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Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them Paperback – April 10, 2012
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All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
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About the Author
Contributors include: Gail Simone, Carla speed McNeil, Colleen Doran, Jill Thompson, Jen Van Meter, Seanan McGuire, Marjorie Jiu, Sara Ryan, Delia Sherman, Sarah Monette, Elizabeth Bear and Mark Waid.
Top customer reviews
Really? In a community where women are sent rape threats for simply being openly female comic book fans and you want to perpetuate this girl on girl rivalry when given a public platform to talk about this industry?
And the editors signed off on this? Disgusting.
I got completely hooked, because Chicks Dig Comics is a love letter to something I adore. It's about passion. It's comics readers and comics creators sharing why they adore the stories found in comics, from superheroes to horror to comedy to soap-opera melodrama. It shows quite clearly how much better comics fandom has gotten for women in my lifetime. So many of the essays pointed out that in years past, comics conventions were almost exclusively male - these days, women and girls are well represented. When some of the contributors in this book were growing up, it was impossible to find another female comics fan. Now with the internet, it would be hard not to. And there are enough fans, and enough interest in the topic, that Chicks Dig Comics can be a viable project.
I found the whole thing so incredibly refreshing.
I'm not sure that any further description of which bits I personally liked is terribly useful to anyone else. There are 30 pieces in the book if you don't count the introduction and foreward, so everyone who reads the book is going to have their own favorites. The collection as a whole moves along quickly due to the length of each piece and the variety of subjects and approaches. Some pieces focus on the writer's personal experiences, while others focus on specific characters and books or describe working in the industry. Marvel, D.C., and indie fandoms are all well represented. Editors Lynne M. Thomas and Sigrid Ellis did a fantastic job mixing the essays together so that each piece feels fresh as you get to it.
I very much appreciated the inclusion of perspectives from women with disabilities and queer women. My only "wishlist" item was more voices of women of color, beyond comics writer Marjorie Liu and the amazing piece by Sarah Kuhn. For example, several of my "must read" bloggers on comics and pop culture are African-American, so it felt strange to not see that perspective represented explicitly.
Would I recommend Chicks Dig Comics to anyone who doesn't read comics? Maybe not, though fans of any genre which has been considered "for guys" will find a lot of common ground with the contributors. For anyone who has been involved with comics, I would recommend this in a heartbeat. It's smart but not bogged down in academic jargon, which I appreciated as someone who's been away from academia for a long, long time. And it's a fun, energizing way to spend time on the issue of women in comics, which can often be as much about pain (Greg Land, augh!) as it is about joy.
I'll have to admit that I fell out of comics fandom over 10 years ago, but re-discovered them recently thanks to digital versions. Collecting comics got so expensive back in those days and I initially had the intent to buy every single Vertigo title ever written. Needless to say, I ran out of money before that happened and lost interest.
I'm back in the game, though, thanks to Comixology and other comics readers. Right now, my favorite, without a doubt, is the Locke & Key series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. I've also recently been turned on to Fables, as well as Alabaster.
So back to the book. I'll admit that I related to almost everything these women had to say. My favorite essay had to be by Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Deadpool), who stated that women have secretly won the war in the comics industry. When Simone says "They are going to have to produce product that the female reader enjoys to survive," I believe it.
I also related to Erica McGillivray's essay on being an accidental cosplayer. When referring to preparing for her first cosplay event, she attributed it to being more important than getting read for the prom. And she's right. She goes into mentioning how more women are now being seen at both comic book stores and conventions and how we tend to embrace fandom at a higher participatory level. I was a first-time cosplayer a few years ago. And now? I'm always actively planning outfits.
Sara Ryan (Me and Edith Head) writes her essay in the form of comic panels that goes through her life as a comic fan and then a comic creator. Tammy Garrison talks about her love of Batman and how she incorporates "What would Batman do?" into her daily life. Alisa Bendis, president of Jinxworld, Inc., gives advice about women interested in starting their own comics companies.
And the list goes on and on. With over 20 contributors, Chicks Dig Comics has a little something for every female comic fan. I found myself nodding emphatically with many of those contributions and even caught myself finding an emotional connection with much of what was written. I'd say this is a must-read if you have ever loved comics.