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Comics get a female push from the small time

by Kristina Livingston - Executive Editor
Tue, Nov 14th 2017 10:50 pm
 Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons
 Meanwhile, in their small time press lair, the amazing women of comics push harder and harder for female oriented comics!
Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons Meanwhile, in their small time press lair, the amazing women of comics push harder and harder for female oriented comics!

in the comics industry may be on the horizon, with a movement to place the power of writing, drawing and publishing comics starring female leads back in the hands of those who know how to cultivate storytelling about women: women.

With the money to support such creators being continuously funneled into the same comic arcs of overdone male heroes, small publishers are making moves to prove women comic creators and characters don’t have to be something that is difficult to seek out. 

To get an immediate idea of how women fare in the comics industry, according to theweek.com, “only 35.8 percent of Marvel covers and 32.4 percent of DC Comics covers featured female characters … only making up 16.8 percent of Marvel creators (including cover artists, writers, pencilers, inkers, colorists, letterers and editors) and 17.1 percent of creators at DC last year.”

It looks like the industry isn’t just less confident that series driven by women in their casts aren’t likely to be picked up – big names don’t appear very keen on entrusting them with their own artistic visions, either. 

Now, what reasoning could these artistic corporations have to not put their faith and funds in the hands of women? And why are some women, like the creators of the majorly successful dynamic “Captain Marvel” and “Ms. Marvel” highly doubtful that their content will succeed despite it being of refreshingly high quality?

I really do think that if you sort through it all, the general consensus one must come to is that since its start, the comics industry has been a place where masculine-driven prejudice has thrived to prevent women from taking creative control. Instead, women may remain complicit in their roles as walking, breathing superhero sex dolls, with vacuum-packed breasts and a suspicious lack of armor freeing their long, lean legs for appreciation.

The aforementioned theweek.com article sheds light on leaked emails from the great SONY leak of 2015, citing emails and phone calls as evidence that men in comics aren’t invested in getting works helmed by women off the ground. Marvel’s vice president of sales has even explicitly stated that retailers are not interested in promoting female-led comics to consumers, only to retract his statement. But still.

At the end of the day, men can make female characters all they want and watch them fail, not because they are women, but because the men did not put the love and complexity into developing them into a character worth following, supporting and loving. Putting the power into the hands of women gives them the agency to create not only the content they have desired to make all along despite rejections from higher-ups, but to push boundaries. There’s a glaringly simple reason that we can each name female-hero led movies that have bombed the box office, and it’s because each of those was terribly made. In my opinion, one only has to look at Patty Jenkins’ 2017 “Wonder Woman” to understand why it is important for women to produce the types of female-led movies that people want. Great, intelligent, complex characters, great diversity and not a single panty shot – I couldn’t believe my luck.

One publisher that aims to make the industry feel more hospitable toward women is Koyama Press, founded by Annie Koyama. According to theweek.com, Koyama Press works to get emerging talent off the ground. Within the past two years, 44 percent of its comic creators were women. In seeking out female and LGBT talent, Koyama says she is not looking to fill a quota, but rather to publish undiscovered potential that other publishers may not.

Emet Comics works to fill equity gaps in a more pronounced way, exclusively seeking out stories to empower women and girls.

According to theweek.com, “Maytal Gilboa founded Emet three years ago to develop and publish high-concept genre stories aimed at millennial women and told from their perspectives.”

The talent is out there, it exists, and it is a wondrous mine of possibility for each and every comics company looking for the next big thing. The key, I think, is not looking to solve quotas, but having the compassion, empathy and drive to fix problems that have existed in your line of work since its conception. If you work in comics and the only thing that gets you out of bed in the morning is the continuation of the same old, same old that will get you the big bucks, then you’re just another cog in the money-making machine that values capitalizing on art far more than appreciating it.

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