Four Females in the Comic Book Industry That Everyone Should Know
By Molly Byron
HOLY COW, BATMAN!
In February, comics blogger Brett Schenker posted results of his most recent demographic study on comicbeat.com. The study showed the number of likes on Facebook by self-identified comic fans reached over 24 million in the United States. Of that 24 million, women accounted for 46.67% of that population.
But for many women, the research isn’t surprising. The idea that “women enjoy comic books” is hardly revolutionary. Not only have women been comic book fans for a long time, but they’ve also been working in the industry for years too.
Chicago Comics employee Raphael Espinoza helped us pick four award-winning women who have broken barriers in the comic industry.
Cloonan, 33, is an American award-winning cartoonist and illustrator. In 2012, Cloonan became the first woman to draw Batman for DC Comics in the series’ 72-year history. “It feels good to be the first,” Cloonan said in an interview for Oprah magazine. “But I didn’t think about it when I was drawing. I was just excited: I’m drawing Batman!”
Cloonan teamed up with the band My Chemical Romance in 2013 for the comic series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. A coming-of-age story about a young girl who chooses her own path, the series functions as a sequel to the My Chemical Romance album Danger Days.
Cloonan also tries to self-publish a new mini comic each year. “Having something that’s 100 percent me is very important,” Cloonan said. “A lot of my stories are fantasies and medieval stuff, which are close to my heart.”
This year, Cloonan is nominated for the 2014 Eisner Comic Industry Award in the category of best single issue for her self-published comic Demeter. The awards will be given out on July 25 during Comic-Con International: San Diego.
Work to check out:
- New 52: Batman #12 (DC) $4.00
- The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys Issue #1 (Dark Horse) $8.00
- Demeter (Self-Published) $5.60
Rios, 38, is a Spanish comic book artist who established herself in the comic world by self-publishing her series A Prueba de Balas [Bulletproof]. Rios’ first major work for Marvel was Dr. Strange. Her artwork has also appeared in Marvel’s Runaways, Spider-Man, and Girl Comics.
“I’m a big fan of Emma Rios. She is amazing,” said Espinoza. “She has this complicated style that is always really descriptive and overly detailed, but it’s very beautiful to look at.”
Recently, Rios has been the co-creator with Kelly Sue DeConnick of the western revenge fantasy series Pretty Deadly, a story of retribution between Death and his daughter in the Old West. Influenced by a mix of magical folklore and spaghetti western film, Pretty Deadly is the definitive father-daughter showdown. This is Rios and DeConnick’s second collaboration, the first being the very acclaimed Osborn.
This year, Rios is nominated for the 2014 Eisner Comic Industry Award in the categories best penciler/inker and best cover artist for her artwork in Pretty Deadly.
Work to check out:
- Pretty Deadly Vol. 1 (Image Comics) $7.78
- Dr. Strange: Season One (Marvel) $7.04
- Osborn: Evil Incarcerated (Marvel) $13.58
KELLY SUE DECONNICK
DeConnick is an American comic book writer, editor, and English language adapter of manga. DeConnick has written for the series Ghost for Dark Horse Comics and Avengers Assemble for Marvel.
DeConnick is a proud feminist and vocal about the representation of minorities and women not only in comic books, but also within the industry as a whole. While more female titles are being created, men still write the majority. DeConnick emphasizes that minorities and women should tell those stories too.
“I appreciate and I am proud of the progress that’s being made and I don’t want to sweep it under the table,” said DeConnick during a Comic Con panel. “But this job ain’t done. Nobody sit down!”
In 2012, Marvel renamed their character Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel. After the change, DeConnick took over the series and has turned Captain Marvel into one of the most powerful and popular heroines among women and men in the Marvel universe.
This year, DeConnick is nominated for the 2014 Eisner Comic Industry Award in the category best writer for Pretty Deadly.
Work to check out:
- Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight (Marvel) $11.84
- Ghost Vol. 1: In the Smoke and Din (Dark Horse) $12.08
- Avengers Assemble: Science Bros (Marvel) $12.89
Simone, 39, is an American comic book writer known for her work in Marvel’s Deadpool, DC’s Birds of Prey, and coining the term “Women in Refrigerators.”
“Women in Refrigerators” was Simone’s response to the horrific murder of one of Green Lantern’s girlfriends whose body was stuffed in a refrigerator. Simone created a website where she catalogued a list of murders, rapes and other terrible deaths of female comic characters. The site suggests that writers and publishers should be more mindful of what is and is not necessary for plot.
“These are superheroines who have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator,” says Simone on her website. “Some have been revived, even improved—although the question remains as to why they were thrown in the wood chipper in the first place.”
Simone is noted as Wonder Woman’s longest-running female writer from 2007-2010. In 2009, Simone was inducted into the Friends of Lulu’s Female Comic Creator’s Hall Of Fame, that recognizes the people and projects that helped to open eyes and minds to the amazing comic and cartooning work by and/or about women.
In 2011, Simone became the writer of Batgirl and continues to be DC’s top-selling female-led title in the New 52, selling better than the majority of DC’s line. The first collected graphic novel of the book landed at #4 on the NY Times hardcover graphic books best-seller lists in 2012.
Work to check out:
- Birds of Prey, Vol. 1: Of Like Minds (DC) $38.29
- New 52: Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection (DC) $9.48
- Red Sonja TPB (Dynamite Entertainment) $15.95
Follow Simone on Twitter
Photos by: Marvel Comics/Creative Commons, foxy-voxy/Creative Commons