Friday, July 8, 2011

Heroic: A Womanthology - Oh. Wow.

So, not that long ago, artist Renae DeLiz sent me an email about an idea she'd had along with fellow artist Jessica Hickman. It was for an anthology featuring women creators, known and unknown, young and established, big names and unpublished newcomers. The idea was really simple: showcase the breadth of female talent that loves comics and is making amazing work in the medium right now. Give them a platform and a published book, let them tell their stories, be supportive of each other, and celebrate female creativity.

In other words: It was exactly the kind of project I wanted to be a part of. But how to do it? The email chains were epic. Anthology's are huge undertakings on their own, not to mention printing is not cheap. IDW graciously agreed to be the publisher, but we still needed funds to make it all happen. Enter Kickstarter and a lot of enthusiastic folks willing to help have a phenomenon. That's taken maybe two months to put together. That's what love and enthusiasm can accomplish.

I say this because the Womanthology Kickstarter began yesterday and, in less than 20 hours, not only met, but exceeded, it's goal of 25K. It's well on its way to 40K at this point.

Check it out:

I think I can safely say this was a huge shock to everyone involved. I don't think any of us doubted we'd make the goal...but eventually. Not in less than 20 hours of the first day it was up out of 30. How did this happen? Well, social networking played a huge part. Twitter, was viral in only a few hours. People like Neil Gaiman suddenly tweeted about it. Incentives for donations went like hotcakes. It seems to have struck a nerve at just the right time in just the right environment with just the right people.

And it's incredible. For all the creators involved it's a wonderful testament to the amount of work that's already gone into this project, and that a book like this is clearly wanted. It's even more of a testament to Renae DeLiz, who is without a doubt one of the most talented artists working today. Seriously. Check out her work on The Last Unicorn GN and tell me that's not stunning, every page. She's also kind, dedicated, and just an all around lovely person. The fact that she's been able to accomplish a goal like this in record time gives me hope for the world, and our little industry.

Why? Well, comics are a wonderful medium. It's unlike any other storytelling format, no matter what people tell you about the similarities between it and film. But as much as I love it, it has an issue with diversity, just like our culture in general. At this point I think its troubles with sexism are so well documented they're largely a cliche.

I always see the same sorts of questions, with the same answers, most of which are, in my opinion, erroneous or misguided. Mostly in regards to whether there really is a female audience for comics, what kinds of books they want, and sometimes most discouragingly...whether women actually exist in the industry or not. It's as frustrating to deal with the reality of sexism within as it is to deal with the ignorance from without, where most progress is ignored in favor of boob windows and CEO's who say "penis". It's not that these things don't exist or don't matter, but there's so much more to what women in this industry are doing, every day, on every level. Every time an article comes out and basically says "OMG, women make comics! And read them!" I want to bash my head against something. Yes, we do. And we have been for awhile. This is not new. And treating it like it is marginalizes all of us who work so hard here every day.

So something like Womanthology taking off like a shot in its first 24hours is gratifying both personally and professionally. It's vindicating. We're here, we have stories to tell...and what's more...People. Want. To. Read. Them. For me, this little juggernaut is proof positive that there is a demand for stories by women. That they can be and are for everyone.

Our audience has spoken, and we are thrilled to have you on our side.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mariah,

    I'm excited to see what happens next! And, I agree with you, women read and write comics - the anthology is a testament to that. I also think giving the opportunity to upcoming writers and artists is a great platform to showcase the breadth of talent that exists. I look forward to working with you.
    -- Raven