Earlier Women’s Contributions to Comics Surpass What’s Happening Today

 

Here’s a fluff-coated article on Screen Rant talking about ladies in comicdom, both past and present, who’ve either provided significant contributions, or disastrous ones. Let’s begin with the starting paragraph, admitting something factual, but only for PC’s sake:

 

While in the past it may have seemed like the comic book industry was comprised of only male writers and artists, women have always been there, albeit in significantly lower numbers. So, the issue was not only one of inclusivity, but also one of visibility; however, as time goes by, women of any background gain more traction in any and all of the disciplines that intermingle in the comic book world, be they writers, artists, letterers, colourists, or inkers.

 

So they admit there have always been women working in comicdom in some capacity…but only to argue it’s simply never enough, and if you pointed to early contributors whose work wasn’t PC enough for their tastes, they’d surely skip mention. And all that talk of inclusivity is just so that next, they can argue for the sake of LGBT ideology:

 

In recent years, the hashtag #VisibleWomen, created by comic book legend Kelly Sue DeConnick (through the production company she and her husband, Matt Fraction, have called Milkfed Criminal Masterminds), invited women and non-binary comic book-related creators to share their Marvel-ous work (pun intended) on Twitter to gain visibility. The purpose here is simple: to showcase the incredible works of people from diverse genders, thus proving to the industry that talent can be found anywhere, as long as one is willing to look.

 

Surely this doesn’t dilute the point of having more women working in comicdom? And if they believe there should be more lady contributors, don’t they think it’d be a good idea to market more stories aimed primarily at women too, like romance tales? Even Stan Lee wrote at least a few himself. Trouble is, today’s PC-laden industry believes almost entirely in marketing such a genre for LGBT themes, and if heterosexual romance is almost entirely pushed out, what “diversity” is there, really, let alone “inclusion”?

 

As for deConnick, what’s so “legendary” about somebody who turns a woman like Carol Danvers more masculine, and applies a most unlikable personality to her? What deConnick did was utter disrespect for character co-creators Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. If talent can be found anywhere, here’s what I want to know: how come SR won’t highlight the works of right-leaning artists and writers? If a woman who portrayed Carol retaining her femininity and 2nd costume were assigned to script a solo book, chances are you wouldn’t hear a word about it, or, any mention would be marginal at best.

 

SR continues to give some history of lady contributors, and there’s one thing in this paragraph that disappoints me, no matter how well I regard a woman who participated:

 

But DeConnick was not the first outstanding woman in the industry or the first to fight for inclusion by any means. Creators like Trina Robbins and Louise Simonson, in their 80s and 70s, respectively, have been celebrated cartoonists/writers and strong voices for diversity in the industry for decades. Robbins co-created the character Vampirella 52 years ago! She and her friend, artist Barbara Mendes, co-produced the first women-only comic book, the one-shot It Ain’t Me, Babe Comix. She and several other women went on to produce Wimmin’s Comix, an all-female subversive comics anthology (1972-1992). Robbins would go on to be the first woman ever to draw Wonder Woman comics in 1986. As for Simonson, after starting her career at Warren Publishing (publisher of titles such as Vampirella), she would go on to be promoted to senior editor of the comics line. She’d later work for Marvel, first as an editor and then a writer, and be involved in titles such as Uncanny X-Men, The New Mutants, and Red Sonja. One of the highlights of her career was definitely the co-creation of Superman’s deadliest foe, Doomsday, and of the “The Death of Superman” crossover story event with DC Comics.

 

No matter how much I admire Simonson’s past career, and think she was a good fit for writing Superman, it’s a terrible shame she had to take part in one of the most overrated stories taking up all related titles for nearly a year, an event that saw Hal Jordan’s hometown, Coast City, annihilated by one of the villains involved, setting things up for Emerald Twilight soon after. Such storylines did not have to be, but worst is, nobody in the press today thinks to question this. Rather, as seen above, they fluff-coat it. One of the most irritating things about SR’s citation is how they seem to regard the Death & Return of Superman as superior to even Simonson’s work at Marvel, all because of the destructive themes involved. Certainly, she was a talented writer/editor back in the day, and Power Pack was one of her best ideas too, but DC’s event from the early 90s was decidedly not one of the best things she could participate in, because of the long term damage it led to for Green Lantern, if not Superman himself.

 

Since DeConnick was mentioned, it must be highlighted that her career is -and has been- astonishing. From the founding of Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, a production company featuring many women collaborators, to the creation of Bitch Planet, to contributions in titles such as Aquaman, Captain Marvel, Detective Comics, and Avengers Assemble, she has proven herself to be a brilliant example of how women deserve a prominent spot in comics. Her trajectory in the comics world (especially as an outspoken feminist) has highlighted not only the presence of women in comics as creators, but also as characters. Simultaneously, she has time and again expressed the need for the industry to intensify its efforts for representation.

 

I’m afraid her “outspoken feminism” is exactly the problem. She takes a sex-negative approach to Carol Danvers, all the while doing nothing to actually make the story enjoyable. That’s what this piece doesn’t highlight. And no doubt, deConnick, along with Fraction, have injected more liberal politics into their writing than even I must think.

 

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Unfortunately, that’s exactly why she’s getting all this attention from such a dismal site.

 

In recent years, comic fans have seen not just gender diversity, but also an increase in intersectionality. With the introduction of Kamala Khan as the new Ms. Marvel, co-created by editor Sana Amanat, and the introduction of Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey in 2016 as the first-ever black women in Marvel’s writers’ team (writing the series Black Panther: World of Wakanda with Ta-Nehisi Coates), diverse voices are being amplified in various ways. The Women of Marvel podcast and recently announced special are also splendid examples of this.

 

They’ve also seen an increase in the very political propaganda Sana Amanat’s Muslim Ms. Marvel series was built on. Notice how this doesn’t truly dwell on whether there’s quality to find in the completed storyboards. It’s only the politics of employment they’re interested in. That’s why there won’t be any objective comment about the artwork in the coming special they speak of.

 

There is definitely a long way to go; the comics industry will need to try even harder in the coming years. However, the aforementioned examples are all steps in the right direction, with more women than ever at the forefront as the creators behind our favorite stories and characters.

 

What they obviously won’t try harder at is better writing that isn’t either hammering everyone over the head with rabid leftist politics, or sticking with political correctness. Which could explain why no sales figures factor into the op-ed, since that would increase the laughing stock it really is. If the writings of deConnick were really worth something, sales would be soaring all over the place. But with at least 5 or more different Capt. Marvel volumes continuously relaunched, even going so far as to drastically alter Carol Danvers’ origins and background, that’s why the wise consumer would do well to stay away from her writings.

 

 

Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON