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Organic, Flowing, and Very Ink-centric: An Interview with Tara O’Connor [Hire This Woman]

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Hire This Woman is a recurring feature on ComicsAlliance that shines a spotlight on female comics creators, whether they're relative newcomers or experienced pros who are ready to break out. In an overwhelmingly male business, we want to draw your attention to these creators --- and to raise their profile with editors and industry gatekeepers.

Cartoonist Tara O'Connor has worked on a lot of self-published comics, as well as the comic In Your Wake from Sawdust Press, a short comic for Princeless: Tales of Girls Who Rock, and her forthcoming travelogue Roots. She primarily works on her own, doing everything from the writing to the coloring and lettering.

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From Kitty to Kamala: The Journey That Turned Ms Marvel into This Generation’s Hero

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Kamala Khan is a superstar now. Introduced only a year ago by Marvel, she’s become a bona fide figurehead for the publisher. A young Muslim girl in America who develops powers and uses them to try and help people, her story has caught on with a mainstream audience and turned the Ms Marvel series into a real, actual hit, especially among the growing digital readership.

What’s fascinating about the character, though, is how clearly she’s embedded into the tradition of superhero comics, and how you can draw a direct line from her back through Marvel’s history, to some of the company's most popular female superheroes. Kamala broke through at just the right moment in time, in just the right way, for the readership to embrace her, but she owes a debt to several characters that came before her.

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Best Cosplay Ever (This Week): Anime Boston 2015 Edition

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Although cosplay has been present for decades within the comics, anime, and sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, social media has played an integral role in the thriving communities of costuming that exist, such as Cosplay.com and the Superhero Costuming Forum. Over the years, the cosplay community has evolved into a creative outlet for many fans to establish and showcase some impressive feats of homemade disguise, craftsmanship, and sartorial superheroics at conventions.

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Conventional Conduct: How to Ask Questions at a Comic-Con Panel

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Convention season is upon us once more, which means thousands of comic book fans will descend on the hotels and convention centers of North America (and the world) to be consumed wholesale by nerd nirvana. They will stand in long lines, they will press through huge crowds, and they will eat a salty pretzel for lunch for three or four days in a row. And there will be panels. And that means Q&A sessions. And that means long, awkward questions from nervous and and overwhelmed fans.

We can't do anything to help with the lines, the crowds, or your sodium intake, but we do want to help make those Q&A sessions a little more comfortable, so we've put together seven simple suggestions to help attendees ask better questions. This makes life better for the questioners, the panelists, and everyone else in the room. Think of it as a little convention etiquette guide, and think of ComicsAlliance as your Emily Post-Crisis.

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Filed Under: , , , , Category: Conventions, Culture, Humor

The United Nations Launches ‘Gender Equality: Picture It!’ Comics Competition

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Twenty years ago, close to 50000 activists met for the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing, where almost 200 Governments established 12 areas of critical concern regarding women's rights --- the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Considered one of the most progressive declarations for women's rights at the time, the 1995 Beijing Declaration still remains... well, an aspirational goal rather than something we all just got on with and achieved.

This week, in line with the twentieth anniversary of the Declaration, UN Women and the European Commission have joined forces to hold a cartoon/comic competition around the theme of gender equality. Called 'Gender Equality: Picture It!', the competition invites artists from across the EU --- and across the EU only, with apologies to everybody else --- to submit comics and cartoons inspired by the Beijing Declaration. Entrants must be aged between 18-28, and no text is allowed within the final piece.

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Fun and Whimsy and Making People Happy: The Art of Agnes Garbowska [Hire This Woman]

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Hire This Woman is a recurring feature on ComicsAlliance that shines a spotlight on female comics creators, whether they're relative newcomers or experienced pros who are ready to break out. In an overwhelmingly male business, we want to draw your attention to these creators --- and to raise their profile with editors and industry gatekeepers.

Agnes Garbowska is an artist best known for her adorable work on the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comics, but she's also done a lot of covers for other series, like Powerpuff Girls and Red Sonja, some children's book illustration, and a little bit of everything else as well!

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From Shaman to Equinox: The Challenges and Failures of Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics

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DC's recent announcement of a new post-Convergence lineup of titles offered promising signs of diversification at the publisher, with Gene Luen Yang, securing a high profile assignment on Superman with John Romita, Jr., and fellow Asian-American creators Sonny Liew, Ming Doyle, and Annie Wu picking up new titles, plus several LGBT creators on titles, including Steve Orlando on Midnighter and James Tynion IV on Constantine; and black author David F. Walker taking over Cyborg. It was great to see so many non-cis-straight-white-male demographic groups represented, both in characters and creative teams.

These announcements go some way towards correcting ongoing imbalances in the mainstream comic industry, but as ComicsAlliance editor Andrew Wheeler noted in his coverage; "this is the superhero comic version of diversity, where ‘any’ feels like a victory; any non-white creators, any women, any queer representation. Any is not enough.” Thinking about that statement, a question occurred to me;

“Are there any indigenous characters or creators?”

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Avengers Meets Menswear in ‘Five Four Club x Marvel’ Collection

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In preparation for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Five Four Club is collaborating with Marvel in designing an Avengers-themed menswear collection, launching April 1st. Five Four Club is a monthly subscription service that offers deals and stylist options on exclusive men's apparel to its members; each month, members receive a full outfit catered to their style tastes, from casual to business ready looks.

The Five Four Club x Marvel collaboration is a sophisticated, fashion-forward approach to the Avengers with a collection includes stylized hoodies and sportswear fit for Thor, crisp reversible button-up shirts in Captain America's color scheme, and tailored blazers with hidden pockets and Iron Man-printed lining.

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Best Cosplay Ever (This Week): Beast Boy, Magneto, Angie Martinelli, Luci and More

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Although cosplay has been present for decades within the comics, anime, and sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, social media has played an integral role in the thriving communities of costuming that exist, such as Cosplay.com and the Superhero Costuming Forum. Over the years, the cosplay community has evolved into a creative outlet for many fans to establish and showcase some impressive feats of homemade disguise, craftsmanship, and sartorial superheroics at conventions.

In honor of the caped crusaders of the convention scene, ComicsAlliance has created Best Cosplay Ever (This Week), an ongoing collection of some of the most impeccable, creative, and clever costumes that we’ve discovered and assembled into a super-showcase of pure fan-devoted talent.

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Queerness Without Question: Sfe Monster Brings the ‘Beyond’ Anthology to Kickstarter [Back Pages]

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Created by comics writer and editor Sfé Monster, Beyond is a planned collection of all-ages stories across all kinds of different genres, tones, and styles featuring contributions from at least 26 writers and artists. The book heads into fantasy and sci-fi in ways you don't often get to see in comics --- and also features a brilliantly-realized central conceit; all of the stories are about reflecting and celebrating diverse presentations of gender and sexuality, and presenting queer characters in a positive light.

Sfé and assistant editor Taneka Stotts are now running a Kickstarter, to make the anthology a reality, and has already easily exceeded its initial target of $22000! We spoke to Sfé to find out more about the project, and where it might go from here.

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