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 been 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 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.