On the dismissal of the altchick artists–BY OTHER WOMEN

This started out as my remarking upon a link to yet another “Women In Comics” article that was crossposted at a feminist site, and it kind of became this whole ranty thing:

I fully support the right of women who want to work in mainstream superhero comics to be able to do so. But I’m getting pretty sick of what I’m seeing as a growing dismissive attitude towards women who make any other type of comic. I am an alternative cartoonist. I’ve always loved the undergrounds and indies. Quite frankly, people in leotards of any gender punching the crap out of each other bores me to tears. Yes that’s right. It does. But you know what? That’s just MY PERSONAL TASTES. It doesn’t mean that those of you who like it are automatically lesser artists or storytellers. Women who enjoy reading or creating the more mainstream genre material have every right to their tastes as well, but for all the sexism I’ve dealt with and argued against in comics I’m really not interested in being told my efforts or contributions somehow “don’t count” because my work is alt/UG and “ghettoized” instead of mainstream.

This is in response to paragraphs like these, from a recent article on Comics Alliance:

“And so, when you are shaking your head and clicking your tongue because there are so terribly few women in comics, and someone brings up Kate Beaton, or Hope Larson, or Carla Speed McNeil, or Lynda Barry, or Posy Simmonds, or Alison Bechdel, or C. Spike Trotman, or Lea Hernandez, or any of a slew of others, you can patiently explain that her work is indie or alternative or art-comics, or small-press, or self-published, and maybe autobio, or even, god forbid, webcomics. And there’s always manga, which might as well be menstruating on the page, am I right? (Of course, men work in all of those fields as well, but since they obviously could be making real comics, you can justify that as a creative choice; and anyway, no one is arguing that there are no men in comics.)”

Yeah, what Dan Didio said was asinine. Yeah, people should pursue the sort of art and storytelling that personally moves them. But I don’t think the struggles of women who don’t do the type of art you personally prefer should be discounted. Can one claim the comics of Phoebe Gloeckner, Diane DiMassa, Roberta Gregory, etc. did not address women’s concerns? Sorry if their characters didn’t wear capes when they did it.

If, as women artists, we want to level the playing field, we need to not create rifts amongst ourselves based on artistic preferences. If you want to rip another, do it because THAT INDIVIDUAL’S work is bad, not because they prefer a genre that you don’t feel are “real” comics.


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