women-read-comics

I was 9 when Supergirl came out, I loved it so damned much. I didn’t even care about the bad script back then because I walked out of that theatre believing I could fly.
— 

Alyson L., comment on The Worst (and Least Awful) Female Superhero Movies According to Nostalgia Chick.

All I can say is a big THIS. Girls grew up wanting super powers just like the boys. They will enjoy your Batman, your Spider-Man, but having someone you can identify with closely is not to be underestimated. This is why Hollywood needs to start putting minds and money behind female-led comic book films. We will pay good money to believe we can fly.

Please reblog if you’re a lady who grew up loving superheroes. Or just reblog for reasons.

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Yeah, that’s me.

Upcoming Meeting: August 20, 2015

Are you a woman who reads comics in Seattle? The Seattle Ladies Comic Book Club will discuss The Wicked + The Divine vol. 1 and vol. 2 (issues #1-11) on Thursday, August 20 at 7pm at Phoenix Comics and Games on Capitol Hill (113 Broadway Ave E., Seattle WA 98103). RSVP to the Facebook event.

Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critically thermonuclear floor-fillers Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to start a new ongoing superhero fantasy. Welcome to THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, where gods are the ultimate pop stars. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

The Boob Test

So many times I’ll see a woman depicted in comics and my immediate reaction is “Yeah! Badass woman-hero! Woo!” …and then it’ll sink in and I’ll really look at the image and roll my eyes. In those instances, instead of inspiring an affirming “That’s a character who can kick ass and she’s a woman and it makes me proud to be a woman.” my actual reaction is “Oh look, boobs. The person who drew this loves boobs. Boobs and ass. Yay, I’m sure his male readers will really enjoy that." 

– When the boobs are where the readers’ eyes are drawn, perhaps the only thing you see when you look at the page, you have undermined the character.

– When the boobs are so large or so out of the realm of physical reality or so not in-line with who that character is… it takes a woman reader, like myself, out of the story. In cases such as these, you have undermined the character AND disrespected your readership. She is no longer my character that I relate to, she’s being drawn to be someone else’s fantasy (wank material). Right in the middle of a story I’m loving and all it takes are some rogue boobs or a pose that screams "I was made for you to fuck me” and I’m reminded that I’m reading something drawn for a specific audience of men, and my connectedness to the character is not relevant or even a concern. 

– When boobs take your readers out of the story, you have undermined the writer because it is telling the reader that you needed the boobs to distract from shoddy storytelling. …we’re onto you…

The image above: I’m not saying she should be drawn dowdy and wearing a burlap sack. And this isn’t even close to being the worst offender. All I’m saying is that the artist wanted to make her boobs the focus (and you can tell that because they are), which turns her into a pin-up and not the force-to-be-reckoned-with that Oracle is. Let’s be real, this is the pinup version of that Oracle. I love hot pinups, but when they’re drawn on the side or all up in my tumblr. Not as a cover to a real story.

Next post: Do you use big shlongs to bring in male readership? Then how can you say you’re serious about bringing in women readers when Busty McGee is the cover of a woman-centered comic? I’d be more likely to hide that I’m reading this, rather than hand it to a friend and say, “Read this!”

EDIT: Just to be clear, I take no issue at all with the body type depicted in that image. My beef is how the artist decided to make her boobs the focal point of the picture on a cover.

This is fajrdrako’s issue of X-Men #1.

She bought it when she was 11 years old at the corner-store by her house and has had it ever since. It has a faded purple stamp on the cover because that particular corner store marked when they got things in that way. It’s a little beat-up because “it spent about a decade lost under the piano”.

It’s an important little piece of history. Not because it’s old, or because it’s the first issue of one of the biggest comics franchises out there, although both these things are true.

It’s important because it’s tells a story about the woman who bought it, my amazing friend who fell in love with the X-Men as a little-girl and is still excited every Wednesday when we meet up to buy our new comics together.

It’s important because women read comics. Women have always read comics. And some marvelous women will always read comics.

Know what’s funny? I sometimes get treated like crap at comics shops, but I never get treated like crap by the people who actually write and draw comics. 

I hope any women interested in comics and worried about gatekeepers/shops/dudes-hiding-behind-counters know that, for the most part, the creators have your back.

When I walked up to a Valiant editor at Phoenix Comicon and mentioned that I wrote a Shadowman e-novella for Amazon, he was totally stoked and super nice.

COMICS ARE FOR EVERYONE.

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Breathers
Written and Illustrated by Justin Madson
TPB Published by Just Mad Books in 2011

Reviewed by Lydia H.

The world has changed and yet life seems to go on pretty normally. In Breathers the air is toxic to humans, a viral plague released upon the world. But people adapted, donning respiratory masks any time they step outdoors and installing air purification chambers in most buildings.

Readers will become immersed in the worlds of a small group of characters, whose paths all eventually cross in some way or another. A brother and sister question what they’ve always known to be true; is the air really toxic? A detective succumbs to his addiction of the drug known as “Filter K.” A mother struggles to get by, while her daughter escapes into fantasy to cope with the ups and downs of her life. A travelling salesman attempts to right where he went wrong. 

There is so much to appreciate in Breathers. The characters are so well fleshed out and relatable, which can be something difficult to achieve. I love the way Madson has their lives and stories cross. This story-telling technique is often overlooked, underused, and executed poorly. The artwork has obviously been painstakingly crafted and evokes the same sense of melancholy that story exudes. 

At its core, Breathers is a story about the human struggle; to survive, to find meaning, to make amends, to reveal the truth, and to grow. This is one truly great story from an incredibly talented story teller and artist.

I happened to stumble upon my copy of Breathers at a local used book store, but I’m asking you to please purchase from Justin Madson himself, as he is an independent maker and publisher. I plan to purchase something from him soon to show my support!

Sorry not sorry that Thor is now a Female

After I made my youtube review about Thor #1 and how I love Thor’s mantle being passed to a female (you know, those things with boobs), I got a lot of  heat about it.  Not only that, but I noticed anyone making a positive video about it getting down-voted as well.  Although the people screaming “fuck you Marvel” were getting plenty of agreement on it.  

Sorry, I’m not sorry.  Just like Captain America has his mantle passed on, so can Thor. And guess what, it can be a woman too. Shock! Gasp!   I get it, Thor is Thor’s name. He can have his name but not have the mantle of being THOR (you know, like Donald Blake, Beta Ray Bill, or Eric Masterson.).  Just like if you name your kid Thor it doesn’t mean he’s the superhero Thor.  

Women didn’t ruin your comics. We’ve been here the whole time.  This isn’t a gimmick to get more women readers. This is a new story that Aaron wanted to tell.

  

Meeting Notes: September 2015

At our September meeting, we shared some of our current favorites from the wider world of comics and pop culture. Here are the recommendations with links!

Comics Series:

  • Bitch Planet: If you’re not reading this already, get on it! Five issues are out and the first trade collecting #1-5 comes out Oct. 7.
  • Toil and Trouble: A new comics series from  Mairghread Scott and artists Kelly & Nichole Matthews about the witches from Macbeth. One issue is out now.
  • The Surface: A sci-fi series that takes place in a future Africa. Three issues are out now.
  • Arcadia: Another sci-fi series about humanity surviving in a virtual world. Five issues are out now.
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: One of Marvel’s most lovable superheroes gets her own series written by Ryan North and illustrated by Erica Henderson. Eight issues are out now and the first trade collecting #1-5 is also out.
  • We Stand on Guard: A futuristic military thriller about the United States invading Canada written by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Steve Skroce. Three issues are out now.
  • Shutter: A futuristic world explorer gets caught up in investigating her family secrets in this series from Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca. Fifteen issues are out now, including two trade paperbacks collecting issues #1-6 and #7-12.
  • Phonogram: An on-again, off-again series from Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson where music=magic. We suggest new readers start with the stand-alone Singles Club.

Manga:

  • One-Punch Man: a fun series about a character who can defeat enemies with a single punch. An anime adaptation starts soon.

Graphic novels:

  • Nimona: Originally published as a webcomic, this standalone graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson is about a shapeshifting teenager trying to become an evil sidekick.

Webcomics:

  • Gunnerkrigg Court: a long-running webcomic about a magical school with magic and science! Print collections are also available.
  • Stand Still. Stay Silent.: “A post apocalyptic webcomic with elements from Nordic mythology”

Other:

  • Floating World Comics: A great comics store in Portland, worth checking out if you’re in the Rose City, especially great for indie comics.
  • The X-Files: After 13 years, the X-Files is coming back in January for a 6-episode miniseries! Can you watch all 202 episodes before then? Supplement your viewing with the X-Files Files podcast.
  • The Visit: a found footage horror movie from M. Night Shyamalan, in theaters now.
  • Crimson Peak: Get psyched for this horror movie from Guillermo del Toro coming in October (and not just because Tom Hiddleston’s butt is rumored to make an appearance)
  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): Felicia Day’s memoir about making it as a woman in the industry and carving out her own geeky niche. Also great on audio!
Steph could've been the answer

DC’s reboot was 9 months ago and something that irks me to this day is the kybosh that was placed on Bryan Q. Miller’s run of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. It was youthful, funny and had so much potential.

It had such appeal for younger female readers. Here’s a relatable girl trying to make it in the hero business. Steph was earnest and headstrong and just plain fun to follow from adventure to adventure. Miller’s Batgirl brought lightness to the otherwise dark and broody. Had it been marketed to girls beyond the bubble of people who already read comics, it could have brought a whole new generation of readers to the table.  

If the question was, how can DC open itself up to new markets and initiate people into becoming lifelong comic book readers… Steph could’ve been the answer :)

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Kabuki Dreams
By David Mack
Published 2001 by Image Comics

Reviewed by Lydia H.

“The perpetual shadow is lonely. I come, clothed in a memory.’ Theirs is the untracked path of the bird in pure air. Holy magic ran through her form as heaven resumes and even the grass and the flowers pray a cry of joy from a woman’s voice, she herself invisible. the mists receive her. And now—she is a lost star. It is over. and there through clouds, and a sense of loss irreparable, weeping and crying in the wind. Is it a spirit, a form impermanent, drifting, or only a flurry of rain in the night?”

David Mack’s second installment in the Kabuki series is titled Dreams. The story is a stream-of-consciousness experience; a collection of thoughts and poetry; questions asked and answered. It picks up right at the end of Circle of Blood. What we’re reading and seeing is what Kabuki is thinking and feeling as her body struggles to survive, or is it struggling to die? It is vastly different from the first volume but that is what makes it a perfect follow up. As an artist I can appreciate and embrace what Mack is showing us in this volume. We are one with Kabuki, we aren’t just in her mind, we’re a part of it. We’re experiencing her pain, her visions, her revelations and insights. As a reader I can appreciate being allowed to partake in this intimate exploration of Kabuki’s psyche. Mack utilizes collage, poetry, and photography to tell this part of Kabuki’s story and puts it into comic book form. This kind of stuff blows my mind and is what makes me dig through those long boxes of fifty cent comics for hours. Unfortunately, this style of comic is not one that everyone will enjoy. Even if you liked Circle of Blood I’d still recommend you flip through a copy in person before you order one from Amazon or any other online retailer. 

Women In Comics: A Project

Hi everyone!Jessica from Girls Like Comics here with a short but sweet note about a little project of ours. It’s only just an idea I had this evening but it’s already gaining traction and I’d like to let you in on the ground floor.

Ok? Ok.

At Girls Like Comics we’re looking to set up a t-shirt or a series of things (a few different t-shirts, or hoodies or bags etc.) that raise awareness about women in the comics industry and I’m looking for artists.

We’ll be using https://represent.com/.

Depending on the final decision, the money from the products will either go to paying the artists themselves or to a charity that we all choose.

Anyone interested?

Email jessica@girlslikecomics.com if you are!

Comics Anthology

We’ll also be opening shortly for submissions for a full-colour comics anthology to support the #RepealThe8th campaign.

Upcoming Meeting: December 17, 2015

Are you a woman who reads comics in Seattle? The Seattle Ladies Comic Book Club will discuss Ms. Marvel vols. 1-3 (issues #1-15) on Thursday, December 17 at 7pm at Phoenix Comics and Games on Capitol Hill (113 Broadway Ave E., Seattle WA 98103). We will be joined by the series’ writer, G. Willow Wilson!

RSVP to the Facebook event. Buy your copies at Phoenix for 15% off!

Kamala Khan is just an ordinary girl from Jersey City–until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm, and prepare for an epic tale that will be remembered by generations to come. Written by G. Willow Wilson with various artists, primarily Adrian Alphona

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Ghost World
By Daniel Clowes
Published by Fantagraphics Books 1998

Reviewed by Lydia H.

I saw the movie adaptation of this a few years back and remembered the gist of it, but most of it I had forgotten. I remembered liking the movie and deciding that I should read the novel when I had the chance. Ghost World is about two teenage girls on the precipice of adulthood. Clinging to the familiar and the irresponsibility of youth, the two struggle through the summer after high school together bitching and moaning about everything you could ever think of ever.

There were things I really liked about Ghost World and things I really disliked. As a teenager I too frequented the same hang outs, watching the regulars, making up stories or finding things to criticize about them. I can’t decide if the two main characters started to piss me off because they were so ridiculously negative and found fault in nearly every thing, every minute of every day, or if they reminded me of myself when I was once too self absorbed to see how much of an asshole I was being to pretty much everyone around me (probably the latter). As much as they got on my nerves, I still find it an accurate portrayal of most teenage girls, and therefore liked it as well.

Towards the end I started to enjoy it more. The beginnings of transformation from self absorbed kid to less self absorbed young adult were apparent. Maybe that made me feel a bit better, that the characters started to grow up a little bit. Maybe it made me feel better that I must have changed too. There’s an interesting sense of embarrassing nostalgia mixed with dry blunt humor throughout the whole thing. I can appreciate a little humility. Easily found in most comic book stores for a fair price used.