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Squeeself



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's funny cause: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/renaedeliz/womanthology-massive-all-female-comic-anthology lists quite a few women comic authors/artists. Not entirely sure what the fuss of the petition was all about (although I did sign it, hey, why not?) Then again, I long ago stopped caring about the mainstream DC/Marvel comics, because there's far more interesting stuff elsewhere Razz
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YatesOfYore
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if anyone is still interested discussing this issue here (and that's fine if you're not!), but this article has currently gotten me so riled up over it that I can't concentrate on working on the comic.

http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/09/22/starfire-catwoman-sex-superheroine/

The issue is NOT that women find themselves in sexual situations - it's the quality of representation that's the problem. Augh, I can't even put into words right now what I'm thinking. So go read that article - it's insightful, honest, and personal.

It's EXCELLENT.
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Nem



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urg. What is wrong with these people?
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Maeniel



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read that article when you posted it on Facebook. AUGH.

Let's get Earthsong into the mainstream!
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Tenshi



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(I was going to just post a quick reply, but then I got into speech writing mode. Um... I... apologize? ^^; )

I follow a lot of artists in the comic business, and they're all of varying levels of fame or audience. From the "indie" authors like The Lady, or Sarah Ellerton, to actual publishing companies that are drawing talent away from the "Big Two" (or Big Three, depending if you're counting Dark Horse). So.. it's actually far more prevalent in the big name comics than just one or two posts, and I've heard a lot of really good thoughts on why this is.

On the other hand? All I need to know is what I learned from running a store in a pizza chain: Marketing.

They're marketing these things to the people who buy comics. Your first step is to look at your demographic. Who buys comics? Right now the majority of people who buy those comics are the people they're already catering to - the people who enjoy seeing those scenes.

The fallacy of that logic is that you're missing an opportunity for broader appeal. Much like Gap did when it started putting racially diverse models in their ads, or when Nike started using athletes' quotes on segregation, these comic companies could show empowered figures, not just powerfully sexual figures. The result would be a change in their demographic.

For many companies, a change in demographic is a somewhat dubious proposition. Given difficult economic times and relative success with the old model, there can be several arguments against changing. On the other hand, there is a rising trend in outspoken dissent toward that same 'old model'. Indie authors are gaining readership, hypersexualized women are being satired or turned away as heroes. There is desire for female figures in comic that women (and even men) can actually relate to. There is a growing trend in wanting to see real people in comics.

Spiderman's appeal, Batman's appeal? They're real people. They have problems. A dark, gritty story such as "The Dark Knight" was a huge success. Why? Not because it showed Batman and Catwoman in compromising positions, but because we saw Bruce Wayne/Batman as something different than this antiquated, Greek God stereotype. We saw him as fallible, as flawed, as broken. Other stories pit him against similarly twisted or non-perfect villains, and in some of the novels it's highlighted that Bruce Wayne - the real man - is very much a casualty of the Batman's actions.

...do we have a similar female character? Is there a single female character from the DC/Marvel labels that I could sit down, read a dozen different authors' takes on, and come away feeling that this person was someone I could relate to? I would wager there are barely a dozen comics out there featuring women that would hold my interest through the entire thing, let alone be something I adored. >_>

It comes back to marketing, though. Who are their demographic? So long as the demographic they have been catering to prefers these images of women as little more than token visual elements of the male fantasy, we won't see their roles change. However, there are smaller publishing houses - smaller gatherings of artists - who's intent is to change the way women are portrayed in comics. Instead of power coming from their 'special abilities' (whatever they may be), their power comes more directly from an internal source. From their hearts/souls/what have you.

That's the reason why I value Earthsong so highly, why I would endure any delays or real world commitments. The story is compelling, but more than that the story is realistic. These are people, these characters. I can identify with them, put voices to them, comprehend reactions in potential situations. I feel for them, I grieve for them, I imagine their laughter at banquets and their depth in silent sorrow. They are as real to me as any person through digital medium can be, and there's not one who has needed to strip down to some ridiculously skimpy outfit to accomplish this.

Lady Yates, every comic page you post is another body of evidence for why "women in comics" does not have to be a negative phrase. Earthsong shows women as leaders and powerful figures, yes. It also shows them as nurturing, compassionate, and loving. It gives the full range of human emotion to both genders, and in so doing shows that even species is not so dividing a factor. There is, within them all, humanity. As there is in all of us, I would like to believe.
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YatesOfYore
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Joined: 27 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice! And thank you for the lovely compliments as well Very Happy

I also just wanted to post a bit of what my eloquent fellow comic maker, JoJo had to say on this issue as well:

Quote:
This particular facet of the women-in-comics problem isn't one of how few women are represented or are prominent creators or are in the numbers of readers. It's a problem of the QUALITY of female representation in the books. And that's something that both women AND men should be concerned about. And it's not about the fact that sex happens as part of stories sometimes. It's the PRESENTATION of sex, the way that readers are being encouraged to think about sex, and about women. It's about framing women in such a way that their singular, or at least primary, PURPOSE is for the sexual gratification of men, and that this makes them worth less. It's demeaning for women, and it's demeaning for men in the way that it necessitates male sexuality as being something that degrades others, something consumptive and exploitative in nature. This view of sexuality is harmful for everyone.


I UNDERSTAND that sex sells. But we, as a society, need to start upholding the ideal that sex is not a commodity, not something to be consumed, it is not one sided. One's sexual enjoyment should not be something, as JoJo put it, that necessitates the degradation of others.

I do not accept the defense/justification that this is what men want to see so they should get to see it. The fact that doing this makes them money doesn't make it right. Women deserve better than to be treated as nothing more than over-sexualized eye candy - and not just in comics. Unfortunately society has taught men from a very early age that they can expect women to be like this - this is why so many people shrug when you bring up the portrayal of women in comics - it's just business as usual in so far as our culture is concerned. It's degrading to women AND men.

Regardless of any of those issues though, I reject the notion that this is the only way to sell comic books. If people just wanted sex in comics, they'd be reading erotic graphic novels so don't tell me that they couldn't be satisfied with a comic without mindless, overt sexuality. I'm not advocating that comics pretend that sex doesn't exist, but its inclusion needs to be more than a cash grab. GIVE ME PLOT. GIVE ME CHARACTERIZATION. This is what I want out of a superhero comic.

That and some awesome powers to go with it.
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Nem



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They don't have to change to pick up another demographic, they just have to diversify. There's no reason they can't make both under two different names.

Generally speaking however companies don't tend to change much - when a paradigm shift occurs the majority of the time they just go out of business. ^^; Average company lifespan is 30 years.

Edit: Not that I'm saying they should continue making sexist comics - but I'd imagine that if they did think in that way the first question they'd ask would be 'How can I have my cake and eat it?'
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Tenshi



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pretty much agree with both of you. If a company wanted more business, they could open a "small" company, not publicize that it's them, and run a completely different type of comic from it. Eventually, merge the two companies. Then your company image would improve, and you'd have two demographics! Very Happy

As for what we need to do as a society... well, that's probably true. The trouble is that so long as there are enough people who want it that way to sustain the comic publisher, then there's likewise not a lot of inspiration for them to change their business model.

Not saying I like it or agree with it, but there it is. The unfortunate truth is that idealists are not often the majority in our little branch of squishy life forms. Altruism is rare. If it sells, they sell it. Unknowns are almost stigmatized in business. @__@

For what it's worth? I never bought a comic book until I bought Earthsong Volume I. There's a good reason for that. I don't think that the hyperfeminist ideal of female dominance is a good thing, but I flat refuse to buy comics where women's IQ is less than their bust size.

It's that lovely balance that I think people should try and achieve in their comics. Ah, again though, that's just going back to making real characters instead of... uh, whatever Starfire is supposed to be. And I liked her so much in Teen Titans...
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Keeper of the Siderean Swords

"If by chance some day you're not feeling well, and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done, and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled."
Red Skelton
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Tyris



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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Location: Beneath a vast mound of curly hair

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

YatesOfYore wrote:
GIVE ME PLOT. GIVE ME CHARACTERIZATION. This is what I want out of a superhero comic.
You could drop the "superhero" from that sentence and it'd likely be as true.
YatesOfYore wrote:
That and some awesome powers to go with it.
Oh, right.

Tenshi wrote:
For what it's worth? I never bought a comic book until I bought Earthsong Volume I.

We could almost say the same, but there's a Jango Fett (ie Star Wars) paperback collection on our bookshelf from nine years ago. Evidently it didn't sell very well, because we were able to pick it up in... what do you call those places that sell off other places' excess stock?... for 20% of the cover price.

But Earthsong? Earthsong was worth paying the full price, and the international shipping. Even though we can read it for free online. It's got plot. It's got characterisation. It's got multitudinous female, male and other characters without an abundance of overt sexualisation (though poor Jormand tries and he tries, bless him). Hell, it's even got some awesome powers to go with it.
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