How cool is this?
Women in Marvel Panel: She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel are powerhouses in the Marvel U, now meet the real women powerhouses who work in Marvel Comics today! Writers Robin Furth (DARK TOWER), Sherrilyn Kenyon (Lords of Avalon), & Marjorie Liu (NYX), Jen Grunwald (Editor), colorist Christina Strain (RUNAWAYS), and Occasional Superheroine's Valerie D'Orazio are here to answer your question about their titles, announce new projects, and explain how more women are breaking into comics every day!
I figured it was fitting I attend this panel as we do have a "Women in Comics" concept page here. When the women got up on stage, rather than sit where their name tags were, what did they do? They rearranged them so they could sit by who they wanted. A woman sitting next to me commented on how "cute" that was. Someone else said it was very fitting of the panel.
Each panel member explained how they got into comics. Let's face it, women creators in COMIC BOOKS still seems like an odd thing to most people. I'm not saying I think it is. There have been successful woman writers, artists, etc. The reality is the men outnumber them. Comic books are mainly seen as a male thing. That is changing more and more each day. Colorist Christina Strain said she worked her "ass" off getting to where she is. She went to conventions with her portfolio. She was hired at Cross Gen. They went under in a couple months and then she found herself at Marvel. Colorist Sonia Oback interned at Top Cow and is now working on Uncanny X-Men and X-Force. Valerie D'Orazio started out as an assistant editor at Acclaim Comics after she met Fabian Nicieza. She also started comic book blogging and was asked by Marvel for a pitch.
This was the point a pretty cool announcement was made. Valerie will be writing a CLOAK AND DAGGER mini-series with Irene Flores.
The main point in all of this is women are allowed to work in the comics industry. Christina Strain said there wasn't any sexism keeping them out. She said that when she was in line at conventions with her portfolio, she saw tons of other women in line. Unfortunately the majority of the time they were simply holding a spot for their boyfriends. She said, "No one would know I'm a chick if I signed my work 'Chris Strain.'" She mostly works from home and rarely sees her editor. "It matters if you're good."
Robin Furth said what she's seen stop most women is themselves. They felt they weren't good enough.
Valerie D'Orazio said she's seen some sexism. Things are way better now. She says this is the best time to get into the industry and Marvel has shown lots of support. (It was actually editor Jim McCann that came up with the idea for the panel).
Christina Strain said in the next five to ten years there will be more women in comics.
Writer Marjorie Liu said that 'self belief' is important. There's a huge divide between perception and reality. She was made to feel that women were simply a novelty. When she expressed her interest in comics, people would say, "But you're a girl." She said, "If you want it bad enough, you'll get it."
A woman mentioned that she loves comics but some artists like Frank Cho tend to draw pin-up girls that are borderline softcore porn. Christina replied that men are often drawn just as out of proportion. She mentioned the 'controversial' Mary Jane statue (bending over doing Spider-Man's laundry). She loved that statue. She also mentioned that she seen some male statues and has wished that guys could really be like that.
Female writers have a harder time. Actually all writers do. They don't have a portfolio to show off. The way to make it as a writer (male or female) is to get published first.
A male fan asked Valerie about Cloak and Dagger. He's always liked the characters but was a little put off at the way Dagger was portrayed. After all, she was a teenager in those early comics. Valerie reassured us in two ways. First of all, she says Tandy is legal now. Also she's never been told sex things up. Christina Strain also mentioned that with Runaways, Marvel has always been very careful with how the kids are being portrayed.
Perhaps things are starting to get better for women.