Ed. note: Until I run out of people to bug, WWAC will be running short pieces on some of the women working in comics now who are doing innovative or inspiring work. And not just women creators, but women working in comics retail, merchandising, marketing, editorial, journalism, and more. If you would like to contribute to the series you can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have to echo previous posts in this series—I’m continuously in awe of the women working in comics, and it’s impossible to express how important each one of them is.
Kelly Sue DeConnick — Milkfed Criminal Masterminds
It seems almost a given to say Kelly Sue DeConnick, but I’m going to do it anyway. Kelly Sue is fierce, powerful, and unapologetic. It’s that last one that really sticks for me, because so often the pressure on women in the industry is to play nice, to placate, to do their part without raising a fuss. With quotable motivations like “Sometimes spite is the only reason I get up in the morning,” and encouraging women in male-dominated industries to “Be terrifying,” Kelly Sue is a reminder that you don’t just have to sit there and take the abuse levied at you to succeed. And aside from being a motivation, she puts her money where her mouth is—DeConnick started the #VisibleWomen hashtag with the intent of finding jobs for female comic artists, all of which are catalogued here.
Paulina Ganucheau — Paulina on Tumblr
Paulina Ganucheau is one of those people who, even if she wasn’t immensely talented and boasting an incredible collection of K-pop and Sailor Moon gifs, I’d still follow on Twitter. While she’s positive and uplifting most of the time, it’s her frank, yet uplifting, discussions of work and struggle that make her such an excellent person to follow. Social media is often about presenting your best self, the self that doesn’t have bad days or self-doubt. Because she’s open and honest about these things, Paulina Ganucheau paints a picture of life in the comics industry that feels real—it’s not just about what she has already accomplished (the adorable Zodiac Starforce and the ongoing Another Castle, for instance), but about what she’s accomplishing all the time. It’s a different style of leadership than someone like Kelly Sue DeConnick, certainly, but watching a young artist grow and flourish with honesty about the struggles of freelancing and self-doubt is incredibly valuable.
Noelle Stevenson — Gingerhaze
Like every other woman on this list, Noelle Stevenson is incredibly talented. Her work on Lumberjanes and Nimona is inspirational, especially her complete ownership over her work and her continued statement of how important that is to her. She doesn’t pull punches in discussing representation in media, and, especially lately, has been frank about the toll that working in comics takes. Again, as outsiders, it’s easy to be caught up in the idea that once you’ve “made it,” everything is smooth sailing. Discussions like this one, about the importance of maintaining ownership and rights, are vital to young creatives looking for their place in the industry, and her frank talks about burnout are equally important. She discusses work and comics with as much passion and hilarity as she does the things she’s a fan of, and that honesty, even to the point of divisiveness, is as refreshing as it is interesting.