Womanthology: A Story of Heroics

(5 hours later) Ok, ok! I will put the book down and write now!!  This week’s throw back is a short throw but a game making moment for many. Actually, it is only a throw back to May 17th 2011 when a single tweet sparked a chain of events that lead to the release of the above mentioned book. The tweet was from Jessica Hickman to Renae De Liz, “we need to put together a girls comic anthology…” That same day Renae tweeted, “Female Creators-Would you be interested in being a part of an anthology made by all females, possibly published, w/ profits for a cause?” Barely a year later, the result of this tweet arrived this week in comic and book stores every where; Womanthology Heroic. Renae initially thought it would end up being a small anthology of a few interested artists and writers. Instead she was flooded with responses from female artists, veterans and newbies, all wanting to get involved.  The project took off from there. In June the forums and websites were established, the charity chosen (the Global Giving Foundation), writers were paired with artists, and editors were assigned to groups. It was an amazing time and a beautiful opportunity for the ladies not yet in the industry. One of the biggest parts of Womanthology was that professional women already in the comic book industry were working with the lady rookies to mentor them and give them guidance. Well word got out far and fast about the project and IDW Publishing was very enthusiastic about publishing the anthology. This meant that 150 women would now have their work available in a professional capacity and would be published by a major publishing company! Course what to do about publishing costs since the proceeds would go to charity?…  Well that problem would be solved in July with the Kickstarter Campaign. Kickstarter is a crowd funding website for creative endeavors. The Womanthology Kickstarter Campaign was a go on July 7th, 2011 at 7 pm with a goal to reach $25,000 in 30 days. By the 19 hour mark, this goal was met!! At the end of the 30 days the grand total was $109,301 from 2,001 contributors hailing from all ends of the creative and entertainment industry!! Everyone from comics to movies to private donors alike wanted to see this project do well. August and on was many late nights in front of computer screens and poring over sketch books for many but it was an inspiring time! Creative relationships were born, ideas were concocted, characters were given life, stories were chronicled, and deadlines were all met!! Impressive, most impressive; but the journey was not over yet.  This is where my personal history with Womanthology begins, last October at New York Comic Con. I was reading the schedule, deciding which panels I wanted to go to, when I happened to notice one called Womanthology. I’ll admit, at first I was a bit wary. Was this some frightening, bra burning, woman power parade? That’s not really my style. I’m all about equality and I’m definitely a tom-boy who likes to wear dresses but I don’t really go fro the scary stuff. And since the comic industry has been such a predominantly male universe, the women involved, like women in rock ‘n’ roll, must work harder to be heard. Or it could be a discussion of female characters in comics over time and that would definitely be cool. Either way I figured it would be interesting so I went. I am so glad I did because it turned out to be one of the highlights of 2011 NY Comic Con for me! These women were professional, gracious, quirky, fun, and were most interested in extending a helping hand to future generations of creators! They know that for girls, the comic book industry is a hard one to break into, not even because it’s a ‘no girls allowed’ thing any more, but because it can be a bit intimidating. So having been there, they wanted to open some doors and share what they had learned. It was wonderful! They answered all kinds of questions from, “how long have you been drawing/writing” to “what do you think of Wonder Woman’s pants?” and frankly I was completely against the pants until one of the women on the panel said she liked them! The pants made more sense for combat and comfort, which I had not considered.  By the end of the panel I knew this was a book I had to have. This project was the ultimate in giving back to future generations, the promotion of the ‘go getter’ work ethic, and the nurturing celebration of creativity, all of which are totally my jam, to borrow the phrase. And when I finally held it in my hands I was not disappointed. It was more than I had imagined! Not only is the art diverse, beautiful, and well done but the stories are witty, fun, thought provoking, and completely relatable! (Fun Fact: every woman in the anthology shares a Fun Fact about herself! Things like “I like cheese” “I play accordion” and “I’m the 18th great grand-daughter of Geoffrey Chaucer.”) I cried, laughed, and had a fantastic time, and every now and then ran into my roommate’s room to share a story with her.    Not once have I gotten a sense of bitterness or undue competitiveness from the women who have been part of this fantastic anthology. In the professional world there are still those who segregate or give others a bad name. But these artists have worked with the greatest civility and grace and for that they have earned my continued respect and support. I am proud to add Womanthology to my library. It is a celebration of opportunity for those who have something to offer and are looking for the courage to take off, fly, and save the day (Lady Power Punch!) This is my tribute and throwback to all the wonderful creators who grew up with a dream and can now see it actualized! Logo photo by Justine Impressions http://www.justineimpressions.com/