Kalashnicod (heykidzcomix) wrote,
  • Music: Belle and Sebastian, "Your Cover's Blown"

Nobody writes 'em like they used to, so it may as well be me

(White Gloves)

Where are we, ladies? Why don't we write comics? Not the kind that come with manties on the outside, I mean, and not OEL either--they're both comics, but one is a badly beaten dead horse, and the other is just not the kind I'm talking about right now. And not webcomics either, just because pinning down a list of webcomics is nearly impossible and thus useless for now.

How come we're not writing American-style indie comics?

And I don't want to receive a list of all the women who ARE making comics. I know there are women that do. The problem is, there aren't enough of them. The vast majority of comics by the major indie publishers are written and drawn by men. By my count (done by perusing their websites, although I may have miscounted a bit here or there), PlanetLAR/AiT, of their 35 comic series (i.e. True Story, Swear To God counts as one thing, rather than a set of volumes) has published 2 things by female writers (one which was cowritten with a guy), and I think Becky Cloonan is their only artist; Top Shelf has 5 female creators of their 68, and Fantagraphics lists 6 of 49 (I didn't count the Eros or Classic/Ignatz stuff, just mainstream Fanta); Slave Labor has about a dozen (hard to tell with some of the names, but let's be generous and guess 12) out of 92, and Oni, which does not present a handy list of creators, seems to have a decent number of women, but the majority of their series are done by men. Dark Horse doesn't seem to have any American women in their list, and while Image offers lots of pictures of women, I don't see any current series of theirs with a woman on the creative team. Granted, that's just a half-dozen publishers, but they're some of the bigger ones, and it seems unlikely there's a publisher out there that publishes nothing but women to even things out.

So are we getting blocked out everywhere, or are we just not trying?

If you consider anthologies, which are often proving grounds for people who haven't published full books yet, the same pattern holds. The Flight anthologies list 54 creators on their blog, and 10 appear to be women; Image has two anthologies listed with one woman in the solicitation apiece (24seven and Afterworks 2), and their monthly anthology intended to spotlight up-and-coming talent hasn't got a single woman in its solicitations. Even their Belle and Sebastian anthology isn't half done by women, though it's a far higher percentage than the rest of these examples.

The situation online is very similar; if women are aspiring to make comics, they're generally being pretty quiet about it. On the Engine, it seems like the most prominent women on there are the Enforcers (who may want to make comics, actually); most of the wannabes are male, with only four of the 83 posts on this thread for writers seeking artists coming from women. Other writing boards are very similar--Scryptic Studios is a sausagefest if I ever saw one, and as far as I can tell Penciljack and Digital Webbing are filled with dudes as well. Sequential Tart, on the other hand, has a creator's forum that hasn't had new posts in over a month, and their main boards don't get nearly the traffic that the other places get. (And there are lots of men there too. On the first page of the comics forum, four of the thirty threads are started by women, with the rest either men or in a couple of cases androgynously-named.) If everyone who reads comics wants to make them, it seems that the number of women who read comics is down in the double digits.

It seems that the pool of women who want to create is very small, but in a world where almost every female geek writes fanfiction of a sort, how can that really be? Are we trying and just being quiet about it, or we not trying at all? If we're not, why not? It's not like there aren't female hipsters out there, people!

I want to make comics. I think I'd be pretty good at it. Plus, I have a manifesto. (Pointy the first: Crush them.)
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