Redrawing women: Tackling sexism in comics


Women are fighting back against sexism in an industry steeped in a history of hyper-sexualised female characters. Some in the comics community aren’t happy with this push for gender parity in the workplace, online and on the page but one way or another, the industry is changing.

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The not-so-secret history of comics drawn by women

 Image by Marjane Satrapi

No women were nominated for the Angoulême International Comics Festival awards because, according to the organiser, there was a lack of qualified women. “The Festival likes women, but cannot rewrite the history of comics,”.

Not so, says Laurenn McCubbin

“For over 100 years, we have seen the presence of women in the American comics,” Caitlin McGurk, the associate curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library (which houses the largest collection of comics and comic-related history in the world), said. “For the first half of the 20th century, many female cartoonists wrote under ambiguous or masculine names, just to increase their likeliness for publication.” McGurk has many examples: June Mills, who went by a version of her middle name, “Tarpé”, when she created the great Miss Fury in 1941. Miss Fury, in fact, was the first female action hero created by a woman, predating Wonder Woman.

‘Great snakes!’ Tintin expert appointed UK’s first comics professor

Tintin expert Benoit Peeters has been appointed as the UK’s first ever comics professor, in a move which Lancaster University said marked its “full academic commitment” to comic book art. Peeters, author of a biography of Tintin’s creator Hergé and other titles about the quiffed Belgian adventurer, will take up his three-year post as visiting professor in graphic fiction and comic art next summer. He will, said Lancaster, be delivering a series of lectures, running creative writing workshops and supervising post-graduate students. The university described his appointment to what it said was the first such position in the UK as “significant”, adding that it demonstrates its “full academic commitment to placing comic book art not just in its creative writing and literature department, but also across its wider disciplines, including philosophy”.

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Comic artist repurposes iTunes’ terms and conditions into graphic novel

The artist told the Guardian he had been working on the side project since November 2014, “because I thought it would be a funny thing to do” while he works on a second Masterpiece volume (“I just did a version of the Marquis de Sade’s Justine in the style of Wonder Woman”) and an adaptation of Moby-Dick.

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Judge Dredd’s assault on consumer culture icons finally unleashed

Episodes of the Judge Dredd strip from classic British weekly comic 2000AD that poked fun at McDonald’s, Burger King and corporate mascots such as the Michelin Man and the Jolly Green Giant are due to be reprinted after almost four decades in legal limbo. In 1978, the comic featured a long-running storyline called The Cursed Earth, in which the far-future lawman went on a road trip through an America reduced to a post-nuclear wasteland populated by grotesque mutants. Two episodes – Burger Wars and Soul Food – saw Dredd go up against characters caricaturing icons of American consumer culture.

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Website The Oatmeal trolls HuffPo over cartoons published without permission | Media | The Guardian

Having a baby is way harder than having a cat. So is asking for permission to publish a comic, it seems. On Tuesday, Huffington Post UK published a series of images from the well-known cartoon website The Oatmeal, created by Matthew Inman. The images were published without permission. When Inman discovered the post, instead of asking Huffington Post to remove the images right away, Inman replaced them with another image featuring a short message and a copy of his Amazon bill, where the images are stored.

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Japan urged to ban manga child abuse images

Japan must ban sexually abusive images of children in manga comics, despite claims that such a move would threaten freedom of expression, the UN’s special envoy on child protection has said. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio praised Japan for passing a law last year that banned the possession of abusive images of children, but said it contained loopholes that allowed exploitation to continue.

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Panel beaters: the comic book tech revolution is here

Readers have been promised a revolution in graphic storytelling ever since the dawn of the internet, but this week’s launch of Alan Moore’s Electricomics offers the first glimpse of a new beginning for digital comics. Fans have been reading comics on electronic devices in increasing numbers over recent years, but until now publishers have been content to replicate the experience of the printed page. The cutting edge of innovation has been Comixology’s “guided view” technology, which blows up each panel and progresses to the next at the tap of your tablet screen.

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