i just booked tickets for a convention in September. it’s not for comics, but instead for personal self-development and healing.
it was a pretty big step for me. i have been wanting to go down the mind/body/soul route—firstly, to help myself, and secondly to eventually help others—for a while, but was always too afraid of the unknown. i was in comics for such a long time that comics was largely all i knew. if i dabbled into a new field/interest, i could get eaten by monsters. i could get taken advantage of. i could fail. all things that were guaranteed not to happen to me in comics.
i still like comics, and have several creator-owned things i am doing & feel very positive about. i’m hoping to expand my publishing goals, in fact. but in general, outside of making my own stuff and collaborating with likeminded others…
i like seeing people create their own things & put out new ideas. i’m not crazy about seeing the same mega-brands be replicated 50 ways to sunday. i’m not thrilled with how relatively low the hiring rate is for female creators and creators of color. there are certainly now more female comic creators than there was before, but i feel they are still being largely pigeon-holed into books that are (somehow) “women-related” or for kids.
in terms of hiring black comic writers, though, this industry is largely as backwards as hell; in an embarrassing, inexcusable way.
and i have known plenty of female and poc writers who were completely capable of writing these monthly books, who had the same qualifications, the same drive, the same passion, as the white males who dominate the industry rosters. i sometimes hear this excuse that “there just aren’t enough women who want to write action comic books”—which is a damn out-and-out lie. “we want to hire more black writers, but we don’t even know where to look for them” or “the ones we’ve seen samples of just aren’t qualified enough…for us to establish some sort of token system is just as racist/sexist, right?”
swear to god—have been called racist/sexist by white males in power when i’ve complained about not enough diversity, they bring up “token” card (implying that there are no qualified people from these specific groups to hire or feature, which, as i’ve said before, is bullshit)
i have dealt with this stuff for so many years. i have dealt with the self-imploding ugliness that ensues when a group who has been grossly oppressed in an industry—females in comics—turn on themselves. people in a healthy, supportive environment where they feel secure and empowered don’t do shit like that—at least, this is what my therapist has explained to me.
as a woman in comics, i have always sought approval of one stripe or another. and i just don’t care to do that anymore.
as i started in this business, the looming monolithic shadow of the “gatekeepers” kept creators in line. without pleasing the gatekeepers, you were not going to make comics. gatekeepers kept the creative teams in comics fairly homogenous demographically.
but there is no reason to rely on gatekeepers anymore. there is no reason to drink down the bullshit anymore. at least—there is not for me.
so i guess my plan is to eventually synthesize ideas about healing, freedom, justice and self-awareness with interests i have in making—and helping other people make—comic books. and i would like to create and promote a network of independent comic creators who are empowered.
and i think that is it.
today i draw the line in the sand.