manga bookshelf

New TCJ: Where are the women?

Everyone’s excited about the new Comics Journal online, and who can blame them? The Journal‘s old site was sparsely maintained and difficult to navigate. And though I’ll probably always miss Dirk Deppey’s fantastic link blog, Journalista, change here is definitely for the better, especially when that change involves bringing on Dan Nadel and Tim Hodler, the guys responsible for Eisner-nominated website Comics Comics, widely respected in the comics blogosphere.

Still, amidst all the excitement and praise, I can’t help but notice an element of… well, the same old, same old. Overwhelmingly, the new TCJ seems to be pretty much a bunch of… guys.

Now, before there’s an outcry, yes, I do see a few women listed among TCJ’s expected contributors. Hodler’s welcome message on the new site mentions future contributions from Nicole Rudick, Naomi Fry, Shaenon Garrity, and Hillary Chute. But the stuff these guys seem really excited about, all the new columns from Ken Parille, Ryan Holmberg, Sean T. Collins and the like, regular features like Frank Santoro’s “Riff Raff,” Jeet Heer’s “Comics Chronicles” and Joe McCulloch’s “This Week in Comics,” stuff that’s meant to make up the real meat of the site, are all written by men. This discrepancy is especially apparent in Nadel and Holder’s recent interview with Tom Spurgeon, where it was incredibly easy on my first read to completely miss the few tiny mentions of female writers, though they go on effusively about the many men involved in the project.

Look, I get that western comics culture is very much male-dominated, and I know that my perspective is probably skewed by the fact that I do the bulk of my comics-related online reading in the female-heavy manga blogosphere. But is it really so much to expect that a publication (online or otherwise) that considers itself to be an elite voice in the comics world might make a real effort to include female voices? And not just as occasional contributors, but as full-fledged columnists with the opportunity to develop a real audience and a distinctive voice?

I don’t mean to rain on Nadel and Hodler’s parade, I really don’t. I get that they’re pulling from a pool of writers they’ve admired for a long, long time, as well as from their already-established Comics Comics crew, which only had one woman in the bunch. This is what they’re comfortable with. These are the guys they know. I also get that they’ve been in charge of TCJ for something like a day, and jumping on them for anything at this point in time could reasonably be considered unfair.

And hey, my complaint is purely selfish. My sad little cry for more women at TCJ is a reflection of what I want to read, more than anything else. I want to read about comics from female creators. I want to read about comics about female characters. I want to know what other women think and feel about comics, because more often than not, that’s what really speaks to me as a reader. That’s what inspires me as a fan, and certainly as a blogger. There’s a reason why Manga Bookshelf is made up of a group of female bloggers and one man who reads a whole lot female-created manga. This is the discussion that most interests me. And though I certainly don’t expect TCJ to embody my personal tastes, as a pretty dedicated fan of comics, I’d like to see those tastes a bit better represented.

So in the end, I’ll wrap this up as a simple, friendly request for TCJ.com’s brand new overlords:

There are a lot of us out here. How about giving us something to read?


ETA Some related links:

A response from Tim Hodler
Additional commentary from Heidi MacDonald

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Comments

  1. Saw your tweet after just visiting their site. I only looked at two things so far, a cartoonists diary featuring Vanessa Davis and an auto-bio article that mentions folks like Alison Bechdel, Julie Doucet, Carol Tyler, Gabrielle Bell, etc.

    So on first glance, I didn’t notice that disparity.

    • Noah Berlatsky says:

      “But is it really so much to expect that a publication (online or otherwise) that considers itself to be an elite voice in the comics world might make a real effort to include female voices?”

      Trying to answer this question is depressing me.

    • Yeah, they’re featuring Vanessa Davis… as a one-time guest. And that article you talk about may mention some female artists, but I gotta say, glancing at it, I’m sure not picking it out on the first page. So far I see a male writer… talking about other men. Mary Fleener gets mentioned waaaaay at the bottom. So while it may go on later, it’s hardly a female-centric article. Not that it needs to be. That’s not my point. But where are the female columnists?

  2. David Welsh says:

    This was also my first reaction to the announcement, not at all unlike the response I had to a panel on comics criticism at SPX a few years ago. If the aim is to be a go-to, comprehensive site about the wide world of comics and to examine it thoroughly, a diversity of perspectives, contributed on a regular basis, feels like an important ingredient.

    My second reaction was to what I read as an uncomfortable lack of appreciation for the longtime contributions of Dirk Deppey. It’s not like there would have been a TCJ web presence worth looking at if it hadn’t been for Dirk.

  3. I don’t think it’s a “selfish request” to politely ask a major comics website to, you know, publish content that is of interest to over half the population. That’s like an anti-selfish-request; it’s not healthy for a group to divide itself along gender lines.

    • Hee, thank you.

    • Joe S. Walker says:

      “it’s not healthy for a group to divide itself along gender lines.”

      You’ve just said you’re not interested in reading a site written by men. Hilarious.

      • How does that fragment parse that way? I’m interested in reading a site that is written by both women and men, out of the belief that leaving the two groups incommunicado runs a greater risk of either entering into an unhealthy feedback loop.

  4. I see your point, but I think this kind of criticism is jumping the gun. Clearly, the site is still a work in progress, and the actual nature of the contributions by the very women you name hasn’t been announced. In Tom Spurgeon’s interview, it’s very clear that several of the ongoing columns are still in the planning stages, and that the columns that have been solidified so far are either coming from writers who have previous affiliations with either Comics Comics or TCJ or, in other words, people who were hitting the ground running. You ask “How about you give us women something to read?”, but the response, given that several female contributors have already been named, is clearly “We’re working on it.”

    I guess my biggest problem with this post is that you seem to be implying some inherent sexism (or at least indifference to gender issues) from Nadel and Hodler simply because (1) there isn’t specifically a female columnist (yet), (2) they didn’t stress what their female writers as strongly as their male writers, and (3) there aren’t enough female names there in general. The first seems to me like a fairly arbitrary criteria….if TCJ’s female staff would prefer writing in-depth feature articles (the kind of articles that have ALWAYS been the Journals’ bread & butter) instead of a weekly column, how is that a bad thing? The second, I grant you, is a bit questionable, but again, seems just as likely to be due to a lack of definition of roles going forward than any kind of maliciousness. As for 3, is there even a magic number for that? I mean, Robot 6 lists 12 contributors: only 4 are women, and only 2 contribute with any regularity, but I don’t think the blog is necessarily lacking in female perspective, coverage of female creators, etc.

    I look at what the new TCJ.com is doing so far, and I can’t help but applaud it. I look it as a huge step toward doing right by the legacy of the print Journal in a way their web presence never has previously, and it features a laundry list of some of the best writers about comics out there tackling the entire depth and breadth of the comics industry in a way that no other site is even attempting. If after a month or two, when you see the actual content and still find the site lacking the perspective you desire, by all means criticize, but to say based on one intro post, one interview, and one day’s worth of content that they aren’t even trying yet is grossly unfair.

    • but to say based on one intro post, one interview, and one day’s worth of content that they aren’t even trying yet is grossly unfair.

      Hi Jason,

      Since I actually *said* this in my post, I would respectfully ask that you reread it.

      • I read the post several times, actually, before deciding to respond to it, and edited my post a few times to make sure I wasn’t being too argumentative, and in editing it, I accidentally changed the last sentence into an almost exact quote of something you said, so I’m sorry if that made you assume I took the “tl;dr” route.

        Whatever…life’s too short to get in internet arguments, and most of my points were addressed in the thread with Sean T. Collins below anyway. I’ll shut up now.

  5. I have no desire to be the unofficial “This site has PLENTY of women, thankyouverymuch” guy on the Journal’s behalf; I think the comics industry suffers from deep-seated sexism in virtually every respect and requires going the extra mile to redress this. That said, I have found myself somewhat baffled by the wave of complaints that the new Journal is notably bereft of women contributors. Of the 29 people mentioned as contributors in Dan and Tim’s welcome level, six, or just over 20%, are women. Yes, that includes Vanessa Davis, a guest blogger, but dollars to donuts she puts up more posts in the site’s first six months than, say, Michael Dean. And again, it is indeed far from ideal, but it compares favorably to virtually all the major comics journo sites. The big exceptions are clearly the Manga Bookshelf network and Heidi MacDonald’s The Beat, and to a lesser extent Comics Alliance due to Laura Hudson’s EIC role. But Comics Alliance, even, is Hudson and eight men. Robot 6 is Brigid Alverson, Carla Hoffman, and ten men, in terms of the current regular contributors. The Hooded Utilitarian is Caro Small, Erica Freidman, and seven or so men. The Panelists is all men. CBR’s masthead is all men. Newsarama’s masthead is all men. Journalista was one man. The Comics Reporter is one man. Fleen is one man. By comparison, Nu-Journal is doing okay. Not GREAT, not IDEAL, but okay.

    I do also want to add something that was pointed out to me once over a similar situation, which is that we don’t know what went on behind the scenes in terms of who was approached to contribute regularly, head up columns or features, and so on, but had to turn the editors down due to circumstances in her own life. I can tell you from my own experience that I was approached to do more than I’m doing, but had to turn down all but some reviews (which I’d be writing for my own site anyway) and a relatively time-manageable interview column, due to external circumstances. Knowing Tim and Dan a bit, I would imagine that (say) CC contributor Nicole Rudick was likely invited to get as involved as she wanted to be, and probably other woman writers besides.

    • Sean, you’re absolutely right. A lack of female writers is not even remotely unique to the new TCJ. What struck me especially about it this morning was honestly the interview. Shaenon Garrity, for instance, was one of my favorite writers on the old TCJ website, and she blogged there quite a bit–had at least one regular column, too, with a recognizable name that a person could look forward to on a regular basis. I read through the entire interview waiting for her name to be mentioned, to hear that they were excited to be working with her, and… nothing. I suppose I thought with a fresh start, TCJ had a chance to really do better, and I admit I hold them to higher standards, because they (pretty vocally) take pride in being *the* place for smart comics criticism. I’m not actually talking about Nadel and Hodler, here, who have been with the Journal for so little time, but really Gary Groth and the operation as a whole. They spend a lot of time talking about how they are the best, so I admit I expect more.

      That said, I think it’s quite possible I’m being unfair (which is why I took the trouble of saying so in the post). Still, I thought it was worth saying.

      • I definitely agree it’s worth saying. Especially, if I may say so, in the way you did here. Most of what I was reacting to on Twitter today had to do with erroneous numbers being thrown around when the actual facts were easily verifiable, and then also the implication that the Journal is uniquely terrible in this regard when (and this is not a defense, just an observation) it’s actually somewhat less terrible than most comparable sites. The overall issue is HUGELY important and worth discussing.

        I should also add that since I posted the above comment I learned that HU has several women contributors I missed — I was going off the masthead and the contributors with articles on the current front page — so they’re actually doing better than I thought. And of course CBR and Newsarama have multiple women writers.

        • I suspect we run in slightly different Twitter circles, since I missed most of that! I might have gone a bit easier, even, if I’d known I was part of a larger pile-on. :)

          • David Welsh says:

            I erred in that regard when I first scanned the announcement, focusing on the regular columnists (10 of 11 are men, and the single woman is temporary) rather than the full list of contributors. Of course, it’s an easy mistake to make, as Sean just demonstrated.

            • Right. But I know Garrity is going to have a column — hers just hasn’t been announced yet because they haven’t agreed on a title for it. This is sorta what I was saying about how we don’t know what happens behind the scenes.

              • Lack of a title is why they couldn’t say, “And we’re excited to have an upcoming webcomics column from Shaenon Garrity”?

                I’m certainly hoping we’ll see more there from their female contributors than what we see now. But with so many glowing words and so much attention being given to the male writers, the women just kinda feel like an afterthought. I’m not saying it’s deliberate. But it’s hard not to notice it.

                • Knowing Dan and Tim, I’m just more willing to believe they didn’t want to make a big deal of something that wasn’t finalized than I am that Dan and Tim aren’t excited about their women contributors.

                  • So, it’s great that you know these guys and want to defend them and give them the benefit of the doubt and so on. I don’t know them. I’m not extremely involved in western comics fandom, and they don’t cross over a whole lot. So what I have to go on is what they’ve actually said. Did you read the Comics Reporter interview? I mean, they go on and on about the male critics they work with and admire. I mean, it’s really incredibly heartwarming to read in that sense. It’s very effusive. The three women mentioned in by them during the interview are very simply just mentioned. Like, their names are there, and really not anything more. I’m not suggesting that they’re deliberately excluding female contributors or they aren’t interested in having them on the site. I’m saying that from what I’ve seen–what they’ve shown to me while introducing their new incarnation of TCJ displays none of that same warm enthusiasm for female writers, and I noticed. I noticed so much, it made me feel like I needed to say something. It’s up to them whether they want to give that fact any weight. I sincerely hope that if they do respond to my concerns or anyone else’s, they are less defensive about it than their advocates so far have been. Because I think it’s worth examining.

              • David Welsh says:

                Honestly, Sean, I don’t think that argument is as persuasive as you think it is. This hasn’t been characterized as a soft launch at all, and it’s an invitation to respond to what’s actually there and what the prime movers are actually saying about it. Benevolent speculation as to their intentions and what they might have attempted is all well and good, but it’s also fine to look at the site as it stands and ask, “Where are the women?”

                And, frankly, discussion of the neglect of the perspective of women is common enough in virtually every corner of pop culture that nobody should be surprised that those concerns will be applied in this situation. And suggesting that people are overreacting is just a non-starter, period.

        • And to be clear, I actually missed names that WERE on the masthead, mistaking the “Columns” for links to other sites at a glance. Again, totally my fault, and I’m sorry to have gotten it wrong.

          • Noah Berlatsky says:

            I think I missed your correction earlier (as I’ve mentioned to Melinda, I hate nested threads) Anyway, I do appreciate you making the correction. Thank you.

    • Wow, a whole TWENTY PERCENT! *eyeroll*

    • Noah Berlatsky says:

      Son of a bitch, Sean. It’s like you’re running around the internet misrepresenting my site.

      HU has 2 of 5 regular bloggers who are women and 3 of 8 columnists (really 7, since Derik’s kind of ended his.) We also have regular guest posts by women, including Melinda.

      I put in a fair bit of effort to get women writers, because I think it’s an important thing to do. I don’t expect to be patted on the head for it, but seeing you misrepresent it in order to give cover to tcj.com is one of the most infuriating interactions I’ve ever had the pleasure to be part of on the internets.

    • Noah Berlatsky says:

      “I do also want to add something that was pointed out to me once over a similar situation, which is that we don’t know what went on behind the scenes in terms of who was approached to contribute regularly, head up columns or features, and so on, but had to turn the editors down due to circumstances in her own life. I can tell you from my own experience that I was approached to do more than I’m doing, but had to turn down all but some reviews (which I’d be writing for my own site anyway) and a relatively time-manageable interview column, due to external circumstances.”

      Also, may I say, this is complete and utter shilly-shallying crap. I would not be surprised if they asked other women. You can tell they didn’t ask as many women as men, though, because you look at the damn site. As someone who is constantly soliciting contributors, I get turned down a fair deal. You just ask somebody else.

      I very much doubt they went out saying, “oh, we should get more men than women.” Of course not. There are other ways institutional sexism operates. One of them is that your network of friends is men. One of them is that the things your interested in are gender-coded and so you network with people who are interested in those things. And one of them is by guys covering for each other and setting the bar low while making loud protestations of their anti-sexism.

      Having said that; it’s great to hear that Shaenon has a column. That’s lovely news, and reflects well on Dan and Tim in every way. You could have just said that without all the sand throwing, which would have allowed you incidentally to avoid misrepresenting my site. Which I understand was an error, but, as I said, holy crap does it piss me off.

      • Noah Berlatsky says:

        Yep; I keep thinking I will become less angry, and yet I do not. You have a gift, Sean.

        Part of what makes me so furious about misrepresenting the number of women at HU (accidentally I know) is that if you get the numbers right, you’re entire argument falls apart. HU could do better with women contributors, but we have enough, I think (I hope) that it doesn’t feel like a boys’ club. There are a number of women who feel like they have ownership in the site; partially as a result we have a number of women who comment fairly regularly.

        This isn’t perfect, obviously, and it’s only notable at all because of the ridiculously sorry ass state of comics criticism in this regard. However, the point is, it’s significantly better than where tcj.com is at the moment. And the further point is, if HU can have more participation from women, then tcj.com can too. Those guys have more resources than me. They have more staff. They have more money. They have more prestige. They have more contacts. There is no reason they shouldn’t be kicking my ass in every single regard, including this one. HU shows with blinding clarity that they don’t have more women writing for them because they didn’t try. Period.

        Now they may do better in the future. And they could be doing worse now. They have women on staff; I have no doubt that they will write about comics by women. I don’t think Melinda said it was the sorriest performance in this regard she’d ever seen or anything. She just says they should be doing better. And HU (not HU alone, but HU among other blogs) shows that they should be doing better. Which is why having you (accidentally) misrepresent HU in such a way as to show the opposite makes me so mad that my head feels like it’s going to explode.

        All right; end of rant. Sorry for cluttering up your comments Melinda.

        • No worries, Noah. Clutter at will. :)

        • Actually, while I’m here, given all the stuff you’ve said in this thread and on Twitter over the last couple of days, I’d like to apologize, Noah, for having recently characterized HU as not female-friendly, or at least not a safe space for women. I mean… it’s not, strictly speaking, but it’s really a few particular commenters making it that way, which is not something you can control, and I genuinely appreciate that you try really hard. I just thought I should acknowledge that, since I did go on so during my most recent conflict with Alex.

    • Sean, we have and have had several other female contributors at COmicsALliance, including Adri Cowan, Bethany Fong, Esther Inglis-Arkell and Anna Goellner.

  6. I like the new site and like the new editors personally and think it’s all good. That said, I am sad that Shaenon T. Garrity who is my FAVORITE current writer about comics isn’t more of a presence on the site. Perhaps it is her choice, or she’s busy with her myriad of other projects, but I will say I hope she gets more involved. We need MORE Shaenon, not less!

    Also, I love Kristy Valenti — she’s another one of my FAVORITE writers about comics. I made it a special point to meet her at SD last year, but she was never at the booth when I went by and instead I got to meet Moto Hagio.

  7. Katherine Dacey says:

    I’m also glad you mentioned Dirk’s contribution to TCJ, Melinda. I found his link-posts an indispensable tool for sorting the comic wheat from the chaff; without Journalista!, I would never have ventured very far beyond manga-blogging circles.

  8. Melinda – You’re not alone in this. I’m glad for TCJ, but annoyed that they felt they had to shed good established talent to take this step (this is happening everywhere in American business and I still don’t think it’s the right approach) and that they were so! excited! about all these guys. Nadel and Hodler are allowed to be excited by what excites them, but it does strike me that no contributions by women seem to bring on that reaction.

    Recently (I can’t find the source article) there was an article about women learning math and science and how they respond better to problems given to them by women. Studies have found that women are more likely to follow/friend other women on Twitter and men are likely to follow/friend other men. Can we just admit the obvious – men want most to read about and articles by other men and women want to read about and articles by other women. When confronted with this, let’s just boil the answer to “how to get more women into comics” would be “have more women visible in comics.” This goes for comic criticism as well.

    Interesting you should note that manga blogging has a lot of women. I counted my feeds – I’m split almost down the center on male/female manga bloggers, (about 8 and 9) but have only two female comics bloggers as compared with about 10 male comics blogs/crit.

    Now, having said all that, I want to thank Robot 6 for having Brigid, and of course Hooded Utilitarian, with which I am closing in on a 1-year anniversary. Having women front and center means more women will step up to talk about a topic. I look forward to a slow drift where women comics/manga bloggers are not notable just for being women, and when TCJ.com gets more women on the masthead.

    • Thank you for this. So much of the response to my post (here and on Twitter) has been guys rushing to defend TCJ, I was beginning to feel a bit alone. Your comment here and Heidi’s post today have been extremely welcome.

      • I really enjoyed this post, and the generally reasoned tone of the comments, at least compared to the Twitter frenzy. Thank you for speaking out about this, Melinda, and please don’t ever feel alone when you stand up.

    • I think the article you’re referring to appeared in Slate, Erica. It’s called “Psych-Out Sexism: The Innocent, Unconscious Bias That Discourages Girls from Math and Science.” (Here’s the link: http://www.slate.com/id/2286671/.) And I think you’re right to mention it. Those kind of subtle biases are impossible to identify, but are so prevalent and deep-seeded they’re difficult to counter. Actively including more women in the discussion is an important corrective, no matter how artificial or arbitrary it may seem to some folks.

      • Thank you for that link, Kate! I’m very interested in reading that article.

        • You’re welcome! It’s a tough article to read; as a product of the 1970s and 1980s, I was conditioned to believe that these kind of biases were the product of unenlightened minds, not a fundamental part of our unconscious. I haven’t really thought about the potential implications for comics criticism, though my gut tells me Erica is right. I tend to read more female critics than male. If you asked me why, I could compose an elegant defense of the practice — shared sensibilities, a greater sense of community — but I suspect the reasons are both simpler and deeper than I could hope to articulate.

          I’m really glad you started this discussion, BTW. At the very least, you’ve forced people to think about whether female critics are regarded with the same respect as their male peers. And you’ve forced people to think about standards: what constitutes good criticism? are those values somehow gendered? do men and women agree about what makes for good writing about comics? I’m not sure any of those questions can be answered, but they’re worth considering whenever someone asks, “Where are the female comics critics?” So thank you.

          • I can’t deny that I read many more female critics than male, prefer female writers (in both prose fiction and comics–something I just noticed recently), and generally seek out conversation about comics (or, really, anything) with women more often than with men. I don’t know the reasons for any of that, but the older I get, the more aware of it I am.

            • Katherine Dacey says:

              Interesting! For me, that tendency is most pronounced when it comes to reading and engaging with other comics bloggers; less so with reading fiction and non-fiction on my own. A lot of it has to do with how I’ve been treated by male readers who strongly disagreed with me. Not those who had a simple difference of opinion, of course, but those who were genuinely angry about what I’d written, and felt the need to call me names or suggest that I lacked the critical faculties to review comic books. (Because Kazuo Koike never, ever had an off day, right?) The sense of entitlement was astonishing; it would never occur to me to send an obscenity-laden email to someone I disagreed with, even about a topic as personally meaningful as universal health care or immigration policy. But about a comic book?

              Even at sites where the prevailing discourse is a lot more civilized, I’ve had my share of bad experiences. I haven’t been called nasty names, to be sure, but I’ve had people condescend to me about my entire philosophy of comics criticism, as if writing a review that helps people decide whether to buy a book is somehow less valuable than writing a 5,000 word treatise on the use of negative space in panel design. That kind of reception — essentially saying, “Take your ball and go home” — has definitely kept me from exploring certain corners of the comics internet more thoroughly. I prefer to join clubs that would actually have me as a member, you know?

              • Oh boy, do I. I’ve had those things said to me too, and though I am not nearly as serious a critic as you are (and by “serious” I mean “good”) and I write a *lot* of fluff pieces, when I really hunker down to write something thoughtful, I think it’s pretty worthwhile. This opinion is clearly not shared by a large portion of the comics criticism world, so I do tend to stick to my own corners of the blogosphere.

                You know that I tend to analyze fiction from an emotional perspective (I was an actor, that’s the way I know how to think about characters). It’s not maybe the most classic type of criticism, but I think it’s partly what makes my voice unique, so I go with it. I had a guy in an HU thread at one point tell me flat out that the way I think/care/talk about fiction is inferior, simply because it is based in finding an emotional connection with the writer. Not only that, but that it is KNOWN to be inferior. You know. By all. Not my favorite day in the comics blogosphere.

                • Katherine Dacey says:

                  I’m glad you stuck to your guns, Melinda; in my next life, I’ll write about my emotional response to books with the same force and clarity as you do.

      • Thank you for the link, Kate! That was exactly it.

        I’ll totally admit to the fact that I am woman-identified. My choice of everything – salesperson, political commentators, comics bloggers, contractors, twitter pals is going to be women first, then men. But even given that, my world pretty much stacks up as near-equal. Maybe because I openly acknowledge it? I don’t know.

        I will say this – every female blogger I know has received hatred from commenters that focused on her gender. Until this is no longer true, we are not equal. (Very amusingly, when I made a similar comment on Heidi’s post this morning I typed “hate male” instead of “hate mail.” How’s *that* for a Freudian slip?

  9. KenParille says:

    “I want to read about comics from female creators. I want to read about comics about female characters.”

    I have an essay on Moto Hagio’s “Bianca” that will appear on TCJ sometime this week.

  10. I am a woman. Last time I checked.

    • That’s true, of course (or you know, I’ll take your word for it). I’m thrilled that a woman is in your position at TCJ, but I didn’t see any mention that you’d be writing for the site among the recent announcements (if only you were!), so that doesn’t really address my call for female voices among the site’s regular columnists.

      That said, I’m happy that Tim decided to address the issue in today’s post. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in store.

    • I’m also glad that you’re there at TCJ.com, Kristi, but the fact that you have to point it out supports Melinda’s comments, I think.

      If you can, mentor a few young women and bring them into the fold, until there is no question that TCJ.com has women, because they are upfront and visible.

  11. Sure. In fact, I’ll probably be able to to write more for tcj.com (in addition to my Comixology column), since I won’t have as much to take care of on that front. Frankly, I think Dan and Tim are doing a better job of representing women than a lot people in my neck of the critical woods (including me).

    • As the person that wrote the press release, I’d like to point out that Dan, Tim, and Kristy are ALL editors and none of them were mentioned as contributing writers, even though they will all be writing for TCJ.com.

  12. Dear Erica,

    It’s true I do more mentoring on the Fantagraphics side of things, and the interns’ written work, which I supervise, more often ends up on the Fantagraphics website. In fact, the interns and I joke that we’re going to have to start an affirmative action program for male interns, because for the last few years men have been been pretty outnumbered!

    • Kristy – You know what would be awesome? If you wrote about that for TCJ.com I would love to hear about your efforts in mentoring on the industry side.

      I think it’s important to reiterate that I (and I think I speak for Melinda here, as well) don’t get a sense of sexism from TCJ.com…just oversight in the launch. Easily corrected by simply making a bit more of an effort on the next editorial/interview and then just running at an even keel.

  13. I don’t want any editors thinking number of female contributors X = not sexist, but there are so many more women and girls reading manga and comics now when the media previously shunned them in North America; I think it’s perfectly valid to want some assurances that you’ll find a voice that speaks to feminine interest in comics. As something of a feminist and a man who’s a fan of comics and manga for women and by women, I want to see those assurances.

  14. Oddly, I feel more invisible now that I ever have. With Tim and Dan taking over the reins and doing a very good job — note Amy Poodle’s Grant Morrison piece http://www.tcj.com/bomb-light-in-faraway-windows-the-invisibles-and-hauntology/, Parille on Bianca http://www.tcj.com/moto-hagio%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cbianca%E2%80%9D-against-culture/the Phoebe Gloeckner interview http://www.tcj.com/phoebe-gloeckner-2/, Vanessa Davis’ diary,* as well as awesome pieces by people such as Ryan Holmberg, one of my new favorite writers about manga (though Bill Randall remains my favorite) — I feel as though I’m closer to my goal of being able to do more writing for the site as well as pursue other comics projects, which I’m personally very excited about and appreciate the fact that they (and Fantagraphics) are affording me this new opportunity to do so.

    *Dan and Tim haven’t mentioned it yet, I don’t think, but we’re putting up a ton of archival interviews with female cartoonists — we’re processing them in office just as fast as we can.

    Honestly, I don’t think a piece on the Fantagraphics internship program (which accepts humans that can put a cover letter and resume together reasonably well, are able to come across as somewhat professional in the interview, all that stuff) would be very interesting. (Although if you wanted to know what people do in resumes and cover letters that drive me crazy, I can certainly tell you, although that doesn’t seem very tcj.com-worthy or relevant to the medium of comics). Generally, people seem to view the experience as positive (or they could just be buttering me up for better letter of recs).

    • Thanks for the links, Kristy! I read the Bianca piece yesterday, it was fantastic. I need to catch up!

      I suppose Erica and I are imagining heartfelt tales of a woman mentoring other women in the publishing world and not really considering that perhaps the stories wouldn’t be all that exciting. Still, I think I’d read them. :)





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