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Friday, October 18, 2013 

When will women's roles in comics and as writers/artists actually be respected?

US News and World Report did a report on the NYCC and its insufficient number of female contributors as panel guests:
Any lingering, outdated assumptions that women weren't into comics could be quickly smashed simply by walking into the Javits Convention Center in New York this past weekend during the 2013 New York Comic Con. There, countless women joined the very crowded party, many of them dressed up as their favorite genre characters – a practice known as "cosplaying" in the comic world.

But the program for NYCC told a different story, as the blog DC Women Kicking Ass pointed out. Of the 274 listed guests, only 25 were female – and only one woman was grouped among the "spotlight guests." In fact, the surest bet to see a bunch of female comic lovers on stage was to attend one of the panels with "women" in the title. (There were panels devoted to the representation of LGBT characters and minorities as well.) The disparity was not lost on the guests of those panels either.
I think the LGBT panels were downright superfluous, and as for minorities, if they didn't include Romanians, to name but some, then I don't see the point of the panels if they keep going for the same old thing. I wonder how many panels even focused on supporting casts in any book?

As for how many women were guests, I agree it's a shame if women still lack better representation in the industry, but, they're still overlooking 2 serious problems that could affect more than just DC and Marvel: lack of creative freedom for female contributors, which is just as discouraging for women as for men, and the mistreatment of the female casts in the comics themselves, which is still a problem.

This article also brings up an embarrassing form of male audience for a toy-derived franchise:
...female audiences are popping up elsewhere, like the female "Transister" following among "Transformers" fans. They and their male counterpart "My Little Pony" fans, known as "Bronies," show that gender demographics often defy expectations.
"Bronies"?!? Do they really think that's something that should just be dismissed without concern? (They raise no queries about whether that's a healthy kind of hobby to lead.) Those grownup male fans of a franchise for [female] youngsters are a childish embarrassment, and Hollywood's encouraging them to lead that kind of thinking is doing sanity and maturity a disservice. No wonder pop culture fans are looked at so negatively.

They also say:
The Big 2 are no longer the dominant forces they were in decades past, facing competition from smaller publishers and new platforms. Yet there are other reasons Marvel and DC face a higher level of scrutiny. Working at the Big 2 provides a steadier pay check than the more independent routes.

"DC and Marvel pay at rates a person can use to pay a mortgage, buy groceries, live a life," wrote Jennifer Van Meter, who has worked for both companies, in an email. "I would like to see more women have access to earning a living making comics, and right now, those companies are still the biggest gateway to that."
But would women want to take the jobs only to find themselves stuck doing hack work like writing editorially mandated crossovers, unable to do any plausible character drama and forced to write the heroes and co-stars out-of-character, and incompatible with continuity? That's just why today, they're not the greatest gate to a career in comics, and one more reason why a lot of women are being kept out of their list of contributors, while those who did get jobs there seem token at best. (And surely smaller companies could offer better pay if somebody spoke to them about it? I think it's possible given the chance. Maybe IDW is one example since they're doing pretty well at the moment.)

It's also just why the big 2 are no longer dominant forces. They threw away creativity for the sake of insularity, and as a result, they lost audience to the smaller publishers.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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