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Girl Comics #1

March 5, 2010
Girl Comics 1 cover

Girl Comics #1

On the face of it, really, Marvel is going a Good Thing. Showcasing the talents of a range of female creator in a three-part series as part of what looks like an on going “Women of Marvel” theme for the year – the solicits page show further character-driven titles starring female characters by female creators. Which is why I’m writing about it here, of course – because it showcases the women working in a persistently male dominated field.

Now, I don’t read Marvel, but I know who’s-who in that universe, and I picked this up for very much the reason I imagine I was supposed to pick it up – because it was created by an all-women writing, art and editorical team, and I wanted to support female creators.

Which is the problem with the concept of Girl Comics. It’s not marketed on the thing that most people buy comics for: the stories and characters within. It’s not a showcase of Marvel’s wealth of female characters, but on its creators, and correct me if I’m wrong (please, do) but most people buy comics for the content. Buying this comic (as I did) because of the one thing all creators sends the message that female and artists can only be judged on their gender, and not their ability. And because of the way the comic was marketed, that’s all any sales figures are going to imply.

Which is a shame, because there’s a lot of quality content in this first issue. Amanda Connor’s cover, of course, is superlative, and the features on two legendary Marvel team members – Flo Steinberg and Marie Severin – are worth a
read. The stories themselves are hit and miss, which you’d expect in an anthology, even if for our money these days we’d rather have £2.50’s worth of all-quality comic.

Worth a mention are “A Brief Rendezvous” – a Punisher story on which both the writing (d’Orazio) and the art (Cook and Brietweiser) are great, Lucy Knisley’s adorable Doc Oct cartoon and Robin Furth and Agnes Garbowska’s ultra-charming tale of the Richards children. The other stories aren’t bad at all, but limited by length. Really, we’re so used these days to trade-length stories that last four to six issues, that stand alone issues seem short enough. Anything told in two to eight pages like these stories are going to be simple by neccessity, and once you accept that these are the sequential art equivalent of drabbles, it’s definitely an enjoyable read.

After last year’s Wednesday Comics, and as someone who misses the multiple-story format of the old Detective and Action Comics, I’d love to see more anthology titles like this, both women-only and in general. Let’s hope the sales figures are enough that this carries on, because a devoted DC girl like myself needs a little Marvel for variety.


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