Monday, November 20, 2006

I live by this saying

I live by this saying: what else good is abuse, harassment, bankruptcy, and a broken vagina if not to write about it in front of thousands of people? I learned that in my "Women's Lit" course in college.

But seriously.

I want to thank the men and women who contacted me to show their support. I am currently helping a sick friend and working from home at the same time so I can't answer everything right now, but I have been reading and I deeply appreciate it.

And I think that silence in the face of any sort of abuse, past or present, is unacceptable. It is only through sharing our experiences that we can heal and stop the cycle. We can hold it in, garnish it up, explain it away, pretend it never existed -- but it will always be there, begging to be released.

I wrote what I wrote because I had a story inside of me that was begging to be released. Through meditating on and tying together these various comic-related strands of my life I came to a personal breakthrough at the end of that blog. Though in a way I had already found a sense of peace and a new life, writing "Goodbye To Comics" brought me to a new level of self-understanding. I'm proud of what I wrote and I'm not ashamed of my experiences.

I also wanted to say that though the character of "Donovan Paul" may sound at points in the blog like a little bit of a cad, he also remained very calm and responsible during a freak accident that, quite frankly, was freaky for him as well. He calmed me down, did the appropriate things to get help quickly, and never left my side. The nurses told me that when he finally left the room after my initial intake, he was shaking and almost fainted. Had he abandoned me during or after that crisis I would have felt devastated. He did more than a lot of men I've known would have done. He's basically a good person and a great comic talent -- with a few fanboy blindspots.

As for the comic industry, there are a lot of good people, men and women, in it. I've grown up with comics people my entire life, and I'm taking care of one who recently fell ill now. I just want the industry to move in the right direction, get rid of the lingering sexism & racism, stop the sexual violence towards female characters, get more diversity (gender, racial, sexual orientation) into the characters, and make some of what I wrote in my blog things that no longer have relevance.

There is a big crop of talented young women and people of color out there who want to break into comics. Open the doors, give them an even and respectful playing field, and say a warm "hello" to the next gen of this industry.


  1. I actually didn't see Donovan Paul as that bad in the situation you described. Mainly because I could see myself saying things just as dumb. In a situation like that, your mouth is on it's own because your brain is trying to figure out the best thing to do. Eventually you say things that are really lame and stupid just to get any kind of smile, not to cheer you up but to know that your sick friend can smile.

    Now saying he didn't know if he wanted to be seen with you because of your rep in the industry...THAT is slap worthy.

    Glad you are finding peace.

  2. I'm a husband and a father. I have a wife, three daughters, a female dog, seven cats (2 neutered males), a female rabbit, a female guinea pig, and a fish of indeterminate gender.

    I read your blog and it made me cry. I'm so sorry for the abuse you've faced.

    My family has had it's share of grief and the only advice that I can offer is that we found solice in our faith and therapy did help.

    Good luck.


    PS. I found this through Rich Johnston's Lying in the Gutters.

  3. This whole story was deeply depressing.

    The rape pages in the comics you mentioned put me off Gilgongo Comics for quite some time. I still haven't gone back, and currently collect none of them.

    I hope the whole broken vagina thing has healed up, and that your friend is getting better.

  4. As someone who recently returned to comics after a long hiatus, your blog has me reconsidering that decision. More importantly, you've moved me to consider how much might really be "behind the curtain" in any life or any industry. It's not gloom and doom—it's an important reality check.

    Thank you for having the courage to simply, honestly write. You're in my prayers, and I don't say that lightly.

  5. Found my way here through LITG and read the whole blog in one sitting. I would just like to say that your story was amazing to read and I will look forward to purchasing it once it's published.

    You're a talented writer. Good luck.

  6. I've read Girls Read Comics! And They're Pissed!, and I read Feministe regularly, and now my boyfriend sends me this link (through LITG, natch) and I could just cry. And then scream. And then maybe go punch some glass doors.


    Your story is personal, and unique, and it's yours. But I've heard versions of it too many times to count now, from friends, family, commenters on the blogs I mentioned, etc. It is too common and too @&^% ignored. And it keeps happening, and then when you have conversations that include the words "sexism" or "patriarchy" you have to start by proving they exist before you can even talk about how much damage they do. (Insert screaming and punching of things here.)

    Sorry for ranting-- I really wanted to say that I appreciate and admire you so much for sharing this. Thank you.

    I just wanted to get that in before the (worst of the) fanboys show up and start tearing you down. Ignore them. The industry won't, and that's why it keeps getting smaller.

  7. I read the whole blog in one sitting, and I have to let you know how much I appreciate the time and devotion you have put into this. I didn't know about the fetishizing of victimized superheroines, never really put a real-word human face to the exploitation rampant in comics. Thank you for writing this. My eyes have been opened.

  8. A really brave thing to write. Seems like that company have really lost something by not having you there. Smart, funny and insightful. You've opened eyes for a lot of people. Maybe someday we'll see some changes in the industry.
    Best of luck!

  9. Anonymous10:36 AM

    I am a 21 year old Swede. My connection with the US comic-book superhero-universe scene has been spotty through the years. But I can say that I'm more "off" than on.

    Regardless of the Swedish reprint scheme or otherwise I know of the same irky, smelly and puss-filled background that exists.

    I don't know what more to say... Its like words turn useless infront of the fact.

    I really admire you for this. May sound odd yes, but don't shrug it off. I had to say something. I signed up just to do something.

    Regardless of fact I'm still young and I believe in the medium. I'm working with myself to loose that crap holding me back.

    I want personal reality and not personal fiction. I amire your hard truthfullness of a warped industry and ... and... and..

    Fuck it. I never needed it before and I don't need it now. They even destroyed simple, they perverted the meaning of 'adult'. Fuck it.

    I'm still aiming for comics but I believe I am doing it truthfully and free of idiocy. We'll (the next batch of fed-up wannabes) just rebuild it all.

    No matter of industry well being is worth it if its based on selling feces painted in primary colors to scat fetishits.

    Sorry... I admire you. Hope it works out and don't give in or up.

    Sorry for the cheese, truthfully.

  10. Very good, upbeat, hopeful way of wrapping up your saga. Like Adam, I've read it all in one sitting (this morning). I've blogged about it, so I hope you get more hits from that.

    (When you get a chance, could you make sure your site feed is working? It may be just a temporary glitch but it bothers me that I didn't know about these posts until my husband told me about them, and I haven't seen anything show up from you on Bloglines since your post-election happy dance.)

  11. Anonymous2:24 PM

    I'm sorry this is non-fiction, but thank you for writing it.

  12. Oh God, I feel so bad for you. That's a lot of crap for one person to go through. Glad you were able to get all this off your chest.

  13. I've just read Goodbye to Comics, which I found through Chris' blog over at in any case, as a 19 year old female comics reader (and formerly blogger @, you've inspired me to get back into blogging - this time more specifically about women in the industry.

    It's great that you have found an outlet for this and are getting coverage - yours is a story people should hear. Chin up and keep on keepin' on.

  14. I just read your entire blog and I have to say it was truly one of the best pieces of writing that I have ever read.

    Good luck to you in this new chapter of your life, and I hope your friend gets better.

  15. I read this tonight. Found thanks to Rich Johnston.
    I'm 34, male, married with a daughter and step-daughter. I'm in the middle of saying good-bye to a dream career. It's taking me years. There's been a little drama, bankruptcy, even some sexual harasement, nothing to the degree you describe, though. I'm having a very hard time putting it behind me, like I'm afraid of living with the failure, that I just need one more shot at the brass ring.
    Thanks for writing about your experience. I still find comfort in my superhero books but have had issues with some of the editorial direction over the years. I didn't really want to know about this. It's a man behind the curtain that I really wish I didn't have to meet, but I still thank you for pulling back that tarp.
    Despite all that, I'm still going to keep looking for the fun in it. I like these myths, and I guess they're far from perfect. We probably need some new ones, but the old ones can't be all bad.
    It's good you wrote this. I hope it makes people talk, and think. Maybe it can make one tiny change, sometimes that's the best we can hope for. Hope for an industry that sells heroes. Maybe they are simply juvenile, escapist hero fantasies, but there can be good in that. I hope.
    You be strong.

  16. I just want to say how much I admire your strength in writing this.

  17. Powerful stuff.

    You do realize that, by writing this down, you've changed the lives of everyone that reads it, whether in large or small ways, and you might have even helped to save others from experiencing some of the negative things you've gone through.

    While I completely understand your decision, it's unfortunate that you will be leaving the industry instead of taking it over and making it what it should be.

  18. Powerful and honest stuff.

    Like everyone else has said, I not only admire your resolve and strength in writing this, I *really* admire your writing ability. It takes a serious talent to be able to mix whimsical, funny, tragic, vunerable, honesty and strength the way you have.

    I'm disturbed by the treatment you have received over the years, but sadly... I'm not shocked to hear it. I'm heartned to read that you have moved on to better things... and that Donovan Paul will be helping you with your medical bill.

    Keep writing. It would be a shame to keep that talent bottled up inside you. Good luck with everything.

    - Pat

  19. That was all very inspiring. I'm very grateful to you for writing all of this online, even if it was just for yourself. Once I convince myself (and my superior) that your heavy use of profanity and the blunt presentation of your subject matter were both necessary evils, I will make sure that every member of reads this blog.

    Stay strong, superheroine.

  20. Thank you for writing this. It was a revelation to me, as a woman and a comics fan.

    I eagerly await your book. In the meantime, I'll be sending all my friends your way.