So, it's San Diego Comic Con weekend! Woo hoo! Bring on the comics news! Bring on the awesome cosplay! Bring on the panels!
One panel that is particularly cool is the Women of Marvel panel, which will take place Sunday at 11:15AM. This will be the sixth year that the Women of Marvel panel has taken place at SDCC, and it is quickly becoming a mainstay at other major cons like the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) and New York Comic Con. This year the panel will feature writer/editor Louise Simonson, colorist Christina Strain, Marvel AR manager/cosplay blogger Judy Stephens, and project manager Jenny Yeats. It will be moderated by editor Jeanine Schaefer, who some of you may recall did an interview with Jez a couple months back.
Again, the panel isn't until Sunday but Andrew Wheeler from Comics Alliance did an excellent interview with Ms. Schaefer about the panel and the topic of women working in comics. The full piece can be read here, but let me share with you some of my favorite parts.
CA: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing women in comics today?
JS: Oh, man. I mean, honestly, there are a few that I can see off the bat. Being taken seriously (by pros and fans) for one thing. Becoming a part of that category of “woman in comics,” which I think can be a double-edged sword. Maybe odd to say in an interview about the Women of Marvel panel, but I do think it’s something we all have to deal with at one point.
I liked this response a lot. It can be a tough to be a woman who likes and works in comics. I mean, it's awesome to be a woman working in comics, but it can be a lot of pressure because in many ways whatever you do/say is almost always in the spotlight, from both the camp of people who want to bring you down and the camp who want to raise you up. The attention you get as a female creator/editor/staffer is entirely different than the attention male-counterparts get.
CA: Is there anything you think people could do — both readers and professionals — to support women working in comics?
JS: The main things readers can do are buy the books that women put out, and spread the word. You really do vote with your wallet. I get asked tons of questions about books by women that have been cancelled, with the idea that we cancelled them because when we need to make a budget cut, we cut the people we feel don’t matter, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Trust me, if something is selling, we want to sell it, for as long as humanly possible!
This is something I always say in my Comic Book Wednesdays posts. I cannot stress enough (especially as someone who works in comic book retail) how important buying the books you want to support is. Don't wait for the trade. Don't torrent it and read it online. If you like the book, get your butt down to your local comic book shop every month and buy it. Numbers add up, and at the end of the day numbers are the most important thing to any major publishing company.
CA: What makes a successful Women at Marvel panel?
JS: Ahaha, uh, me not being too hungover to turn on a computer? Are there kids reading this?
I love you, Jeanine.
CA: What’s the message you hope to send the audience away with at the end of this year’s panel?
JS: That the Women of Marvel initiative wasn’t an experiment, that it’s important to us as a company because we know how important it is to the fans and we’re always working to do it better. That there’s no wrong way to be a comic fan, that there’s a community for everyone waiting to accept you.
Excellent. I'm thrilled to see that Marvel's committed to improving the way women are represented in comics. I think they've been doing a great job in terms of their characters, but I hope this commitment to the Women of Marvel initiative means that we get more female writers and artists. My biggest pet peeve with the current all-ladies X-Men title is that it's a book being touted as super feminist but there are no female pencilers or writers on the book (that and I think most of Brian Wood's 'feminist' comics come off as pandering). Copiel's art is great, but I'd love to see someone like Emma Rios do a run. I am glad that Laura Martin and Christina Strain are both doing colors however, thank you Christina for reminding me.
Regardless, I'm happy to see the dedication to the Women of Marvel Initiative, and I look forward to hearing all the news from Sunday's panel. Thanks to Jeanine Schaefer for all the amazing work she does, and thanks to Comics Alliance for the great interview!
Lovely X-Ladies art done by Kevin Wada.