Real Comics for Girls

I haven’t had a chance to explore this site in depth yet, but it looks very promising. Gurl.com, a site aimed at teenage girls, has their own comic section. I’m told that they’ve around for ten years, which is quite impressive, and I like their focus on community building. And oh, yeah, their comics are by women. One of their staff sent me a message with a quote I loved:

We”ve always known teen girls were into comics, because of course WE were into comics when we were teens, and our comix section is very popular.

Rachel and cat

Rachel Nabors, a young artist I had the pleasure of speaking with at SPX and whose works I’ve enjoyed, sent me the following background:

I’ve been making comics on and off for gURL.com for about three years now. I started freelancing for them when I was eighteen. I responded to their site’s Send us your comics! request with Fifteen Revolutions, which got such a good response from teenage readers that gURL began picking up more of my comics. With every year my art and stories got better, my fanbase grew, and the demand for more of my comics rose.

This November 29th I finally went weekly. Every Wednesday from now on, a comic of mine will go live at gURL.com like clockwork. Creative director Heather Bradley, whom I have worked with since I first started freelancing for gURL, knows that girls do in fact read comics. They read them so much that gURL is making a major push in the direction of girls’ webcomics. gURL expects to launch another weekly comic by regular comicker Martina Fugazzotto in January.

gURL.com’s parent company, iVillage, is owned by NBC Universal. I’m not working for a comic company or even a book publisher, and in some ways it rocks to be completely divorced from the clannish and typically misogynistic comics industry. There are no fears about whether my comics will take with the crowd, no pressure to conform to certain content expectations often found in comics. My comics have dedicated readers, and that’s all I or gURL need to know. In other ways it makes me sad to work outside the industry because I love comics, and many of the girls who email me confess that my comics on gURL were their introduction to the world of manga and American comics. I’m working to help bring girls and comics together when I’m not even a part of the comic publishing industry as defined by companies like Tokyo Pop, Slave Labor Graphics and DC. But, the world of comics is definitely changing. Perhaps I and gURL are a part of that change.

She’s got a very important point — the gatekeepers may be becoming more rigid and clannish because they know how easy it is to get around them these days.


11 Responses to “Real Comics for Girls”

  1. Journalista » Blog Archive » Dec. 15, 2006: Don’t ask Dr. Hal Says:

    [...] Johanna Draper Carlson takes a look at the comics section over at Gurl.com. [...]

  2. lea Says:

    Hooray for the Internet!

  3. Brian Wood Says:

    Side comment, as mentions of gUrl always bring me back to the glory days of the dot com boom: I was up for a job at gUrl way back when, probably 1999, and they ended up giving it to Heather (who is a nice person and very good at her job) because they didn’t want a man in that position at the company, I was told by the headhunter.

    I ended up working at Nerve.com. :)

    bri

  4. Andre Says:

    Hmm….. why look at that Minx, someone found girls who can draw comics ^_^
    I remember the Gurl family of websites when I was in high school…. they had a nice range of free website making tools aimed at teens at one point, where I hosted my first art.

  5. Libby Says:

    I had a gURL.com webpage, too (way back in junior high). ^_^ I love their books as well. The Looks Book and Deal With It! were so important to me in high school, because they showed this whole other way of looking at being a girl from what I saw in magazines or on TV.

    It’s been years since I visited the website, but now I’m really curious about those comics! XD

  6. one diverse comic book nation » THE SHORT STACK: Diversity On The ‘Net - December 16, 2006 Says:

    [...] Real Comics For Girls – Johanna from Comics Worth Reading spotlights Gurl.Com, a site aimed at teenage girls and that offers a wide range of web comics on topics impacting this community (from Comics Worth Reading) [...]

  7. Heather Says:

    Woo! Go Rachel!I got into manga though gURL.com, before that all I had was Pokemon ^_^

  8. Brigitta Says:

    I love rachel nabors! Her site has some awesome older strips with all sorts of semi-realistic story lines.

  9. Rachel Nabors: 18 Revolutions, Crow Princess, Subculture of One » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] has a comic running weekly at gurl.com. Her two most recent publications are collections of those strips under the Subculture of One [...]

  10. Rachel Needs Your Help » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] I’ve reviewed several of her comics. She’s quite an inspiration, since she’s been freelancing since she was 18. Now she needs your [...]

  11. Snowy Says:

    I lov reading them hooray for da internet !!XX




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