NO not really. THERE IS NO REAL FIGHT. Just some posting on an internet message board. A few people sent us the links to the whole kerfluffle, but to be honest, Graeme already did it and just what we would have done. But we’re going to go through it again. Basically, on the CBR forums, writer Gail Simone responded to Marvel editor Andy Schmidt’s comment that there weren’t many women trying to break in at Marvel, with this:

I think it’s more likely that aspiring female writers know that Marvel isn’t their best shot.

I like Marvel. I have a lot of friends at Marvel. But there is definitely a Howard Stern/partytime/fratboy/strip club element.

Again, I like Marvel. But when I was there, it was INEVITABLE that every female who left or was let go would be referred to as a ‘crazy bitch’ at some point. I don’t blame any one person for it, but it is something that could bite them in the ass if they’re not careful.

And on the flipside, big kudos to editors like Mike Marts who could NOT have been more gracious and welcoming. And Joe Quesada has been nothing but nice to me as well. It’s not the individuals, it’s just sort of an institutionalized faux ‘badboys’ environment, to my mind.

As a final cavaet, let me add that it’s been some years since I was there and it all may have changed since then.

At the Bendis board, BMB says this:

i call bullshit on this on so many levels gail. i would tell you privately, but you said it publicly. there are so many female editors at marvel, i can’t even imagine what you’re referring to.

marvel hired you gail. how is that sexist?

for future reference, if i pitch something and it doesn’t get approved, it doesn’t make that company anti semetic or anti bald- its bullshit and you had no example of any of this and i think you really owe the editors, good people with families, an apology.

AND Gail says THIS:

I said it because it was TRUE, Brian. Which, sorry, is the ultimate defense against a post like this. It happened. Since the people it happened to were friends of mine, it’s bothered me a bit, particularly in light of some recent comments from Marvel staff regarding female creators and the lack thereof.

On the other hand, I talked with Joe about it at length today, and he was very cool and straightforward about it. I think the world of Joe and always have. And he explained a few things that cleared a few things up. I said it, I stand by it, but after speaking with Joe, I had planned on clarifying a few points but haven’t been able to get ahold of Rich.

If you think I said it because I didn’t get a script approved, you are very mistaken. Aside from Night Nurse (which was cancelled before print), I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I have no grudge against Marvel, not even a speck, and I’ve seen plenty of ugly comments about DC here and elsewhere that don’t match my experience at all. I support Marvel creators constantly and have defended Marvel and Joe many, many times. The notion that I didn’t get something published at Marvel suddenly makes me take revenge after years of saying nothing but positive things is just silly.

It happened five years ago, and my knowledge of what’s going on at Marvel is practically zip at this point, which I acknowledged in my post. You know full well that stuff gets thrown up at Rich’s column with no context whatsover, and that’s just the way it is. If you want to talk about it in private, I’d be happy to tell you exactly who this was said about. Send me an email or call and I’ll tell you.

Eventually the thread is closed on the Bendis board, as Simone and Joe Q and surely BMB hash it all out behind the scenes and love reigns supreme once more.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about why there aren’t more women writing mainstream comics. Our first thought on that would be because there aren’t more women writing SF tv shows, since that’s where most comics writers seem to be coming from these days. (Christina Weir of the DeFilippis/Weir team got her start that way.) There do seem to be a few more women over at DC of late than at Marvel — Jodi Picoult and Denise Minna, novelists turned comics writers spring to mind — although novelist Tamora Pierce got a gig over at Marvel via the same literary route.

We won’t draw any conclusions on who, what why and where. It’s been years and years since we worked in comics, but—and we’re very, very sorry if anyone’s feelings are hurt by this—we, too, always heard women being called “crazy” when they left or were let go. We’re sure we were called “crazy” by more than one person, just based on the track record. Of course a lot of guys are called crazy too, but it seems that pretty much 100% of the women in comics are crazy, which raises the important question: WHY ARE YOU HIRING SO MANY CRAZY WOMEN??? Maybe women DO have to be crazy to work in comics.

And at the risk of bruising the delicate sensibilities of anyone in mainstream comics, I got news for you, bub, it isn’t exactly the most woman friendly field on earth. We’re sure there are many well intentioned and dedicated people trying to change that even as we speak, but that record stands. It’s just a tough field in general — we know of one line aimed at women that’s underway that doesn’t even have any women writing it.

Then again, most of the young women we meet who are getting into comics are just NOT INTERESTED in writing superhero comics. They’re more interested in manga or indie stuff. Of course, more of them are cartoonists than just writers. A more interesting question, perhaps, would be why are there so few Alex De Campis and Elizabeth Gencos out there — women writers who want to express themselves through comics?


  1. Heh, heh, so so SO true, Jackie.

    I honestly think there are a lot of well-intentioned MEN out there, however, but issues like this need to be raised. CONSTANTLY.

  2. is it because superherocomics ARE for kids still? Pubescent kids that is under a thinly disguised “adult” layer of makeup”.
    Basically, the writers writing superheroes are -in one way or the other- writing about their idols. I fail to see how a woman can look up to women dressed like Kitty Pryde, or Power Girl and such
    I always Wondered how Wonder Woman would have looked if she was designed by a woman.

  3. I wonder how many people read SMOKE (the best action comic of 2005, bar none) and thought: “That Alex DeCampi guy kicks ass!”

    As you point out, Heidi, the fact that talented creators like DeCampi and Genco are not working for the big American comics companies – not because they can’t get in but because, I’m guessing, they can’t be bothered – says more about the types of stories the big companies are interested in telling than it does about any desire for these two, and others like them, to reach a broader audience.

  4. Oh, Heidi,

    Just when I thought you could be trusted by the International Male Conspiracy. Y’know, we were about to nominate you for official One Of The Guys status, teach you the secret handshake, the whole nine yards! But now? I don’t know…

  5. “we know of one line aimed at women that’s underway that doesn’t even have any women writing it.”

    Same shit, different day.

  6. mario boon said:

    “is it because superherocomics ARE for kids still? Pubescent kids that is under a thinly disguised “adultâ€? layer of makeupâ€?.”

    Superhero comics, for the most part, are for people who believe in being powerful enough to help others. However, many readers want to be superheroes so they can beat on those who disagree with them. These are my opinions.


    …if you were to make your first trip to a comic book convention and happened to choose Wizard World Chicago, you would think that comic books were for socially retarded, pimply faced geeks. Guys (NOT men) who have trouble even saying hi to a female. When I got to Chicago this time, what did I see? A booth for Spike TV which was blasting music so loud I had to cover one ear to walk past…a wrestling ring, complete with scantily clad women walking around the ring…several (dozens?) of other scantily clad women…

    Why would most women want to be a part of this? It is easy to see how anti-female sentiments could flourish at the big comics companies. Many of the guys working there have simply never matured into normal human beings.

    Truly a sad situation.

  7. here are so many female editors at marvel, i can’t even imagine what you’re referring to

    So, who are all these women editors at Marvel? How come we don’t hear more about them or from them if there are so many? I think I read one post by a female Marvel editor. Sorry, can’t remember whom or where though.

  8. gail experienced what she did and brian had his own experience. why would gail lie and why would brian be upset?

    both people are entitled to their opinions…but shouldnt ARGUE over their individual experiences. they should just offer it up as a comparison and leave it for discussion.

    there are total assholes at each company…and great people as well.

    she didnt out people, so i dont see the problem.I think people should say what they want…but really, the only people that should argue with gail are people she directs things at, not other writers.

    marvel comics has the right to argue this. and she did the right thing talking to joe…so cool. this WAS 5 years ago…right?

    it’s nice to flag wave, but please dont discount gails experience or the way she felt she was being treated…this happened to her.

    and brian’s experiences, well…its great that they are good ones! more power to ya babe.

    as far as a frat party mentality…its true at both companies…and should be embraced at the same time when possible.

    confused? lol…really…why is this a story?

    JIMMY p

  9. I read stuff like this and I think back to a conversation I had with a male writer who got his start doing the DC kids line books and had since transitioned over into superhero books.

    As I was interested in making the same sort of crossover into the mainstream books from the cartoon properties, I asked him how to go about it.

    His response: “Are you dating or married to an editor?” Awesome.

  10. There’s this comics company that I work for here in the Philippines called Mango Comics. They’ve released many comic books where I’ve contributed both story and art. What’s interesting is that they have a particular anthology title, “Mango Jam” which is completely done by women, from editor in chief and staff, to writers and artists. It’s a very popular title, and it seems the one making real serious money for the company.

  11. At this past 2006 Heroes Con in Charlotte, I met a recent ex-Marvel Editor, whom I won’t name because she didn’t give me permission to do so. She told me an interesting story about a popular male artist. He drew a female character in an office with her shirt unbuttoned. The editor complained how it was distracting to what was going on in that moment in the story and in no way was this type of unbuttoned blouse indicated in the script. The artist revised the drawing by buttoning up just one button to piss off the editor. I thought her story was incredibly interesting as it showed how hard it must be editing stuff like that in a guy’s clubhouse so to speak. Of course, I’m a guy and I’m thinking I wouldn’t have minded the unbuttoned blouse, but of course she was right, it had no place in the story and was just guys being guys. I can see how that could be a difficult situation for women who are serious about comics trying to carve out their voice and place with a bunch of guys who like to draw and read comics with girls wearing unbuttoned blouses.

  12. On a somewhat-related note, when I went to a comics store yesterday with a female friend, aside from giggling over the cheesy 1970’s superhero names like Hypn Hustler, she asked me why all the women looked like prostitutes.

    I couldn’t really give her a good answer.

  13. “but please dont discount gails experience or the way she felt she was being treated…”


    “as far as a frat party mentality…its true at both companies…and should be embraced at the same time when possible.”

    Um, no! A mentality that shuts out or degrades one side or the other is NEVER okay.

  14. lea…I mean the fun part of the frat…not the bad. I have been to frat parties…they arent all horror shows. some are actually fun. I was hoping that was understood.

    lol…guess not.

  15. Dude, I was PRESIDENT of my fraternity at Georgia Tech, and girls were definitely not shut out or degraded at our parties. Sometimes we did a good job of degrading ourselves, but we liked girls and were extra nice to them…

    I think it’s time for all of us to finally admit what this whole thing is REALLY about: the continual and casually accepted defamation of fraternities!