When we talk about women in comics, the first thing that tends to come to mind is the amazing ladies that are responsible for writing and drawing the things we love. It’s the most obvious thing to notice and we spend much of our time consuming that and not spending much time on the credits listing the other people who work on the book. It’s only human and we, as humans, have limited attention spans.
Here’s the thing: if you want to be in the comic book industry, writing or drawing aren’t the only options out there for you. There’s lettering, colours (hello Jordie Bellaire, colourist extraordinaire!), inking and even more stuff that still falls under the creative umbrella. There’s still even MORE careers that you can pursue though including editing, assisting, sales, publishing etc.
This is a little feature here to outline a few amazing women that do things outside of the “norm”. I contacted these ladies and asked them to write a paragraph or so outlining what it is that they do.
Click on their names to be taken to the most direct way to get in touch with them and ask them further questions.
I maintain relationships with retailers (Local comic shops), Libraries, and bookstores all over the world. I work with them on signings, events & exclusives and take in feedback on how we can be better at what we do. I also run the events division at Oni, overseeing all conventions and appearances. Nothing is better than watching a fan find their favorite book in real-time. Doesn’t happen enough. Lastly, I’m the main marketing and sales contact for our creative teams, lining up different strategies for their title, and sussing how we’re going to help the right people find it. Each comic gets it’s own treatment, so there’s never a dull moment.
At Marvel comics I am an Assistant Editor working with Editor Jordan D. White in the Star Wars and Deadpool offices. What this means is I work on every single Star Wars and Deadpool title under the sun! My role consists of helping make the comics the very best they can be in any way possible – from helping cast talent, to giving notes on story and script, to commenting on layouts, coloring, and lettering, and not to mention working on all of those crazy variant covers that folks love to hate! It’s my job to make sure the script gets to the artists, the pencils get to the inker, the inks to the colorist, and everything gets to the letterer…and the final files get to the printer on time…all while making sure the end product is the very best that it can be! There is no 9-5 routine, it’s not a 9-5 job – the work is never ending…but in the best way possible.
Being a small press publisher means having the flexibility to take chances on projects that are risky to mainstream publishers. Because my clients are primarily the customers directly, not the retail outlets, I can gauge the interest from them from social media. Because my print runs are low, there’s less risk if I’ve miscalculated. It also means however that there is more work, less opportunity to hire on help, and less revenue from smaller projects. But I wouldn’t change it for the world because I think the work I’m helping get out there is important.
I wrangle Kelly Sue and Matt’s calendars, help with the business-running side of things, and occasionally jump in as editorial backup when it’s needed! And then because Kel and Matt are awesome and they know that, long-term, I’m interested in writing comics and/or TV, there’s a component to it that’s like an old-school apprenticeship where they’re getting me as many opportunities to learn craft as possible (so I’ll sit in on a brainstorming session, or do a first lettering pass on a comic, etc).
Comics permeate almost every aspect of my life. When I am not running my comics shop, I am either researching comics, writing my comic, thinking of new ideas for comics, or just reading and enjoying comics. Every day after I take my daughter to school, I either write my comic or read them while enjoying several cups of coffee (my life force!). I head to my shop around 10ish and prep for the workday. I do all the ordering for the shop and plan all the events in addition to the day to day stuff. Let’s just say I keep very busy. After we close, I head home and make dinner (sometimes) and then write or research. The exception to this is Tuesday which is Flash/S.H.I.E.L.D. night – a girl has to have SOME fun. My schedule gets very hectic sometimes and I caught myself complaining the other day because I had to read so many comics. I thought to myself, “Your job is reading comics – shut the bleep up!” I love almost everything about my job in comics. I just wish there was more time in the day!
Alix and I are best described as facilitators of the group, which we co-founded when Alix asked me if I could help set up a reading group to be a judging panel for the British Comic Awards in 2013. That first group of ten kids has now a publishing team of 30 aged 10 to 17 (with a waiting list) and issue 4 is due out in summer 2016. Each team member gets a page of their own in the publication, and in monthly meetings we get the kids together after hours in Skipton Library to draw, read, swap ideas and develop storytelling skills. While Alix and I plan and deliver the sessions and do the boring grown up stuff like banking and invoicing, talking to the printers and liaising with the library, we encourage the kids themselves to go out and present funding bids. With a little guidance and a lot of encouragement they have now written and presented three successful bids to different funding bodies. This year has been huge, we won the Craven Community Champions Arts & Culture Award, were runners up in the North Yorkshire Community Awards, guest speakers at the British Comic Awards, exhibitors at Thought Bubble Leeds, and held a public comic jam attended by 260 people! We have built a team of adult volunteers to help the kids put on events, and are led by the kids ideas, however zany. The latest extension of Team Ketchup is a series of artists visits, the first with Neill Cameron was attended by 90 kids, and other artists are lined up for 2016.
As part of my day job with the library I run the building during our now infamous “Library lock ins” and North Yorkshire County Council support the group wth free building use, book stock, computer and Internet access and management support, but most of the work I do, and all of the work Alix does is voluntary.