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Eisner Winner Vera Brosgol & Cartoonist Carey Pietsch Share Their Favorite Childhood Heroines

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In our final installment of interviews with awesome female content creators, we got to speak briefly with Carey Pietsch and Vera Brosgol.

Carey Pietsch’s most recent work is The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins a graphic novel adaptation of The Adventure Zone Podcast, a collaboration with Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy and Travs McElroy. It will be released July 17th, 2018.

Vera Brosgol is an Eisner Award and Harvey Award-winning cartoonist for her graphic novel Anya’s Ghost. Her most recent work Be Prepared is an adorable story about a young (semi-fictionalized) Vera who attempts to find friends at her Russian summer camp. Be Prepared will be released April 24th 2018.

Not only was this important to me as someone who loves comics and loves to see more women in comics but as the younger sister of a female animator, I know that a lot of women in the industry are not always given their due. There are many amazing comic book writers, illustrators, cartoonist, etc. out there creating great work across all ages and spectrums. I hope that, if anything, these interviews have opened you up to new authors/artists to check out and give you some great recommendations.

Happy Women’s History Month!

 

Carey Pietsch

CareyPhoto

Carey Pietsch

TMS: Where do you think we are still lacking in terms of highlighting the accomplishments of women?

If you’re in a position to organize panels at shows, please don’t make the only panel you invite a woman to be on a panel on what it’s like to be a woman in comics.  Those conversations are useful, but many of them have been had and are already available through video archive, and more importantly, when you only make space for a woman in those particular spaces, you’re tacitly saying that this is the only thing she’s qualified to comment on. Invite women of color, disabled women, trans women, queer women, and other marginalized women to be part of panels about their work, about their interests, about wider-ranging industry conversations and explorations, and about their areas of expertise! If you’re struggling to think of who to invite, make time to read more work by women, and if it clicks with you, recommend it to other folks who you think might enjoy it, too. If your organization has too few women in it at higher-up levels, make an effort to change that. Recognize that if your immediate social sphere is homogeneous, you’re going to need to work a little harder to reach beyond it when staffing these events. It’s worth the effort.

TMS: There are a lot of larger scale institutional problems that we face as women today, but what are some of the things we can do today to make lives better for ourselves and for the women coming after us?

If you need to commission comics or illustration work, or if you have to turn down a job and are looking for someone you know to recommend, and there aren’t any women you’re considering, try expanding your pool.  And make sure you’re paying fairly for that work! If you get an initial offer from a woman that you know is low-ball, mention that there’s room in the budget for more– or even better, share information about your budget up-front, without trying to rely on past job fee history.

More generally: if you’ve benefited from advice and resources of women who’ve been working in the industry for longer than you, and you’re now in a position to be able to help women just starting out, extend a hand where you can. If you can’t answer every student interview query that lands in your inbox (professors, please reconsider that assignment!), maybe you can write up a general FAQ, or make time to meet with a larger group of students in person, or visit a classroom or student club to talk. If a resource– whether it’s a tool or information– has been useful to you, it’s worth sharing that resource if you’re able. These things seem small, but I think they go a long way towards leaving comics a better place than you found it!

TMS: Who are some of your favorite fictional female protagonists?

Ann Leckie’s Ingray, from Provenance
Diane Duane’s Nita, from Young Wizards
Helene Wecker’s Chava, from the Golem and the Jinni
Jen Wang’s Frances, from The Prince and the Dressmaker
Jewelle Gomez’s Gilda, from the Gilda Stories
Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s Rose, from This One Summer
Kage Baker’s Eliss, from The Bird of the River
N. K. Jemisin’s Essun, from The Broken Earth
Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti
Octavia Butler’s Anyanwu, from Wild Seed
Patricia C Wrede’s Cimorene, from Dealing with Dragons
Robin McKinley’s Aerin, from Hero and the Crown
Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Meche, from Signal To Noise
Tamora Pierce’s Daine, from Wild Magic
Ursula K. Le Guin’s Tenar, from Tehanu

 

Vera Brosgol

VeraBrosgol

Vera Brosgol

TMS: Where do you think we are still lacking in terms of highlighting the accomplishments of women?

It would go a long way to stop mentioning women’s’ ages and appearances when writing about their accomplishments. I’ve never read about a man’s outfit in a profile of his work, or how great he looks for his age.

TMS: There are a lot of larger scale institutional problems that we face as women today, but what are some of the things we can do today to make lives better for ourselves and for the women coming after us?

Money talks. Spend money on things made by women. If women are seen as profitable they will get more work, and will hire other women. And as women ourselves, fight the urge to settle for less. Find out what the men make and demand the same or more.

TMS: Who are some of your favorite fictional female protagonists?

I am a big fan of Liz Lemon, Ramona Quimby, and Frances the Badger.

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.