Women in Comics Roundtable

Hudson Phillips conducted a roundtable over the weekend, asking female artists and journalists to talk about the state of women in comics. Along with me, he interviewed Rebekah Isaacs, Amy Reeder Hadley, Angela Paman, and Julia Wertz.

Some great, varying perspectives are raised about whether women in comics is still an issue, the contributions of manga, recognizing some of the women who’ve gone before, and what positive steps can be taken to improve things.

I must congratulate Hudson on asking really good, thought-provoking questions and arranging the answers well. Too often email interviews have too-general questions (like “tell me about your background” or “what’s your opinion on women in comics”). By targeting several key areas, Hudson elicited better responses.

Update: Based on the reactions, talking about the issues that uniquely face women in comics is “pigeonholing” and plenty of women love superhero comcs — you just have to judge the gender’s tastes by the female friends who share the interest with you. (I’m kidding. I know some women read superhero comics; I used to be one of them. They’re just not the majority of the comic-buying market.)

I’m glad plenty of people are comfortable reading whatever they care for and I’m thrilled that some younger women haven’t experienced the discrimination prevalent just a few years ago, but I’m dismayed that the general attitude is “let’s put the whole discussion behind us”, because there are still important things to say and points to be made.

Of course women are asked about the unique struggles they faced — that’s not “pigeonholing”, that’s going to the experts. As I responded to Hudson, when he complimented me on having clearly thought a lot about the subject, I kind of had to, you know?


8 Responses to “Women in Comics Roundtable”

  1. Blog@Newsarama » Despite appearances, it’s honestly not a boy’s club. Says:

    […] Draper Carlson points to an article by Hudson Phillips about that oft-discussed nebulous subject, “women in […]

  2. Heidi M. Says:

    Johanna, it may not be pigeonholing, but here’s a question I don’t know the answer to: what is teh ratio of panels/articles etc you’ve been quoted to wher the topic was “women in comics” to “not women in comics”?

    I would say my own ratio is probably (career wise) about 3-to-2, including the yers when i was talking about FoL all the time. Now it’s probably more 50-50 — which is great!

    I can guarantee you that the ratio for men on “men in comics” panels is quite different.

  3. Hudson Phillips Says:

    Johanna – thanks for the kind words.

    Heidi – I completely agree with you that there is a problem when female creators are only featured on female forums. I hope that on my blog I don’t continue that trend. Johanna and others have agreed to discuss other subjects unrelated to “a woman’s perspective” in future articles. However, as Johanna points out, women are the best sources to talk to about women in comics. And some of the panelists take pride in the fact that they are women in the industry and can express their opinions on the subject.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Heidi, I’ve never seen a “men in comics” panel… or at least not one acknowledged as such. :)

    I take your point, but the same weekend I did this roundtable, I was also interviewed for being a geek, no gender involved. Before that, it was about comic criticism. So it doesn’t bother me all that much.

    Plus, you talk to people about what they know a lot about. I don’t come to mind, for instance, when someone wants a manga expert, because there are many people out there who know a lot more than I do. On sexism in comics, though, that I can speak to.

  5. James Schee Says:

    Hmm.. okay if I ever get asked about panel ideas again. I’m going to say how about a “Real Men in Comics” panel!

    Though after Beau Smith who would you get?:)

    Seriously though, great piece Mr. Phillips

  6. Johanna Says:

    Larry Young! I would love to see those two face off, although I think the testosterone would get too deep about ten minutes in. Then toss in Dave Sim… and watch for the explosion.

  7. david brothers Says:

    I kind of feel like the proper forum for that panel would be a roundtable at the local bar.

    Either that or light the con room so that it’s very dark and smoky. Maybe engineer a fight in the back for flavor.

  8. Johanna Says:

    Next you’ll be suggesting sawdust on a wood floor and swinging half-doors!




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