Women in Comics, what a strange and unusual sight, let us feast our eyes on these unicorns of the industry with specifically tailored panels that celebrate their most peculiar trait – their gender!
Women in Comics panels: you need to go far away, very far away. These days, progressive women have no time to be marginalized by your archaic efforts attempting to give us a soap box. Women will find their own way to organize panels and speak about our life as women if we choose. These panels highlight the real problem of representation in comics. It seems that readers, publishers and other creatives think women weren’t there for the beginning of comics. While I could go into great detail on just how far back women working in comics actually goes, we should focus more on the solution to this bland panel idea that keeps coming up year after year.
How about just putting more women on all panels. I know, it’s a scary thought. Trading your big deal white male writer for a black non-binary web comic creator is a difficult move. You wonder, “Will people show up?” or “Will anyone know who this is?” To answer your questions, yes. If your worry gets the best of you anyway, imagine this: why not facilitate someone climbing up the ladder, allowing more individuals the chance to be seen, heard and valued as an industry peer? There’s no need to blow your own horn, congratulating yourself for this thoughtful move but instead take note of the places where you have the ability to truly change the current climate or perception of comics. It’s important that panel organizers be more progressive, giving voices to all minorities, a chance to speak outside of their own churches. Women in Comics panels, while attended by a variety of people, can truly limit the scope or voice of the panelists. Some of these panels are empowering and awesome but not as wide reaching as they could be. We need to think bigger.
Simply being a woman is too broad a concept. Women are so many things! Creatives, mothers, activists, all of the above. Women in Comics isn’t just an hour long panel cut short because the moderator ran late. Women in Comics is just life and it’s a life that many women lead every day. We exist and work just like the rest of you. Once you’re finally over that idea, give us something more interesting to talk about, we’ve got lots to say, I promise.
In the end if your real altruistic goal is to promote women because you’re assuming women are the most ignored part of this industry, think again. Why not host something along the lines of an Equality in Comics or Comics Are For Everybody panel (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). There are many people in this industry and in many industries who have their voices drowned out by a majority, lets give the overlooked a chance to tell their stories.
And if you do choose to host an Equality in Comics panel – one tip: make sure you haven’t simply brought on five, heterosexual white dudes barking at each other about what equality is.
Stay sweet, true believers
Jordie Bellaire is a professional colourist living in Dublin, known for colouring just about everything and has deservedly won two Eisner Awards for her work.
(Really though, Jordies work includes Injection, Pretty Deadly, They’re Not Like Us and Blue Monday for Image Comics.. Deadpool, Moon Knight and Vision, for Marvel Comics, and Batman for DC Comics.. Just to name a few!)