Original Post:  http://icrvnblog.deansfamilyproductions.com/?p=585


First, let me thank everyone who sent feedback and comments on the original post.  Anyone on social media or who blogs is always looking for approval and validation, but it’s heartening to get it when the topic is as important as equality and inclusion.

There really isn’t much more I can say that I didn’t already say in the original post, but since that post, I’ve come across a few more resources to share.

Marvel Comics’ latest publicity drive, the somewhat silly “All New Marvel Now,” introduced five new ongoing monthly titles with female leads: Black Widow, She-Hulk, Elektra, Ultimate FF (led by Sue Storm), and Ms. Marvel.  This is head and shoulders above the efforts of DC Comics with regard to female characters, but they also show that more needs to be done in the realm of female creators.  While several of the new books feature female editors, only one features any female creators in the primary creative team (writer, artist, inker, colorist, and letterer): Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel spins out of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel series, and features a teenage girl named Kamala Khan struggling with her identity as she begins to discover she has abilities far beyond her world as she knows it.  What makes Ms. Marvel such an amazing book is Kamala’s heritage: Kamala is Muslim.  Not only is the lead character a Muslim, but so is series writer G. Willow Wilson.

Wilson is an award-winning author, and like Kamala was born in New Jersey, which makes Ms. Marvel all the more important.  Marvel Comics should be recognized for their willingness to give some of their female characters a chance (in some cases, another chance) to shine in their own series.  However, to devote an ongoing book to a brand new character who so totally bucks the trend of male-driven super hero comics, that is something to be applauded.  In the debut issue, Wilson has presented us with a young woman that any of the readers can identify with on some level.  Kamala is dealing with being an outsider not only to classmates and neighbors, but her own family.  Kamala writes fan fiction featuring her heroes, the Avengers, and wishes she could be more like her favorite hero, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel).

But, first, she has to be able to leave her home with her father’s permission.

In this debut, Kamala Khan is created so perfectly and written so beautifully that she may very well be the next Peter Parker: that one breakout character of a generation that is so identifiable with an untapped market that the character and the book cannot help but be a wake-up call to publishers and readers.

At least, I hope so.  Ignoring the important political aspects of the book for a moment, it must be noted that Ms. Marvel is a gorgeous comic, and the art by Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring is perfect for the book and Kamala’s character.  There is a small bit of whimsy in the line work, and the characters look and feel real, and more importantly, none of the female characters are typical of the idealized bikini model stereotypes I’ve spoken of before.

I readily admit that my knowledge of the Muslim faith is limited, but my unfamiliarity with it was not a hindrance in enjoying the story or getting lost in Kamala’s world.  This is the first book in a long while (if not ever) that I *want* to be double-shipped (every two weeks) instead of released monthly.

Hopefully the success of the book will mean more opportunities (both in and out of Marvel) for more diverse characters given a real opportunity to escape the novelty ranks and bring greater diversity to the comic book character pantheon, and the ranks of creators.  If sales at my shop are any indication, where we sold out of two large orders within 24 hours each time before a second print was announced, that hope may come true sooner than I think.


New Resources for Women and Comics

In addition to the aforementioned Marvel Comics, a few new items have been released or announced that deserve as wide an audience as possible.


A New Kickstarter campaign: She Makes Comics (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sequart/she-makes-comics).

With 21 days and two-thirds of its goal left to go, this project hopes to raise the funds to create a documentary about the history of female creators and fans and celebrate their contribution to this amazing art form.  Interviews have already been conducted with creators such as Shelly Bond, Karen Berger, and Janelle Asselin, whom I wrote of in my original post.

If you are familiar with Kickstarter, then you know that crowdfunding rests on the delivery of rewards, and this particular campaign has some amazing rewards, including a script review by Asselin, and a personal tour of the Columbia University Library’s comics archive with curator Karen Green.


A New Book:  The Art of Ramona Fradon (http://www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/viewProduct.html?CAT=DF-The_Art_of_Ramona_Fradon)

Fradon is a name I remember early on in my comics history.  She joined DC Comics at a time when it was nearly impossible to find female artists getting regular work at the larger publishing houses.  Instrumental in the creation of such characters as Aqualad and Metamorpho, she went on to continue the legacy of Brenda Starr from creator Dale Messick when Messick retired.  The book’s text is a long interview with Fradon, who has some great stories to tell, and offers insight into the culture of comics from an oft-ignored perspective.


A New EmpowerPrint:  We Are Wonderwomen

The author of M3, Erica Schultz, recently shared a tweet from Susan Eisenberg (who brought Wonder Woman to brilliant life in the recent Justice League cartoons) that featured this piece by artists Catherine and Sarah Satrun:

"We Are All Wonderwomen" by Catherine and Sarah Satrun

This image, a parody/mashup of Wonder Woman and the recent Dove soap campaign, may be one of my favorite images celebrating female comic fans.  All manner of body and personality types are represented, all dressed as one of the most powerful icons women have in comics, Diana of Themyscira.

Thankfully, the artists have made it possible to purchase prints of the image, which you can do here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/SatrunTwinsArtShop

(I should note that if you follow my wife’s recipe blog, http://flyingporkproductions.com/, you’ll notice one image the twins have created that is already a favorite for our family.)


A New Anthology:  Blood Root (http://sawdustpress.tumblr.com/post/76346370465/i-am-super-excited-to-announce-blood-root-a-new)

I make no secret that I love the work of Shing Yin Khor and Tara Abbamondi.  Not only are they constantly tilting at the windmills of misogyny, they are also fine people, and the love they have for their work is infectious.  Shing has just announced a new anthology comic book, Blood Root, and the first issue will feature a story by Tara.

Published under her own label, Sawdust Press, Shing will produce a regular anthology of 3-5 stories per issue that feature tales of the supernatural, plus all things food- and cat- related.  Shing is looking for submissions for future issues (details in the post linked above) and is striving for stories that celebrate a diversity of cultures, people and relationships, with special focus given to feminist and queer stories.  (Accepted submissions will earn a flat fee of $500 per story.  Since she is paying for these stories out of pocket, make sure to support her with your time and money, and let everyone know about this venture.)  The first issue is due in July (aka, not soon enough).


A Resource for Life:  Girl’s Leadership Institute – Brave Life Project (http://www.girlsleadershipinstitute.org/bravelifeproject)

Kelly Sue DeConnick shared a link to the GLI’s Brave Life Project recently, and I am (as they say) “boosting the signal.”  The Project is a plentiful list of resources from all areas of life for young women to call upon to help unleash their own brave woman.  The page includes links to articles, books, movies, television shows, and other resources for young women to draw inspiration from to become the woman they can be, and the woman the world deserves.


Keys to Being a Better Comic Shop:  Nick’s Medulla (http://nicksmedulla.tumblr.com/post/76263844481/how-to-be-an-inclusive-comic-book-store)

Another Kelly Sue DeConnick find, this post by a young man who works in a shop in Pennsylvania is a great resource.  Not only should all employees/owners of comic shops read it, but comic creators and fans should too.  The whole reason I started my rants/tweets/whathaveyou about women and comics is that sequential art is an amazing art form, and to be at all exclusive of any potential audience is outright asinine.  Shops need to be welcoming not just to thrive in a typical business model, but to also help broaden the appeal and appreciation for the art form.  This post is a good starting point for all shops to help themselves, and the industry, succeed.

Thanks for stopping by again…I’m sure there will be more in the near future.



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