Women slowly making gains in comics


October 22, 2012 by shepla

While the comics industry is still heavily male, women are making strides, particularly on the creative side. Graphic Novel Reporter’s roundtable discussion, “Girls Just Want to Have Comics,” posted last May by reporter John Hogan, indicates that more women are reading and writing comics, even as heavyweights DC and Marvel haven’t bridged the gap toward a female readership.

Gina Gagliano, marketing associate for First Second Books, noted women outnumber men at her own company and its parent Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, presumably because many women work in book publishing in general. She also pointed out that First Second Books also works with many female creators. But in contrast, she says that there were just a handful of women–including retailers, publisher reps, and distributors–at the ComicsPro conference in February 2012.

Underwire writer/artist Jennifer Hayden said she thinks the indie scene is teaming with strong female talent, such as Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), Alison Bechdel (Fun Home), and Lynda Barry (100 Demons).

High school teacher Leigh Brodsky said her visit to New York Comic Con indicated that there’s still a lot of room for progress. “…at NYCC last year I felt that the conversation was ‘Wait, women like comics?’ It was as if all of a sudden the industry realized that women make up a large percent of their readership. While it was wonderful to finally see women truly represented at the event, we still felt like the new kids there,” she said.


2 thoughts on “Women slowly making gains in comics

  1. Stephen C. says:

    Have you read any of the graphic novels mentioned above? Persepolis is fantastic. I picked up Fun Home shortly after it came out but I think it got swallowed by the pile before I ever cracked it open. Most of the books you review seem to be aimed at kids. I wonder what you think of “girls’ comics” made for an older audience, if your tastes veer that way at all.

  2. shepla says:

    I’ve been meaning to read Persepolis for a long time! I do love josei manga, but I haven’t noticed many “adult” female-centric comics out there that I find appealing–I guess I really do have a taste for kids’ and YA books (in fiction as well!).

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