Girls Don’t Read Comics (Obviously)

The fabulous @kateleth also signed my favorite tote bag, designed by her! ♡

From Humble Beginnings

Once upon a time, I dated someone who was really into comics. Compared to other areas of geekery, comics seemed so vast and impossible to start. Do I have to read from the very first issue ever onward? Do I really just jump in? It seemed especially intimidating to be a girl interested in comics – every time I’d gone inside a comic book shop, it had been full of dudes who were sometimes cool, but sometimes made comments about me being a girl. I didn’t know the lingo, the store layout, when new issues came out… Even if I knew what I wanted, I was too terrified to ask where it was, lest I be deemed a fake geek. When I dated my comics-loving partner, he introduced me to the world of comics. I slowly started reading trades (paperbacks that collect story arcs spanning several issues) and eventually started picking up a few issues every week. Then The New 52 happened, all the stories I was following were cancelled, and, betrayed, I quit reading comics for a few years.

In the past six months or so, I’ve been getting back into reading comics again. There’s a lot of great stuff happening now – the first-ever Muslim superheroine, Ms. Marvel, saw her first issue sell out completely, there’s an openly transgender character in Batgirl, artists and writers are speaking out about mistreatment, and there’s a push within the industry to be more transparent and more inclusionary overall. While the comics industry itself is still very much a boys club, now’s a great time to get into comics and prove there’s simply no reason to be exclusionary.

I met @kateleth and got a copy of Seeing Red! Oh, and one for Liz, surprise! ♥♡♥

Oh Yes, It’s Ladies Night

One of the great comic book shops here, Austin Books and Comics, hosted a signing by Canadian comic artist and writer Kate Leth, followed by an after-hours Ladies Night. I went to the signing despite my own anxieties about going to an event alone – because really, when is Kate Leth going to be in Texas again? – and after talking with some of the employees, decided to stay and see if I could make any friends at Ladies Night. Plus, Kate Leth was going to be hanging out, and I was hoping to chat with her a little without being such a nervous mess.

My experience was nothing short of incredible. I met some faces in person that I’d only known online (hi Lori!), chatted with amazing ladies about everything from favorite comics to experiences with sexism to musicals to sexuality. It was a giant collection of geeky women, all of whom were friendly, approachable, and super cool. I felt so comfortable in the store, a total contrast from how I felt when I first arrived for the signing. I drove home with a Wonder Woman tote bag full of previews of classic, essential comics and coupons, and, most importantly, a full heart.

Mini-haul from Staple Expo and Austin Books and Comics! I couldn't resist getting Rat Queens (even though I've been waiting for the trade), and I love the Sailor Moon art zine!

Why Focus on Women?

When Ladies Night was starting, someone asked why he was getting kicked out of the store. One of the employees responded that they were hoping to create a safe environment for women who were interested in comics. Although the man who asked wasn’t too pleased with this answer, I think that Ladies Night is a welcome change in the comics world. Depending on sources, comic book readers are over 40% women, so we aren’t some small minority. But there are few women in the comic book industry, and while there are female leads, many of them are written for male audiences or their male counterparts get far more attention. (Take a look at any of the recent comic book movies – how many of them have a female lead?) Moreover, the pervasive myth of the Fake Geek Girl makes it intimidating to be a newbie in the comics world. Simply put, there are female geeks out there who read comics or want to read comics, and the industry is blocking their entry into the hobby.

This is why we need to create safe spaces for geeky women. Instead of being ignored by comic creators and comic shops, events like Ladies Night welcome women into the genre and allow an easy jumping-on point. I would gladly bring any friend of mine who wants to get started with comics to this kind of event. It’s a casual, no-pressure way to get familiar with your local comic book shop, meet like-minded ladies, and pick up a few issues or trades to get started.

The comics industry needs events like this to stop alienating its female fanbase and start welcoming it with open arms. Personally, I am much more likely to shop at a store that has made efforts to be inclusive to females – I’ve had too many bad experiences at comic shops based on my gender.  Events like Ladies Night bring geeks and creators closer to realizing that it is more valuable to welcome every geek into the community than to exclude.

If you are interested at getting into comics, here’s a few resources for you!

I love looking to podcasts or YouTube for specific issue reviews and asking friends what they’re reading. If you like a character, you can always Google around to find their best or most essential storylines. Otherwise, dive in!

 

About Mia Moore

Mia Moore
Mia is one half of SHe’s founding team, in charge of social media, blogging management, and guest content wrangling. MBA student concentrating in Digital Marketing by day, geek of all trades by night. Loves dressing up, advocating for self-love, and crying about magical girls.

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  • http://youfancymemad.com/ B.

    My local shop has a Ladies Only club that meets one Sunday is a month! While I haven't had the chance to make it yet, we have an awesome Facebook group as well and it's great talking comics with other ladies!

  • Mia Moore

    That's great! This was the first time I'd heard of a Ladies Night event and I'm thrilled to hear it's happening all over 😀

  • Erini

    I think one of the hard things to get over, coming into comics as a newb, is understanding that the world of comics is about so much more than just superheroes. Yes, superheroes make up a lot of what the mainstream sees, thanks to the success Marvel & DC has had with them… but there is so much more out there.

    I mean, *I* had hard times exploring comics because superheroes weren't really my thing (though Gail Simone is changing that for me).. and I thought I'd get hit with so much of the "fake geek girl" stuff because the Avengers or Batman aren't really my thing. I didn't want to fall into that stigma of "oh you only read girly comics"… which is complete BS.

    I am SO happy I got over all of that, and myself, because I was able to discover some amazing stories and artist. (Hello, Brian K. Vaughan!) I would love to find a Ladies Night event near me, and will have to look into some. But for now… it's shopping from the comfort of my PJs on comixology. :)

  • Mia Moore

    Oh for sure! Comics are a HUGE genre and I used to think they were mainly superhero-based with few exceptions.. turns out that's not true at all 😛 I have a harder time reading non-superhero comics sometimes because I know less about it, but I'm definitely less terrified of it than I used to be… especially since I now have so many comics-loving friends! :)

    I hope you find an event in your area! That would be so great!

  • http://abitofgeek.net/ abitofgeek

    I visited a comic book shop recently, one that I hadn't been to, and I had a small twang of nerves before I went in. I think comic books are awesome but completely overwhelming. I love Ultimate Spider-man but I don't own any of them. I wanted to just look around and see if anything caught my eye and I couldn't shake the apprehension of the store owners and clients being assholes. Fortunately, this place was super awesome. The guy was extremely friendly and sociable! There's only one other comic shop I've been to more than once but it's an hour and a half away from where I live, so it's not exactly a place I go often. It's enormous though and every employee is nice, informative, and pleasantly engaging. I'm glad to have these resources!

  • Brenda_N

    Hey ladies, I'm trying to help women's comics groups and their organizers network. If you're part of a group, let me know. http://www.womenreadcomics.com

  • Mia Moore

    That's great that your experience was good! I hope you continue to explore comics in the future, though I totally know it can be intimidating.

  • http://www.joiefatale.com/ Joie_Fatale

    Ladies night huh? I might talk to my comics store about hosting one of those. I think it would be really cool!

  • http://www.joiefatale.com/ Joie_Fatale

    And by might I mean: WILL!

  • http://abitofgeek.net/ abitofgeek

    My boyfriend just bought volumes 2-8 of X-Men Essentials, so now that they're in the house I'm hoping to give them a read!

  • Candace McAfee

    Hi Hi! This site is awesome. I have been considering starting a blog and came across Mia's… superb! That, of course, led me here. And I MUST know… what is that Kill la Kill dealie there??? You have sincerely piqued my interest (cover art is just… I can't even… ugh so good) and I am so curious.

  • Mia Moore

    The Kill la Kill piece is a mini-print I bought at a local indie expo called Staple! The original art is here – http://fangurley.tumblr.com/post/77663301773/i-love-this-part-of-the-opening-so-sexy and you can probably ask her about how to buy a print of your own!

  • Mia Moore

    YES!!! You have the power to start it up! :) Awesome!

  • Mia Moore

    Yes, you totally should! My partner and I share comics and that makes it cheaper for both of us, plus it's something we can share and talk about! :)

  • http://krystellemt.blogspot.com *aka* Krystelle

    There's only one comic book shop in my town, and its a pretty cool place. The staff is friendly and I've never had a bad experience with them. The other customers though….well they haven't been all nice. I've had several guys make rude comments when I've been there, saying that I must be buying the comics for my significant other. One time I was wearing a World of Warcraft hoodie and a guy was like "I bet she doesn't even play. I hate fake geeks." to his friend. Um yes, I do play, have for years. I've also had guys just flat out stare at me while I'm browsing, which goes from flattering to creepy when they do it for fifteen minutes lol. Ladies Night sounds really cool though, I wish they would do that at my local shop.

  • Mia Moore

    This is an amazing resource – I'll add it to the post!

  • Madi

    This post is just pure perfection! I started into comics a little while ago and have essentially given up. It's so overwhelming! Luckily, I haven't run into much trouble from guys… which seriously surprised me, but deciding where to start just put me off. I'll have to check out some of the links provided (especially the beginner's guides) to get myself back into the swing of things.

  • http://www.mylifeasateacup.com/ Kristin

    This is a huge (and awesome) resource that I'm going to pour over once I get home from work, but I just wanted to quickly say thanks for including my Batman for Beginners! :)

  • http://www.mindyourmadness.blogspot.com/ Harlynn

    I love that "Girls don't read comics"! XD
    I also love Adventure Time!!

    <3
    Harlynn
    mindyourmadness.blogspot.com

  • Mia Moore

    Thank you for posting it! I found it super helpful, even as a not-so-beginner with Batman! :) (And thanks for the link back!)

  • Mia Moore

    You really should give it a shot, it's an awesome form of media! The links provided will help out, but don't be afraid to ask your friends for recommendations too!

  • Mia Moore

    I'm so sorry to hear about your experiences. I've had similar stuff happen to me and it's so unnecessary! If you can't find a ladies night near you, why not start your own? :)

  • Brenda_N

    Awesome! Thanks so much!

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