Tomorrow is the day when the people of my country stuff themselves with pie, watch football, and give thanks.
Last year I did a list of comic “Turkeys” and a list of things I was thankful for in the world of comics. This year in the spirit of the season I decided to pass on enumerating the jaw droppingly bad stuff and focus on the good things. For the most part.
Here is an admittedly eclectic, rambling list of some of the things I am thankful in comics this year.
Batwoman. It took so long to get here, but it was well worth the wait. Smart, gorgeous to look at and lucky enough to have had two wonderful creative teams with synergy between the first and the second, Batwoman right now is everything I want from a superhero comic with a female lead. I spoke with J.H. Williams III last night and after hearing what he had to say about the book, I am feeling confident it will be for a while. That the lead in this best-selling book is the first opening gay woman to headline an ongoing comic? Double thanks.
Scott Snyder. It’s not just that he’s a great comic book writer (because he is). It’s because with his run on Detective this year he reminded me of so many things I love about comics. First his work on issue # 875 gave me the jolt of what it is feels like when you read a truly great and memorable issue of a comic. Second, because of how he conveys how Gotham City is as an important character in the Bat-Mythos. Third, how he returned Cass Cain to the Batfamily in Gates of Gotham. And finally, the thrill of coming across a writer who you may have only been dimly aware of and then realizing the weren’t just good, they were so good you were going to follow them as a writer for the rest of your life. Thanks Scott.
Womanathology. Female creators and comics. There was lots of debate and lots of stories written this year that talked about the number of female creators or lack there of especially in superhero comics. (Let’s put it this way when I thought about a Turkey list the first item was titled “Who should I have hired?”) But with all the debate going on Renae De Liz decided to that showing is sometimes the best way to get a point across and put together a comic anthology consisting of all female creators. That in itself isn’t particularly new or different. What was different was that by using Kickstarter to fund it she was able to spotlight the demand of female created comics at a time when the debate was in full swing. The project blew past its initial funding goals and went from just a project to be funded into a crystallizing moment. If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, I can’t think of a better comic item to invest in this year. If you have some extra cash please order a copy of this book and send a message that you support female comic creators (and also help support charity).
Geek Girl Con. Another grass roots effort around women and comics or really all things Geek. While I’m used to the debate about female comic readers (and by used to it I mean practically engrained in my DNA after this year) it was shocking to me that in the 21st century there was actually a debate about women being “true” geeks vs. “fake” geeks. The sad part was this debate actually had some women pissing on their own gender to try in some kind of effort to prove their real “geek” cred. Ugh.
But the wonderful women of Geek Girl Con decided to not just talk about the power of Girl Geeks but show it off. And so some smart women put on the first of its kind conference that was all about women and geek stuff. The response was great. The show sold out and the feedback from the attendees including creators was incredibly positive. Congrats to the organizers. And also congratulations to The Mary Sue who launched this year as a site devoted to women and geeky things.
Kyrax2. You can talk about the problems with female characters. You can write about the way they are treated. You can tell the powers to be how concerning it is. And while there may be some response, sometimes you need to move the dialogue to a higher level. And so I am thankful that a woman named Kyrax put on a Batgirl costume and decided to go ask some of these questions in person at SDCC. And the combination of the questions and their responses created yet another crystallizing moment this year for women in comics. The result of the showdown at SDCC was painful, controversial, divisive. But it got results and the debate about women and superhero comics will never be the same. But I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the many other women who also have been fighting the good fight this year like Heidi McDonald, Laura Hudson, Ragnell, Maddy, Kelly Thompson, Corinna Lawson, Alexa Dickman, Esther Inglis-Arkell, Erika Peterman and Vanessa Gabriel, Soranga, Jill Pantozzi and others. And I’d like to also thank Tim Hanley who takes time each month at Bleeding Cool to give us a snapshot of the gender balance among creators at the big two despite the comments.
All the Batgirls. In a year where the statement "every one of the former Robins" brought up concerns about the treatment of female characters in the DC reboot, Franco and Art Bathazar and Sholly Fisch of the Johnny DC line gave us a wonderful world where all the Batgirls and and the Robins, both boy and girl, can exist together. That only everyone at DC could share that view.
Digital Distribution. Every Wednesday at 2PM, I can now read new comics no matter where I am. DC Comics went digital this year and the world didn’t fall apart. Next year Marvel joins in. I hope this brings in a new set of readers to fuel the market even more.
Miles Morales. In a year where at times I wanted to bang my head against a wall about how comics handle diversity, there is now a non-white Spider-Man. So thanks Marvel. And thanks DC for bringing back Ryan Choi and having Batwing, Static Shock, Mr. Terrific and Blue Beetle titles in your new 52 (we still need to talk about WoC). Thank you for giving kids who aren’t white a superhero that looks like them.
Great Writers. Creators that give me great female characters in superhero comics always have my thanks. So thank you for your work this year Bryan Q. Miller, Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Marjorie Liu, Kathryn Immonen, G. Willow Wilson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Paul Cornell, J.H. Williams III/Haden Blackman and others, who I am sure I will think of as soon as I hit post, for the work you do.
Artists who get it when it comes to female characters. Thanks Nicola Scott, J.H. Williams III, Emma Rios, Cliff Chiang, Pere Perez, Dustin Nguyen, Phil Noto, Francesco Francavilla, Jesus Saiz, Marcus To, Francis Manapul, Mikel Janin, and Amy Reeder to name just a few, for understanding.
You! I am truly thankful that there are so many people share the passion I have for great female characters and a vision where everyone can have an equal seat at the superhero comic table. Thanks for reading, commenting, Tweeting, sending your wonderful pictures into Girls Love Superheroes and Women Read Comics, for voting in the kick ass contest and listening to the podcast.
So I wish you and yours a healthy day and much good pie. What are you thankful for?