Convention Organizers: Here’s A Solution To Your Woman Problem
Today, The Mary Sue reported that GenCon would be hosting a panel titled "Writing Comics: Writing Women Friendly Comics" that featured only male comics writers. While GenCon has since stated that they will be including women on the panel, this isn't the first time this has happened at a convention. Men are also usually the majority of convention guests. One group of women hopes to make it the last time it happens.
That group is Comic Book Women, which started as a breakfast of 12 women at Emerald City Comicon 2014 and is now over 200 women strong. I was at that first breakfast and am one of the many admins of the group, which functions as a broad professional resource for women. The other admins are Amy Chu, Rachel Edidin, Sarah Gaydos, Jody Houser, Mairghread Scott, and Jen Vaughn. The women in the group are writers, artists, colorists, letterers, editors, journalists, retailers, and more. They are also many different races and sexual orientations. There are very few topics that members cannot speak on --- and we're spread all over the world.
As a result of the news about the GenCon panel, the Comic Book Women admins put together a press release to open the group up not only to new members, but also as a resource for convention organizers. Any convention organizer or panel organizer around the world who would like to add a non-male professional voice as a guest or panelist only needs to reach out to Comic Book Women, and the group will respond with potential candidates. There are more women than ever making comics, so there's no excuse not to have women as well represented at conventions as men.
Representation doesn't end with adding more women, though. Cartoonist MariNaomi has put together a resource for anyone looking for a cartoonist of color for a project. Convention organizers who also wish to have more racial diversity amongpanelists would do well to consult the Cartoonists of Color database for some excellent options. Prism Comics has a similar resource where convention organizers can look for LGBTQ creators to add to their events.
Here's the full press release:
Comic Book Women, an advocacy group for professional women in the comic book industry with over 200 members including writers, artists, editors, retailers, and journalists, announces a solution to the growing problem of conventions having trouble finding women to speak on their comic book panels and exhibit at their shows.
“I get asked to be at a lot of cons. Last year, I turned down over 120 events all around the world, even though I accepted as many as I thought I possibly could,” Said Gail Simone (Writer DC Comics’ Secret Six). “Having Comic Book Women as a resource to offer to convention organizers will be really helpful. Our hope is that we can add a wider range of voices to the many great conversations about comics at these conventions.”
The group is made up of women who have worked at a variety of publishers and in a number of mediums and can offer organizers a diverse selection of professionals who can speak on all aspects of the comic book process. Show organizers can contact Comic Book Women by email at ThereAreMany@ComicBookWomen.com with details about their show or their panels, and the group will work with them to find guests.
About Comic Book Women
Comic Book Women is an advocacy group working to help raise the profile of women who work in comics. The group is open to all comics pros that identify as women with a validated body of work as either a creator, journalist, editor, retailer or other relevant professional. For more information, please contact ThereAreMany@ComicBookWomen.com.
If you're aware of additional resources that could be useful to convention organizers looking to improve representation among guests and panelists, please let us know in the comments.