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She Changed Comics tells the untold story of the pioneering women who changed free expression in comics!
She Changed Comics tells the untold story of the pioneering women who changed free expression in comics!
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1,570 backers pledged $66,741 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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With your help, CBLDF will tell the story of how women changed free expression in comics with She Changed Comics, a dynamic full-color book coming out this fall.

Women are still underrepresented in the comics industry, but that’s changing thanks in large part to the women who came before—the women who changed free expression in comics. These women ventured into unexplored creative territories, opened doors for their contemporaries and those who followed, broadened the scope of comics, and faced down those who would silence them. She Changed Comics tells their story!

In She Changed Comics, we'll profile more than 60 women whose work changed the landscape of free expression, from the turn of the 20th century to present day, and include new interviews from the women whose work is defining the future of comics.

We’ll look at women who worked during the Golden Age and before the advent of the Comics Code—women like Nell Brinkley and Jackie Ormes, whose cartoons weren’t just hugely popular. They helped define fashion and society in their eras.

Torchy Togs paper dolls by Jackie Ormes. (Copyright Jackie Ormes.)
Torchy Togs paper dolls by Jackie Ormes. (Copyright Jackie Ormes.)

She Changed Comics will explore the work of women who were saddled with and overcame the Comics Code. Some of these women, such as artists Trina Robbins, Lee Marrs, and Dori Seda, circumvented the Comics Code entirely, using underground comix to tell candid stories about female sexuality, feminism, and women’s rights. Some helped break down the legacy of the Comics Code in mainstream comics, such as modern era writer Gail Simone, who deconstructed the trope of women in refrigerators—women who served only as plot devices to drive male characters—by reinventing female comics characters that had long been trapped by the male gaze. 

Wimmen's Comix #15, artwork by Phoebe Gloeckner. (Used by permission of Fantagraphics Books.)
Wimmen's Comix #15, artwork by Phoebe Gloeckner. (Used by permission of Fantagraphics Books.)

And we’ll take a look at women who have been censored. Phoebe Gloeckner, Alison Bechdel, and Marjane Satrapi, who shared deeply personal coming-of-age stories in graphic novels, stories that have been embraced by millions and found homes beyond the bounds of comics. 

Challenged excerpt from Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. (Used by permission of Pantheon.)
Challenged excerpt from Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. (Used by permission of Pantheon.)

Their inspiration made way for Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, whose book This One Summer became the first graphic novel to receive the Caldecott honor. It has since become one of the books CBLDF has had to defend most frequently. 

This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, one of the most frequently challenged graphic novels. (Used by permission of Scholastic, Inc.)
This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, one of the most frequently challenged graphic novels. (Used by permission of Scholastic, Inc.)

Then there are the leaders: Francoise Mouly, who revamped the look of The New Yorker and helped redefine alternative comics as co-publisher of Raw. And Jenette Kahn, the long-serving former President of DC Comics who introduced unprecedented content diversity and more equitable contracts for creators. These are just a few of the women we’ll profile. 

She Changed Comics will also highlight the work of more obscure creators, women whose powerful contributions to free expression haven’t been adequately recognized. 

We’ll also examine the plights of female cartoonists who’ve been imprisoned or threatened. Atena Farghadani, who is currently serving a nearly 13-year prison sentence for mocking Iran’s parliament in a cartoon. Women who literally put their lives at risk every time they put a line on paper, like Doaa Eladl and Kanika Mishra, who have been threatened by religious fundamentalists in their home countries. 

Atena Farghadani (t) and the cartoon for which she was imprisoned (b).
Atena Farghadani (t) and the cartoon for which she was imprisoned (b).

Finally, She Changed Comics will feature interviews with some of the most influential women working in the medium today, as they share their perspectives on free expression and how women will continue to contribute to comics in the future. 

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1986 to protect the First Amendment rights of the comics community. Since then, we have provided resources for comics retailers, creators, publishers, and readers who have had their First Amendment rights threatened. 

We believe one of the most effective tools against censorship is education. As the organization has grown over the last 30 years, we’ve expanded our educational outreach, providing tools for librarians and educators who face challenges to comics. She Changed Comics is an invaluable tool in this mission. 

We can’t tell this story without you! With your help, we can inspire the next generation to appreciate the place women have held in the fight for free expression! 

Please back this important project today! You’ll be rewarded with some pretty amazing items, including signed books and prints, CBLDF-exclusive merchandise, and professional development opportunities with some of the biggest names in comics. You’ll be part of an amazing project that puts a spotlight on the immense contributions that women have made to free expression in the comics artform. 

Thank you for your support!

Stretch Goals - Building A Better Project With Your Support!

Thank you for funding She Changed Comics! Thanks to you, we'll be able to tell the story of how women changed free expression in comics! Thank you!

Our goal is for this project to be a powerful education resource, and with your continued support we'll be able to create some additional materials to help teachers and students use it more effectively. We've created the following stretch goals to help us do that:

  • GOAL ACHIEVED! - $20,000 - At this level, we can add a professionally developed index to the book and develop a companion digital slide show presentation that educators and librarians can use in programming related to the book.
  • GOAL ACHIEVED! - $25,000 - At this level, we can develop a Teaching Companion for middle school and high school educators who want to use She Changed Comics in their classrooms. It will include teacher guides, lesson plans, discussion questions, and activity ideas focusing on the creative and civics concerns explored in She Changed Comics.
  • GOAL ACHIEVED! - $30,000 - At this level, we can develop a Teaching Companion for higher education. This companion will address differentiated instruction for literature, history, art, education, and social sciences disciplines, identifying ways in which She Changed Comics can be incorporated into instruction and can support individuals majoring in these fields beyond earning a college degree.
  • GOAL ACHIEVED! - $40,000 - At this level, we can develop a Teaching Tour, in which we'll bring She Changed Comics programs to conventions, schools, professional conferences, and libraries throughout the end of 2016 and into 2017. These programs will take the shape of presentations by CBLDF's program staff in communities across the United States, as well as panel discussions featuring many of the women pioneers profiled in the book at conventions and festivals.
  • GOAL ACHIEVED! - $50,000 - At this level, we can develop an Audiobook version of She Changed Comics. A rare format for books about comics, the audiobook of She Changed Comics will allow another point of entry for readers and students of all kinds and allows us to tell this important story to visually impaired audiences more effectively. 
  • $75,000 - At this level we will be able to create Educational Companion Videos that support the content in the book. Designed for both teachers and casual viewers alike, these videos will tie directly to subject areas within She Changed Comics and include commentary by comics experts and creators, adding a whole new dimension to the topics examined in the book! If we achieve this stretch goal, we will release these videos for free throughout 2017.

Thank you for supporting She Changed Comics! We hope you'll continue to share the word so we can reach these goals to create an even better project advancing education about how women changed free expression in comics!

New Rewards!

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab presents She Changed Comics - JACKIE

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab celebrates the first Black woman to make a living as a syndicated cartoonist in support of She Changed Comics! Through her comic strip heroines Torchy Brown and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, Jackie Ormes defied stereotypes and illustrated the day to day struggles of African Americans, and was able to address though her comics not only institutionalized racism and prejudice, but also the issues of that touched women in the workforce, environmental pollution, and other societal concerns that impacted the world she lived in. She later described herself as “antiwar [and] anti-everything-that’s-smelly.”

Antiwar [and] anti-everything-that’s-smelly: sweet red patchouli and orris root with bourbon vanilla, caramelized labdanum, peru balsam, and almond milk.

Fun Home - Signed & Sketched by Alison Bechdel! 
Alison Bechdel has provided 15 signed & sketched bookplates supporting CBLDF that you can receive in copies of Fun Home for supporting She Changed Comics!

Nimona - Signed by Noelle Stevenson
35 Backers can receive a signed copy of Nimona, Noelle Stevenson's incredible National Book Award nominated graphic novel!

Girl Genius - Signed by Phil Foglio
We opened up the vaults to offer extremely rare, signed hardcover copies of Girl Genius volume 7 and volume 8, signed by co-author Phil Foglio!

Still Available: Signed Books By Mariko Tamaki, Neil Gaiman, Brian K. Vaughan and more!

Thank you for your support of She Changed Comics! Thanks to you, we'll tell the incredible story of how women changed free expression in comics!

Risks and challenges

The writing on She Changed Comics is currently underway. The book will go into the design phase if fully funded. We will also use this time to secure permissions for art used in the book. CBLDF's office will manage the fulfillment of this project alongside our other donor operations. The key elements outside our control are printing and freight for the final books, however we have built a time-line that ensures sufficient time for us to receive and ship out the final books.

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    Thank you! Your pledge will help us tell this incredible story! We'll include your name in the book's thank you section!

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    She Changed Comics Sticker! We'll send you a high quality vinyl bumper sticker featuring the She Changed Comics logo and include your name in the book's thank you section!

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    This One Summer signed by Mariko Tamaki! Get a copy of This One Summer, the first graphic novel to earn the Caldecott honor, signed by Mariko Tamaki. We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Diary of a Teenage Girl signed by Phoebe Glockner! Get a copy of this groundbreaking graphic novel. We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    She Changed Comics T-Shirt! Wear your support with this t-shirt, featuring the She Changed Comics logo! Available in unisex and women's cut. We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Michael Cho Signed Print! Get Michael Cho's exclusive CBLDF print, featuring all-new art related to his graphic novel Shoplifter! We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Get The Book - Print & Digital! We'll send you a physical copy of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a PDF digital copy! We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    You'll All Be Sorry Signed by Gail Simone! Get this long out of print collection of Gail Simone's groundbreaking comics column, and we'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Nimona signed by Noelle Stephenson! Get this acclaimed graphic novel, and we'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's She Changed Comics: Jackie Ormes fragrance. BPAL celebrates the first Black woman to make a living as a syndicated cartoonist in support of She Changed Comics! Through her comic strip heroines Torchy Brown and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, Ormes was able to address not only racism and prejudice, but also women’s careers and other issues she felt strongly about. She later described herself as “antiwar [and] anti-everything-that’s-smelly.” The only way to receive this fragrance is to back She Changed Comics on Kickstarter! We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Sandman: Overture signed by Neil Gaiman! Get this incredible hardcover collection, and we'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Get the Book in Digital & T-Shirt! We'll send you a DRM-free PDF copy of She Changed Comics, PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    BPAL's Jackie Ormes Fragrance and She Changed Comics Book - Digital! We'll send you a vial of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's She Changed Comics: Jackie Ormes fragrance and the eBook of She Changed Comics! BPAL celebrates the first Black woman to make a living as a syndicated cartoonist in support of She Changed Comics! Through her comic strip heroines Torchy Brown and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, Ormes was able to address not only racism and prejudice, but also women’s careers and other issues she felt strongly about. She later described herself as “antiwar [and] anti-everything-that’s-smelly.” The only way to receive this fragrance is to back She Changed Comics on Kickstarter! We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Get the Book in Print & T-Shirt! We'll send you a physical copy of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    BPAL's Jackie Ormes Fragrance and She Changed Comics Book - Print! We'll send you a vial of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's She Changed Comics: Jackie Ormes fragrance and the print edition of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker! BPAL celebrates the first Black woman to make a living as a syndicated cartoonist in support of She Changed Comics! Through her comic strip heroines Torchy Brown and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, Ormes was able to address not only racism and prejudice, but also women’s careers and other issues she felt strongly about. She later described herself as “antiwar [and] anti-everything-that’s-smelly.” The only way to receive this fragrance is to back She Changed Comics on Kickstarter! We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Jaime Hernandez CBLDF Letterpress Print! Get this rare letterpress print, featuring CBLDF's Liberty icon, signed and numbered by Jaime Hernandez! We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Saga Book 1 HC, signed by Brian K. Vaughan! Get a signed copy of this powerful graphic novel, and we'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Get the Print and Digital Book & t-shirt! We'll send you a physical copy of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker, PLUS a DRM-free PDF copy AND a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    Fun Home signed & sketched by Alison Bechdel! Get a signed copy of this groundbreaking graphic novel, and we'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    BPAL's Jackie Ormes Fragrance and She Changed Comics T-Shirt! We'll send you a vial of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's She Changed Comics: Jackie Ormes fragrance and a She Changed Comics t-shirt. BPAL celebrates the first Black woman to make a living as a syndicated cartoonist in support of She Changed Comics! Through her comic strip heroines Torchy Brown and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, Ormes was able to address not only racism and prejudice, but also women’s careers and other issues she felt strongly about. She later described herself as “antiwar [and] anti-everything-that’s-smelly.” The only way to receive this fragrance is to back She Changed Comics on Kickstarter! We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Girl Genius vol. 7 Hardcover signed by Phil Foglio! Get a rare signed copy of this hardcover steampunk classic, and we'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Girl Genius vol. 8 Hardcover signed by Phil Foglio! Get a rare signed copy of this hardcover steampunk classic, and we'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    BPAL's Jackie Ormes Fragrance and She Changed Comics Book - Print and Digital! We'll send you a vial of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's She Changed Comics: Jackie Ormes fragrance and the digital and print editions of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker! BPAL celebrates the first Black woman to make a living as a syndicated cartoonist in support of She Changed Comics! Through her comic strip heroines Torchy Brown and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, Ormes was able to address not only racism and prejudice, but also women’s careers and other issues she felt strongly about. She later described herself as “antiwar [and] anti-everything-that’s-smelly.” The only way to receive this fragrance is to back She Changed Comics on Kickstarter! We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    BPAL's Jackie Ormes Fragrance, She Changed Comics Book - Print and Digital, and t-shirt! We'll send you a vial of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's She Changed Comics: Jackie Ormes fragrance and the digital and print editions of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker! BPAL celebrates the first Black woman to make a living as a syndicated cartoonist in support of She Changed Comics! Through her comic strip heroines Torchy Brown and Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, Ormes was able to address not only racism and prejudice, but also women’s careers and other issues she felt strongly about. She later described herself as “antiwar [and] anti-everything-that’s-smelly.” The only way to receive this fragrance is to back She Changed Comics on Kickstarter! We'll also list you in the She Changed Comics thank you section!

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    Desert Wind Print Lettered Edition, Signed by Neil Gaiman! Neverwear.net has provided this exclusive to She Changed Comics signed & lettered edition of Desert Wind by Neil Gaiman and Molly Crabapple, signed by Neil Gaiman and limited to just 26 copies! We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section! (Travel not included.)

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    Private Tour of the Columbia University Comics Archive! Spend an afternoon getting an insider tour of Columbia University’s world-class comics archive. Librarian Karen Green will take you inside the University’s collection, which includes material from X-Men, Elfquest, Mad Magazine, and more. We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section! (Travel not included.)

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    Private Tour of the Society of Illustrators Archive! Spend an afternoon getting an insider tour of New York's legendary Society of Illustrators. Visit the Society's archive, featuring original art from the golden age of American Illustration to the present day, and have lunch in the Hall of Fame Dining Room. We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section! (Travel not included.)

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    Private Tour of the Last Gasp Art Vault! Ron Turner will take you on a private tour of his personal art vault, featuring original art from comix legends, sideshow banners, forbidden taxidermy, island art, and much more! We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section! (Travel not included.)

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    Professional Development Review with Shannon Watters! Boom! Studios editor and Lumberjanes co-creator Shannon Watters will review your work, providing feedback and pointers to help you get to the next creative level! We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    Professional Development Review with Calista Brill! First Second editor Calista Brill will review your work, providing feedback and pointers to help you get to the next creative level! We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    Professional Development Review with Robyn Chapman! First Second editor Robyn Chapman will review your work, providing feedback and pointers to help you get to the next creative level! We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    Private Tour of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at OSU! Spend an afternoon behind the scenes at world's largest and most comprehensive archive of comic strips, editorial cartoons and cartoon art! The Billy Ireland collection includes 450,000 original cartoons, 36,000 books, 51,000 serial titles and 3,000 feet (910 m) of manuscript materials, plus 2.5 million comic strip clippings and tear sheets. Commune with comics masters in this tour provided by Billy Ireland's Caitlin McGurk! We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section! (Travel not included.)

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    Class Set of She Changed Comics! Get a classroom set of 20 - 30 copies of the print version of She Changed Comics, shipped to you or the school of your choice! We'll also send you personal digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    Professional Development Review with Sierra Hahn! Boom! Studios Senior Editor Sierra Hahn will review your work, providing feedback and pointers to help you get to the next creative level! As an editor, Sierra has worked with luminaries including Joss Whedon, Neil Gaiman and Mike Mignola, among many of the industry's most influential creators. We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    Professional Development Review with Marie Javins! DC Entertainment's Senior Editor of Special Projects will review your work, providing feedback and pointers to help you get to the next creative level! Marie has done everything in her editorial career, from supervising line-wide events and launching transmedia brands, to helping creators craft unique and intimate stories. We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Professional Development Review with Diana Schutz! Legendary comics editor Diana Schutz will review your work, providing feedback and pointers to help you get to the next creative level! Diana has worked with legends, including Will Eisner, Frank Miller, and Michael Chabon, and many, many more of the medium's most influential creators. We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    Professional Development Review with Karen Berger! Legendary comics editor Karen Berger will review your work, providing feedback and pointers to help you get to the next creative level! Karen established Vertigo and has worked with legends, including Neil Gaiman, Will Eisner, and Alan Moore, and many, many more of the medium's most influential creators. We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    CBLDF Guest at San Diego Comic-Con! Join the CBLDF team at San Diego Comic-Con! Backers at this level will receive a badge to the Con for all four days and Preview Night, as well as preferred access for CBLDF's parties and in-booth signings! We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section! (Travel and lodging not included.)

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    CBLDF Will Speak At Your Institution! One of CBLDF's executive team will speak at your school, library or other institution, delivering our presentation on She Changed Comics! or any other topic from our presentation library. We'll also send you digital and print copies of She Changed Comics, with a backer-exclusive bookplate and a sticker PLUS a She Changed Comics t-shirt! We'll also list your name in the book's thank you section! (Within the United States only.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)