MARTHA THOMASES: I love my shirt
When I left DC Comics in 1999, I stopped traveling to comic book conventions. I’d still go to the Big Apple shows and MoCCA Art Festivals to see my friends, but these take place in New York City, which, coincidentally, is also where my closets are. Now, for the first time in this century, I’m going to shows again.
At DC, those of us in the marketing department were required to wear t-shirts promoting the company’s characters, or with one of the company’s logos. At ComicMix, we wear our logos as well while we’re on duty. When I go to local shows to see my friends, I figure they already like me, and I’m not particularly going to make any new pals.
This is the long way to say that I don’t especially worry about my appearance at comic book conventions. Either someone has made that decision for me, or I was going to see someone who already had formed an opinion about me.
None of this is not to say I didn’t obsess over my appearance. I do. I worry constantly that people look at me and think, “Who let that fat old woman out of the house? Aren’t there laws against such public displays of cellulite? Is it really possible for flesh to sag that much in so many different places?” However, when going to a comic book event, I didn’t worry about these questions any more than I do when going to get a newspaper, or mail a letter.
To me, comic book conventions were a professional obligation. I presented myself as my profession requires, just as I wear a suit to meetings with journalists or clients, and a sweater to the yarn store. When a comic book convention is a social occasion, I’ll dress as my peers dress, perhaps taking the occasion to wear some cute shoes my friends can admire.
I do not consider conventions to make new friends. In fact, I never went to one before I worked at DC (except to go to parties when I first started working in comics, but, as a freelancer, I needed the free hors d’oeuvres). Even though I’ve been reading comics since 1958, I never socialized around them. Comics were something I liked, like rock’n’roll music, or blueberries. My friends were more likely to come from my political activism or the swim team or, later, from jobs or parents with kids the same age as mine.
Until recently, I’d guess most women at comic book conventions also didn’t worry too much about their appearance. As Heidi MacDonald has observed, most women at comic events were “dragalongs,” women who were attending because their boyfriends, husbands or sons liked comics, not because they were fans themselves. The best thing about going to a show used to be that there were never any lines for the ladies room.
This all changed in the last decade. Girls are not only reading comics, but they are proud about it. They go to shows by themselves, or with their girlfriends. If they dress up in costumes, they dress in costumes that are fun for them, not to be the Robin to a boyfriends’ Batman.
One would think that, if comic conventions really want to be more female-friendly, they would present more products that appeal to females. Obviously, if we’re at the show, we like comics, and we probably also like posters, action figures and other toys, movies and maybe games.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could find really cute clothes, too?
There’s a new company that just launched, trying to do just that. You can see the first few items in the line at www.fangirlapparel.com. They say they are “inspired by the need for apparel that’s comic chic and not comic bleak. Fan Girl clothing ismade to look fun and hip while letting the world know about your little obsession.” It’s just t-shirts right now, but it’s t-shirts that fit. They plan to do more and, even better, they’d like to hear from us about what we want them to do next.
Here’s some of my suggestions:
• When t-shirt designs go on the chest, please be aware that there are breasts underneath. I don’t like giving anyone an excuse to stare at my tits, so I won’t buy anything that does that.
• Leggings are back in style, comfortable and adaptable. It would be great to have some with cute designs.
• Those with the legs would enjoy knit mini-skirts, again with cute designs. Pockets would make these especially useful.
Do you have ideas of your own? Let them know, or tell us about it in comics.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of ComicMix, actually wore a size 2 once.