Benefit Auction For Webcomic Creator Karen Ellis Announced

Karen Ellis, creator of diary comic Planet Karen, lost nearly everything in a fire this weekend.

The apartment above her own caught fire on Sunday night, and while firefighters fought the blaze for three hours, tragically, the occupant was killed. Karen is physically fine, but most of her possessions, including books, clothes and drawing supplies, are ruined beyond repair. The apartment itself has suffered so much structural damage that she’s also been made effectively homeless. (See this comic for an account in her own words.)

Karen is a valuable part of the webcomics community. If you can, please consider making a contribution to her Paypal account to help out. Just head to http://planetkaren.girl-wonder.org/ and hit the “Donation” button in the right-hand column. Every donation, whatever its size, really counts!

Girl-Wonder.org, the organization that hosts Planet Karen, is also planning a fundraising auction on Karen’s behalf. If you have items you think you’d like to donate, please contact Karen Healey at karen.healey@girl-wonder.org for details.

The Baby-Sitter’s Club, by Anne M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

The first comic of 2008 is brought by Jessica Plummer, GW Board member, and one of the writers of the new GW blog Sequential Smarts, a resource on comics used in the classroom.

Well, it’s a new year, and what better way to kick it off than with a blast from the past? January’s book of the month is The Baby-sitters Club Graphix, a series of four graphic novels based on Ann M. Martin’s hit kids’ series (specifically, Kristy’s Great Idea, The Truth About Stacey, Mary Anne Saves the Day, and Claudia and Mean Janine). Adapted and drawn by Raina Telgmeier, the books center around a group of tween girls and their babysitting business.

If you’re a typical child of the 80s and early 90s, you remember the setup of the series: when Kristy sees how hard it is for her mom to find a sitter for Kristy’s little brother, she organizes her friends Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey (and later Dawn) into a babysitting club to enable parents to reach a whole bunch of sitters with one phone call. Babysitting forms the background to all of the books, but these four graphic novels, taken from the earlier and less ridiculous volumes of the original series, are really about Kristy learning to deal accept her single mother dating and her family changing, Stacey coping with diabetes, Mary Anne finding her own hidden strength, Claudia forging a stronger relationship with her sister as their grandmother falls ill, and, above all, friendship.

I was a big BSC fan as a kid, and these books retain everything good about them (except, alas, for the ludicrous 80s fashions) while jettisoning some of the goofier aspects of the series. The first is rather awkwardly paced, but by the second  seems to have found her rhythm. And the art! It’s cute, and energetic, and distinctive. The characters are all easily distinguishable – a sadly rare feat in a book starring all girls! – and dress with their own distinct senses of style, which I’m sure all grown-up fans of the series remember as a major draw. Everything about it, from the expressions to the layouts, is fantastic. It takes me twice as long to read these books as it normally would because I’m spending so much time gazing rapturously at the art. All in all, these are great, fun reads for both adult fans of the old series and kids meeting the Baby-sitters Club for the first time.

Violence: None.

Sexualised Violence: None.

Gender: All four protagonists are girls with distinct personalities, and none of the plotlines revolve around boys.

The Bechdel-Wallace Test: Passes with flying colors!

Minorities: Claudia, one of the four protagonists, is Japanese-American, as is her entire family. The original series consisted of almost entirely white characters, so Telgemeier replaced a couple of white babysitting clients with new black characters to make the series a little more diverse.

Art Et Cetera: Adam Gallardo and Todd Demong

Today’s donations come from Adam Gallardo (writer) and Todd Demong (artist) of 100 Girls, which was recently reviewed on Girls Read Comics! Gallardo is best-known for Star Wars: Infinites — Return of the Jedi, 100 Girls and Gear School; an artist and animator, Demong‘s work included Class of the Titans, Star Wars Tales and 100 Girls.

They have jointly donated two packages: a piece of original artwork from 100 Girls with a signed copy of the comic; and one copy each of 100 Girls, Gear School, and Star Wars: Infinities — Return of the Jedi, all signed by Gallardo. The first package will start at $100, while the second will begin bidding at $33.

Looking for other donator posts? Check the Auction page for the latest updates!

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Rapunzel’s Revenge, by Shannon and Dean Hale, and Nathan Hale

Rapunzel’s Revenge succeeds at everything: gorgeous, lush artwork; an imaginative and unashamedly – but not polemic – feminist take on the fairy tale; a beautifully-written script; a fictional setting that plays with all the best tropes of the Old West while acknowledging the actual ethnic composition of that West; endearing, flawed good guys; selfish, human bad guys; a controlling, horribly believable villain; and a heroine who takes care of business by using her hair to whip, lasso and acrobatically disable prison bars, evil-doers, and a huge freaking sea-serpent.

Violence: Killing of some nasty beasties and some fighting (one probably-death)

Sexualised violence: None.

Gender: It’s wonderful. There are multiple characters, both female and male (both female and male and of colour!) with diverse personalities and contributions to the tale. Rapunzel herself is a delight.

Bechdel-Wallace Test: Passes on all three counts.

Parents should be aware: That their kids might well insist on growing their hair long in order to weaponise it.

Joint Girl-Wonder.org/Cerise Comics In Gaming Issue

Girl-Wonder.org is partnering with Cerise, an online feminist gaming magazine, for a special issue on the overlap of gaming and comics! Topics can cover any intersection of comics and gaming, from creatively to fannish. What can the industries learn from each other? What are the best game-based comics or best comic-inspired games? Keep and eye out for Cerise bloggers stopping by Girl-Wonder.org in October and a chance to win combined prize packs.

Submissions to the Comics in Gaming are now being accepted. The deadline is September 20th, 2008.

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Girl Wonder Board by-election

Girl-Wonder.org member Rachel Edidin has retired from her position on the Board of Directors. We thank Rachel for all her fantastic work with the Board, but don’t worry; we won’t lose her completely! She will continue to be one of our essential mod squad members, and blogs at the fantastic Inside, Out.But this is good news for those who want a little more responsibility! We are holding a by-election to replace Rachel’s seat. All Girl-Wonder.org volunteers are eligible to run and/or vote, including bloggers, mod squad members, project co-ordinators and participants, podcasters, and all the other excellent people who volunteer their time to the site’s well-being and expansion.If you would like to run for the Board, or would like to nominate someone else who qualifies, please email Karen at karen.healey@girl-wonder.org. Nominations are due by September 21st UTC.

Female-Friendly Comic Book Store Map Now Open

The idea has long been dormant, but Girl-Wonder.org has finally officially launched the Female-Friendly Comic Book Store Map. The map judges stores based on four different criteria: treatment of feminist/female customers by staff, title variety, openness of staff to suggestions from feminist/female customers, and material on display.

Interested in submitting a store to the map? Please fill out the form below the map. In the event that the form doesn’t work for you, please email Elena Kamenetzky at elena.kamenetzky@girl-wonder.org.

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!