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The Revolution Will Be Pastel: ‘Bee & Puppycat’ Embraces Manga, The Web And Femininity To Maximum Effect [Video]

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Bee and Puppycat is really, really cute. It is also funny, bizarre, and occasionally wistful. Above all though, it is cute: there’s the pastel palette, the fat pink bows on Bee’s shoes, the warm roundness of its characters, literally everything about Puppycat. Its absurdism is soft and its softness is absurd -- “I got fired today,” Bee intones flatly, the rain spattering her cat-faced pinafore dress. She’s a dumpster-diving Sanrio character, Strawberry Shortcake late for her appointment at the temp agency. The beginnings of a plot prod gently at her from time to time, but never with anything like urgency -- two issues into its run, Boom! Studios' Bee and Puppycat comic has meditated on strawberry donuts, embarrassing pajamas, and platform shoes, but not much else. Creator Natasha Allegri (along with collaborators Madeleine Flores and Garrett Jackson) would rather devote three pages to QR-coded music boxes than set about untangling Puppycat’s origins or the nature of their magical, mysterious employer.

In these qualities, Bee and Puppycat is right in line with Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and Bravest Warriors, its closest brethren in tone and form. Beyond the creator overlap between the four franchises and the fact that all of them now span both animation and comics, they’re all content to hunker down in that pocket of the zeitgeist that brings together childhood nostalgia and bizarre Internet-age humor, where atmosphere reigns over plot.

But Bee and Puppycat stands out among them, and marks a sea change in comics -- particularly in how franchises are formed, what is considered marketable, and what demographics are seen as worthy of being catered to. In its weird, witty way, I believe that Bee and Puppycat emblematizes the future of this industry.

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Hire This Woman: Writer Nadja Baer

From 'Impure Blood' by Nadja Baer and Nathan Lueth
From 'Impure Blood' by Nadja Baer and Nathan Lueth

In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Nadja Baer has adapted multiple written works into comics format, including an adaptation of the U.S. Constitution. She's currently working on two very different things: an ongoing webcomic called Impure and a law degree! She also appeared on the Hire This Woman panel at Denver Comic-Con.

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Hire This Woman: Artist Jamie Kinosian

Mass Effect Group

In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Jamie Kinosian is a comic artist and watercolor illustrator who has worked on character designs, mini-comics, and webcomics. She's also currently putting together Hot Cakes, an anthology of pornographic illustrations all created by women.

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Jen Van Meter & Joanna Estep Blast ‘Fantastic Four’ Into The Future With First Issue Created By Women

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In 53 years of publication, Fantastic Four hasn't featured a whole lot of women creators, despite having one of the most prominent superheroines, the Invisible Woman, at the heart of the team. Louise Simonson wrote the annual in 2000, and Ming Doyle drew a story in Fantastic Four #600. Marie Severin inked an annual. Several women have been colorists on the series, but a woman has never been a regular writer or artist on the book.

Perhaps that will change sometime in the next 47 years or so. There is certainly hope. The just-announced 100th Anniversary Special: Fantastic Four #1, a special issue set in 2061 boasts a creative team of highly accomplished women: writer Jen Van Meter (Hopeless Savages) and artist Joanna Estep (Fraggle Rock).

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Hire This Woman: Writer Janine Frederick

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In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Writer Janine Frederick has contributed to anthologies and was a finalist in DC Comics' March 2010 Zuda digital comics competition. She's currently working on her own ongoing comic, Quandary with artist Ken Frederick.

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Hire This Woman: Writer Heather Nuhfer

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In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Busy writer Heather Nuhfer has worked on all-ages properties such as Fraggle Rock, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and Strawberry Shortcake. She's also written The Simpsons and Vampire Diaries comics.

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Little Girls Are Better At Designing Superheroes Than You, Says Alexandra Law

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In efforts to showcase the design sensibilities of young aspiring superheroes, artist Alexandria Law created Little Girls Are Better At Designing Superheroes Than You, an art project wherein superheroes are illustrated and redesigned based on superheroic costumes worn by young girls. Law's project features submitted photos of little girls donning costumes based off of both licensed superheroes and original characters alongside illustrated interpretations of the look "in action," providing a fresh look on heroic aesthetics. From an incredibly wearable Wonder Woman dress with killer boots to chic, simplified adjustments to Power Girl and Huntress, these little heroines manage to embody the spirit of their idols while adding inventive style and flair; a skill that many comic professionals still struggle to master.

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Hire This Woman: Artist Sara Richard

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In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Illustrator Sara Richard has drawn covers for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, created the Eisner-nominated Kitty & Dino, and is currently working on a children's book. She's also recently launched the website Haute PopC, where she illustrates haute couture fashion based on pop culture.

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Hire This Woman: Artist Meghan Hetrick

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In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Artist Meghan Hetrick recently broke into comics with work on Fairest, Joker's Daughter, and DC's recent Lois Lane one-shot. You might also know her from this informative and entertaining tutorial on how to draw breasts correctly. She's got a variety of other projects on the horizon as well, as she told us in this Hire This Woman interview.

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Hire This Woman: Writer Christian Beranek

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In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Christian Beranek has worked as a writer for years, including a stint at Disney creating comics. She wrote Dracula vs. King Arthur and is currently working on a number of projects including the webcomic Validation.

 

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