Features

Where Do We Begin?

Sean Collins and I received pushback on a number of comments in my column last week. I appreciate everyone who took the time to offer feedback, particularly on the issue of female voices in comics criticism. In hindsight there are definitely things I wish I had said differently or thought about more carefully, but even if I may have framed the discussion poorly, I think that the issues Sean and I addressed last week are important ones and I'm still glad that I devoted my attention to them in the column.

When I started the Comics Workbook Tumblr, I talked about "flipping the script" of most comics criticism outlets by attempting to have more female than male contributors. I'm actively working to maintain a strong diversity in the perspectives represented in the new Comics Workbook Magazine as well. I've asked some cartoonists who are women about the issue of gender representation in comics and comics criticism, and some have told me that they feel it isn't an issue that needs to be discussed (particularly by men) -- similarly, I imagine, cartoonists who are women (rightly) resent being asked interview questions about being "female cartoonists" rather than just about being cartoonists. I certainly appreciate that viewpoint, however I feel it's important to have an open discussion about these issues, on which a great deal of progress still needs to be made. So I plan to continue addressing ways that we can promote a diversity of perspectives in comics through this column.

Also, I'm trying hard to be attentive to not just defining diversity along gender lines. I also think talking about all of this (however awkwardly) will facilitate progress. I think that's possible. Simply saying there's a problem doesn't really do much, and that's probably why so many women are frustrated by having the conversation over and over again. Really, just being inclusive and diverse and all that is better than talking about it.

Thanks for your patience.

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Please check out the piece by Heidi MacDonald's response to last week's column over at The Beat. Also please check out Ng Suat Tong's response to the column over at Hooded Utilitarian.

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I'll be at CAB this weekend selling the first issue of Comics Workbook Magazine. Please come by and say hello if you are at the show. I'll be downstairs along the left wall. I will also have a big selection of old mini-comics from yesteryear as well as a selection of comic book back issues.

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Thanks! Over and out.

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