200805191331Writer Hudson Phillips runs a “women in Comics” roundtable:

I recently had a conversation with 5 brilliant, creative, funny women who are up and coming (if not already established) in the world of comics. I asked artists Rebekah Isaacs (Hack/Slash, Drafted) & Amy Reeder Hadley (Fool’s Gold, Madame Xanadu), journalists Johanna Draper Carlson (Comics Worth Reading) & Angela Paman (Comic Addiction), and web-comics creator Julia Wertz (The Fart Party) about their thoughts on the state of women in the comics industry. Everyone was very vocal about their opinions and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of diversity. I hope that this can be a springboard for more of these types of healthy conversations in the industry.


Now, you know how we feel about “Women in Comics” panels and so on. Until you see these same five women being interviewed about the future of comics, or how to break in to comics, or some non-gender-related issues, it’s still a bit of a pigeonhole, wethinks. However, all caveats aside, it’s an interesting piece, well worth reading if only to see how a generation that has had little if any nay-saying directed against them, views these old issues:

Amy: I know being female is still an issue in some ways, but from what I can tell, it’s getting much better. In fact, I honestly think some of my good fortune entering the mainstream comics world came FROM being female. I’ve felt completely welcome working for DC Comics, and I think people are just so happy to see a new female creator. They want diversity. It’s good for the medium and it’s good for business.

Julia: I think it’s become less of an issue while the pool of women cartoonists grows. I think it’s still surprising to find women in mainstream comics, but the alternative comics scene has a large number of female cartoonists involved with it. So in regards to alt. comics, I’d say it’s no longer an issue. (Although we do have to deal with Cathy jokes constantly).


Also of note is the discussion of why women don’t write or draw more superheroes. While several of the respondents go for the accepted notion that girls just don’t like boy’s fantasies, this negates the huge female readership for a lot of shonen manga, which are just as boy-themed as superhero stuff. Could there be OTHER factors at play? Hmmmmmmmm…

1 COMMENT

  1. It’s always been my feeling that women make for more interesting artist anyway. Well, 75% of the time. They seem to be willing to try out new ideas on things without the stanch attitude towards how hard core fans want things to be. I mean, there are men like that, too. Chuck Austen is one example of that. Maybe, they do less superhero books because a lot of people don’t feel comfortable with the girls in their clubhouse. I know this has been said before of course, but I still hear stories, so I’ll just say it again. I’m still working on the shonen manga thing. I personally still think that American comics are doing better over all in content, but again that’s just me. I’m a boy and I’m still doing my “homework” on that one.

  2. “While several of the respondents go for the accepted notion that girls just don’t like boy’s fantasies, this negates the huge female readership for a lot of shonen manga, which are just as boy-themed as superhero stuff. Could there be OTHER factors at play? Hmmmmmmmm…”

    I think you’re taking a rather interesting leap of logic here, that shonen manga and superheroes are interchangeable. They’re really not. While there are some books that could be considered to play in the superhero pool (Naruto, DragonBall Z, etc) there are just as many, if not more, that don’t. Death Note is about as far from superheroes as you can get. One Piece is a pirate tale in the old pulp tradition.

    I think it’s fair to say women, on the whole, aren’t as interested in superheroes as men and therefore don’t have the same desire as men to create superhero stories. But maybe I’m straying too far from the point? I dunno.

  3. “It’s always been my feeling that women make for more interesting artist anyway. Well, 75% of the time. ”

    Damn … you might be praised for this forward thinking. If you said the opposite, though — that men made for more interesting artists — you’d be considered a misogynist.

    I don’t think men or women as a group make better entertainment … it all depends on the individual …

  4. “Also of note is the discussion of why women don’t write or draw more superheroes.”

    They do. On fanfiction and fan art sites. They just don’t get paid for it.

  5. Since so many women seem to have a problem with being pigeonholed, it’s time for a “women in comics” panel that only has men on it.

  6. I really think women COULD like superhero comics; the problem is the concept and delivery. Sailor Moon is a superhero story, and that was FOR women (or girls). There are a lot of possibilities with superheroes; it’s not about tights, it’s modern mythology. But I don’t think those possibilities have been explored very far. It’s like these arbitrary rules have been put in place that limit the genre. But it’s getting better.

    And has anyone else ever seen a female superhero and thought, “She looks like a drag queen”? Not always the case, but it’s another thing to watch out for. It sort of says that the perfect woman is a man with boobs. In my opinion, high-cut leotards emphasize this look…I’ll leave it to you to figure out why.

  7. “I recently had a conversation with 5 brilliant, creative, funny women who are up and coming (if not already established) in the world of comics….”

    Why do these things always have to treat their subjects with such a note of gross flattery?

  8. “Why do these things always have to treat their subjects with such a note of gross flattery?”

    It’s the way of the world. Just listen to a person describe their children in print, or on a radio program. “I’m the mother/father of two beautiful/intelligent/creative/all of the above boys/girls …”