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I really did not want to comment on this whole DC v. women fracas.  To be honest, I cringe a little when I'm referred to as a "female artist", although I understand the source almost always means well, so the last thing I wanted was to get involved in a debate ABOUT that very prickly phrase.  But today, I received an email notifying me that I'd been tagged on Google+ in a list of female creators, aimed to answer Didio's question "Who should we be hiring?".  I don't know the author of the post well but he's always seemed like a very nice, thoughtful guy and I fully understand that his intentions were good.  As were the intentions of the countless others who made similar lists upon hearing about Didio's comments.  But getting the list in my inbox made something snap in me, and I finally had to say something.  It made me feel like I (and possibly other creators on the lists) are being painted as victims of a conspiracy that I personally feel very strongly does not exist.  So I made the following response:

****

I appreciate being added to the list, but I'd like to state for the record that I received several interesting offers from DC before I ultimately followed my Whedonite heart to Dark Horse. It's unfortunate that the percentage of female creators dropped so steeply, and I can't speak for everyone here obviously, but in my case it has more to do with timing and personal choice than any sort of gender discrimination. I can honestly say that I never felt anything but incredibly welcomed and valued by the editors I worked with at DC. I'll admit that I cringed at some of the answers that were given in the panel, though.

Edit: Had only read transcripts of the panel before, just listened to the actual clip. Dang, the tone WAS really aggressive and it disappoints me a lot. But I stand by my statement that there may be far more to the question itself than meets the eye.


****

The author followed up by acknowledging that he did not actually believe there was a conspiracy afoot, but had merely been surprised by the vitriol of Didio's response to a fairly simple question.  And I 100% agree that the response was inappropriately handled and could have been dealt with in so many better ways.  But the reason I felt compelled to say something is because there are HOARDS of people online reading these transcripts and posts and lists and only seeing one side of the story.  I've seen countless comments of "DC hates women!" or "DC won't hire women".  I've even seen female sequential art students lament that they'll never be able to work for DC because of what's being painted as an official embargo against female talent.  Compound that with years of hearing that the comics industry in general discriminates against women, and I gotta finally say my piece:

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO BE A WOMAN IN COMICS.

Yep, you read that right.  Companies WANT to work with women.  We offer a different perspective than the norm, a breath of fresh air, and let's face it, we stand out from the usual crowd.  We pique the interest of that elusive female demographic.  I know editors at both the Big Two who expressly seek out emerging female talent.  Which brings us back to the topic at hand: Not surprisingly, Marvel and DC aren't the only companies who want to work with these creators!  What many of the people who are up in arms over the 12-1% shift in female talent at DC aren't considering is that much of the talent they're looking for are gainfully employed elsewhere.  It could be timing, it could be personal preference on the creator's part, or it could be that the titles remaining to be filled weren't quite right for the style of any of the female creators on these lists.  I certainly wouldn't want to see any company fill a position with a token female just to fill a perceived quota if they weren't the best person for that project.  How would that make that person feel, in turn?  Pretty damned crappy, I'd suspect.  

The fact of the matter is that there just aren't that many of us yet, and the odds of a certain number of us being available to work on a certain event with a certain company at the same time are not so good.  I know the numbers will keep growing as it becomes more acceptable and celebrated for girls and women to enjoy comics.  For that next generation, here's what I've learned:

- Don't be ashamed of who you are.  Just because there are more boys than you doesn't mean you're in a boys' club.  Be yourself and people will love you for it.

- At the same time, if you want to work in mainstream comics, style matters.  I've reviewed hundreds of portfolios and I've been surprised to meet many women who draw in a very manga-influenced, storybook, or cartoon style, but have ambitions of breaking into Marvel and DC.  While occasionally opportunities arise for non-mainstream artists to do work for the Big Two, it's rare and they usually go to well-established artists.  Know your audience.  There are tons of opportunities in indie comics and webcomics for artists who want to tell their own stories in unique styles.  Marvel and DC have to run a business around a franchise of instantly-recognizable characters, so it makes sense that they mostly hire artists who draw in a "superhero" style for consistency.  It's possible to change your style -- I did quite a lot in college -- but there's nothing more heartbreaking than seeing an artist change they unique personal vision just to try to get a job.  If you find yourself having to do this to get closer to a "house style", then you might want to reconsider how passionate you'd really be about the job if you did get it.

-EVERYBODY struggles to get into or stay in the Big Two.  Even dudes!  Just because I got several offers from DC in a row doesn't mean they were always there when I was available for work.  Though the mainstream industry seems large to fans, it's actually quite small and there are WAY more creators than there are projects.  Luckily there are TONS of opportunities in comics outside that sphere.  Dark Horse, IDW, Image, 12 Gauge Comics, Oni, Top Shelf just to name a few!  And don't forget webcomics and other avenues of self-publishing!  



Welp, that's my two cents.  I'm sure it'll ruffle a few feathers, maybe I'll even be labeled a mainstream apologist.  But maybe I'm just an artist who loves her job and loves the community around it and hates to see others perceive it as a frightening, hostile place.  It's an exciting time to be working in this industry and there's a place for everyone who's willing to bust their ass at the drawing table to get their story out there.


EDIT:  Please do not call out individual artists as an example of what you think sucks, or insult an artists' work here.  That goes for both sides.  I don't want to start hiding comments because the offending comments still contain some constructive input, but from now on you've had fair warning.  Insult an individual and your comment will be hidden.
  • Mood: Big Grin
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:iconlj-phillips:
LJ-Phillips Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Professional
You raise some very valid points. Your piece definitely encourages any new creators, male or female, to keep going until they get that big break :)
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:icondeedraws:
DeeDraws Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO BE A WOMAN IN COMICS."

I'm glad to hear it, but there has never been a WORSE time to be a woman READING comics. I'm glad your experience has been so positive, but the talent DC has come up with is sorely lacking in exactly what you said: perspective. With one or two exceptions, most of their titles aren't entertaining me; they're just hurting my feelings with their dimensionless characters - and they're responses to complaints even more so.
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:iconceeceeluvins:
CeeCeeLuvins Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
Rebekah, I'm with you, completely. I was listed on some petition of people DC should approach and I was like, "One, I have worked for them already and two THEY HAVE APPROACHED ME FOR MORE WORK. I AM EXCLUSIVE TO MARVEL, I ACTUALLY CAN NOT WORK FOR THEM." So when my friends all started jumping on that bus I was a little close to tearing my hair out. That list included several Marvel exclusive females and several web comic people that I was just like, "have you all considered that maybe they don't WANT to work for DC?"

Also, I'd just like people to start being positive about females in comics, for once. All of these petitions just perpetuate a stereotype that the industry is nothing but penis sword fights and no girls allowed signs. Why would women want to become part of that? I like your message of "There's never been a better time to be a woman in comics" because it's true + it's positive. It's a great industry to be in, and I wish more women on the outside looking in actually knew/believed that.

So thanks for writing this. I think women in comics might have to occasionally start mentioning that we love our jobs and our industry is pretty cool or people who don't know any better may feel the need to "speak up for us."
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:iconrebekahann:
rebekahann Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for writing Christina, not only because you obviously have a lot of valuable input, but because it reminded me to go check out your gallery for new stuff (and everyone else reading this comment thread needs to, too!) Your colors over Alphona's lines are absolutely sublime.
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:iconceeceeluvins:
CeeCeeLuvins Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
AWWW! Thank you! You going to NYCC? I'll give you a copy of the art book we're doing! :D
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:icongardenerking:
gardenerking Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2011
Hey, I heard that this guy Didio helped to keep some female-created comics being published, how true is this?
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:icontiuni:
Tiuni Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011  Professional Filmographer
Thank you so much for this. Personally, I would hate being labeled as a female artist, or an Asian artist, because it would make me feel as if my appearance was the reason I got a job, not because of my hard work or current ability.
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:iconr-u-r-i:
R-u-r-i Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011
Brilliantly written!

I think there's no denying this is an issue, but it's an issue that's more complex than some people on either "side" want to admit.
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:iconmlhay:
MLHay Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011
Thanks a lot for this post. I don't want to be frothing-at-the-mouth mad at DC (which, I never was) but there's very little coming out of this squabble that doesn't argue against them.

So THANK YOU for taking the time to write this. I've got a perspective that I didn't have before, and I'm better for it.
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:iconmissveryvery:
missveryvery Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I think this post is inappropriate to the discussions taking place and yes I do think you're being an apologist.

All that really needs to be said here is that if the comic book industry was a welcoming place for women, we would have a much greater population of women in mainstream comics. I'm troubled by the idea of "They draw too X style to be considered". Not only are their many female artists who do not draw this way that you disregard with that argument, but perhaps they draw in such a manner because it appeals to them, it is the style that appeals to their tastes and the tastes of their colleagues. They are the cutting edge styles that people in their demographic respond to ("young" and perhaps "female"), responding to the influence of animation, both foreign and not. These are the styles that make money, that animation styles consistently make money from.

Further, both the big two have taken steps and published in the past, art styles that are not considered conventional are more animation influenced and every time received extremely positive response, I cite Stuart Immonen and Tim Sale and Mike Mignola. All of these are artists that are well respected and heavily promoted, all three of them have unconventional styles heavily influenced by animation.

Is it a good time for women in comics? Not when a crowd can be turned against a woman asking why there are so few female creators employed. Not when the response to the question was dismissive and aggressive. Not when the response is "It's not good for the women in the mainstream comics but--" No. Stop right there. Think about what you are saying. Why can't we have representation in the big 2? Why is it acceptable to go 'Oh, well OF COURSE not the Big Two". That is exactly why it's still a bad time for women in comics. When people immediately accept a response of derision and downright impoliteness, when people respond to this issue with "they cannot expect to work for the Big Two because it is unrealistic". Excuse you, but they manage to hire new male writers every year. They reshuffled creators like crazy, they brought in Rob Leifeld and he barely works in comics anymore. They brought in a lot of talent that has been on the sidelines (Roquefort, for one). They were not just going "we have to keep all these old dudes we have laying around". They're pleased to have an influx of new creators with different points of view, but not ones with lady bits.

"It could be timing, it could be personal preference on the creator's part, or it could be that the titles remaining to be filled weren't quite right for the style of any of the female creators on these lists. " Man, what are the odds of that? All the ladies are just busy! Huh! That's weird, because shouldn't it, just statistically be that there should be as many men that are just busy? Shouldn't it still be half, in an equal world? Still looks like a not good industry for comics.

I'm not even going to dignify the argument against affirmative action with a response.

The person who started the petition is a woman (named Elliott, yes).

Finally, it's a good time for women in any other artistic industry except comics. I work at a gaming company where half the staff is female in high ranking positions. There are also queer people and people of different races. None of which is seen as particularly strange. So no, I expect much, much more from them, they have no excuse.
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:iconemilywarrenart:
emilywarrenart Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I like how you're telling women who are actually in comics that they're wrong and they don't know what they're talking about.
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:iconmissveryvery:
missveryvery Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I'm not saying that at all. I'm sure their experiences (and yours) have been very nice. But acting like there isn't a problem in the industry just because they have had an easy time is not helpful. There IS a problem. If there wasn't a problem, high ranking creators and staff would not think it would be okay to yell at someone for pointing out the lack of female creative teams, and it wouldn't be possible for a whole room to be turned on those people.

Again, sexism is not just sexual harassment and people being mean to women. Sexism is a system. It's heartbreaking to hear to many female creators go 'there isn't a problem, I'm totally fine!" You, personally, might be fine! But I think you would agree that going against stereotype is very difficult for a person, right? Whether you are gay, not-white, not-a-dude or any type of minority, you would agree that going against a stereotype, going against the box you're placed in is difficult, wouldn't you? Things go easier if you play to type. If you are like me, as an artist you are faced with people that do not think that art can be a job, or they are surprised to hear that you work in comics, or that they think you're unreliable because you're an artist.

No matter what you say, the truth is that the Big Two do not have and equal ratio. It's not because people are being purposefully mean or anything, it's just that sexism is a giant machine that operates in a certain way. Here's a longer response to this issue that I replied to about something else. [link]

I admire your work a lot so it's extra surprising and heartbreaking to see you taking this issue so lightly.
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:iconemilywarrenart:
emilywarrenart Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
It's definitely not an issue I take lightly, as I've dealt intimately with it before. I read everything you were saying and as a woman in comics, I still disagree.

Sorry my views disappoint you, but I think we can still be friendly and respectful to one another even if we don't share the same opinions.
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:iconannaremedial:
annaremedial Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
"they brought in Rob Leifeld and he barely works in comics anymore."

Seriously? He has a new title, Avengelyne, in stores now and is coming out with The Infinite with Robert Kirkman next week.
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:iconmissveryvery:
missveryvery Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
you're right, i should have just said "they brought in rob leifeld". that's damning enough.
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:iconannaremedial:
annaremedial Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
The Liefeld hate is getting a little tired. He keeps getting jobs so clearly he's doing something right.
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Hidden by Owner
:iconrebekahann:
rebekahann Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
You can say whatever you like to me or the people actively participating in comments, but please don't cut down other creators who have no involvement in this discussion.
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:iconrebekahann:
rebekahann Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
(That was in reply to joteivv's last comment)
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:iconmissveryvery:
missveryvery Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Well... I would say he does have involvement in the discussion as he is one of many artists that women have found contention with because of his highly unrealistic portrayals of women. His actual style of anatomy has turned away many female readers. His continued hiring at DC has lead to many women saying "Well, I guess they don't see any problem with how he draws women :/ ".

I am ok with many artists whose style I don't like but draw women in an acceptable manner (Perez is one, I think he has great technical skill and draws women just fine but I don't particularly like his art style).
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(1 Reply)
:icondavehamann:
davehamann Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
He keeps getting jobs because his work sells.

Toss in whatever reason you want for it, but at the end of the day, that's what matters to companies and that's one of the main reasons he continues to get work.
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:icongardenerking:
gardenerking Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2011
"Stuart Immonen and Tim Sale and Mike Mignola. All of these are artists that are well respected and heavily promoted, all three of them have unconventional styles heavily influenced by animation."

You're aware that Mike Mignola has a history of making more conventional stylized comics, right? That he didn't just jump right into making Hellboy, right? See Cosmic Odyssey [link]

About Stuart Immonen it's mentioned under this comment along with Frank Quitely whose style is also "not that ortodox" (but insanely awesome) and these guys aren't that quickly accepted as more mainstream artists. So yeah, imagine, if these awesome artists are having problems with their styles being accepted, imagine how hard would it be to poor Suzie Q having her heavily manga influenced style being accepted.

As it's been said, the low numbers of women in comics is not due to sexism, it's a bad combination of many women not being appealed by the style of mainstream cape hero comics or stuff like that or their styles not being exactly the kind of thing that would appeal cape comic fan readers.

There's still loads of female indie artists out there having success on other aims.
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:iconmissveryvery:
missveryvery Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
that's weird, the majority of superhero fanfiction is written by females, so is the majority of fan art......seems like women like superheroes just fine, to me.

And if you want more examples: joe madueira. j scott campbell, jim lee's style was also considered revolutionary. and skottie young is another one. people hiring might be TIMID at first but... once the sales are there they go for it all right. so I don't know why the argument is "ladies have manga/animation styles and those are too strange to be accepted". all those other artists are people with DIFFERENT styles and they are WELL PROMOTED. i don't think i'm following what you're saying there, like I think jo mad's style was hella different from the get go, so was skottie youngs. but a lot of female artists don't draw in those ways or just adjust for what they're submitting to. Many artists in general adjust for what they're submitting to... i have separate portfolios for depending on what i'm submitting for.

also, this is all talking about the art side. what about the WRITING side? nothing is explaining the writing side of it or why they don't ahve many female writers. it really is due to sexism, women are successful in indie spheres because there's nothing blocking it. I think saying "webcomics have a lot of ladies" and "indie comics have a lot of ladies" just proves the point. Obviously, women are able to create these things and obviously there's an audience for it. Online i can make whatever I want. I can self publish whatever I want. But I can't submit those things to DC because there are many things blocking me like not being able to network myself in. i can't network myself in as easily as a dude does because they have mostly dudes on staff. Dudes tend to have only dude friends or know other dudes professionally. That's why these men act like there are no female creators available, because they don't know many women period, especially professionally. People don't usually specifically go out and try to find lady professional friends, you know? You just sort of make them and dudes tend to have dude friends. So if you hire mostly dudes, and those dudes mostly have dude friends to network into the company, you have more and more dudes. How many dudes in dc do you think are friends with female artists, even though I think if you look around on da there are a whole lot of them? Do you think they make friends with many women? Or many women that work in their field?

It is due to sexism, it's not like these guys are going around and being like 'fuck those ladies!'. They're not. But they benefit from the remnants of sexism that's been in place for thousands of years, they have very old characters and very old creators and concepts, none of which are very conducive to anything very progressive. And they're not going "oh wait it is hard for ladies to get in" they're going "I AM SO AGGRO AT YOU FOR TALKING ABOUT THIS".

Career wise, I have lots of success in other areas. I just want to have a good fighting chance at working on Batman. It shouldn't be so much to ask that I not have a way harder time with that industry where my skills should have a lot of cross qualification, there's no reason why my Batman dreams should be just accepted as not being possible or plausible or likely. I want to work on Batman and I have a vagina and I know a lot of other women want to work with these characters too. I don't know why people are basically going "You shouldn't try for this" "You shouldn't expect to be able to do this" "It doesn't make sense for you to want to do this" "You'll have more success doing something else". I'd have more success as a lot of things but that doesn't stop me from wanting to do what I want to do.

I don't know what people are arguing against here. Do you guys NOT want this petition? DO you NOT like seeing a huge list of female creators? Do you NOT want more women in mainstream comics? Do you think there are plenty of women in comics, that there's no problem here???

I'm really sick of trying to talk about doing something positive and people coming in to defend the status quo.
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:iconr-u-r-i:
R-u-r-i Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2011
"Do you guys NOT want this petition?"

Frankly, no, I don't like this petition. Because I don't think enough care and research was put into compiling that list of creators.
Here's some problems I see with it off the top of my head:

Laura Allred is already working on a monthly comic published by DC - I, Zombie at Vertigo.
Ann Nocenti dosen't write comics at all anymore, she's teaching film in Haiti.
It was announced at SDCC that Fiona Staples is working with Brian K Vaughn on a creator owned book at Image that's planned to run for over fifty issues, not leaving much time to do a DC book on the side I'd guess.
Christina Strain, as she's pointed out herself right here, is Marvel exclusive.
Emma Rios and Sara Pichelli are currently working on Marvel books, I don't know if they're exclusive, but I do know it's tough for a penciler to work on more than one thing at a time.
As for creators like Kate Beaton, Yuko Ota, Sarah Glidden (who is published by DC, by the way) and Julie Doucet? I think the reasons they're not involved in the DCU reboot are probably the same reasons that KC Green, Andrew Hussie, Joe Sacco and Chester Brown aren't.

Just throwing together a list of every comic creator you can think of who happens to be a woman without taking into account their individual styles or interests and petitioning DC to hire them is an extremely blunt approach to the issue.

It also seems no time was taken to contact any of the creators on the list to see if they were cool with it before it was posted. That seems like taking liberties, to me.

And remember, we don't know what's going on behind the scenes. We don't actually know who on this list was approached and who wasn't!

So yeah, I think that petition was a bad idea.

"I'm really sick of trying to talk about doing something positive and people coming in to defend the status quo."

I think what most of the commentary on this issue is doing is creating a feeling of hopelessness. How is that "something positive"? Wouldn't a better approach be to celebrate the history of women who create comics, acknowledge the progress that's been made, and give awesome female artists working in the industry today the props they deserve, while making the point that we need MORE? Don't you think that would be more likely to make younger women feel like working in superhero comics is something they CAN do? Because right now, most of what's being said online seems to be having the opposite effect.

And I've got to say, there's at least two awesome, well respected artists in this thread talking about their experience in the industry as it relates to this topic, and you seem to be telling them their opinions don't count because they don't agree with you. What's that all about eh.
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:iconmissveryvery:
missveryvery Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I think ignoring the problem and reacting in a hostile manner does nothing to solve the problem. These people on the panel reacted with hostility to this issue. The reason this list was compiled was because DiDio acted as if the status quo was all right and that no female creators existed outside of his small sphere of knowledge, that they had done everything remotely possible to hire more women. Another big issue is that the MAJORITY of the women that are working in the industry are editor (but not editors the type of editors that, you know, actually have a say in the material) and not writers or pencillers. I'm not discounting what they do, but you cannot say that the majority of the women they are pointing at to ignore the issue have the same amount of sway held by a Johns, a Stracynski, or even the second tier artists.

All the feedback I'm getting from these creators is "They are nice to me". That's well and good, that's wonderful. But it is problematic that these women are ignoring the very real SYSTEM that the comics industry operates inside of. I don't appreciate the minimizing of this issue because these women are sitting pretty.

These people are not complaining because they're jerks, they're complaining because they WANT MORE WOMEN. MORE, being the key word. They created a list that I think is ENCOURAGING which I'll describe more.

Do you have any idea how DISCOURAGING the fact that the dc higher ups felt that they had a safe, cozy space to laugh, to ridicule, to ignore, to dismiss, to BERATE the fans that brought up this issue? That is the disheartening thing to hear. Do you know what I feel empowered and encouraged by? Seeing a huge list of female creators, seeing that they exist while DiDio acted like they were a rare breed, that they had tried hard enough. They DID NOT TRY HARD ENOUGH, they do not know as many female creators as they think they do because they are only networked to certain individuals as I have explained in a very indepth manner in another post I reposted on my tumblr here: [link]

I saw women, myself included set actual dates to have portfolio reviews, to give pitches, to get themselves prepared because they want to increase visibility. I saw women, again myself included, that felt a sense of relief that the two fans that stood up and complained were not really alone, that there was such a great outpouring of support for the demand for more women. I felt so happy to see men stand up and say that they did not want to see the women in their life disrespected and that they felt that the industry would be better with a higher percentage of women. I was so energized by all the, yes, SUPPORT that people have for this.

In contrast, I see people and these women who are comfortable in their jobs coming to the defense of these companies, dismissing the issue and saying things like "well women are simply not attracted to this medium" "our visibility is not important" "this issue doesn't exist" "this issue is not important" "I had no problem getting into this line of work" "I don't want my name on this list of female creators" "I don't like being seen as a female creator". <-- who do these statements comfort? What do actions do statements support? What action do they encourage in women? To not be visible, which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of "celebrating how far we've come". I've had someone come to my support of this petition to direct me to THIS post SPECIFICALLY to say that this issue does not exist. To be happy with the percentage that they have, to ignore the experiences of their less fortunate colleagues, to say that the things that happened to them ARE NOT IMPORTANT, ARE NOT VALID.

Frankly, an excellent example I was given yesterday was: Does racism not exist because the US president is a black man? People point to his achievement and CELEBRATE it. But OTHERS, even black people!, say "that is enough" "there is no longer a problem" "that black people are simply not attracted to politics". Do you agree with this?

Maybe watch this clip of Pat Buchanan and Rachel Maddow discussing affirmative action [link] I think talking about this in the language of racism to make people take a step back from this issue and think about the things that hold back women as well. I think this an important issue and the things it's doing are overwhelmingly positive and it disheartens me to see women, WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY, disregarding the positivity that it's caused among their colleagues.
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:iconr-u-r-i:
R-u-r-i Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2011
I think you're confusing the medium of comics with the genre of superheroes here.
Look at the big picture for a moment: more women are making comics than ever. All you have to do is go on the internet to see that. But not so many of those women are choosing to tell superhero stories. Neither are most of the guys. And I think that's a good thing! I think it's great that webcomics where the creator has complete creative control are becoming a more viable source of income for artists, are so much more accessible than direct market paper comics, and have a much stronger female presence, and I see this as part of comics continuing to evolve as they always have.
The way you could look at it is that the majority of women are leaving superhero comics behind, not that superhero comics are leaving women out. (although the reality is probably somewhere inbetween)

And to be honest I feel like I shouldn't have to say this, but I'm not claiming that there's not a lot of female fans of all ages who love superheroes, or that those fans somehow love these characters less than dudes do. But what I am saying is there are still fewer of them than male fans, for whatever reason. Now, numbers are NOT my thing, but think about the number of male fans who go on to become creators compared to the number of male fans. And then think how relatively small the number of superhero comic readers actually is. Then apply that to the number of female readers. Well, there you go. This is something that superhero fans and publishers alike have to work on to improve, but please don't act like there's a huge number of professional female writers and artists who really want to work for DC and are being turned away. That's not the reality.

And that's my problem with the petition, and I think you missed my point there. My problem is it's so lacking in nuance. I feel like it's presented as "here's a list of women that would surely work for DC if DC would just give them a call". That's not how it is! There's creators like Hope Larson, Lucy Knisley and Rutu Modan on the list, right? Well, if Adrian Tomine was writing Batman and Jeffry Brown was drawing JLA, then yeah something fishy might be going on. But they're not. With a few exceptions like Jeff Lemire, there's not much crossover between that scene of comics and superheroes outside of special projects like Bizarro Comics and Strange Tales, regardless of the gender of the creators.
You didn't address my point of how it's basically impossible for DC to hire several of the artists on the list who are a more realistic possibility.
As for writers, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Marjorie Liu have confirmed that they were approached by DC and they turned them down because they were too busy.
And it needs to be said that the 12% to 1% statistic is flat out wrong. [link] DC did not actually let go any women already working for them. Yeah, 12% is not a high number by any means, but it dosen't change the fact that there has not actually been a drop in the number of women employed by DC.
You say DC aren't trying hard enough, and maybe you're right, but the picture that's emerging is that they tried harder than you might think.

I don't want to speak for anyone, but I think you're being really unfair in the way you're characterizing what Rebekah and Christina are saying here: "I don't appreciate the minimizing of this issue because these women are sitting pretty."
They just have a more optimistic outlook on the current situation than you do. You say they're ignoring the system and talk about "the experiences of their less fortunate colleagues", but maybe you could link to some first hand accounts from these less fortunate people if you want to provide a real counterpoint.

"I think this an important issue and the things it's doing are overwhelmingly positive and it disheartens me to see women, WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY, disregarding the positivity that it's caused among their colleagues."

Comments like this just come off as closed minded, because these women in the industry are saying that they don't think the situation is as bad as you say it is and the reactions from tumblr etc. is actually discouraging women from thinking about superhero comics as a career.
Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, but it's their opinion, it's a credible one considering their occupation, and they're stating it reasonably. And they're not saying "I have a make comics, so fuck you" they're saying "I make comics, and you can too".
But because it's not in line with your view, you won't acknowledge it as positive or valid, beyond a quick "that's nice but" dismissal. For the record, I don't claim to be any kind of industry insider, but I've seen a lot more evidence online supporting their view than yours.

And I have to clarify that I'm not saying there wasn't a better way Didio could have responded at those panels, I'm talking about the wider issues here.

This post is probably too long already, but I just want to say that I do want to see more women creating comics for DC and Marvel, because more equal representation is NEVER a bad thing, and I don't believe someone's biology determines what kind of story they're awesome at telling.
But it's not going to happen overnight.
And the approach you're taking isn't going to make it happen faster.
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:iconemilywarrenart:
emilywarrenart Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
This times a million.
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:iconceeceeluvins:
CeeCeeLuvins Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
Just so you know, your view on this is incredibly skewed.

Not only have I been offered jobs by DC several times that I've turned down because I'm exclusive to Marvel as a colorist, I've been offered the opportunity to pitch as a writer to an editor I know at DC. Your whole idea that they're sexist and therefore they don't hire female writers is very misinformed and I can tell you that as a woman in comics who is transitioning into writing.

And I'll just say it, saying that a lot of women write fanfiction does not mean a lot of women should write comic scripts. Fanfiction is great, but it's not professional writing. A lot of the people hired to write for Marvel and DC are professional writers who've had their beginnings elsewhere. Look at Marjorie Liu, she was a novelist before she was a writer for Marvel.

And this whole idea that the comic industry is nothing but a boys club where they snub women... Let me tell you, as a woman who's been in comics for 8 years now, your view, as an outsider looking in, is very very misinformed. The whole idea that there are only dudes that have dudes as friends is just... I don't even know where that logic is coming from. There are several women who WORK at DC and Marvel behind the scenes who seem to be just completely ignored when people want to rant and rave on about how sexist the comic industry is. It's amazing. It's like everyone would rather ignore they exist and say DC only has two women on staff than praise them for kicking ass and making comics.

Another thing, do you ever really want to say that the reason you got your job was due to your gender and not your skill? Seriously. I'd say the majority of women in comics take a lot of pride in crediting their skill as their ticket in and not their extra X chromosome. Saying that women need some sort of extra assistance into comics because we can't make it in on our bad ass comic book skills alone isn't really helping anyone, especially women.

Lastly, before you continue to rant on about how terrible the comic industry is, take a moment to think about what sort of stereotype you may be perpetuating. You make the comic industry seem like a place where no respectable woman can survive or should even want to work. Why would girls want to flock to comics when it sounds like the terrible place you're describing it as? As someone who's actually in it, I can tell you right now, it's not even remotely close to what you're saying it is. It's way cooler.
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:iconmissveryvery:
missveryvery Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
This person was contending that women do not like superhero comics as much as men do, I said that the world of fanficiton proves that idea wrong.

I did not get my job because of my gender, I got my job because I worked very hard and was connected to people who think I'm talented enough to recommend me for jobs. Those people are women. You misunderstand how sexism works in the industry just liek this poster does. here is a link to something I wrote in response to another person: [link]
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:iconceeceeluvins:
CeeCeeLuvins Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
Again, fan fiction does not = professional writing. Slash fiction alone, do you seriously think DC or Marvel is going to hire someone who writes nothing but slash fiction?

I got my jobs from men and women. I understand sexism.
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:iconr-u-r-i:
R-u-r-i Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011
"All that really needs to be said here is that if the comic book industry was a welcoming place for women, we would have a much greater population of women in mainstream comics."

I really can't agree with this statement, because for it to be true there would need to be an equal number of women INTERESTED in making mainstream comics. I don't think that's the case, yet.

"I cite Stuart Immonen and Tim Sale and Mike Mignola. All of these are artists that are well respected and heavily promoted, all three of them have unconventional styles heavily influenced by animation."

Out of those three artists you name there, only Stuart Immonen is still working regularly in mainstream superhero comics, and he's a stylistic shape shifter. His art in Avengers and Fear Itself looks very different, and much more conventional, than his style on a more quirky book like Nextwave. I think mainstream comics are opening up to more diverse artists, but male artists with an unusual, individual style, like Frank Quietly, often get extremely mixed reactions from fans. I don't think this is an issue of sexism, but people being afraid of unfamiliar art, regardless of who draws it.

"Finally, it's a good time for women in any other artistic industry except comics."

Really? ANY industry other than comics? Because there are still very few big name female directors in mainstream cinema, and I don't mean to devalue or write off your positive personal experience, but how many of the lead developers for mainstream games in front of the cameras at E3 were women? How is that different from the vast majority of DC panelists at SDCC being men? To clarify, I'm not saying that these industries being apparently male dominated makes it OK for comics to be male dominated too, but c'mon, saying that comics are the last enclave of sexism in popular culture is just not true.
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:iconkyrax2:
kyrax2 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Hi there! Um...The San Diego Batgirl, here, and boy does that feel weird to say. I really appreciate your take on this! Thank you so much for this write up. May I link to it from my tumblr? (kyrax2.tumblr.com)
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:iconrebekahann:
rebekahann Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Sure thing, and thanks for stopping by and saying hello!
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:iconwoerlan:
Woerlan Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
While I considered that DC's lack of female creators could be due to the reasons you suggested---that they might be gainfully employed elsewhere, or it was a case of bad timing---Didio's responses to related questions said otherwise.

How easy would it have been for Didio to respond that "We made lots of offers, to [names several women creators] for example, but they graciously turned us down due to having other engagements." Or he could have responded, "Due to the tight scheduling of this initial wave, many creators, men and women alike, couldn't commit. However, I'm happy to announce that many of them will be coming in during subsequent stages of our new initiative."

Instead, he responded with dismissive, even aggressive remarks. That's NOT the response of someone who represents a company who is being misunderstood.
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:iconmooncalfe:
mooncalfe Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
i'm sort of with ~L-Rigby on this one, and i know i'm a guy in comics taking a position on women in comics so take that for what it's worth. :XD: i am totally behind the SDCC Batgirl woman and everyone speaking out against DC Comics or whatever publisher, but i do also agree with you that, at the same time, it's a great time for women in comics, there are just so many great women out there doing great stuff right now, whether printed or web, it really feels like the sky's the limit. i do think it's crappier for women at the Big Two, though, and i don't think there's any agenda or conspiracy on DC and Marvel's part, i don't think they're actively hateful companies or bad people, but that doesn't mean they still can't be unintentionally sexist or biased. it's also pretty clear a lot of the time they just don't care or don't notice, judging from interviews or panels or the product itself that they're putting out (there goes my career if anyone high up reads this, haha). it's great DC has been approaching women even if the jobs get turned down, but i still know i'm not alone in not being happy with the current state of things and feeling it's gotta be better. these companies can do better.
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:iconrebekahann:
rebekahann Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
It's okay Ross, this only confirms my uncomfortable suspicions that we are actually destined to be mortal enemies and that our long-awaited first meeting will end in an epic battle of wills and swords... TO THE DEATH!! ;-) Seriously though, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Same as you, I agree with some and don't agree with others. I hope you won't hold it against me. :-)
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:iconmooncalfe:
mooncalfe Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2011
:sumo:
(the blue one is me :mwahaha:)
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:iconjeffcee:
jeffcee Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
well written, optimistic, and thought out. Thanks for this. I look forward to future articles.
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:iconmichaelchoiart:
MichaelChoiArt Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Forget every other number for now... what I'd love to know is a) the proportion of male and female creators who submit to Marvel and DC, and b) the proportion of male and female creators who are rejected at Marvel and DC. Either or both of these figures would say so much more than personal anecdotes.

That said, someone who is as ass-deep in comics as Rebekah is probably knows what they're talking about when discussing what it's like to be a creator of any sort in comics.
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:iconstarlitwisher:
starlitwisher Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
You know, if Didio answered the question the way you did there wouldn't be such an uproar. Thank you for the insight!
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:iconjessicakholinne:
jessicakholinne Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Well put, it's simply a job given for the best. Thanks for sharing! =)
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:iconamberlorien:
amberlorien Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Your take on the industry is a brilliant breath of fresh air. I'm equally as tired and sometimes confused by the women out there screaming that there aren't women in comics. My response is that they're looking at the wrong comics. But my argument is that gender simply should not matter. Does anyone care if a man directs a Meg Ryan chick flick? or if a man designs women's clothes? No. No one cares. I don't see why this is a hot button this year. I, too, know plenty of men in comics that are panicked when they do a couple Marvel jobs and don't get a call back for more. IDW even has to tell their talent, Sorry there's nothing right now.
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:icondarthmongoose:
darthmongoose Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks for putting down such a level headed opinion. I've so far not been discriminated against for my gender in the comics world. I had a portfolio viewing with Steve Wacker from Marvel late last year and was asked to email the talent manager for a script and do samples. They did say honestly that my manga-influenced style wouldn't fit into their main line of books, BUT they said that didn't mean there were totally disinterested in working with me, and that my stuff may have a place in some of their more unusual peripheral titles. Far from just dismissing me for my gender or style, they were interested in what they could potentially do with me.

I'm not sure I really like what was said by DC, their tone and treatment of the questioner or the fact that they cite "quality" as the reason for the drop from 12% to 1% female creators or minor things like the lack of progressive female character designs, but I would agree that right now it's not a bad time to be a female creator. It's getting better. A lot of the big up-and-coming names here in the UK are female and manga-influenced because this country didn't have a big comics tradition for about a full generation, and the publishers are realising and adapting to that.
It'd be nice if we could reach a stage where being a female creator was normal enough that it wasn't something to be highlighted by people though. I want people to like my art for how I can entertain them, not because I'm representing my whole gender by making it.
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:iconbalancomics:
BalanComics Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh god, thank you.

The only perpetuation of the anti-female "conspiracy" that I've ever witnessed (barring the panel, it seems) has been from fellow creators - not publishers or editors! It was quite disheartening when I saw it. I'm obviously not female, so maybe I'm just not running into it.
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:iconsilveranswer:
silveranswer Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Thank you so much for this post. I've been cringing my way through reports on that DC panel and you were the first name that came into my head - had to wonder if Dark Horse was that much different than other publishers, so it's great to hear that you turned down DC job offers for the Dark Horse one. (Bless your Whedon loyalty.)

I'm not in the industry but I know how it feels to be labeled as a victim on the basis of your gender, when you feel like anything but. You have an awesome job and you earned your awesome job, so keep rocking it.
Reply
:iconthecreatorhd:
thecreatorhd Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Amen! Great post and good insight. People are making it an issue when it really isn't as big a problem as the internets are making it (surprise - the internet is full of ignorance and lacks the complete story).
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:iconcassandrajames:
CassandraJames Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
It is an issue when a company like DC has a statistic jump of 12% to 1% post-reboot.
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:iconthecreatorhd:
thecreatorhd Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Ha! Did you miss Rebekah's post? She said it wasn't a "Let's kick the women out" decision. Not everyone they approached could do it.
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:iconcassandrajames:
CassandraJames Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
*On female creators that is.
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:iconlittleoscuro:
LittleOscuro Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Personally i don't give a danm about the gender of a person when it comes to art, or work in general. If it lives up to my expectations and that of the clients, fucking hire them.

But is it really true ? DC won't hire fem fatales to draw ? I mean, the viewer of the comics can't see if it's drawn by women or not. Amazing if you can really.

I do get your point about the page. The owner prolly never ment to hurt or emphasize the subject, but it drew the attention to it, making it so.

Owel, atleast we have DA to enjoy the artpieces.
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