been sexist but they did quite well without “sexist art.”

    Also:

    “A hero’s muscularity or bare midriff doesn’t make him sexually desirable”

    Right; that’s why there are zero covers of women’s romance fiction paperbacks that feature men with bared, ripped chests (usually with no hair– hope the models don’t have to exfoliate!)

    “The people producing the porn undoubtedly read comics. Superjizz’s “Rape of. . .” trilogy actually did better at characterizing the Black Cat, Scarlet Witch, and Black Widow, than, say, Bendis has ever done”

    I might not be a huge fan of Bendis but that sounds like an absurd statement. In what way are Superjizz’s characterizations superior?

  51. “In what way are Superjizz’s characterizations superior?”

    That has to be my favorite line of this whole thread.

  52. I worked in editorial at DC Comics on the Paradox Press Books with Andy Helfer and assisted on numerous Elseworlds books that Andy was editing so I got to see various sides of the company. I have a wee, small indie publishing company where I published two anthologies with about 40% of the creators being women. I also worked at Jim Hanley’s Universe, a big comics store in NYC, taught comics at SVA, and am teaching classes in LA at Meltdown Comics and CalArts. The only reason I put my resume here is to show and say that I’ve seen the comics biz from a lot of different vantage points and have had contact with various different populations of readers.

    I am frankly amazed to hear guys talk about women and girls not really “being into superhero comics.” They are a minority, certainly not a large one, but they are definitely a significant one. I do think that there are a lot of super-guy titles that most women probably don’t read very much (I’m having a hard time thinking of women I’ve met who’ve been “Hulk” fans).

    But I’ve met hundreds of women and girls over the past twenty years who were serious X-Men fans. If only 5% of Marvel and DC readers are female (a stat I heard about 15 or 18 years ago), I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that maybe 10% of X-Men readers have been and are female. The X-Books sell around 100,000 right now, so that makes 10,000 women or girl readers. They may not go home with a stack of books every Wednesday but they clearly, like all the ones I’ve met, like superhero comics. And 10,000 is a pretty big number considering what some of the guys above have said about there not being many out there. Add to that what Gail said above about what she sees and gets in terms of female fan attention at conventions and I hope we can bury this issue about “girls not liking superheroes” with a backhoe sometime later today.

    When I’ve asked the women I’ve met why they like the X-Men they inevitably point out the fact that they like that there are a lot of female characters in the books, as well as the involved story lines and subplots. So why not try and get this female audience to read more super-people comics? How might you do this? Getting more women writing the comics is certainly a step in the right direction.

    Heidi’s not making any big sweeping statements here, really. She seems, to me, to just be saying that it seems to be a bit of a problem that there aren’t many more women writing Big 2 comics now than there were 20 years ago! In a word — yikes! I also agree with what Gail says about reader reaction to women writers — the minds there seem quite open and not very concerned about gender. They’re more concerned about reading good stories and ones that they like. Where I’ve seen bias and/or consternation and concern about women in the comics business — is in the comics business itself.

    I was also shocked at some of the statements above that said things like, “I think women creators are better off exploring different avenues” than superhero comics. What a blatant insult to women in general, to say that they aren’t *able* to write comics that will have a certain specific appeal. Of the few women who have had long track records writing for Marvel or DC, there are certainly examples of those who could and can do this: Louise Simonson (X-Factor), Ann Nocenti (Daredevil), Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, etc.) For my money, Gail is one of the most consistently good comics writers in the business right now.

    Think about it: Women writers had to deal with this kind of bias for decades in the mystery and crime fiction world. Now, there’s loads of women writing in the genre, and plenty have done some extraordinary work, like Patricia Highsmith, Joyce Carol Oates, and Ruth Rendell. The sad thing about this regressive attitude is that I heard other editors at DC say similar things while I was there. So how can women be expected to get work writing superhero comics if there are editors who don’t even think they can do it?!?!

    Finally, here are some other women editors who I don’t think have been mentioned:

    Melonie Chadwick at Harris, Maureen McTigue at Harris and DC, Jennifer Lee at Vertigo and Marvel, and Cat Yronwode for many years back in the day at Eclipse.

  53. “Re Power Girl: Fred, your comments make me think you’ve never actually seen the character. The visual focus on her breasts is screamingly obvious, and writers’ use of them rated a section in her Wikipedia entry. And how on earth can you think that the word “Power” affects the nature of the character?”

    Well, Steven, sexism means a belief that women are inferior to men (and several other definitions as well, but they don’t really apply). Power Girl is in no way inferior to any man exept her writers (if they’re men). So, that’s how I conclude that the character of Power Girl isn’t a sexist depiction. In addition, there are many different practical purposes for her particular costume, but I have no idea if they played a part in her creation because I didn’t create her. Maybe it was as simple as “let’s make a female superman and give her giant hooters”, but even still that doesn’t make it a sexist depiction.

    and to continue for the fun of it, “I’ve seen people argue that superheroines’ portrayal isn’t sexist, that it’s just physical perfection for men and women both”

    I would argue that comic book characters often represent the ideal physical attributes of each gender in the eyes of the creator. Most men don’t look like Captain America and most women don’t look like Power Girl. Seems pretty fair to me except that there is no real example of what a woman’s idea of physical perfection for men and women would be because most comic book characters were created by men. I would love to see what Amanda Conner and/or Nicola Scott’s ideal man and woman comic book characters would look like and I would like to see how they compare to the rest.

    Anatomy is anatomy, and that’s where “good” comic book characters begin, typically. Human beings, on the other hand, exist in every variation on the anatomic scale.

    “but that argument ignores the parts of a heroine’s body that are routinely emphasized.”

    Emphasizing the sexual characteristics of a female character doesn’t make it a sexist depiction. Sexist depictions would be if female characters always needed rescuing by the male characters. I think what you’re getting at is SEXUALIZED characters, and for that there is no argument.

    Excellent post by “gail” that really gets to the heart of the matter.

    Eva Hopkins–“I got so feisty when I heard that bitching about sexism is irksome.”

    To clarify, I only find bitching about hypothetical sexism irksome. Bitching about actual sexism is encouraged.

    Jim Higgins–“She seems, to me, to just be saying that it seems to be a bit of a problem that there aren’t many more women writing Big 2 comics now than there were 20 years ago!”

    If that’s all it was, I wouldn’t have been compelled to comment.

    Has anyone mentioned how awesome Becky Cloonan is, yet? Marjane Satrapi? Jessica Abel? Chynna Clugston-Major? Linda Medley?

  54. Fred,
    If I’m not mistaken I think Heidi’s original emphasis on “women writers in comics” was meant to connote women who did not both draw and write, since she said that Gail Simone had “cornered that market.” I don’t know Cloonan but the other three are writer-artists.

  55. I didn’t have time to read ALL of the comments, but I thought I’d chime in as an independent female creator.

    Y’all are absolutely correct; the reason most of us indie girls aren’t making it into the mainstream is often because we don’t have interest. I had a small window of opportunity to write female-targeted books for Marvel (pre-Minx), and I lost it. If I’d been 100% into the idea, I think I’d be writing for Marvel right now. I know I’m capable of doing it. But my heart wasn’t into it, and I lost the opportunity by not jumping on it.

    Don’t get me wrong; in this economy I’d be happy to have steady work and write a Spiderman Loves Mary Jane-esque book for an established company. But I wouldn’t be happy doing it for the rest of my life – it wouldn’t be fulfilling. I’ll take real-life heroines like Courtney Crumrin, or my own character Jamie (the sexiest character in GWS is a chunky virgin), to tights-and-capes-clad superheroines any day.

    By the way, I have to admit I’m tickled to read all these nice comments about me – I’m glad you enjoy my work so much!

  56. You know, my hippie mom used to read me Marvel comics as bed time stories -she read them from her own personal collection as Marvel comics were, believe it or not, considered cool, intelligent and subversive. Somewhere along the line that changed drastically, but as we start to question the future of print media in this digital age it seems change is yet again happening. “only when we are at the precipice…..do we change” :)
    Having said that: I must be walking into the comicbook stores on the wrong days or something because I’m not really seeing it… but I’ll take everyone’s word for it. Even with all the female professionals being listed in this thread -it seems about fair almost compared to the number of female fans being listed here…
    And I remember there being Romance comics in Norway when I lived there as a kid, and while there was some superhero comics there, that weren’t that big -yet young boys gravitated in a much more compulsive way towards comics than the girls, who seemed much more casual about it. Or so it seemed. It’ll be interesting to see the future as the girls reading manga grow up… and even my mom, an avid reader, didn’t really have a must read comics attitude. Honestly, that may be a healtier attitude anyway:)
    In any case I believe in comics as an artform, and it’s possibilities -and hope it’s new worldwide appeal across the board continues. I tell you as a teenager there were times I wished I was anything but a white male -thinking it would be cool to give a fresh perspective in the comics field despite the uphill battle: think of the possibilities, the uncharted territories you ladies have. I’m a little envious:)
    Anyway, diversification in comics has been something of a pre-occupation for me over the years and I’ve enjoyed this thread and the opportunity to revisit the subject matter, which has been honestly a bit of an eye-opener in parts.

  57. Fred, you come across as a denier — well-intentioned, perhaps, but with a personal definition of “sexism” that dates from the ‘60s and an unwillingness to consider the possibility that women night find the portrayals of comics heroines with their “ideal” bodies offensive. It may be comfortable to accept sexism in comics as the norm, but your failure to cite corroborating opinions speaks volumes in this instance. For an informed opinion, check out, for instance, http://www.darkfantasy.org/fantasy/?p=875 and the pertinent comments following the main text.

    BTW, it’s hardly unusual that observers of an industry are better positioned to see and speak about objectionable practices than are the people working in it, especially when the topics at issue are sexism, misogyny, and the like. Being willing to jeopardize one’s own livelihood is uncommon.

    SRS

  58. “a personal definition of “sexism” that dates from the ‘60s ”

    Nope–an actual definition of sexism from the now. Excuse me for thinking words mean what they actually mean.

    “an unwillingness to consider the possibility that women [m]ight find the portrayals of comics heroines with their “ideal” bodies offensive.”

    There is that possibility. Do these same women find actual women who fit that description “offensive” as well?

    Men are big dumb animals. Why should women get offended when men draw women the way they want them to look? Women, if you come across men who actually expect you to look like a comic book character, tell them they are big dumb animals without a grip on reality, and don’t give them another second’s thought.

    Steven, you seem to be trying to make a case for sexism in comics by mentioning a female character with large breasts and a costume which shows them off, and all I’m saying is that it doesn’t really hold up. I believe I’ve proven that to be the case, but you’re free to keep thinking otherwise.

    “It may be comfortable to accept sexism in comics as the norm”

    Comfortable for those who aren’t on the receiving end of it, but you have to have examples of actual sexism to rail against.

    “your failure to cite corroborating opinions speaks volumes in this instance”

    I’m no stranger to being the lone voice of reason. What was that? Oh, that was a majority of people reading that then laughing. Whatever, folks. But I’ll bite… corrorborating opinions about what? The meaning of the word sexism? That Power Girl isn’t a sexist depicition? All you need is reason and a dictionary for that.

    “For an informed opinion”

    That’s a stretch. He’s a film student, not a professor on women’s studies or anything.

    “check out, for instance, http://www.darkfantasy.org/fantasy/?p=875 and the pertinent comments following the main text.”

    I stuck to the main text, thanks. I wasn’t impressed. One can always find insults in compliments when insults are what one is looking for.

    I think you have difficulty telling the difference between sexism in comics and the sexism in comics we’re all talking about. Good luck with that.

    “it’s hardly unusual that observers of an industry are better positioned to see and speak about objectionable practices than are the people working in it”

    Speak, maybe. See, no. Fear does make people stop themselves from speaking out, but only the victim (or perpetrator) can truly testify to intent and meaning.

    What I don’t get is why people are so willing to accept that sexism is a given in the hiring practices of Marvel/DC on the basis of a blog post devoid of any actual evidence from a woman that hasn’t been employed by either company for years (it is years, isn’t it?). Boggles the mind.

  59. I think Danielle is correct in her post, but I also feel that it’s actually a non-gender-specific phenomenon to some degree. Certainly many female indie creators have no burning desire to write Spider-man, but it seems just as likely that a great chunk of indie MALE creators feel the same way. Looking at the huge roster of mostly male talent in the DC BIZARRO collections (which, for the uninitiated, had large numbers of short stories featuring skewed visions of DC characters as done by the cream of the indie comics world), it’s easy to see that almost none of those creators have done much more work for the mainstream superhero genre, if any at all. I rarely hear of indie creators trying to land ‘mainstream’ titles, and those that do often tend to drift away quickly.

    I’m not sure being female has anything to do with it. The two worlds seem to have not much crossover to begin with, for the most part. I myself find superheroes to be endlessly perverse and freakish and odd, and I don’t seem to get tired of them, conceptually. But I do have creator friends for whom they hold little interest at all, male and female.

    It’s a fine point, but I do think it’s important to separate what issues actually are gender-related from those that are less so.

    Gail

  60. ““Men are big dumb animals.”

    I’m not. ”

    Sure you are. I’m sure you’re also lots of other things as well, and being a big dumb animal doesn’t prevent you from also being an intelligent, magazine-producing robot.

    Generalization and hyperbole can be our friends as well as our enemies. It all depends on who is making them and about what they are being made. I certainly don’t believe myself to be a big dumb animal, either.

    I suppose it was too much to ask for you to view that comment in a non-literal fashion or even *gasp* an attempt at levity.

  61. I just wanted to make another mention since I was taken to task for including writer/artists instead of just plain old writers.

    I absolutely loved Alex di Campi’s Smoke. I would like to read more comics from her (that aren’t from Tokyopop) even though she seems to be quick to jump on the “sexism” bandwagon as well. She writes damn good comics, and that’s good enough for me.

  62. I’ve been prevented from commenting or following up on this post by travel, internet problems and — yay! — holidays, but I would also hail Alex di Campi’s writing. She’s a very very talented person in multiple fields who is now finding success as a music video director.

    But Fred, when you keep saying that sexism in the industry isn’t a problem, yet everyone who has actually WORKED in the industry — including a man — says it is, shouldn’t you just maybe, maybe start at least questioning what they are saying?

  63. “Sure you are.”

    I’ve very sure, I’m not. Fred, human beings are complex individuals (that’s me) who can make mistakes, or have poor judgment due to conflicts of facets, in these complexities. Altruism or greed, even evil are also factors. Our actions set us apart from the animals, not our biology.
    To use “generalization and hyperbole” is the issue at hand. Saying you and all men are big dumb animals, is like throwing yourself (and all men) under a bus, to prove you’re on women’s side. It’s not true, and there’s no need for it. It’s a cop-out. Each human being, male or female, regardless of race or ethnic background, needs to be taken into account. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to transcend all general aspects of themselves, and the adversities they garner. It is our responsibility as individuals, in fact, otherwise we are just playing the role of victim. Victim, Martyr, dumb animal, are all counter productive to humanity’s progression. Yes, slowly but surely, we are progressing. We need only keep our wits about us, and try to be responsible and fair.

    So, I am not.

  64. Christopher–

    How about–

    YOU aren’t, but your body IS????

    I’m not being entirely frivolous.

    If our actions (directed by the mind’s intentionality) separate us from the animals, then our bodies maintain our contiguity with the beasts, be they two-backed or otherwise–

  65. Beat says, “But Fred, when you keep saying that sexism in the industry isn’t a problem”

    I’ve written a lot of responses in this section and it’s possible my following comment will be untrue, but I did not at any point say that “sexism…isn’t a problem”. I don’t work in the industry, so how the hell would I be able to state a fact to which I have no first-hand knowledge? I believe that all I have been doing is challenging your claim–and challenging others to question–that it IS.

    “everyone who has actually WORKED in the industry”

    based on what?! Eva Hopkins even used an example where she mentioned a friend in the industry who claimed with absolute certainty that it ISN’T. So, clearly that prevents you from using “everyone” in that sentence.

    “shouldn’t you just maybe, maybe start at least questioning what they are saying?”

    That’s exactly what I have been doing, but I think you meant I should question my own views (which you misrepresented). Actually, what I was really trying to do is maybe make you question your own posts so that this blog would stop using blanket statements ( like “There are many reasons for that, among them, yes, sexism of some kind”) without any supporting evidence. We, your readers, look to YOU for the information. All I ask is that it be accurate information with some sort of support (a truthful example with names removed).

    Maybe I take blogs too seriously. If all they really are is a place for people to spout off about anything they want without the need for it to be truthful in the slightest, then I can do without them. Maybe I just take THIS blog too seriously because Heidi MacDonald is a highly respected person in the comics industry, and I have unreasonbly high expectations because of it. The thing is I WANT to support your scornful looks upon Marvel/DC for sexist hiring practices, but I’m not willing to do it merely because you say so. Unlike some people, I need proof before I accept something to be true. That has been the motive behind every single post I made in this thread.

    Christopher Moonlight, you are absolutely no fun, sir. None whatsoever. Simply feeling the need to counterclaim “I’m not” really only proves your big dumb animalness. I’m on the side of truth, sir, and in my experience, men are big dumb animals (among other fun hyperbolic generalizations). Really… no fun at all. However, you often make excellent posts.

  66. Fred, you may think you’ve been scoring points. You haven’t been. I deliberately chose Power Girl as an example of a sexist character because she inarguably is, based on her use in stories as well as her appearance — and you reacted pretty much as I expected, ignoring or dismissing anything that conflicted with your opinion, and then sticking with your opinion, which is, essentially, “If I don’t think she’s (it’s) sexist, nobody else should think so either.” And you went to the extreme of asserting that the word “sexism” means what you want it to mean, and nothing else.

    Exactly what point are you trying to make? That you’re an angry 60-something white male who’s sour about too many things to count, including the state of society generally, and has too much time on his hands?

    The comments on the article, “The Objectification of Women in Graphic Novels” matter because the posters’ concerns match the concerns expressed here, and one female comics reader included the following in her comment:

    “Clearly the medium needs more female contributors, editors, writers, etc. End the boys’ club. It’s not going to stop pigs like Miller from vomiting their bile all over the medium, but at least it’d provide a counterpoint to his (and others’) relentless woman-bashing. As well as providing an alternative for female (and socially sensitive male) fans. No matter who’s writing or illustrating, women in comix need to be provided with brains, complexity and character development in quality equal to or exceeding that of their appearances. I think the real problem is that women in comix are being presented first as sexy things and then as people.”

    In addition to looking up the meaning of “sexism,” you also need to look up the meaning of “ad hominem,” as in “ad hominem argument.”

    Please stop pretending that your unsupported opinion is the law.

    SRS

  67. Chris M–

    “I thought I said that. Let me check. Yep, said that. Great minds think alike.”

    Not quite. Emphasizing human contiguity with the animals reinforces Fred’s point, though maybe not to the extent he put it forth.

  68. Steven R. Stahl–

    “Exactly what point are you trying to make? That you’re an angry 60-something white male who’s sour about too many things to count, including the state of society generally, and has too much time on his hands?”

    I don’t think you’re the person to be lecturing anyone on ad hominem attacks.

  69. again, i have to ask

    does anyone have any examples of any undeniably talented and genre appropriate women getting shut out of the “big two” in the last decade?

  70. Writer-artist Jill Thompson seems to have followed the course described above for most indie creators, male and female: choosing not to work in the mainstream for her own reasons, though unlike many indie people she did have the particular set of talents needed to do good superhero work.

    I do remember allegations of sexism in the industry from the late Kim Yale, which may’ve impacted how much she did for them. I think she deserves to be considered “noted.”

  71. SRS–“In addition to looking up the meaning of “sexism,” you also need to look up the meaning of “ad hominem,””

    Wait.. are you implying that I *didn’t* look up the definition of sexism or are you granting that I **DID** look it up and should look up another term? Because I pulled the definition I used directly from a dictionary, and where exactly did you get yours?

    People should stop trying to make words mean what they want them to mean and use their proper definitions instead. It’s indicative of a population slowly growing increasingly dumb by the generation.

    “Fred, you may think you’ve been scoring points.”

    With whom? Clearly I’m the antagonist in this little story.

    “I deliberately chose Power Girl as an example of a sexist character because she inarguably is”

    It’s not inarguably if I can argue against it. I did. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t make me wrong, smarty pants. Just because I don’t agree that she isn’t doesn’t make me right, either. However, it is far from inarguable.

    “you went to the extreme of asserting that the word “sexism” means what you want it to mean, and nothing else.”

    Try again. This time use a dictionary.

    “Exactly what point are you trying to make?”

    The points I MADE are as follows: The Beat should use more facts and fewer blanket accusations. Power Girl isn’t a “sexist” character nor is she really a sexualized depiction of a character (and I’ve already established that you disagree with this as is your right)–should all female comic book characters not possess breasts to prevent any hint at sexuality to avoid riling up the sexism crusaders? And finally, who gives a crap about comic book characters, we’re talking about sexism in the hiring practices of Marvel/DC.

    Quoting a quote–“women in comix need to be provided with brains, complexity and character development in quality equal to or exceeding that of their appearances.”

    This is so easy to tear apart with glee… I’ll try to restrain myself. First, why should the female characters be treated this way and with such care when the male characters aren’t? Since when is physical appearance indicative of equal or greater intelligence, complexity and character–especially in the real world? Are only the ugly female characters allowed to be stupid, simple, and shallow?

    Characters serve the story. They’re not always mouthpieces and/or surrogate victims for the thoughts and opinions of their creators. Sometimes they are, but sometimes they’re just sad little chess pieces which don’t require the same protections actual people still need. The only people who give a crap about that stuff are the people waging gender/race/orientation wars on the fictional battlefields of storytelling. And a lot of times those wars are waged by people with comprehension impairments who can’t tell the difference between what happens in a story and what the person creating the story actually thinks and feels so they persecute the creators for it because it makes them feel special as if they’re actually doing something.

    “Please stop pretending that your unsupported opinion is the law.”

    How is it unsupported? Well, obviously it has no support here in the comments section of this blog post, but I didn’t see you trying to take this blog to task for not supporting it’s opinion either, and that’s a nice little bit of selective blindness. Do you think your opinion is supported because you provided a link to a film student’s rant which had comments from equally annoyed people who agreed with him? Are you meaning support as in agreement or support as in documentation? Are you willing to submit your own opinions to the same criteria? Seems to me that you’re the one who is “pretending that your unsupported [or even a supported one] opinion is the law.” Speaking of laws, if there are laws which should be followed–especially by this blog–it’s don’t make accusations without proof. Should the author(s) of this blog be subjected to your criteria as well? Seems to me that the original post is a prime example of “pretending that your unsupported opinion is [a fact]”. So quick to point fingers, yet so blind to who’s guilty.

    The defense rests.

  72. –Addition… I believe I was typing my response while The Beat posted its recommendation. I wasn’t blatantly defying The Beat’s wishes (as I am obviously doing right now… sorry). I swear that post wasn’t there when I started typing.

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