Monday, October 10, 2011

Women Working in Comics Results

The results of the Women Working in Comics survey are in! This survey received 72 responses - not the kind of numbers you'd want to hinge a national election on, but it's enough to get a general trend for our purposes.

(Note: Some questions were based on responses to previous questions, and a few respondents seem to have plain ol' skipped questions, so there are some where fewer than 72 respondents answered.)

The respondents to this survey were relatively young. 61% were between 19 and 30 years old, and another 28% were between 31 and 40 years old. The older the age group, the fewer respondents - this makes sense, given the rise in interest in comics in recent years. Only one respondent reported being younger than 19 years old.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Women Working in Comics Survey: Respond now!

It's not much of a secret that I'm wild about surveys - this blog's Women and Comics readership surveys are prominently featured and frequently plugged (such as here, for example!)

So it's no surprise that my little crush on surveys has led to a new one: This time, for women working within the comics industry!

If you are a woman over the age of 13 who
  • creates comics
  • sells comics
  • publishes comics
  • reviews/reports on comics
or is otherwise involved in the production or promotion of comic books, graphic novels, manga, or other long-form comics, please take a few minutes to fill out the survey, which can be found here:

The survey has 18 questions, most of them multiple-choice with a few write-ins. It is completely anonymous and does not ask any identifying questions beyond your age group and a few determining the nature of your work.

Even if you don't fill out the survey, if you know any women who work within the comics industry, tell them about it! More responses means better information and a clearer picture of the women working in this field.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Read this: Life, Love and Storytelling: Craig Thompson's 'Habibi'

    The cover to Thompson's latest graphic novel.

    Craig Thompson, the cartoonist behind several critically acclaimed works, is getting ready for the debut of his latest graphic novel, Habibi, a 672-page epic set to hit shelves on September 20th. Included in his prep is an interview with Publisher's Weekly where he shares many insights into the creation of the book, such as incorporating Arabic calligraphy:

    I don’t know Arabic. I can’t speak or write it. So the Arabic calligraphy you see in the book is more of sort of a collage sampling. [. . .] And it’s almost better to not see the words when you’re looking at them and you can just appreciate them for their visual aesthetic, rather than have the meaning of the words get in the way. Sometimes I would just have to create my own compositions and look up words in the dictionary. And then I would have to create my own calligraphic compositions, but then some of them are tributes to famous calligraphers whose calligraphic compositions were a big inspiration.

    Thompson is best known for his memoir Blankets, a book that's introduced many readers to the comics medium. Habibi will surely be another fine read for people who appreciate the occasional bittersweet work of literature.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Graphic novels for as low as $1?!

    Top Shelf's page announcing the sale.

    It's too good to be true, and yet it is! Top Shelf - one of the more artsy, literary comics publishers in the US - has apparently hit a bit of a speed bump, thanks to the less-than-pleasant economy. To make it easier for them to produce the next batch of comics masterpieces, they've set up a ginormous sale.

    Through September 23rd, nearly 200 graphic novels and comic books from their catalog are going on sale. The price reductions vary depending on hardcover/softcover, page count, and so on, but generally speaking they're all really sweet deals. The most expensive item on the list is $35, while over 100 separate books are as low as $3 or $1.

    Top Shelf produces some incredible stuff, much of it perfect for readers stepping into the medium for the first time - especially those who enjoy "indie"-style stuff in other mediums such as film and music. They've also got a healthy selection of fantastic children's comics for the discerning junior reader.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    I Recommend: Wandering Son

    Find the first volume of this series at: [Amazon] [Barnes & Noble]

    Let this be clear: Wandering Son is possibly the best story about transgender characters I've experienced in any medium, period. (Granted, I haven't seen/read that many.) It's about two fifth-graders, Shuichi and Yohsino as they begin to come to terms with, and practice, their preferred identities. Shuichi delights in performing a female role in the class play, Yoshino revels in uniform-clad anonymity on the opposite side of town, etc.

    Creator Shimura Takako really puts the "slice" in "slice of life," delivering the story one little vignette at a time. It makes the transitions feel a bit jumpy at times - it can be hard to tell if two scenes are supposed to be one class period or a whole day apart, for example - but ultimately benefits the pacing. Takako delivers layer after layer of emotional punches, builds up to a major heartbreaking (or heartwarming) blow, and begins the process all over again. Her artwork fits perfectly as well, with characters drawn sweetly enough to show off their innocence without getting overly "cute."

    As a special feature, the English version by Fantagraphics includes a short essay on the use of honorifics in the Japanese language. While honorifics are largely incidental in most manga, their relationship with status and gender give Wandering Son yet another sheet of emotional substance.