Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Class Assignment: Create a Comic About Gender

At the beginning of this month, an online class I signed up for started. It's a Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, on Gender Through Comic Books, offered through Ball State University, and taught by doctoral candidate Christina Whalen Blanch. It's a six-week class, and we're assigned various comic books to read and discuss them in the context of gender. It's not for a grade, not suitable for inclusion on a transcript, but damn is it interesting! Blanch is clearly enthusiastic about comic books, and her excitement is reflected in a number of the participating students.

Our week-two assignment was to
Create a comic based on a story regarding gender you or a close friend/family member has experienced. You can do this alone or with a partner. These experiences could be anything [in] your life that has to do with your gender. It could be going through the drive thru at McDonalds and asking if you want a “boy toy” or a “girl toy” or it could be something about gender stereotypes.
Not gonna lie, this one has me more than a little nervous. My drawing skills are pretty rudimentary, and the requirements made that harder: 4 panels (minimum) have to contain dialogue or narration, 2 panels (minimum) have to contain no dialogue or narration, conveying an idea solely with imagery.

Writers tell people to "write what they know" so I chose to use my quest for female action figures and having a daughter to tell my gender-related story.

Presenting "Where are the girls? Adventures in toy collecting and parenting," written and illustrated by me. It briefly chronicles the beginning of my female action figure collection, how having a daughter made me look at gender representation in other media, and beyond. (Click on an image to embiggen.)

As comics go, this is heavy on the words, and light on the illustration. Yes, there are walls of text. But I don't know how to or cannot illustrate some of the wordier concepts. I am calling this my "style." Heh.


Anonymous said...

Great comic! I found it really insightful, and felt like it captured well the development of your understanding over many years.
Thanks for sharing.

Wendy said...

Thank you! Yes, this has definitely been a journey, not a destination. And it's hard to say where I'll end up at the end of it. :)

(BTW - yours is unbelievably fantastic. I am in awe of your talent, truly.)