the contextual life

thoughts without borders

On the Shelf: The “All Comics, All the Time” Edition

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ABC Radio National’s Book Show had a great topic the other day: comics. The first segment, Female Comic Superheroes, was an interview with Karen Healy, an author, critic, and this year’s keynote speaker at Australia’s Tights and Tiaras conference, a symposium on female superheroes and media culture. Karen not only discusses the portrayl of women in comics but also their presence—or lack of it—in the industry. The topic reminded me of the kerfuffle over Wonder Woman’s outfit change a few months ago. Honestly, I was happy to see her wearing pants.

The second segment, for all those interested in the nitty-gritty of the publishing industry, was a round table discussion on Comics in the Digital Age. As with most media-driven industries, the internet is raising many questions to the future of the business. I can imagine it’s an interesting time for artists and designers—afew weeks ago I talked about web comics. According to the panel though and not surprisingly, much of the comics industry still lives in the print world. The show’s notes links to an optimistic story from WIRED magazine about comics in the digital era. Don’t miss it.

What’s your take on women in comics? Any thoughts on the future of the comic book art?

On the shelf this week . . . 

Blue Monday by Chynna Clugston
Growing up, I read comics but never the superhero kind. While I wasn’t aware of it then, the majority of artists were men. There was one comic book series that I found in my late-teens, however, that I loved and it was Blue Monday by female artist Chynna Major. It was like Archie, which I read as a kid, but punk and mod.

Grrl Scouts by Jim Mahfood
Grrl Scouts might be written and drawn by a guy but it had a feminist feel. The three female protagonists are tough, ass-kicking drug dealers who are hunted down by an organization who views them as competition: the U.S. government. This was one of my favorites growing up. I still have it on my shelf.

Fun Home: a Family Trigicomic by Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdelis well known in the comic book world for being one of the most outspoken gay artists producing works about gay life. Fun Home is her graphic memoir featuring, among other things that happened in her life, Alison’s coming out story.

Queen of the Black Black by Megan Kelso
Megan has been a DIY artist and  has had her comics serialized in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Queen of the Black Black is a collection of her early Girlhero strips. In this book you’ll find stories of bike messnegers, unwanted pregnancies, STDs, and family reunions. All the stuff that makes like fun.

What’s on your shelf? 

Here are some people who can talk about comics better than i can:
Comics Alliance
Comic Book Resources
Gamma Squad
DC Comics Blog
The Beat
Topless Robot


Written by Gabrielle

August 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Posted in books, on the shelf

Tagged with , , ,

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