Wonder Women and Power Girls

Womanthology: Heroic

Hopefully, you’ve heard the story of this comic anthology by now. Artist Renae De Liz sends out a tweet asking if anyone would be interested in contributing work for an anthology comic featuring nothing but female creators. She gets very positive responses and takes the whole thing to Kickstarter to get funding — and the results go entirely beyond expectations. “Womanthology” raised $109,000 — over $75,000 over the project’s goal — and is the most funded comic project in Kickstarter’s history.

So this is what we’ve got now — a gigantic comic anthology, published by IDW, with well over 300 pages of comics and artwork by over 150 women, ranging from well-known comics names like Gail Simone, Barbara Kesel, Trina Robbins, Stephanie Buscema, Colleen Doran, and Fiona Staples (and many others besides) to unknown pros to inexperienced wannabes to kids and teenagers who are dreaming about becoming professional artists someday.

The theme of the book is heroism — so we get quite a few stories starring superheroines, but we also get more low-key heroism, too — people being kind to others, sticking up for the oppressed, mini-epics for science fiction and sword-and-sorcery fantasy.

And scattered among all the stories and pinups are tips on writing, art, and making it in the business of comics from certified pros, as well as thumbnail profiles of every single contributor. And it all wraps up with interviews, how-to tutorials, and biographies of women who were comic art pioneers.

Verdict: Thumbs up. There is so much stuff here, I’ll never be able to pick out favorite stories — it would take too long to go through the book, select my picks, and list them all — but there is a lot of extremely good storytelling and art on display in this anthology, by a vast number of talented creators.

I love the fact that this functions as part brag-book — “Look at all these great artists and writers, and see all the awesome stuff they do!” — and part instructional manual, with how-to tips and tutorials to help other artists learn their craft. It’s clear that a lot of the reason the book came together so well is that the creators wanted to both teach and inspire. That alone is a great mission for a comic like this.

Probably the thing I love about this the most is that it ends the argument once and for all about whether women care about comics. Here are a hundred and fifty women of all ages who love the snot out of comics. And a lot of them use their thumbnail profiles to talk about how much they love comics. And in an era where one of the Big Two comics publishers can’t seem to stop itself from ignoring and insulting women and female creators and female characters, that’s a very powerful statement, all by itself.

The price on this is a bit steep. It’s $50 for over 300 pages of comics goodness. I still think you should go pick it up.

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