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I am often amazed at the variety of female voices in the world of superhero comics commentary. When you look at the number of women who are involved in blogs and news and podcasts — Heidi MacDonald, Laura Hudson, Susana Polo, Jill Pantozzi, Corinna Lawson, Evie Nagy, Kelly Thompson, Josie Campbell, Grace Randolph, Erika Peterman, Johanna Draper Carlson, the Fantastic Fangirls and many others you have to wonder what there is such a dichotomy between the engagement of women with superhero comics and the perception of their value of as an audience by those who make them.
Commentary by women about women in comics has been growing through the years along with the growth of the internet and social media. And it’s not surprising. It’s enabled disparate voices who would otherwise have no way to communicate to collaborate and and engage on a shared passion. How I would have loved to have had a community of fellow female comic book readers around me while growing up. I found plenty of guys to talk about comics with but the ability to have share my ideas and concerns was limited. Years later I found virtual places, like Scans_Daily, Sequential Tart and Girlwonder.org where you could find other women who shared your interest.
The aggregation of female thought and discussion around comics has been an important part of this community building. The link blog "When Fan Girls Attack" created by Lisa Fortuner/Ragnell and Melissa Krause/Kalinara and later Maddy and Caitlin was for many years the place to go to find smart thinking about women and comics. That site was supplemented last year by "Dispatches From the Fridge”.
Now there is a new initiative, a carnival, organized by blogger Meg/thewherefores where women can come together to debate, discuss and talk about issues in comics. The first topic is Women in Refrigerators 13 years later. While WiR was chosen by vote from a number of topics, it seems extremely fitting. Women in Refrigerators used the internet to highlight the concerns of a female comic reader (and later creator) Gail Simone about the treatment of women in comics. It was galvanizing, provocative and still years later causes debate (go listen to the last 3 Chicks Review Comics podcast) and rancor (just go Google CBR and Women in Refrigerators or throw in the name of any other traditional comic site.
The carnival has an extensive FAQ, but basically women are invited to produce just about anything (video, writing, music, etc) on the topic. Posting beings January 22 -29. I hope you’ll write and spread the word.
I believe the female voice can make a difference to the comic industry. We saw it this year with Kyrax2 at the “Batgirl of SDCC”. Perhaps a critical mass of insight and discussion can also do it.