Last month’s feature Women in Comics – Then & Now attempted to bring new insight to the age old debate on female professionals and characters within the comic book industry and why they do not receive as much fanfare as their male counterparts.
Reviewing recent industry headlines it would seem the struggle continues with recent public relations debacles on DC Comics’ titles Batwoman and Harley Quinn left many fans wondering – what were they thinking?
While many hold their breath in anticipation of change within the majors others look to the independent market as a beacon of hope.
Small Press Expo’s Ignatz Awards, has celebrated women cartoonists since its inception, this year was no exception as its awards ceremony continued that support by setting a precedent. For the first time, SPX says, all the night’s presenters were women.
This was the idea of special guest and longtime New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly. “I was given the opportunity ahead of time to select the presenters for each award to be given,” says Donnelly, “and I decided to choose all cartoonists who are women. More and more of us are now in the business, unlike previous years, and I wanted to celebrate that fact by bringing attention to it. “Many cartoonists came up to me afterwards — men and women — to thank me for doing that, it was great.”
The presenters included Kate Leth, Ulli Lust, Rutu Modan, Mikhaela Reid, Raina Telgemeier, Carol Tyler and Jen Vaughn. Lust also won an Ignatz for Outstanding Graphic Novel — a category in which all five nominees, including Modan and Tyler, were women.
However, the low numbers within the professional group of females working with major publishers remains stagnant.
Based on solicitations, December looks to be a sizeable step down for women at DC, both in terms of female creators and characters. With stronger numbers in both October and November it was surprising to see only 9 different female creators on 11 different books in, a drop of 5 and 4 compared to a month ago.
Traditionally, December is a very quiet month for new books all around. Perhaps there will be some new additions with the coming New Year.
Regardless of where you stand the female voice within the industry remains strong. Erika Statler, 33, waves her geek flag publicly as the president of the Society of Gallifreyan Scholars, a “Doctor Who” club at Purdue University. “I believe that women are more comfortable with publicly being a part of geek culture and showing it off because (being) smart is nothing to be ashamed of,” Statler said. “I embrace my geek/nerd side every day and I’m not ashamed of it. I shouldn’t have to hide something that makes me happy, so I don’t, and neither should anyone else.”
Captain Marvel: DeConnick on Carol Danvers and the comics industry http://lat.ms/19emTlX
“Holy Hot Flash, Batman! http://bit.ly/Rw1wW0