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Thursday, September 01, 2022 

Comics centered on Black women

Essence has an article about two Black women who're developing comics focusing on the same, but there are, unfortunately, fishy people involved, along with PC mindsets
Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith follow Toni Morrison’s belief that, “if there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” The award-winning writer-artist duo embody this by creating the stories they want to see and read within comic books.

Their journey as a comics team first began about five years ago, when Rowser had an idea to create a mini comic inspired by her own wash day routine. After battling with self-doubt and eventually finishing the script with the help of J.A. Micheline, her editor, Rowser reached out to Smith on Twitter to bring her idea to full fruition.
I seem to recall Michelinie wrote an anti-Comicsgate hit piece in the MSM, and it's honestly disappointing the 2 creators chose her as an editor to work with. If she really believes the far-left politicized paths taken by the Big Two is acceptable, and that nobody should question whether it's healthy, she's not being a good contributor to comicdom.
Rather than pitching the mini comic idea to a publishing company, Rowser and Smith launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to self-publish the project. The Kickstarter began on April 03, 2018; in less than two days, they reached their $5,000 goal. By the end of the 30-day campaign, 720 backers from around the world pledged a total of $16,785. Wash Day, the 27-page slice-of-life comic that “pays tribute to the beauty and endurance of Black women and their hair,” was released later that year to critical acclaim.

“What big publisher run by straight old white men is going to want a comic book about a Black girl going through her wash day routine? They don’t even know what that is. So I was like, ‘I’ll just do it myself.’ And it did really well,” Rowser says about her first comic. “All of the stuff that I thought would hinder its success ended up making it successful, which is really affirming as to the types of stories I want to tell. People are thirsty for these kinds of stories, and the success of Wash Day showed that.”

Rowser — a queer Black Puerto Rican and Dominican writer, editor and publisher who lives in Miami but proudly reps the Bronx — says she originally had no intention of expanding the mini comic, but when she and Smith were approached by Chronicle Books with the opportunity to turn Wash Day into a graphic novel, she got creative. “It was interesting because I created Wash Day as just a one-shot thing. I didn’t plan to make it larger,” she tells ESSENCE. “And so, when approached by Chronicle, I’m like, ‘OK, how can I make this a bigger comic without it feeling forced?’ That’s when I thought of the short story concept. That made it a lot easier for me to focus on and come up with things.”
I'm also unhappy they're turning this interview into an excuse to rag on white heterosexual men, no matter their age, instead of questioning whether ultra-leftism's ruining everything by modern standards. Indeed, that's the whole problem with these ideologues - they never criticize the liberal end of the spectrum they stick with. Yet this interview does symbolize the pure irony of somebody adhering to liberalism who's ungrateful to the white men she speaks of who adhere to the same ideology.
Smith, a Jamaican cartoonist, had recently graduated with an MFA from the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont when she first illustrated the Wash Day mini comic. Her expressive art style and distinct approach vividly shines through in Wash Day Diaries, and can be recognized in her other comics, such as The Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town, an award-winning autobiographical comic that explores the intersection of Blackness and mental health, and Nubia: Real One, a YA graphic novel and indie interpretation of DC Comics’ first Black woman superhero, Nubia.

“I thought [drawing] superhero comics was the only way I was going to make any money,”
Smith says. “Getting the opportunity to work with Jamila made me realize more of the comics I wanted to make … which is [comics] only focused around Black people, and Black femmes in particular.”

Despite the growing number of diverse comics being released each year by people of color, Black folks are still underrepresented in comics and within the white-dominated comic book industry. According to career and data analysis website Zippia, 79.4 percent of comic book writers in 2019 were white, while only 5.8 percent were Black or African American. This disparity not only affects Black people who are working in the comic book industry, but it also makes it harder for Black folks, particularly Black women and nonbinary people, to find and read comics that authentically reflect themselves and their lived experiences. That’s what led Rowser to create Black Josei Press, a publishing company she founded in conjunction with the release of Wash Day in 2018.

“I started Black Josei Press, and what I am doing is publishing comics by and for Black and Brown women and nonbinary folks, where we just get to tell stories about ourselves, for ourselves, without feeling the need to whitewash it or make it more palatable to a larger audience,” Rowser shares. “There’s so many amazing creators, and I want them to have the freedom to tell their stories.”
It is most extremely galling whenever this "non-binary" tommyrot gets shoved into the mix. It's demeaning to both women and men alike who actually believe this identity politics garbage, and no less annoying is how they're putting identity politics above entertainment value. Sure, a look at how Black women manage hair care can be great and informative, but the way they're injecting potentially separatist ideology spoils everything.

However, at the end of the article, something quite eyebrow raising comes up:
“A lot of the times when it comes to us, we have to prove ourselves and we don’t have a lot of chances to [do that]. If [big publishers] do want us to write a book, it’s about our pain or something historical. I want to show, especially with Black Josei Press, that all stories are important,” Rowser tells ESSENCE. “I want to show we can do it all. It doesn’t just have to be about Black pain. It can be about Black joy.”
Let's see if I can understand this right. The mainstream publishers want to write about pain, and potential victimology, not about optimism and building a promising future? Well at least that's summing up what's gone wrong with storytelling - it's been politicized, and writers of different race are being hired more for the role of a political tool than according to whether they've got talent to build entertainment value.

So at least some of the above interviewees are taking a better direction by specializing in creator-owned products now than in working for the Big Two. Indeed, one can only why anybody would want to work for Marvel/DC at this point, what with the way they're sunk in identity politics and not seriously concentrating on story merit. Some leftists do seem to realize it's not worth their time of day to seek jobs at Marvel/DC that may not even pay much more than the animation industry does, recalling a time when I read Gerry Conway telling in the past that the wages in Hollywood animation production are terrible. That could explain all the creators turning to developing comics that could mostly be sold through Substack blogs. If more leftists turn to indie comics as the Big Two collapse, we could be getting somewhere.

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