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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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