Martha Thomases: Female Pros and Cons, Part 3
If you’ve been following my columns this month here and here, you know I’m on a tirade. I don’t like it that women are still considered an afterthought in the comics industry, especially as our industry is represented at comics and pop culture conventions.
And so, I want to shine a spotlight on various shows, and discuss what they’re doing wrong, and what they’re doing right.
In my last column here, I wrote a lot about ReedPop, the folks who put on big shows in New York and Chicago, among other things. They only had women creators as about ten percent of their featured comics guests. Since then, several people have alerted me to the fact that C2E2 is highlighting their female guests in their advertising. This is a great thing. I commend them for it.
(Hey, I’m a Jewish mother. Whatever you do, it’s never enough.)
Since I wrote my original story, they have added 38 guests. Of those, four are women (I think — some of the names are androgynous). That ups their percentage a bit.
Equally as important as having women invited as guests is making the best use of their talents and expertise. As with other guests, they should have spotlight panels and be part of other panels, and on subjects other than being a woman in comics. There is, as yet, no list of panels on the C2E2 site. Perhaps that means there is still time to make some suggestions. Jill Thompson, for example, can talk about the differences between working in comics for the Big Two, for independents, and for book publishers. She would be an excellent panelist for a discussion of how to break into comics, how to write (and draw) for different audiences, and how to use crowd funding.
This summer, Reed has added another show to its schedule in New York, designed to be more about comics than the multi-media frenzy that is NYCC. Dubbed Special Edition NYC, they have, so far, announced 20 guests. Two are women.
I don’t know what the criteria are for selecting guests for this show. It wouldn’t surprise me if Reed also doesn’t quite know yet, either. It is the nature of new shows to take a while to define themselves. They do’t yet know who will be exhibiting, who will be there as creators, as dealers, as fans. Still, I find it impossible to believe they couldn’t find more than two women. This is New York City. The comics business was born here (as they note on their website). The two largest publishers are, for now, still located here.
Hell, you could have me for a guest. I live here, so you don’t have to fly me in or get me a hotel room.
To end this on a bright note, several people alerted me to the Toronto Comics Convention. Of 21 announced guests, nine are women. I’m especially delighted to see Mimi Pond, someone whose work I’ve loved forever and ever.
Oh, Toronto! How I love you! You have single payer health care AND the Toronto Comic Convention.