Today, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund launched a Kickstarter for their latest project, She Changed Comics. Edited by Betsy Gomez and printed in full-color, the book will profile over 60 women from the early 20th century until now whose contributions to the comic book medium have changed the way that we look at and think about sequential storytelling.
The Kickstarter page provides a short and insightful history lesson that serves to whet our appetites for the full story, providing examples of leading women from throughout every era from the Golden Age to the Modern. She Changed Comics will profile women like Jackie Ormes, whose art not only influenced comics but contemporary fashion as well. The CBLDF will also examine women who had to work around the draconian standards of “decency” set by the Comics Code Authority, which takes us to the modern day where women like writer Gail Simone helped stamp out the legacy established by the CCA.
Other modern women who will be profiled include Phoebe Gloeckner, Alison Bechdel, Marjane Satrapi, Jillian Tamaki, and Mariko Tamaki, whose books have often been contested or censored for their frank and honest depictions of traditionally sensitive topic such as religion, sexuality, and puberty. She Changed Comics will even look at cartoonists who have been imprisoned for their work, including Doaa Eladl, Kanika Mishra, and Atena Farghadani, the latter of which “is currently serving a nearly 13-year prison sentence for mocking Iran’s parliament in a cartoon.”
Contributing to the Kickstarter can net you some fantastic rewards. Some of my favorites include private tours of comics archives at Columbia University, The Society of Illustrators, the Last Gasp Art Vault, and the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at OSU. For the philanthropists among you, a donation of $1000 can net you guest status at the CBLDF’s booth at San Diego Comic-Con or a speech given by the CBLDF at the institution of your choice. Aspiring cartoonists will be excited to hear that the CBLDF is offering Professional Development Reviews with esteemed editors such as Calista Brill, Robyn Chapman, Karen Berger, Shannon Watters, and Diana Schutz.
For the rest of us, pledging $15 will get you a copy of the She Changed Comics e-book and pledging $25 will earn you a physical copy of the book.
She Changed Comics is shaping up to be a remarkably insightful look at marginalized group that has made enormous contributions to our industry despite facing hostility and adversity from many contingencies of male fans and professionals. Frankly, we need this book. We need to celebrate the contributions of women such as Francoise Mouley and and Simone, because without them we would not have the blossoming industry that we do today.
Alex is the New Media Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at First Second, Top Cow, and Papercutz. He primarily covers DC Comics and Magic: the Gathering.