"J Torres, Sean McKeever, Tony Bedard, and Terry Moore shouldn't be typecast as the guy writers that you hire when you can't find a chick. They can do any gender."
--Beau Smith, "Busted Knuckles" Column
1) Are these writers really typecast as such?
2) Is this news to them?
3) What does "the guy writers when you can't find a chick" mean?
4) In what circumstance do comic book companies look for "chick" writers, in this context? That wasn't made clear. Are we referring to comic books starring vaginas? Or just books with sensitive male characters in them? Or, best of all -- books with vaginas AND sensitive men in them?
5) Does a book like "Birds Of Prey" -- which I'm sure is part of what Smith is referring to here -- fairly demand a "chick" writer?
6) Is there some sort of "shame" attached to being a male writer who writes stories starring women? Where does that leave the Hernandez Brothers? Are they just pussies? Are they just toiling away in Chickland until they land their big break on The Avengers?
7) Would the world be a better place if Terry Moore was writing Punisher War Journal? Would that prove that he was a manly writer?
You know, I've been asked many many times -- especially since my involvement with Friends Of Lulu -- what the state of women writing in mainstream comics is.
It's not huge.
But, it's getting better. Step by step.
Any way you look at it, can the comic companies win?
If they put out books starring women that are not written by women, they are criticized for being sexist and "not trying hard enough" to seek out female talent.
If they put out books starring women that are specifically written by women, then they are criticized for "tokenism," of "pigeonholing" the female talent.
If a male writer keeps writing books about women -- or books that might be perceived as having an appeal to a female audience -- it's like they did something wrong, or are not "good" enough, or are not "manly" enough.
And, I'm sure, if a woman wrote a strictly action book, they'd be counting the bullets to gauge just how "actiony" the book really was. Any sensitive moments? "She's writing a chick book!" "She's cutting off Green Lantern's penis!" "She's turning Thor into a Lifetime TV movie!"
There is no shame in writing a "chick" story, regardless of your gender. It's not a scarlet letter.
There are certain male writers who write female characters rather poorly -- and there are some who handle them better than some female writers can do with the same characters. And, if given the chance, I know there is some female writer out there who can write the best goddamn Spider-Man you've ever read.
And really, I see the frequent shuffling of talent on books like Supergirl & Birds Of Prey as far more being about an unstable editorial department than a plot to "typecast" Bedard, McKeever, etc. as "chick writers."
And I understand that, by distancing them from "chick books," Smith was trying to "help" these writers -- but he's really kinda not.