I spend a lot of time on Twitter, so, I follow a lot of people. People that I think are great. Particularly, I love following my curated feed of comic people. Not only are they hardworking and talented at their actual profession, but they’re funny, passionate, and seem to just have a drive to find and create good art.
Some of these people I’ve been following for a while, some are artists I’ve found because of the other artists that I follow. If you’re on Twitter, and you love comics, I think all of these people are worth your time.
I think I’ve always been a comic reader. I read Archie comics sporadically, and each Sunday it was of vital importance that I read every single strip in the funny pages — yes, even Doonesbury. I bought Garfield collections and started filling up a shoe box with issues of Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna.
But one thing was obvious, as I started moving into more story-based things: there weren’t a lot of comics, or graphic novels, meant for girls. There were some things, like Betty and Veronica, but nothing that appealed to the other stories I loved, fantasy and adventure, or even stories that just focused so deeply on characters and their problems. No, those were in “boy” stories, in super hero comics that didn’t usually appeal to me.
Maybe that’s why I fell so hard into manga. The first volume of manga I ever bought was Cardcaptor Sakura, where a girl gains magical powers and fights monsters in outfits designed by her best friend. On the cover she’s decked out in pink and is surrounded by swirling ribbons. This was a story made for girls, and I was so hooked.
Fushigi Yuugi, Mars, Kodocha, Magic Knight Rayearth — manga was an embarrassment of riches when it came to girls comics, even with the limited choice available when I first started reading. And I read plenty of “boy” manga, too, Inu Yasha and Rurouni Kenshin, but even a lot of those stories seemed to have a sense of their large female audience, so saying it was a shonen (“boy”) comic really more of a category than a directive.
Flash forward to nowadays. Now there are loads of lady comic artists/writers who were reading funny pages and Archie around the same time as me, and they are making their own comics for girls. There’s Smile and Sisters by Reina Telgemeier, Cece Bell’s El Deafo, Faith Erin Hicks and Friends with Boys, and Lumberjanes, oh my goodness Lumberjanes. A bunch of girls solving ciphers and fighting monster and preventing petulant gods from taking over the world and falling in love! Even some of those super hero comics that had never appealed to me would have been amazing when I was twelve, with Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and the new Ms. Marvel. And of course, there’s more shojo manga around than I would have ever been able to read.
I’m jealous of these girls today, finding comics made for them, sitting in easy reach in the front of book stores, waiting to be checked out from their school libraries. There are so many wonderful, special things being down with comics that I didn’t even know I craved when I was a kid. So many different stories for them to devour and grow up with and remember fondly as a part of their childhoods.
Readers! Did you read comics as a kid? What did you love and collect? Are you as jealous of kids comics today as I am?
When I find an artist that I enjoy, I like to see if they have a Twitter account, then follow them, adding them to different lists so that I may better stalk them. A big reason I like to follow comic artists, aside from learning when new books they have are coming out, is to see random pieces of art they post online.
Faith Erin Hicks put up a bit of Sleepy Hollow fanart that was the final straw to get me to watch the show.
I love seeing what Natasha Allegri (creator of Bee and Puppycat) plops on her twitter, with her weird delightful humor and random sketches of her cat.
Most recent, Kate Beaton from Hark! A Vagrant! put up several quick comics about this holiday season with her family, and though they’re messier than what she puts on her website (which is still a wonderful kind of messy) they remind me why I love her: raw rough art and humor that comes out of things happening rather than punchlines or awkward situations. She makes me think (in a perfectly flattering way, I assure you) that if I stopped being dumb and picked up my sketch pad again I could make my own random comics about my life and they wouldn’t be so completely horrible (probably a little horrible, but not completely).
Thank you, comic artists, for putting all your wonderful stuff on Twitter. I appreciate it so much.
I think I might go reread my Hark! A Vagrant! collection again.
I didn’t want to write this until my article was actually posted, since I’m paranoid about jinxing myself, but now I feel safe doing it. A couple months ago I signed up to write for the relaunched, on the web Creative Screenwriting, and a couple weeks ago my first article was published online, my interview with artist Faith Erin Hicks. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I really like Faith Erin Hicks, so even though this interview took place over email, I was really excited to have a chance to ask her questions and write about her. I have another one that I’m currently writing, and I may have another interview lined up. I’ve only just started, and as with anything I’m stressing myself out, but I’m really excited.
I also realize I haven’t been mentioning what I’ve been posting on The Fandom Post recently. Mostly, it’s been reviews for episodes of anime, Mushibugyo and Silver Spoon, but there’s also the newest Avatar: The Last Airbender comic. I won’t link to everything I’ve posted, but click the link and look at my backlog if you’re interested.