Just when you think a series of blog posts is over, Publishers Weekly throws a great article at you.
In "Life in Comics: What a Girl Wants," Jennifer de Guzman shares her own comic-book-shop-creep-out moment, and her thoughts on comic-book-shop girl-friendliness.
However, towards the end she uses a turn of phrase that really struck me:
Now, de Guzman is dead-on, but at the same time, the irony of the statement struck me as hilarious. What she's pointing out is that things have progressed so far in terms of mainstream culture accepting comic-book geekdom that comic book geeks are being chided for not letting people into their clique. I find it absolutely charming that people now like us well enough (remember us? the people that nobody liked talking to back in high school and middle school because we were too nerdy? the ones excluded from the rest of the world's social circles?) that they resent being shut out of our company!Comics have thrived, in their own way, on being insular and appealing to a closed circle of fans. Comics isn't just a medium for many people—it is a community. And, unfortunately, a community whose largest faction is very much a clique.
It seems to me that many members of this clique regard it as having a clear "no girls allowed" rule. They don't want to stop using their comic shop as boys-only clubhouses. They don't want their superhero comics to stop brutalizing and objectifying female characters. They don't want to take the time and effort to produce and effectively market female-friendly comics when they have a built-in audience to cater to.
She's also dead-on as to what the remedy to comic-book-shop creepiness is:
Outcompete those creepy dudes, ladies. Trust me—all the rest of us guys are creeped out by them, too. We'll shop at your stores in a second.The solution to this? Ladies, we're just going to have to do this for ourselves. The last finding of Larson's survey was "There need to be more women creating comics and working in the industry as editors and publishers." I would add that there need to be more women working in, managing, and owning comics shops, too.
I doubt that my comics shop horror story would have happened in a store where women work or a store that a woman owns, and where it's expected that all customers be treated respectfully.