Girl-Wonder.org Now Accepting Donations for the Second Annual Art Et Cetera Auction!

Following the success of last year’s auction thanks to the amazing generosity of the comics community, Girl-Wonder.org is happy to announce the second Art Et Cetera auction. The web-based auction will be held from October 6-12 and donations are now being accepted.

Art Et Cetera accepts everything, from comics-inspired jewelry to one-of-a-kind dolls to artist commissions to original superhero artwork. Due to legal issues, submitting fanart of licensed characters or character emblems is strongly discouraged. However, all pieces submitted will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Art Et Cetera is the major fundraising event for Girl-Wonder.org. All proceeds will will be used to cover organizational costs like website fees and expenses for the ongoing incorporation process, as well as merchandise development and promotional giveaway items. Girl-Wonder.org is currently registering for non-profit status. All staffers and board members are unpaid volunteers.

For more information, please contact Hannah Dame at hannah.dame@girl-wonder.org or Karen Healey at karen.healey@girl-wonder.org.

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Girl-Wonder.org Founds Convention Anti-Harassment Project

Following recent reports of physical and verbal harassment of convention attendees, Girl-Wonder.org has founded the Con Anti-Harassment Project.

The project is a grass-roots campaign designed to help make conventions safer for all attendees. Our aims are to encourage fandom, geek community and other non-business conventions to establish, articulate and act upon anti-harassment policies, especially sexual harassment policies, and to encourage mutual respect among convention attendees, guests and staff.

Aimed at both activism and support, the project offers a database of conventions, both national and global, harassment policy creation tipsfor convention organizers, and a moderated safe-space forum for people to talk about their experiences of or witnessing of harassment.

Template letters are also provided for those looking to find out more about a convention’s established harassment policies or request the convention include a clear anti-sexual harassment policy, or praise a con for including one.

All Girl-Wonder.org convention tables are designated as safe spaces. Staff will be happy to provide support and answer any questions a convention attendee may have.

News and Upcoming Events

– Nena Di, writer/artist of the webcomic Heard, and Andrea Bell of Girl-Wonder.org’s Mistress will be on hand at our Dragon*Con table off and on throughout the con, doing sketches, shaking hands, and generally being awesome, so set aside some time in your busy schedule to stop by our table!  And we’re still looking for volunteers to help man the G-W.org table. Contact Hannah Dame at hannahdame AT girl-wonder DOT org if you’ll be at the con and are interested in doing an hour to two.

– If you’re living in the Kent, Ohio area, be sure to check out Zombie Apparel’s Superpowered!
The Fashions of Comic Book’s Most Valiant & Villainous
 fashion show on Saturday, September 27th. Free and open to the public, a portion of all fashion sales for the evening will benefit Girl-Wonder.org. And if you live in the Ohio area, spread the news about the show with one of Zombie Apparel’s two fliers!

– Have a comics-related event coming up that you’d like more folks to know about, or wondering where you can find out more about G-W.org related events? Check out our new Upcoming Events page, and if you have an event you’d like added, e-mail Hannah Dame at hannahdame AT girl-wonder DOT org.

– And we now have a Fan page for Facebook, so use your social networking connections to add Girl-Wonder.org on Facebook or friend us on Myspace!

New Newsletter: Call For Submissions!

Call for Submissions
Deadline for Submissions: Friday, July 15, 2008, midnight, UTC.

Who are you: A nitpicky comic book Braniac who rejoices over dissecting the latest continuity crises in maddening detail? Or a slam-bang Wonder Woman warrior who can’t wait for Wednesdays to catch up on the latest fantasy grudge match? Who says you can’t be both?

Girl-Wonder.org is calling for submissions to our brand-new online newsletter, which will mix focused discussions of feminism (and other forms of -isms) in the comics genre with a fun-loving celebration of comic geekdom. This newsletter will be our ongoing love letter to comics – sharing all the serious and not so serious aspects of comics that keep us coming back for more.

On the serious side: Submit your short letters and opinions, no more than 1500 words in length, focusing on current events or academic ideas related to identity politics and comic books. Topics can include, but are not limited to the intersections of race, gender, body image, sexuality, religion, ableism, and class with your favorite comic book characters and titles.

On the fun side: Submit comics-related fanart with a feminist twist or a short fanfiction (no more than 1500 words in length). Selected works will appear in the newsletter’s regular fan-inspired creations section.

Also, submit your entry for this issue’s caption contest. Write a unique, witty, and/or ridiculous caption for this panel.

WW

Winner (as chosen on the Girl-Wonder.org forum boards) receives a fabulous gift basket full of hot-off-the-presses Girl-Wonder.org merchandise!

Submit all entries (including submissions for the caption contest) to jenn@reappropriate.com!

NAME THE NEWSLETTER CONTEST

In addition to our caption contest, to celebrate our first issue of the newsletter, we are running a contest to name the newsletter. Submit your entries to me at jenn@reappropriate.com — the top entries will be voted on in the forums and the winner will be unveiled with our first issues.

All submissions to the newsletter naming contest are due July 15th, midnight, UTC.

The person who submits the winning newsletter name will receive a fabulous gift basket of goodies!

Girl-Wonder.org at Dragon*Con!

Four Color Heroines and Girl-Wonder.org will have a table at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, and we’re looking for awesome table workers, guests who would be interested in signing time, or folks who just want to come by and argue about who would win in a cage match: Batman, Superman, or Wolverine.

If you’ll be attending Dragon*Con and would be willing to work some shifts at the Girl-Wonder.org table, please PM Hannah Dame on the forums or e-mail her at hannahdame@girl-wonder.org.

Celebrate Free Comic Book Day with Girl-Wonder.org!

Free Comic Book Day – Saturday, May 3, the day on which local comic shops across Canada and the United States give out free comic books to all visitors – is fast approaching. There’s no better day for someone to try comics, or a new genre of comics, for the first time, and no day more likely to fill comic book lovers with a renewed love of the medium. Therefore, there’s no better day to share the love of Girl Wonder!

The Plan

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to celebrate Free Comic Book Day by going to your local comic book store and spread the joyous word. Or post about Free Comic Book Day, your favorite female-positive comics for people to look for when they go, and possibly Girl-Wonder.org.

Post or distribute one of our flyers at your local store, or wear our brand new “Ask Me About Girl Wonder” graphics on your shirt, bag or sticker – or even tape it to your back! Maybe the next little girl who comes into the store will feel a little more welcome.

Invite the comic book curious women in your life out to a store for Free Comic Books Day – after all, they’re free, what better way to try them?

We’re Girl Wonder. You, me, every one of us. Let’s take it to the streets this Free Comic Book Day and spread the love!

The Nitty Gritty Details

We have a selection of flyers suitable for posting on walls or bulletin boards and a brand new “Ask Me About Girl Wonder” in sizes suitable for printing, wearing or using as an online banner.

Please get the permission of the store workers first, before posting a flyer inside a comic store! We want them to like us, not curse our name as they get out the paint-scraper. Of course… if they don’t let you, there’s always handy outdoor posting places, like a nearby telephone pole.

Then, come back and tell us all about your experiences! Did you have a really great discussion or two? Discover a cool new comic? Get horribly lost and just go out for fast food instead? If you want to share, the rest of us will be all ears! You can write about it in our forum topic, or save a thousand words and post your pictures through our Flickr group.

If you’re celebrating Free Comic Book Day with us online, consider linking this post to your banner, and linking fellow Girl Wonder readers to your post at our forum topic.

The Links

Keep up with Girl Wonder Blog posts about Free Comic Book Day :

You can discuss the upcoming festivities at our forum topic here. A roll call of possible participants would be great!

If you don’t have a Flickr account, they’re free. Set one up, click the Girl-Wonder Free Comic Book Day flickr group link, hit the join button, then upload your pictures.

Girl-Wonder.org Announces New Treasurer

Due to time constraints and issues of compatibility, Rachel Edidin has stepped down from her position as treasurer, and the board is happy to announce that Leslie Caribou has been elected to replace her. Leslie’s previous management experience will help greatly in preparing Girl-Wonder.org for incorporation.

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On Stephanie Brown’s return

Project Girl-Wonder curator, Mary Borsellino, responded to the return of Stephanie Brown:

If DC Comics is, in fact, choosing to resurrect Stephanie Brown, this shows that they — like lots of other people — see the valuable story potential that strong, interesting female characters offer. And maybe, just maybe, we’re approaching an era when Stephanie will be a symbol of what superhero comics get right with female heroes, rather than an example of how they get it wrong.

Join the team: Volunteer wanted

Job Title: Volunteer Coordinator

Job Description: Match volunteers to available positions, taking into account volunteer’s skills and availability, as well as job requirements and demands. Pro-actively seek out new volunteers, and
maintain contact with existing volunteers.

Reports To: Secretary

Skills Required: 
The ideal candidate is outgoing, personable, and enjoys working with people. Preference will be given to people who are organized, and who demonstrate inter-personal skills and
problem-solving ability.

Estimated Time Commitment/Length of Commitment: 1-3 hours per week.
We are asking for a minimum one year commitment.

Application Process: 
Please email submissions@girl-wonder.org

Please include the following information:

  • Your name or pseud
  • Your email address
  • Relevant experience and credentials

Deadline for Application: March 30

All applicants will receive an email confirming their application has been received within 24 hours of close of deadline for this job. If you do not receive an email, please contact us.

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Girl-Wonder.org President and Blogger Karen Healey responds

Girl-Wonder.org President and Blogger Karen Healey responds to a recent op-ed piece by Dirk Deppey of Journalista.

For reasons of space, I have responded to Mr Deppey’s editorial in sections, and have excised much of his material in order to concentrate on what I see as the most important points. You may read his full editorial at Journalista. I am not so much interested in arguing with his opinions of Girl-Wonder.org, which seem clear, and to which he is entitled, but his factual errors in presenting his argument.

1) The “Girl Wonder crowd”.

I wish to first correct what I see as Mr Deppey’s most erroneous misconception, which is the continual reference to something he dubs the “Girl Wonder crowd”. For example:

It’s possible to feel some sympathy for this state of affairs, and had the debate been framed along these lines, it’d be easier to discuss the subject without the resulting fanboy backlash. Alas, “Give something to the existing female fanbase, too” is an argument that doesn’t offer the Girl Wonder crowd much in the way of bargaining power, nor will it, so as long as they keep buying the comics regardless of their perceived offensive content.

Mr Deppey links to a number of items by different Girl-Wonder.org members, but he also, bafflingly, includes links to posts by DevilDolland Pink Raygun without differentiating them and associates this “Girl Wonder crowd” with Lisa Lobacinki of P.O.W.E.R in Comics in his footnotes. I have read and enjoyed material by these authors, but their sites are in no way associated with Girl-Wonder.org.

Indeed, while Girl-Wonder.org’s volunteers are proud of the site and its accomplishments, I do object to the characterization of a “Girl Wonder crowd”, wherein, it seems, we may lump in any female-written cybertext which has the temerity to protest the depiction of female characters in a fashion that Mr Deppey finds objectionable or comments on things that he finds trivial. Girl-Wonder.org is a site with plenty of variety and contains many viewpoints, but it does not pretend to speak in one voice, nor to represent the feminist comics movement in all its vital, factional glory.

As a brief perusal of our official media page would reveal, we strive to emphasise this point even within the organisation: “There cannot be said to be any single viewpoint or opinion which all participants have in common beyond the site’s core goal of fairer treatment for women and girls in mainstream comics.”

Mr Deppey persists in maintaining the existence of an easily demonised “Girl Wonder crowd” throughout his piece; both his comments and my responses should be read with this in mind.

2) Project Girl Wonder

Into this breach steps the Girl Wonder crowd and the utterly demented campaign that bears their collective name. Project Girl Wonder aims for nothing less than the lofty goal of… getting a display cabinet. In the Batcave. For a minor character. Who briefly and ineptly served as Robin in DC’s comics. Oh, and have I mentioned that they’re framing this as a feminist cause?

Since the male Robin II (Jason Todd) died and was remembered, and the female Robin IV (Stephanie Brown) died and was not, and the infliction of the wounds that lead to her death were furthermore depicted in a manner reminiscent of torture porn, the maintainer of Project Girl Wonder – which does not constitute the whole of Girl-Wonder.org, nor ever has – regards the lack of memorial as gender discrimination.

Gender discrimination is certainly a feminist concern. Mr Deppey may disagree as to whether discrimination took place here, but if one accepts the basic premises of Project Girl Wonder’s objection – as its creator does – then one may certainly view it as a feminist cause.

3) The “movement” is uninterested in outreach or support.

Given the astonishing number of problems facing the Direct Market and its inability to appeal to women in any significant way, why is this — or the production of a limited-edition statue unrelated to the comics themselves, or the painting of a nude model as Wonder Woman in a men’s magazine unrelated to the comics themselves — one of the central campaigns of this movement?

Simple: Because it isn’t about making the New York City corporate-comics industry a better or more equitable place for female creators, and it isn’t about attracting new and younger female readers into the scene.

By “this movement” I assume Mr Deppey refers to the feminist comics movement, so my response draws from the projects of that movement. I do not here seek to argue the offense or lack thereof of the items he mentions, since those arguments have been well-made elsewhere, but merely to refute the implication that the supposed “Girl Wonder crowd” is uninterested in supporting female creators or attracting new readers. I have limited myself to a sample of organizations, rather than individuals:

Girl-Wonder.org currently hosts three webcomics, which are created or co-created by women. Girl-Wonder.org representatives recommends comics for young readers at conventions and on the message boards. Girl-Wonder.org members speak at convention panels, from the audience and from the dais, in support of female characters and creators and addressing the issues of making comics more friendly to female creators and readers alike.

Sequential Heart (run by Girl-Wonder.org treasurer Rachel Edidin with artist and board contributor Dean Trippe) donates comics to homeless young people.

Women’s Work is a collective of women who work in and around the visual and literary industries. They declare, “We are creators and storytellers. Art before housework.”

The long-established Friends of Lulu, dedicated to the development of women in comics, has published How to Get Girls (Into Your Store)a book available in pdf form that “includes helpful hints for attracting and keeping new customers, as well as tips for choosing products that appeal to women and children, presenting comics and other products, working within your community to build good relationships, and retailer networking.” It provides an email mentoring programme for those who wish to become comics professionals. FoL’s New York chapter, among other projects, “[holds] discussions featuring prominent female writers and artists in the NY area, [and maintains] a continued presence at local comic book and related media conventions.”

P.O.W.E.R. in Comics lists comic shops run by women and minorities. It is a community “of sharing, where creators can help those looking to become creators attain their goals and where artists and writers can find each other and team up; also where creators can come to promote their works. Here blogers can post links to their blogs dealing with issues important to POWER members. Here artists and writers can post samples and get opinions. Here podcasters and video makers can post segments to get reviews, opinions, and support.”

The Ormes Society
 provides networking for black female comics creators and includes a Useful Resources section in their forums, and its Livejournal community Torchbearers spotlights black female characters in comics/manga, collects links on the topic of race in sequential art and provides news on the doing of Ormes Society members.

And female-run Sequential Tart, of course, monthly publishes a webzine with the mandate to “increase the visibility and raise the awareness of the participation of women in comics as both creators and fans.”

If we assume a lack of mendacity, either Mr Deppey feels these efforts are not sufficient (for which Girl-Wonder.org and, I imagine, other organizations can only plead limited time or resources) or he was unaware of these contributions to comics culture.

4) Market forces render feminist protest meaningless.

Currently, female readers would seem to make up ten percent of the current marketplace at most, and even if they all rose up and boycotted Marvel and DC’s product at once, it wouldn’t seriously affect either company’s bottom line. Remember, publishing makes up a relatively small fraction of their respective bottom lines, and the big income-earning division — licensing — isn’t affected by the comics’ actual content in the slightest, since nobody but the hardcore fans are reading them to begin with.

My personal position, and one shared by several others on the Girl-Wonder.org team, is that Marvel and DC should refrain from sexism, not because such restraint might reward them financially, but because sexism is wrong. I suspect Mr Deppey agrees that sexism is wrong; I suspect also that he might substantially disagree on what, precisely, might constitute sexist material in modern superhero comics culture. That being a matter of opinion, I shall merely note that we are not obliged to take market considerations into account when considering the ethical content of a work.

5) The “Girl-Wonder crowd” objects to all sexual content.

Moreover, while the smarter, more rational Funnybook Feminists are careful to frame their arguments in such a way as to reassure their male compatriots that they’re not trying to “take away the sexy” — they just want to make things more equitable and see more books targeted toward their tastes rather than an exclusive diet of the Tits Ahoy superhero baseline — the vision posed by the Girl Wonder crowd and allied adherents is less compromising, and more absolutist. As the statue and Playboy skirmishes demonstrate, they aren’t merely interested in discouraging the production by Marvel and DC of anything containing an excessively sexual component, but a thorough cleansing of the fan culture created by and for the genre’s hardcore adult-male fanbase in its entirety, and anything that might ever intersect with said culture.

While again, I cannot speak for the whole of Girl-Wonder.org, nor does Girl-Wonder.org speak for the feminist comics movement (or “allied adherents”), I cannot comprehend how a site that includes a section for pornography in its recommendation section, a thread dedicated to the appreciation of sexual imagery, another considering Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter, another debating the sexiest female characters in comics, and, most recently, a favourable review of Garth Ennis’ The Pro could reasonably be considered to espouse an uncompromising and absolutist aim of “taking the sexy away”.

I do not, personally, object to sexual content in my comics. I object strongly to objectification, misogyny, misandry and the lazy repetition of narrative and visual tropes that degrade women and minorities. To these things, I certainly hope that my opposition is absolute and uncompromising.

6) The “Girl Wonder crowd” claims that they want to make superhero comics safe for 13-year-old girls, but this claim is a hypocritical disguise for fan entitlement.

If the Girl Wonder crowd were really concerned with making superhero comics safe for 13-year-old girls, they’d be arguing over far, far more than statues, Playboy, or Stephanie Brown. They’d be arguing that their favorite comics should again be written exclusively for children. They’d demand a return to (and stricter enforcement of) the Comics Code Authority, that a sharper line of demarcation be drawn between kiddie comics and those for the existing fanbase, and that virtually all of Marvel and DC’s main line of product be placed firmly on the children’s side of the line. They’d demand an end to decades of continuity, so as to allow new readers every opportunity to jump onboard. They’d demand more female comics creators and more women in management, and assurances that women have a voice on the board of directors for the CCA. In other words, if “think of the children” really were at the core of this argument, an authentic feminist agenda would be centered around actually thinking of the children, and not their own tastes and inclinations.

Outside the specific recommendation list created for their hopeful enjoyment, Girl-Wonder.org has never claimed a particular concern for the children, and I am baffled as to how Mr Deppey could have come to the conclusion that we have. We include the children in our wider aims of criticising sexism in comics and encouraging the depiction of well-rounded female characters; we believe that the children will also benefit from a world with less misogyny and misandry and with more female characters portrayed as persons instead of objects, in comics as in all media. We are happy to let the children think for themselves.

Perhaps Mr Deppey is referring to someone else.

I speak, as ever, as a fan, as a feminist, and for myself. Like every fan, I certainly do want comics made for my own tastes and inclinations. I also want comics that do not casually endorse sexism, because I believe that sexist material does not merely cater to a taste I do not share, but is ethically reprehensible. I cannot recall ever claiming otherwise.

In conclusion, then, Girl-Wonder.org does not represent feminist comics fandom, nor are its participants homogeneous in their own positions. Project Girl Wonder, nor various objections to misogynistic imagery, do not constitute anything close to the entirety of feminist fandom’s projects. I acknowledge that Mr Deppey’s views on what comprises sexism may not accord with mine, nor with those of any other person, but marvel at his assumption that I or others might be primarily motivated by market concerns. Girl-Wonder.org largely objects to objectification, not pornography per se, and Girl-Wonder.org does not hypocritically claim to be championing the children.

Mr Deppey’s opinions regarding Girl-Wonder.org’s projects (and, it appears, the projects of other sites not associated with Girl-Wonder.org) are uniquely his own, and I am not especially interested in debating them. His factual errors, however, I hope I have here clarified.

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