women in the comic industry

Joss Whedon may have given Black Widow and Maria Hill decent roles in The Avengers, but the movie still failed the Bechdel Test, all while making time for crowds of male footsoldiers and sidekicks. As for Age of Ultron, some fans are already concerned that Scarlet Witch is destined to become yet another of Whedon’s troubled-but-dangerous waifs, a staple of all his creative endeavors to date.
Instead of praising Whedon for the millionth time, it may be a better idea to focus on women in the industry, such as comic book creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Gail Simone, or the female showrunners of Marvel’s Agent Carter and A.K.A. Jessica Jones. If fans continue to hold up Joss Whedon as the voice of authority for feminism and diversity in superhero entertainment, then we’re not setting a very high standard for ourselves.

She Makes Comics: A New Documentary Explores the History of Women in Comics

She Makes Comics is a new documentary about the history of female creators and fans have who shaped the comic book scene. Featuring interviews with a diverse array people including writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and former editor of DC Comics Jenette Kahn, the film gives a comprehensive overview of the accomplishments of women in the comics industry. More broadly, the film portrays comics as an evolving art form that has reflected, responded to, and influenced popular and political culture through the past 50 years.

4 Awesome Marvel Movie Scenes You'll Never See (And Why)

#4. Certain Characters Just Won’t Get Their Own Films

Why is it that we’ve seen five Spider-Man movies, two Hulk reboots, two Ghost Rider movies, two Punisher reboots, a Daredevil movie, and a freaking Ant-Man movie starring two different Ant-Men, and yet plans for a Deadpool movie have been in limbo for half a decade and Marvel’s producers continue to tactfully dodge questions about giving Black Widow her own feature?

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There are of course the obvious answers – Deadpool is an R-rated character, and Hollywood is nervous about making R-rated superhero movies, and Black Widow is a female character, and Hollywood loves ignoring the fact that people watch films starring women. But there’s actually a much simpler deciding factor at work here: whether the character wears a mask.

Check this out: Robert Downey Jr. gets paid all of the money in the universe to play Tony Stark, so much so that his salary for The Avengers broke box office records and forced mathematicians to invent a new decimal point. But any time you see Iron Man on screen, that’s not Robert Downey Jr. That’s either a digital effect or some stuntman in a costume getting paid less than the cost of the tires on RDJ’s trailer. The same thing is true for Spider-Man, the Hulk, and any other character that wears a mask or is a CGI dinosaur Hercules.

It allows Marvel Studios to get away with paying the lead actor substantially less money, because the actor isn’t actually on screen all that much. That’s why the amount of time Robert Downey Jr. spends inside an Iron Man costume has gotten progressively shorter from film to film as his asking salary has increased, and why three different actors have played Bruce Banner in three different movies … freaking anyone can be the Hulk.

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Meanwhile, Black Widow has become popular enough in her supporting appearances to generate fan support for a solo Black Widow movie. But as you may have noticed, Black Widow does not wear a mask. Scarlett Johansson herself would have to be present for most of the filming, and her status as a leading actress has only increased over the years. That means she’d command a substantial salary, and Marvel is simply not willing to pay it. (In Hollywood, money always comes first; sexism and racism are secondary.)

Now look at Deadpool. For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Deadpool is a hideously disfigured goofball mercenary who can regenerate his body like Wolverine. Deadpool wears a mask, but the difference here is that he wears the mask all the time. In the rare cases where he removes the mask, his face looks like the Hamburger Helper glove if it got stuffed with minced beef and left in a flaming tire dump for 14 hours.

He briefly appeared (pre-face mutilation) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine played by Ryan Reynolds, who is still attached to the solo Deadpool movie should it ever get made. So now Hollywood has the opposite problem: a handsome lead actor that the audience never gets to see. Sure, they can still get away with cramming a much less expensive stuntman into the costume for all of the action sequences, but they still need to fork over the cash to hire a good-enough character actor who can connect with an audience through a mask and 3 pounds of prosthetic scabs. Think of it as the “Jonah Hex Problem.” It’s much more cost effective to have a grunting digital effect smash his way through Times Square than to slap 10 hours of makeup on Ryan Reynolds and his stunt double.

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With characters like Captain America and Thor, who are pretty completely visible all of the time, Marvel specifically didn’t hire A-list actors so they could sign them to multi-picture deals locked into relatively small salaries. Chris Evans was recognizable but by no means a headliner, and Chris Hemsworth had been in virtually nothing before tying a cape to his back and babbling in Odinspeak like a Shakespearean stroke victim. And as the Marvel release schedule continues to consist of only two films a year, it becomes less likely that they’ll ever take a chance on a movie they haven’t spent the least amount of money possible to produce.

This is the best logical explanation I’ve heard so far. This whole article is actually really good.

Writing the Other

Hey, fellow white people who write stories! Pull up a chair. I’d like to have a talk about allyship and writing the other. (Everyone else, go make popcorn. We’ll wait.)

This past weekend, comic books had one of its regularly-scheduled dumpster fire moments. There’s this glorified-D&D-campaign comic book which has received a lot of ally cookies for starring mostly female characters. The white male author took the popular female artist off his book to replace her with his original collaborator, an unrepentant male domestic abuser. Word got out, and then things got really fun on twitter dot com. Best was when the author’s wife popped up to do drive-by mudslinging at other women. Comics!

I think a lot of women involved in the comic book industry weren’t too surprised how this went down. Many of us are suspicious of so-called allies, because this is a story that repeats itself over and over again. An ally writes a fictional female character well, but treats real-life women terribly. Or an ally stumbles and mishandles, say, a trans character, and then they have a little meltdown about how everyone is so cruel to them on the interwebs. Cry it out, white boy.

My concern, however, is that the actions of a few shitlords out there make some other white writers genuinely afraid of centering characters of different races / sexualities / genders in their stories. This happens. But you know what? Writing is always hard, if you’re doing it correctly. Put on your big girl pants and write brown people as the wealthy scientist or the epic fantasy heroine, and/or LGBTQ people as the badass mercenary loner. Or strong female characters™ who never throw a punch or fire a gun. It’s called writing. If you’re not interested in writing the other, that’s fine too. But if you are, please get over your fears and just try.

In order to write, you have to listen. You probably wouldn’t write a book about the CIA in the 1950s, or about American soldiers in Afghanistan, without doing your research, yes? So if you’re thinking about writing a character different from yourself, you’d do your research too, yes? And as any good historian knows, primary sources are the best. Those sources can be anything: blogs, overheard conversations on the subways or in coffee shops, autobio, twitter exchanges, whatever. There is an uncomfortable element to this, that there is in all writing: a great writer is a liar, a thief, and a vivisectionist, and that’s the nature of our disreputable occupation. All I can say is try not to be an asshole about it. Steal does not mean wholesale; steal means mosaic theory of information to create something completely new and unique. Listen does not mean interrogate. Don’t treat PoC and/or LGBTQIA people on social media as your google. If you want people to read over a draft and act as a sounding board, for the love of God, pay them. Even if they’re friends. Even if you’re broke and it has to be just a token: $50. Dinner. You’re profiting off their lived experience; they should, too. Remember that the people you are writing about owe you nothing. Not even the time of day.

(Here is an example why research is great. Author Hillary Monahan discusses the use of sexual assault in fiction from a survivor’s point of view, and why you may want to reconsider using it as a shortcut to show that your villain is nasty or why your strong female character™ is so badass. Research makes stories grow, and I don’t know how to emphasise that enough.)

In order to write, you have to get things wrong. Most professional writers have long since made their peace with the fact that their stories won’t appeal to everyone (if they did, it’s not writing; it’s pandering). And every so often you’re really going to come a buster and land on your face in front of the whole damn stadium. So what then? You get up, dust yourself off, bow gracefully to the people laughing at you and try harder / fail better next time. Again, most professional writers of long standing realise that writing is an incredibly psychoanalytical exercise. You learn way too much about your own subconscious, your own prejudices, your own shortcomings. Sometimes you learn these things as you write. Sometimes you learn them only as the work is being received. But here’s the thing: we all should be continuing to grow as human beings. If you fail, listen. It is not the aggrieved minority’s job to make you a better white person, but it is your job as a writer to listen and learn. And apologise. None of this “I’m sorry if my story was misinterpreted” fauxpology bullshit. There is no such thing as misinterpretation. Just, “I’m sorry. I’ll do better.”

I’ve messed up in the past. (Like, I have said shit like “I don’t see colour” in a forum post. Trust me, if I could go back a decade and smack myself? I would.) I am going to mess up again. Keep watching; I’ll not let you down in screwing up. So maybe you try, too?

And please, please, don’t think of yourself as an ally. We shouldn’t need a special term for “white person who acts like a decent human being”. If you seek attention for yourself as an ally, rather than letting your work speak, you will simply engender suspicion with the very people you are seeking to get pats on the head from. Social justice is actually a pretty crap motivation for choosing ethnicities and orientations of characters. The other really does not need you, white person, stepping in as their great literary saviour. Especially if you are not making conscious choices to work with the very people you write about, eg asking for them as artists, choosing them as co-writers, etc. Ultimately, you can tell the truth of an “ally” by following the dollar. If it all goes to them and people who look like them? Yeah, time to spit in the batter of their next batch of ally cookies.

I know this is touchy ground for a lot of people. I’m interested in your thoughts on this, from writers and readers of any background. I don’t have answers; I just have opinions.

Women in comics

March is Women’s History Month and a time to reflect on the contributions women have made in several fields. The comic book industry, one that has been rightly accused of being an “all boys club” for most of its existence, has finally begun pulling itself out of its own equality dark ages and into a brighter and more diverse future.

Although there is still further to go, both the field and fans alike are now embracing talented female creators and holding them up to a higher strata once only reserved for male comic writers and artists. Creators such as Gail Simone and Kelly Sue DeConnick are leading the charge toward equality and helping to shape geek culture into an all-inclusive world.

Like with any movement, those who make it into the limelight do so with the help of others who toiled away in the darkness laying the foundation for others to build on. This in no way diminishes the hard work of those women in the comics industry who are now enjoying a level of success, but instead gives us a chance to highlight others who helped push the struggle further without ever receiving the acclaim they deserve. This is the story of two such women.



After livetweeting racebending’s great panel on women in the comic book industry this afternoon (to be posted for your reading pleasure on the site this week!) I headed back down to the floor to take some more shots of cosplayers of colour. We also did some interviews with kiddie cosplayers for BleedingCool.com, and I was happy to be able to include so many great POC kids throughout the weekend.

This group of cosplayers includes Buzz Lightyear, Princess Leia, Captain America, Winter Soldier (who made his own costume entirely), Bert from Mary Poppins, and myself as Margaery Tyrell – KJ

'WONDER WOMAN is first female-directed film that carries a $100 million budget #WomenInMotion’
By Variety Staff

While pointing to the gender imbalance that remains in Hollywood, they also pointed to slight improvements — including the upcoming “Wonder Woman” movie, directed by Patty Jenkins.

“It’s the first movie that a woman has directed — a live-action movie — with a $100 million budget,” Silverstein pointed out, drawing applause from the audience. “First.”

GUYS. Marvel’s new series “A-Force” comes out this Wednesday (May 20th)

It’s literally a comic where lady superheroes gang together and save the world– featuring all your fave ladies: captain marvel, she-hulk, america, spider-woman, and about 10000 more. (seriously, just look at the book’s cover- there’s a seemingly endless amount of characters.) If you want a little more information about the comic and happen to have some free time, here’s a super cool post about a-force and why it’s is important for women and the comic industry – written by G. Willow Wilson, one of the comic’s authors (also, coincidentally, the author of Ms Marvel)

i mean i’m definitely biased here but like. you should definitely buy a-force. this wednesday is the release of the #1 issue, so you’ll get to start right from the beginning! (plus, literally nothing is better than lady superheroes.) so please consider buying it if you’re into marvel comics, it looks like it’s going to be really good!!!

Five Trans-Centric Webcomics to Know and Love
More very cute genderqueer and trans comics, please and thank you!

“Trans men, women, and nonbinary folks are largely missing from the comics industry’s stories. Sure, we might appear now and then, but very few comics specifically focus on our lives. These five webcomic stories put trans characters on center stage and explore the ways we live, love, laugh, and hurt as trans people. Serious and humorous, supernatural and slice-of-life, the following five comics are perfect for any trans reader looking to see themselves in the webcomic world.”

See the list here

Women in Comics Convention challenges 'comics for men' idea
The comic book industry has often been characterized as an all-boys club, but its female artists beg to differ.

The comic book industry has often been characterized as an all-boys club, but its female artists beg to differ.

“An artist I worked with once said there’s nothing wrong with the way women are (sexualized) in comics because 99% of readers are men,” said artist Meichi Li, creator of the female-led Sherbet comic. “I told him I used to work at a comic book shop and like 40% of our readers were women. He shut up after that.”

Li was one of several prominent female artists who spoke Saturday at the second-annual Women in Comics Convention at the Bronx Library Center.

Several hundred comic fans attended the event aimed at celebrating the work of women trying to break into the comic book industry.

“We want to get people more aware of women in comics and their merit, their craftsmanship,” said Regine Sawyer, the event’s founder.

“It’s just meant to gear up the community, let them know what we do and encourage the youth that they can do the same.”

Emotion and Pacing in comics
One of the reasons that I love comics so much is that there are many valid ways to approach the medium. When I make comics, the parts I’m most concerned with are character and story. Everything I draw...

We get a few questions about writing for comics that are best left to those who are doing it. This is an excellent, long piece about two very important topics, emotion and pacing, that even a non-comics writer can learn something from. 

[oops, I made a goof.]

Hello everyone! But mainly the ladies, I’m looking at you.

A couple of months ago, I had a really great idea. I’ve put in on a shelf, but I think its time I started trying to get it in motion. So I’m putting it out into the universe, and we’ll see where it goes.

I want to start a monthly comic subscription box for women (with varying reading levels for all ages)

Each month would feature a couple issues (or a trade) of a comic that highlighted the awesome presence of women in the comic industry! This can mean that it was written by, drawn by, lettered by (you get the idea) women. Or just features strong, empowering (and awesome) female characters.

Ideally I’d like to have interviews, or articles each month contributed by women in comics, but I don’t have everything all sorted out yet.

BASICALLY I want to create an avenue for girls to get into comics (which can be hard, and sometimes intimidating). Or just a great monthly box to inspire women from around the world.

I’m just a little college student from Maine, so I don’t have the resources to kick this thing off the ground floor. So this is where you come in!

If this sounds like something you would be into, please reblog!

If you would like to help me make this a reality (or know someone who would) please reblog!

Or if you just think this sounds like a great idea, and you’re behind it, help me spread the word.

Magical girls unite.

Good morning.

As some of you may be aware, there have been some rumors circulating about my personal conduct with women in the comics industry. The accusation is that I’ve sent unsolicited intimate photos of myself to fans, colleagues, or possibly both.

Sexual harassment is incredibly serious business, and I believe anyone who has followed me for any period of time knows that I often speak against it. No one should be subject to such behavior. It’s invasive, disrespectful, and occasionally dangerous.

Have I sent intimate photos of myself to women before? Yes. I’ll absolutely admit to that. As a 26 year-old bachelor with a relatively healthy sex life in the internet age, these things happen. However, every photo sent was in direct response to either a photo received or a specific request.

Or so I thought.

Two years ago, I was engaged in two separate relationships with women whom I was sexually active with. Given the nature of these relationships, my experiences in past relationships, and various dialogues with these women, I thought it had been established within each relationship that intimate or explicit photos were acceptable, possibly even desired.

I GROSSLY misread the situation.

It has been brought to my attention that both of these women were uncomfortable with my behavior, and needless to say, I’m absolutely disgusted with myself. How I could so horribly misinterpret the situation confounds me, but that confusion pales in comparison to the shame of knowing that I did the very thing to these two women that I openly chastise people for on a regular basis. Also, beyond that, that these women felt this way for TWO YEARS without me knowing and attempting to make amends, which is wholly unacceptable in its own right.

I have reached out to both of these women and have made private apologies, but I felt it was my responsibility to make a public one as well. As stated earlier, I believe sexual harassment to be an incredibly serious issue, and while the harassment in question was a terrible and ignorant mistake, it does not change the fact that that’s what this was, and I accept full responsibility.

I strive to treat everyone with respect, as I feel those who know me personally or follow my comics work would attest, and as such I hope that helps frame how sorry I truly am that all of this happened. The best I can do is own up to it, acknowledge that I made an incredible error in judgement, and finally, make sure that I learn from this mistake and never repeat it moving forward.

In addition, if there’s anyone else out there who feels like I’ve made them uncomfortable, on any level, please let me know. Clearly I’ve misread situations before, and I don’t want to go years again thinking nothing’s wrong only to learn I’ve hurt someone.

Finally, I’ll be making a donation of $1000 to RAINN, as they’re an organization at the forefront of both preventing and aiding victims of sexual harassment and assault. Hopefully my small donation will in some way help them in educating even just one person, preventing another situation such as this.

My deepest, sincerest apologies to all.


I realized that in the handful of years that I’ve been tabling at conventions and offering prints, they’ve all be the requisite male super heroes, more or less.

My book HIGH CRIMES that I do with my good friend Christopher Sebela (@xtop), has a strong female lead, and it’s time I let that permeate my print work as well, as I’ve been guilty of under representing strong female characters in that way.  You’re either part of the problem, or part of the solution.

So I decided to draw Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers).  A strong, fully-clothed female hero who has her own series that isn’t written by a dude, but instead, a female writer with a strong voice for women in comics– an industry that has a lot of ground to gain with regards to 51% of the population.

I’ll have this at table J-09 this weekend at the Rose City Comic Con here in Portland.  Come say hello!



Sexism in the comic-book industry is rampant: We often either see the “scantily clad warrior” trope on the page, or no women at all.

That’s why the Image comics series Rat Queens really stands out: a bloodthirsty fantasy-saga about four badass lady warriors fighting a bunch of baddies. They’re imperfect, stubborn, complicated, brave, beautiful, and sometimes queer—so much more relatable than any overly sexualized, two-dimensional woman warrior can be. Plus—the series is a wonderful look at the power of female friendship.

It was refreshing to read something that spoke so dynamically to the type of female friendship I grew up with, where we could be so different from each other, with complex histories and expectations, while simultaneously being able to relate to and support one another.

Read more of what Bitch contributor TK Matunda has to say about the kick-ass comic book series on BitchMedia.org.

Instead of praising Joss Whedon for the millionth time, it may be a better idea to focus on women in the industry, such as comic book creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Gail Simone, or the female showrunners of Marvel’s Agent Carter and A.K.A. Jessica Jones. If fans continue to hold up Joss Whedon as the voice of authority for feminism and diversity in superhero entertainment, then we’re not setting a very high standard for ourselves.

TRINA ROBBINS is a Featured Guest at TCAF!

“Retired cartoonist and current comics historian Trina Robbins has been writing graphic novels, comics, and books for over 30 years. She was an early and influential participant in the underground comix movement, and one of the few female artists in the fledgling underground comix movement.

Both as a cartoonist and historian, Robbins has long been involved in creating outlets for and promoting female comics artists. Her subjects have ranged from Wonder Woman and the Powerpuff Girls to her own teenage superheroine, GoGirl!, and from women cartoonists and superheroines to women who kill. Her first book, co-written with Catherine Yronwode, was Women and the Comics, a history of female comic-strip and comic-book creators. Subsequent Robbins volumes on women in the comics industry include A Century of Women Cartoonists (Kitchen Sink, 1993), The Great Women Superheroes (Kitchen Sink, 1997), From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women’s Comics from Teens to Zines (Chronicle, 1999), and The Great Women Cartoonists (Watson-Guptill, 2001). Her most recent work, Pretty In Ink, published by Fantagraphics, covers the history of North American women in comics from Rose O’Neill’s 1896 strip The Old Subscriber Calls to present…” - Full Bio at TCAF site

Artist’s Website: www.trinarobbins.com

TCAF is The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, taking place May 9-11, 2014, in Toronto, Canada. More at http://torontocomics.com/

How Regine Sawyer and the Women in Comics Collective are Changing the Game, One Panel at a Time

by theblerdgurl

A few months ago, I was listening to a podcast and heard Regine Sawyer share that she owned a comic book company that employed all female artists … mainly of color.

That got my attention.

Then, she went on to say that she also started an organization dedicated to giving a voice to women who work in the comic book industry and helping them better brand themselves and promote their projects.

I stopped what I was doing and turned up the volume.

(Read the rest of my post over at The Mary Sue.) themarysue

Louise Simonson co-created Apocalypse (his look came courtesy of artist Jackson Guice) in the pages of Marvel Comics’ X-Factor, in 1986. Simonson — “Weezie” to her friends — is one of the better superhero-comics writers of the past 40 years, a person who crafted beloved stories about the X-Men and DC Comics’ Superman, just to name a pair of the more famous properties she has worked on. The 69-year-old was also a pioneer: She did much of her most famous work when women writers were a rarity in the comics industry. 

Despite all that, Simonson’s never gotten her due in mainstream media outlets.