Sexy Chix

Chris Tamarri (link no longer available) reviews Sexy Chix, Dark Horse’s recent all-girl anthology, at length. Here’s some key quotes, but there’s a lot more worth reading at the link.

it makes sense that Sexy Chix, whose contributors were selected by virtue of their membership in the world’s majority gender and which lacks any unifying theme more specific than “women can make comix, too!”, would vary wildly in terms of creative success, ranging from the essential to the groan-worthy. … It puts female comic creators, and maybe even, simply, females, on the defensive, implying that self-defense is a necessary reaction. It’s a sort of affirmative action, giving the spotlight to these creators not simply because they’re talented, but more particularly because they’re talented women. … Even though these stories are for woman, by women, I was struck by what a strong presence men have. …

What is the purpose of this collection? It can’t be to showcase stories dealing with women’s issues, since that doesn’t account for the many stories that don’t do so directly, or even at all. It can’t be to spotlight new talent, since most of the creators involved have established careers in this medium (or, in the case of Oates and McCandless, in literature). And I certainly hope that it’s not to celebrate the cultural contributions of women in this medium, since these stories are, on the whole, not incredibly inspiring

An outdated idea, outright bad marketing (made worse by the editor’s defensive responses to the valid points made — “I’m a girl, so whatever I do isn’t sexist” doesn’t fly anymore), and mediocre contents means I won’t be reviewing the book myself any time soon. I flipped through it enough to see that my favorite artists, including Carla Speed McNeil and Chynna Clugston, contributed good pieces, but they didn’t make up for the unfocused nature of the book and the huge swings in quality overall.

What would be really revolutionary is if Dark Horse did one of their themed anthologies, like Autobiographix or Happy Endings, and only invited women to contribute WITHOUT making that the promotional hook. It’d be interesting to see who would notice and why.

Mark Fossen also reviews the book, finding it left him “cold and unengaged”, and concludes similarly.


One Response to “Sexy Chix”

  1. Chris Tamarri Says:

    Glad you enjoyed the review, Johanna. And I agree with you completely that an anthology featuring female contributors exclusively, but without a female-specific theme, would be something worth seeing, and more likely to achieve Sexy Chix‘s goal than that book ended up doing.

    I would be much more interested in a book that advertised the diversity of contributions to the culture from women. “Look: a murder mystery, a western, a romance, a comedy, and even a good-old-fashioned superhero story, all under the same cover. And did we mention that they’re all created by women?”




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