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Welcome to the 21st Century, Fanboys: An Editorial
By Stephanie Cooke

Welcome to the 21st Century, Fanboys

Over the past three years, the Talking Comics podcast has grown in popularity, which I am forever grateful for. The site and the show gives me a voice to speak about the things that I’m passionate about with people who are equally passionate and share my own values.

It’s funny because I never really knew that there were gatekeepers when it came to comics, but I guess the internet has really opened up the forum for people with opinions, good or bad. I will never understand why some people insist on trying to keep people out of their fandoms, like it’s some sort of exclusive VIP room at a party. It’s not. Comic book fandom is a sandbox that’s big enough for everyone to play in.

When I started writing this piece, I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going with it, and to be honest, I’m still not sure but I just have grievances to air and dammit, I’m going to air them.

I’m opinionated. I can be obnoxious. I’m passionate and I’m loud. I’m outspoken. I can be stubborn and set in my ways but at the core of it all, I love comics.

Day after day, I get punished for being a fan and not because of any of the aforementioned things, which admittedly can make my personality an acquired taste from time to time. I’m punished because I’m a woman.

While Brian Wood’s X-Men was still brand-new in our eyes, I aired my grievances in my Stephanie-ish way, but I stood firm on my beliefs and expressed my reasons for not enjoying the series. However, a regular listener to the podcast chose to take issue with what I said and even though over the course of several podcasts, I made my case, he told me that my “Brian Wood comment was generated more based on other issues than the quality of his writing.” Of course, when others on the show express similar opinions, they’re coherent and thought provoking while the woman on the show obviously has to have ulterior motives for not liking something. This exact same person comes after me every chance he gets and tears apart everything that I say and he’s not the only one.

“I had to turn off the podcast today when Steph mentioned that Convergence books she’s excited for and every single one was a female lead” Wow. Ok, cool. The fact that Bob was excited for Oracle and several other pre-52 titles gets nothing but I get singled out because I am being too pro-lady comics. AIIGHT. This “fan” suggested that we changed the name of Talking Comics to Feminist Comics because “it’s not being equal when you only champion female written/lead books”.

OH, WOW, I HAD NO IDEA. Thank you SO SO SO much for enlightening me. I had no idea that I was wronging you and taking away from the few white males that are portrayed in comics.

I’m not going to turn this piece into a bitch fest about the trolls that I deal with on a day to day basis because the sad truth is this: I don’t have it all that bad when I compare myself to some of my other female friends on the internet. It’s a crappy mentality to have about this situation when I really SHOULD be upset that ANYONE is saying these things to me, but as women, we have to look at the bigger picture and say to ourselves “Could it be worse?” because every single day is a goddamn struggle for women to be taken seriously in geekdom.

Since one of the trolls brought up Convergence, let me give off a couple of stats here… out of the 41 titles that DC is bringing to the table for their big event, only 4 of them are written by women. There are only 2 female artists on interiors. There are 7 women working as cover artists. Which makes the grand total of women working on these books: 13. Whereas there are 115+ instances of men working on the book either as artists, cover artists or writers.

So… I’m going to ask: why should I think I’m wrong for being excited about the women that ARE on the event?

I don’t ever claim to speak for anyone else on Talking Comics. Not Bobby, Steve or Bob but I don’t think that they would mind me saying that we will NEVER apologize to anyone for helping to promote and recognize the women in this industry. We will NEVER apologize for trying to promote and recognize ANY minorities. I am PROUD to be a part of a podcast that people recognize as feminist, especially when there are three men and myself. I LOVE Talking Comics and what we’ve built it up to.

When we get messages from women telling us that they got into comics because of us or because of recommendations, I get genuinely emotional. I do this podcast because I get to talk about things I’m passionate about with my friends who are equally passionate. Sometimes I forget that it goes out there to the world and then the reward is hearing from someone that we helped and I truly feel blessed to have been given a voice.

THIS is who our podcast is for. The men and women of this world who want to help progress our beloved industry to a better place. This is the 21st century and there is no longer a place for the people who believe that geekdom is a gated community.

If you believe that women led/created books shouldn’t be spoken about with a louder voice, go away.

If you believe that women shouldn’t read comics or watch Doctor Who, go away.

If you believe that men deserve an equal voice in comics, GO AWAY. Seriously, this one is huge because GUESS WHAT? If you believe that there should be an equal voice, the ONLY comics that should be talked about should be comics featuring women. For the past 60 years, the voice of comic books has been men. The characters have been men and almost any woman or other minority working in the industry or portrayed in a comic was portrayed in a diminishing, underrepresented fashion. Women and other minorities are FINALLY being given a voice in geekdom and if you believe that it’s too loud for you, maybe it’s time for you to find a new hobby. Take that new hobby and find a new place to preach your garbage. I’m sure the KKK still exists somewhere and probably Nazis too… who else would Wonder Woman fight?

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Your opinions are outdated and if you can’t see eye to eye with a world that is looking to better itself, BE GONE.

If our fans were only made up of ignorant people with outdated frames of mind, I would rather have no one listening to our show.

The ones that I will forever cherish are fans like Huw Parry, Maria Norris, Kelly Herron, Nikki Alfaro, Amy Devine, Dylan Jones, SUPERBADLARRY! and countless others who support what we do wholeheartedly and encourage representation and change. There are so many others that I didn’t mention and don’t think it’s because I don’t value you.

Any of you who comment, join us in the forums, befriend us and make the community a better place: you are the future of this industry and as hokey as it may sound, you are the guiding lights that will bring forth a better geekdom for everyone. I love you all for that.

One Response

  1. fullyfull

    Hey Steph,
    You have some very valid points and I agree totally. No one should be discounted because of who/what they are. In fact I don’t believe you should need to support you opinion with numbers or other facts at all. It your opinion that these particular book needs support and for me that is enough
    You want to support women in comics in any fashion – writers, artists, characters…ect. – I am all for it and I do my best to bring other people into the fold also
    Just so you know there are many men out there that have your back.

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