Maura McHugh noted on her blog today that Mark Millar’s upcoming UK comicon, Kapow!, has no female guests listed–out of a roster of 40. I’m not liking those odds. Of course, who’s to say that the line-up won’t change between now and the event–but really? Forty confirmed guests and they can’t holler up one woman who works in comics?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying anything negative about the guests who are on there–there’s some excellent people listed–but it seems a shame there isn’t space for at least one woman too (yes, I know. One is merely something akin to tokenism, but you see where I’m coming from).
Comics are all too often still seen as a male province when it comes to readership (something which recently led Gail Simone to write this blog) and I can only imagine it’s worse on the inside. I looked at my own comic collection and this bore out the theory: although I’ve got some by female artists and writers, they’re vastly outnumbered by men. And this made me curious.
Enter Wikipedia, stage left: List of female comics creators. It’s mahoosive. Alright: “creators” covers many sins. So split it out into artists and writers. Even allowing for overlap between the two and the fact that (let’s face it) this is Wikipedia, that’s a big old list. Too big to register a 0% representation at what’s obviously intended as a UK version of Comicon.
After I subjugated my initial feminist rage (sorry. I was given a book on the Suffragettes at an early age. It stuck.) I thought about it. Should we be making an issue of “women in comics”? There’s an interesting article here in support of a gender-neutral approach–that in shouldn’t matter who wrote or pencilled or coloured the comic, as long as they’re good; that talent shouldn’t have a gender-bias. And to a degree, I can go with that. To a degree. Because shouldn’t girls who want to get into comics have clear and obvious female role models, too–shouldn’t they be visible at every level? Where are the Nellie Gaimans, the Michelle Careys, the Becky Templesmiths… and am I ever going to get these slightly disturbing images out of my head?
And if they genuinely aren’t out there (which I find hard to believe–honestly, I do) then why aren’t they?
I’m going to open this one up to the floor: any ideas? Will this change, maybe as comics continue their march into the mainstream? Does it matter? Should it matter–and why?