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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

They Are Comics

Posted by on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 10:33 AM

You know how every once in a while, some comics fan or comics professional says something stupid about women and/or people of color? And you know how you sometimes look at comics culture and see a wall of conservative white dudes staring back at you? The racism and sexism can be really off-putting. Some days it's enough to make you want to give up comics forever.

Here's the happy antidote to that problem: A blog called We Are Comics, in which people who love comics come forward to tell their stories, and they turn out, the blog advertises, to be "a hell of a lot more diverse than you might think." This is my favorite one:

She is comics. She is nine years old, and her best imaginable day included swimming, roller skating, and brunch after the comic store. She has 5 or so titles on her pull list, and opinions on all of them. She’ll read some of her parents’ titles sometimes.

Her favorite, most beat-to-death books are Dragonbreath, Liberty Meadows, and Calvin and Hobbes.
She was disappointed to learn that while sometimes we can read books in the bath, we can never read comics in the shower.

She is comics. She is nine.



Comments (8) RSS

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There is racism and sexism in every aspect of US culture. The only way to change that is to force a counter-narrative. If a little sexism or racism is enough to make you consider walking away from comics (a medium I honestly don't care about), you might as well reject all popular culture.
Posted by Jizzlobber on April 29, 2014 at 10:54 AM · Report this
lucida c. 2
@1: If you don't care about comics, why are you commenting on a post about comics? Because it's just that annoying to you when someone talks about racism and sexism? Tell us more about how to force a counter-narrative, you sound like a highly successful orator.
Posted by lucida c. on April 29, 2014 at 11:26 AM · Report this
I'm commenting because I keep seeing self-described "nerds" complain about how sexist and racist comics and video games are. And so I'm simply pointing out that everything--from movies, to television, to genre literature (and a good deal of non-genre fiction too) to popular music--is full of sexism and racism, and that if you're going to despair at the condition of comics (which is a waste of time), then you have to extend that to pretty much everything else in our culture. In other words, I'm telling Constant that it's just not comics, and there's no reason to pretend that they're a particularly bad area of pop culture "geekdom." They're kind of par for the course.

You make a counter-narrative by doing things like what the website he links to is doing, you do it by creating your own comics, by creating safe spaces for women and people of color to enjoy comics collectively, by providing constructive criticism of the medium (not just getting angry and ranting about how horrible it all is, which seems to be the default of cultural criticism from the Internet hordes these days) and showcasing comics that buck the trend. It's good to be critical, but emphasizing the positive tends to be a more productive channel than fixating on all the dirt of white nerd culture. If you get a diverse range of people working in the medium, the racist/sexist majority (or loud minority) will eventually find themselves marginalized.

Paul Constant does these things, but he also like to whine a lot. And I feel a little perspective is necessary. I'm not commenting just to be snarky. I'm just pointing out that this isn't just video games and comics.
Posted by Jizzlobber on April 29, 2014 at 12:18 PM · Report this
And for the record, while I don't care to collect comics anymore, I once was a collector so I generally know what he's talking about.
Posted by Jizzlobber on April 29, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
zachd 5
When she gets taller, she can read comics in the shower.

Source: I got taller.
Posted by zachd on April 29, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
venomlash 6
@5: I'm 6'5", and I can't read in the shower. What sort of low-gravity mutant giraffe-man are you?
Posted by venomlash on April 29, 2014 at 4:37 PM · Report this
Nine year old girls have no business reading Liberty Meadows. Not because I'm prudish, but because Frank Cho is a brain dead cheesecake hack.
Posted by one guy on April 29, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Knat 8
High five to that 9-year-old for reading Calvin and Hobbes. That strip did more for my vocabulary and love of art than anything else growing up.
Posted by Knat on April 29, 2014 at 6:48 PM · Report this

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