I know. I promised you an in-depthe something about the process behind Unladylike, the new Ladydrawers anthology, and instead of giving it to you I hopped on a plane to fucking Georgia. We’re not talking peach trees and land of Coke, here, no. Former Soviet state? So in addition to trying to figure out how to find food I can eat and keep jellyfish out of my hair and drinking the best and right kind of wine with every single meal, I have been getting to know new money and meeting new people I can barely communicate with and subsequently, no further details about Unladylike have yet emerged.
It’s possible that this will end up being for the best, in the long run.
Still. The last couple weeks have seen a couple interesting development in the world of Ladydrawers, including the launch of my new column at Truthout (first installment with MariNaomi here and the second, with Sara Drake, here)—that’s been revered, reviled, and otherwise noted by reasonable people I respect. (Here’s one particularly well thought-out response by Shaenon K. Garrity on Comixology.) And, although I haven’t yet seen it, my collabo with Susie Cagle was published in the latest edition of Annalemma Magazine. Chris Heavener did a very nice interview with me for it here.
The actual Ladydrawers, that is, the folks who came and worked with me on the anthology this summer at Ox-Bow, have also been busy. Mostly making comics. Often about how dumb the Internet is. Here’s Rachel N. Swanson’s “Comments on the Internet,” featuring actual comments, transcribed into ponyspeak, from the “Introducing Ladydrawers” column with MariNaomi linked above. (She was also involved in a Vocalo interview on our work together that I can hardly wait to repost here.)
Finally finally finally, I’m totally thrilled to announce that over on the sadly underutilized but miraculously well visited Ladydrawers blog, Janelle Asselin has contributed some original research into readership and cultural expectations in comics. Including:
From a pool of 59% self-identified male respondents, most of whom have been reading comics for over ten years, 82% listed their favorite comics creator as male. Most (92%) don’t consider gender when buying new comics, and 70% don’t think that comics, as a medium of expression, appeal to women. Maybe what’s most interesting to me are her questions about marketing. Most (92% again) feel comics are not marketed effectively to women, but most claim to buy comics based mostly on reviews of them. Which means, as far as I’m concerned, that of course comics are marketed as effectively to women as Kotex Maxipads are to men. And we know already that the reasons people don’t buy stuff isn’t exclusively about the ways in which things are marketed—sometimes the product itself is no good. And if respondents themselves are telling you: Hey, we prefer to read a supposedly neutral third-party take on work in this medium anyway—then what’s going to change the readership of comics isn’t going to be more effective marketing strategies, but a wider and more vocal array of critics writing about comics.
And more, hopefully, soon.