Women of Color at MoCCA
As mentioned previously on ComicMix, last night’s "MoCCA Monday" panel was held in conjunction with Friends of Lulu and the Ormes Society, and featured three enterprising women of color working in the comics field. Moderator (and Ormes Society founder) Cheryl Lynn Eaton interviewed Rashida Lewis, Jennifer Gonzalez and Alitha Martinez about their various projects, experiences in comics as both fans and creators, and hopes and expectations for the future.
The event was so well-attended that MoCCA volunteers were putting out extra rows of chairs to accommodate the crowd. This seemed to speak to comics fans’ need to see and support images represented in their favorite hobby, both on the page and behind the drawing board, that aren’t always the white male default. Even so, the very talented women seemed to want to keep an arm’s distance from the mainstream comics scene. Lewis has a nice portfolio of work for Marvel Comics but felt constrained by corporate dictates, and is following her muse by painting and working on her upcoming manga title Yume and Ever. Gonzalez takes her inspiration from Mad Magazine, underground and even horror comics to continue in the alternative world with Too Negative and her other dark humor works. And Lewis has expanded her Sand Storm series into a downloadable game soon to be available for mobile devices, and is intrigued by the world of animation in general.
All the panelists except Martinez, who tends to shy away from comic convention appearances (although she plans to be at Wizard World Philly next year), spoke of having negative experiences with fellow creative people not taking them seriously in a "boys’ club" atmosphere and paying more attention to them as potential dates than as industry peers. Fortunately, most of them have gotten respect and positive feedback from their fan base, which bodes well for the future.
Among the audience members was new Friends of Lulu president and Occasional Superheroine Valerie D’Orazio and Glyph Awards founder Rich Watson. Watson reminded us again that the 2008 Glyph Comic Awards season is now underway, impressing us once more with how well planned out his awards process is (submissions can be sent through January 20, 2008, then the judges winnow them down to the final nominees, then online voting takes place and everything wraps up at ECBACC next May), very similar to what happens with the Eisners. We were then stunned and delighted to be asked to be a judge for the 2008 Glyphs! Thanks again, Rich! It’s not only an honor, but a scoop for ComicMix! And if yesterday’s panel is any indication of what’s out there, we’re looking forward to reading lots of great comics work by women (and men) of color in 2008 and beyond.