I recently received this comment by "Jessica" on my post about the demographics of mainstream comics, and felt compelled to answer it here. The comment contained some criticisms against Friends of Lulu that I felt needed addressing.
"I foudn this link via comicsreporter I find it kind of depressing that anyone cares how many women read superhero comics, it's pretty evident why they don't. but i guess with the name of this blog it's not too surprising."
I'm a Philistine, I know, Jessica. Why discuss that shitty irrelevant low-brow superhero comic trash, right?
I think to question the lack of female readership in mainstream comics IS important. There are clearly a lot of women and girls who like adventure narratives -- even superhero narratives -- in other media. Why not comics? That's a legitimate question.
"But what I find more depressing is that the LULU website is about 15 years of out date, hard to read and does nothing really to celebrate the women who are doing comics, not even in its blog."
Were you reading the same blog we posted? There is nothing about celebrating women on the blog? Like the audio review of Jillian & Mariko Tamaki's Skim? Or a profile of Martha Thomases? You don't consider the experience and wisdom of somebody like Martha relevant? Or is it that she hasn't worked in the type of comic books YOU consider "important," because it's those damned mainstream comics again?
Friends of Lulu hasn't done anything to celebrate women outside of mainstream comics? Friends of Lulu honors these women every year at the Lulu Awards. We set up Women in Comics panels like this and this every other month focusing on the contribution of these women!
As for the website, our board is currently six people working their asses off with no extra pay to make this organization strong again. We are methodically addressing each issue -- including the updating of the website -- in an orderly fashion and within our own work schedules. If there is something we lack and have to get more of, it is volunteers to help with the research it takes to get many of those pages up-to-date. Instead of just complaining about how crappy we are, why not do something productive and volunteer?
"In fact, if you read the Lulu blog with its primary focus on manga and superheroes..."
One article on a manga convention and a mention of a couple of superhero comics for kids in one book review post constitutes a primary focus? Now you are being silly.
"...its almost as if the organization goes out of its way to ignore female cartoonists published by Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, D&Q, Buenaventura, Pantheon etc and is solely focused on manga and superheroes. Which seems to really pathetically miss the mark."
Sister, it's pretty clear from your words that to you, the work of those female cartoonists from those companies constitutes all of what is "relevant" in women in comics today. You are wrong. Friends of Lulu celebrates ALL work by women in comics -- from every genre.
Manga is not relevant to women in comics? It's extremely relevant.
A Women of Color panel discussion at MoCCA is not relevant? Why?
I don't mind criticism of myself or Lulu, but it should be constructive and consistent. You accuse us of being biased against non-mainstream comic creators, and yet you yourself demonstrate your own biases. You look at us and our organization and can see nothing of value in it, because it doesn't exclusively focus on the books that you like.
You know, I stayed up untill 11:00 last night at our Friends of Lulu monthly board meeting. The women I work with are some of the most dedicated, organized, hard-working ones I know -- and extremely passionate about women in comics.
I take offense when people say we're doing "nothing" to celebrate women in comics. I take deep offense at that.