Monday, March 31, 2014

Renae De Liz

Renae De Liz is an artist who did an adaptation of The Last Unicorn, and later helped create the Womanthology kickstarter project, that finished with over 1500 backers, and resulted in a hardcover book published by IDW, featuring the art and words from female creators of many levels of ability. She’s also the creator of Lady Powerpunch.

This is by no means all of the influential women in comics! I tried to get a reasonable sampling across over a hundred years of women. For more information about them, and other amazing and talented women, I encourage you to visit the Women In Comics wiki. 

Additionally, lots of these women have various social media accounts that you can follow and interact with. The above wiki has some of their accounts linked, but it's not exhaustive. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

G. Willow Wilson

G. Willow Wilson is a writer, and her graphic novel Cairo, was inspired by her conversion to Islam (after being raised atheist) and being an American Muslim in a post-9/11 world. She has been a comic fan since she was a child, and she wrote the Vertigo series Air as well as Mysic and Vixen: Return of the Lion, both mini-series. Also to her credit, The Butterfly Mosque and Alif the Unseen, prose titles. She has just started a new Marvel series, reviving the Ms. Marvel character with a brand new, Muslim-American teenager in the role.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stephanie Buscema

Stephanie Buscema is an illustrator and painter, and got her start in comics inking for her grandfather, John Buscema. She has illustrated picture books, and covers, notably for Gail Simone’s Red Sonja and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She finds inspiration in mid-century album art, old monster movies, and vintage illustration.

Friday, March 28, 2014

SuperMOOC2, New Comics, Old Comics, and Action Figures

This month, I started SuperMOOC2 -- Social Issues Through Comic Books, taught by the impossibly awesome Christy Blanch. This class, still through Canvas, is not through Ball State as the Gender class was. (Those crazy fools weren't interested in doing another one. Idiots...) I got introduced to Buzzkill, which was an interesting and somewhat depressing look at substance use and abuse, and am looking forward to the interview with Donny Cates (who co-wrote the series) next week. We have already had an interview with the very cool and very forthright Denny O'Neil, who wrote the Legends of the Dark Knight: Venom and the Green Lantern/Green Arrow arcs we read. Modules for this class are addiction, the environment, social inequality, immigration and "media, government intervention, and information privacy." (See the full reading list here; unfortunately, I think it's too late to join the class.)

In other comics news, Ms. Marvel (written by G. Willow Wilson) is awesome and the new She-Hulk book is fun so far, but I am not loving Javier Pulido's interior art (I kind of hate it, actually). On the advice of a friend, I also picked up New Warriors and X-Force. Those may help fill in the gap that The Movement creates. [Pause for a moment of silence at the conclusion of that singular book, with issue #12.] I'm getting the Captain Marvel floppies (I had been reading the trades), and picked up Rat Queens (which is hilarious). Pretty Deadly, Secret Avengers, Red Sonja, Rod Espinosa's Steampunk one-shots (really loving those), Trinity of Sin: Pandora, Batman '66 and Brian Wood's X-Men -- I think that rounds out all my current reads.* It's gotten to the point that when we go to Dreamland, I'm getting more books than my husband is. (Which reminds me, I haven't been this week...)

I've been slowly acquiring all of the Promethea comics from Half-Price Books, and am missing only ten issues. I haven't read them, because I don't have the full run. I've read the first one, because it was 99¢ on Comixology and I thought I'd give it a shot, which is what prompted me to start getting the others. I got the action figure off ebay.

Someone mentioned the Batman "Orca" arc in a discussion thread, and I was intrigued enough to snag those on ebay, too. If Christy ever wanted to do a class "Ethics Through Comic Books," those three issues would be a great addition. It's a very "ends justify the means" Robin Hood sort of story, where Orca (our new villainess) steals from a wealthy slumlord to help save a neighborhood. I totally sympathize with Orca's mission; this is a story railing against the 1%. It's also interesting to see Batman cast in the light of bad guy for being associated with the real villain of the story (the slumlord). Sadly, I don't have an Orca action figure (pretty sure there never was one).

Also found in HPB excursions, Ace and three Austin Powers figures. I initially had my husband put those three back because Austin Powers is asinine and stupid... then second-guessed myself and went back and got them later that evening. Soooo now I have Felicity Shagwell, Fembot and Vanessa Kensington -- hey, they were only $5 apiece. (Ace was not so cheap.)

Bad photos are bad, but I'm feeling too lazy to get out a real camera.
* Oops! Forgot Godzilla and Hactivist (just back from the LCS). WOO! Legends of Red Sonja! And Aw... it's the last one. :(

Jenny Frison

Jenny Frison is an illustrator and cover artist, and has contributed to Red Sonja, Angel, Spike, House of Night, Hack/Slash, and many others. She has also worked for White Wolf and Hasbro.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sarah Dyer

Sarah Dyer is a writer and artist, with roots in the ‘zines in the ‘80s and ‘90s. She created the Action Girl Newsletter, which reviewed and listed ‘zines and mini-comics by women. In ’95, she created the all-female comics anthologies Action Girl Comics, which ran for 19 issues. At one point, she also maintained an extensive list of female action figures, which became the inspiration for my own list here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jen Van Meter

Jen Van Meter is an Eisner-nominated writer for Hopeless Savages, JSA All-Stars and The Blair Witch Chronicles.

(I didn't find a lot of biographical info online about her, and I didn't want to bother her for more.) 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Devin Grayson

Devin Grayson is a writer, whose interest in comics was sparked by catching an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Since then, her work has included The Batman Chronicles, The Titans, Ghost Rider, X-Men: Evolution, and many others. She was also a contributor to the Legends of Red Sonja mini-series. She is a self-proclaimed “avid RPGer,” and has worked for writing games as well.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kelly Sue DeConnick

Kelly Sue DeConnick is a writer whose best-known work includes Captain Marvel and the recent Pretty Deadly. She’s very outspoken about the role of women in comics and stated in an interview that “if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft. They have to be protagonists, not devices.” On the subject of women of color, she said in a panel at Geek Girl Con ’13 that she nearly made one of the pilots in her Banshee Squad African American but decided not to, because there were no black women pilots in WWII. Then she said (paraphrasing), “You know what else there weren’t any of? Aliens.” She apologized for not taking that inclusive step, stating baldly, “I fucked up.” (This led to an African American woman taking to a mic in the audience and thanking her for admitting a lost opportunity.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gail Simone

Gail Simone is a writer who has worked on a number of series, including The Secret Six, Batgirl, Wonder Woman and Birds of Prey. A fan of comics as a child, she was disturbed by the sexism and published a list online entitled “Women in Refrigerators” (so named for the scene where Kyle Rayner found his murdered girlfriend in his fridge). It sparked a great deal of controversy and she started writing a column called “You’ll All Be Sorry!” at Comic Book Resources as a result. Her parody scripts eventually got her a job writing for The Simpsons comics, and Marvel’s Deadpool, but her first big success was on DC’s Birds of Prey. She has also recently revitalized the Red Sonja comic, and has brought in a number of immensely talented female artists for the covers.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Jill Thompson

Jill Thompson is an artist who has worked on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, as well as her own creation, a children’s book, The Scary Godmother which has been turned into tv specials and a stageplay, and will soon be a doll after a successful Kickstarter campaign. She has also worked on Wonder Woman, The Invisibles, and Black Orchid, and has won Eisner Awards for her work on The Dark Horse Book of the Dead and Book of Hauntings, both written by Evan Dorkin. She also did a mini-series with him called Beasts of Burden from characters introduced in those anthologies.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel is a cartoonist and her name is synonymous with the Bechdel Test* that she attributes to her friend Liz Wallace. It was initially meant to be applied to film, but has been used with other media as well. She wrote the strip Dykest to Watch Out For, and later the autobiographical graphic memoir Fun Home, which was nominated for several awards and won an Eisner for Best Reality-Based Work.  "The secret subversive goal of my work is to show that women, not just lesbians, are regular human beings."

* The Bechdel Test has three requirements, as they were spelled out in a strip called “The Rule”:
1. [the movie] has to have at least 2 women it it,
2. who talk to each other,
3. about something other than a man.

It has become shorthand to show whether or not something is woman-friendly.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Karen Berger

Karen Berger is an award-winning editor, best known for her work as executive editor for the DC imprint Vertigo. She was editor for Wonder Woman during George Perez’s popular run on that title. She is credited for bringing Neil Gaiman to a mass audience with The Sandman. She announced in 2013 that she was leaving Vertigo to pursue new challenges.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ann Nocenti

Ann Nocenti is a writer, journalist, editor, and filmmaker, and co-created the characters Typhoid Mary, Blackheart, Mojo, Longshot, and Spiral. She is politically outspoken, and has caused some controversy with fans. Her first superhero work was Spider-Woman #47-50, in ’82-83. In her work on Daredevil, she addressed sexism, racism and the nuclear threat. Since the ‘90s, her focus has been on journalism and filmmaking.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dann Thomas

Danette “Dann” Thomas is a comic book writer, and married to writer/editor Roy Thomas. They have collaborated on All-Star Squadron; Arak, Son of Thunder; and the Crimson Avenger. She co-wrote Wonder Woman #300, becoming the first woman to get scripting credit for that character. She’s also worked on West Coast Avengers, Doctor Strange, and many others.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mindy Newell

Mindy Newell is a writer and editor. She was the first woman to be an ongoing writer for Wonder Woman. She’s been a fan of comics for many years, and submitted to DC when they were soliciting talent. She also wrote Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld and Catwoman. She moved to Marvel to edit in 1990 but a slowdown forced layoffs and she went back to nursing in ’96. She now writes a column for ComicM!x.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Christy Marx

Christy Marx is an award-winning writer and photographer, and the creator of the animated series Jem and the Holograms, and the comic series The Sisterhood of Steel. She sold a Conan the Barbarian story to Marvel, and worked writing scripts for the Fantastic Four cartoon, and several others. She wrote for the sadly short-lived Sword of Sorcery comic book that featured Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld. She is also a game designer, with Conquests of Camelot, and has worked on other computer, console and MMO games.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wendi Pini

Wendy Pini is an award-winning artist, and may be best known for her co-creation with husband Richard of Elfquest. She contributed covers and illustrations to Galaxy Science Fiction and Galileo magazines before Elfquest launched in ’78. She has also done graphic novels for the tv series Beauty and the Beast. More recently, she took inspiration from the Poe story Masque of Red Death and turned it into a dystopian graphic novel.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Louise Simonson

Louise Simonson is a writer and editor, and began her comic book career at Warren Publishing, working from assistant to senior editor, before leaving to work at Marvel. She was married to Jeffery Catherine Jones, and is also credited as Louise Jones in some of her work. She later married comics writer/artist Walter Simonson. In ’86, she quit editing to try writing full-time, and created the award-winning Power Pack with June Brigman. She and Jackson Guice created the character Apocalypse, and had significant influence on the X-Men books. She later wrote Superman: The Man of Steel, where she co-created the character Steel. She’s written several books for children and young adults, a Batman novel, as well as DC Comics Covergirls.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

catherine yronwode

catherine yronwode is a writer and editor who has been writing since her teens. At Ken Piece Publishing, she edited and wrote intros for books of reprinted comic strips like Modesty Blaise and The Phantom, and had a regular column in the Comics Buyer’s Guide. She freelanced for Kitchen Sink Press, writing The Art of Will Eisner in ‘81, among others. She served as editor-in-chief at Eclipse Enterprises, and she won and Inkpot Award in ’83 for work she did there. She collaborated with Trina Robbins in ’85 on Women and the Comics, which was the first book on the subject of the history of women in the industry.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jeffery Catherine Jones

Jeffrey Catherine Jones (1944-2011) was an artist whose first comic book work was in Blazing Combat #1 (1965). Jones painted many covers for science fiction books, as well as covers and short stories for comics publishers. It wasn’t until after the marriage to Louise Alexander (later Simonson) and divorce that she sought hormone replacement therapy in 1998, to transition fully to the female she always felt she was.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Trina Robbins

TrinaRobbins is a comics writer, artist and herstorian. She was very influential in the underground comix and ‘zine movement. An avid comics reader, she later got involved with science fiction fandom, and contributed to the fanzine Habakkuk. She had a clothing boutique in NYC that sold her designs, and sold comics to the East Village Other underground paper in the 60s, before moving to San Francisco in the 70s and working on the feminist underground paper It Ain’t Me, Babe and eventually the feminist comics anthology Wimmen’s Comix. She began chronicling women’s history in comics in the 80s, and has written a number of books on the subject. In 2013, she was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Marie Severin

Marie Severin was an artist and colorist who worked for EC Comics and Marvel Comics. Her brother worked for EC, and needed a colorist, and brought her in. After an industry downturn, she returned to comics in 1959, working for Marvel. She worked on the Sum-Mariner, Doctor Strange, The Amazing Spider-Man and many others. An award-winning comics artist, she was inducted to the Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame in 2001.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Zena Brody

Zena Brody (1928-1971) edited comics for DC’s romance books Girl’s Romances, Girl’s Love Stories and Secret Hearts. Her name didn’t show up in the books until 1955, but she had been working as editor since at least 1950, possibly 1949.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ramona Fradon

Ramona Fradon may be best known for her work illustrating Brenda Starr, and was the co-creator of the character Metamorpho. Her first comics job was on DC’s Shining Knight, and later Aquaman. She took a break from comics to raise her daughter, but returned to DC. When Dale Messic retired from the newspaper strip Brenda Starr, she took over as artist until she retired in 1995. She was inducted to the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Violet Barclay

Violet Barclay (1922-2010) was working as a restaurant hostess when a former classmate, Mike Sekowsky, got her work at Timely (later Marvel) Comics as an inker. She left Timely in 1949 and freelanced, working for various publishers mainly working on romance comics. She left comics in the mid 50s and worked in fashion illustration, and continued to study art throughout her life. John Singer Sargent was a favored artist of hers, and she recreated his painting (unable to afford originals), signing her own name to avoid any accusations of forgery.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ruth Ann Roche

Ruth Ann Roche (1921-1983) was a writer and editor, and Jerry Iger’s business partner. She wrote for “Phantom Lady,” “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle,” and others. She also wrote the female-led newspaper strip, “Flamingo,” which was drawn by Matt Baker. She stayed with Iger-Roche Studio until it folded in 1961.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tarpé Mills

Tarpé Mills (1915-1988) was one of the first female comics artists. She is best known for her Miss Fury action heroine (who predated Wonder Woman by 6 months). She wrote under her middle name to disguise her gender, but it eventually became known Tarpé was a woman. Trina Robbins edited a collection of her comics in two volumes, published by IDW.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jackie Ormes

Jackie Ormes (1911-1985) was the first African American woman cartoonist, who had a strip in the weekly black newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier. “Torchy Brown” ran from 1937-1938, and was reintroduced in 1950. The character was an independent woman, and showed a less stereotypical image of a black woman. In 2007, Cheryl Lynn Eaton founded The Ormes Society in her name, which is “dedicated to supporting black female comic creators and promoting the inclusion of black women in the comics industry as creators, characters, and consumers.”

Monday, March 3, 2014

Louise Altson

Louise Altson (1910-2010) was a Belgian-born artist who was an award-winning artist who specialized in portraits. After her family moved to the United States, she worked as an illustrator of comic and children’s books, working as penciler and inker on Miss America #2 (1944), and was the cover artist on Miss America #3 (1944), Patsy Walker #25-28 (1945), Junior Miss #35-37 (1947), and Mitzi’s Romances #10 (1949). She continued to paint portraits as well, including the President George and Barbara Bush family.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Neysa McMein

Neysa McMein (1888-1949) was an artist. She drew the newspaper strip Deathless Deer (written by Alicia Patterson Guggenheim), about an immortal Egyptian princess awakened in 1940s New York. She illustrated covers for magazines like McCalls and Saturday Evening Post, eventually becoming a well-respected portrait artist. She was commissioned to paint the first Betty Crocker portrait.

1936 - the first official Betty Crocker portrait

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Women's History Month: Nell Brinkley, the Queen of Comics

March is Women's History Month, so I want to highlight a different woman every day this month. I tried to get a good cross-section over a hundred years.

The Kickstarter project "She Makes Comics" (a documentary about women in comics) sent an update to backers, asking for short videos answering the question, "why do you love comics?" I'm not going to post mine here (because it's pretty awful), but here's what I said:
Why do I love comics? Because this is modern mythology. These are our goddesses, and I love them. They're strong, they're powerful, they're amazing. And I... want to be just like them.
(Men aren't the only ones with power fantasies.)

But that's really only part of the story. Many of our modern myths were created and written by men. What about the female creators? There are plenty out there, and they've been around for a long time. (Check out the Women in Comics wiki and Trina Robbins' new book, Pretty in Ink, for more.)

Why, yes! That is a holy card!

Nell Brinkley (1886-1944) has been called the "Queen of Comics." She was an artist, and the creator of the Brinkley Girl. The Brinkley Girl was a more independent and fun-loving character than Dana Gibson's Gibson Girls, who were pretty staid in comparison. Brinkley's work was progressive, and supportive of women's rights.

Golden Eyes with her faithful canine companion, Uncle Sam
Her series Golden Eyes and Her Hero Bill followed the young lady's adventures into the trenches of WWI, when her beau Bill was called to serve. The stories were patriotic, but featured women in proactive (rather than passive) roles.