More on Gender in Comics

This is what I posted in Bleeding Cool’s discussion of how few women are in the business (and minorities, and so on):

As someone who spent significant time attempting to create a stable of female and female-oriented comic book writers for the Internet graphic romance novellas of MyRomanceStory.com, let me say that 1) the perspective needed to write successful female-oriented stories is not readily come by from men, so please do not look to men currently writing comics or even women currently writing comics to fulfill that need on their own, especially in the current editorial climate; 2) the ability to write comics well is not readily come by from anyone, period; and 3) most female writers think comic books are for kids, so the good writers don’t apply. The boys club atmosphere of the comic book business also makes it an inimical place for female creativity outside the rigid lines of male interest. Counting colorists as part of the creative team is a joke; coloring has been a girl ghetto for forever.

Granted, with MyRomanceStory.com I was trying to create romance comics, not adventure comics, but that’s the perfect testing ground. Romance writers who would eagerly sell all rights or even pay production costs to dinky publishers just to call themselves published would not even submit story ideas, such was their contempt for the comics medium and their lack of familiarity with it.

But there is a new generation of comic book readers, female, that has grown up reading manga but has almost nowhere adult as comic readers to go. These women are a ready-made market for storylines that relate to adult American women, not childlike Japanese schoolgirls, because they already know and like comics. But is anyone writing comics for them? Not hardly. Are they writing comics? Where? Is anyone in the comic book establishment even talking about producing comics of interest to women? Not to my knowledge.

There are established female paranormal novelists who have had their stories turned into comics. That’s because they have the influence to make it happen, and they carry their novel audience to their comics. Where is the ripple effect? Is anyone trying to capitalize on these anomalies?

To strengthen female roles in comics we must strengthen female perspective in the comic book business. Adding more women creators could help, but bringing new flavors to comics is the key. Diversity really means not the narrow same-old same-old, whoever is doing the writing and the drawing.


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