If you're a woman who loves comics, games, and other geeky pursuits, then you know that when you head off to the big comics and gaming conventions, you're going to find yourself mostly in the company of men. In fact, many of the women you see at conventions are often on the other side of the booth, not as creators, but as promoters hired to wear next-to-nothing in order to sell big game titles or new comic book releases and film adaptations. The environment makes you feel a little icky, to put it mildly. But you really love your comics and games, so you're willing to fight through the heavily male-oriented marketing because this is your world too.
This is not a condemnation of the comics and games community, but rather a problem with the industry. Major conventions, big studios, and mainstream publishers are all a part of an entertainment and pop culture machine that's been catering to men for a very, very long time. Even though women represent a growing segment of the comics and games audience, you still don't see a lot of women creators in the credits of comics and game titles. According to Bleeding Cool, last month women barely reached 10% of the credited creators across comics released by DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse. Those numbers can be pretty discouraging for prospective female creators.
On Kickstarter, we're seeing women emerge as a driving force behind comic book projects. Last week, Womanthology, a collection of comics by all-women creators, officially became the most-funded comic book project on Kickstarter. In less than two weeks, Womanthology has amassed over 1,100 backers who've pledged upwards of $67,000 (!) to the project. If that's not a statement to the industry, I don't know what is.
Over 140 women are contributing to the anthology, from big names like Barbara Kesel and Gail Simone to a huge list of newcomers. As project creator Renae De Liz writes, "Never before have women in comics & media come together in such a huge way to create something like this. Never before has there been a publisher willing to give so many people a chance."
For those of you recovering from the sweaty exhibition floors of San Diego Comic Con, I encourage you to take a tour of our Comics category where you'll find plenty of kick-ass women (like Eliza Frye, Diana Nock, Shaenon Garrity, Sarah Glidden, Liz Baillie, E.K. Weaver, Vera Greentea, and more) making awesome comics.
On Kickstarter, there are no pesky predetermined audiences you have to pander to. When you remove those barriers to entry, what you're left with is incredible women making incredible things.