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Jeanine Schaefer Talks Marvel's 'GIRL COMICS'

Girl Comics is not just for girls...

 'Girl Comics' is not just for girls...  

 'Girl Comics' cover by Amanda Conner
 'Girl Comics' cover by Amanda Conner
There is not doubt in anyone's mind that the comic book industry is definitely changing in more ways than one. Women have begun to take on a more prominent role in comics, something that did not exist twenty years ago. Marvel Comics, which publishes some of the biggest titles in the industry is stepping forward to embrace that change with the release of 'Girl Comics,' a book written and illustrated entirely by prominent women in the comics industry. The release of the book is set to coincide with Women's History Month in March, 2010. Some of the big names on the book include Amanda Conner, Ming Doyle, Nikki Cook, Abby Denson, Valerie D'Orazio, Marjorie Liu, Jill Thompson, and Devin Grayson among others. Jeanine Schaefer, the book's editor, explained in a recent interview that while the book will be created entirely by women does not mean that it is solely targeting female readers. 

-It’s actually comics BY women—and I mean, top to bottom: written, penciled, inked, colored, lettered. The logo is by a woman, all the interior design, production, proof-reading and editing is all by women.

I feel like there is certainly enough room for both boys and girls to read comics, and I think that with the increase in the number of women entering the industry, the books have changed, in a good way. It seems that the purpose of the book is to bring awareness to all readers to show them that women are already doing big things in the industry. 

My original hope with this was to show that women in comics are already creating just as diverse a range of stories as men. I think the characters and the stories will draw in just as many men in as women, and will get people thinking that good comics aren’t about the gender of the writer or artist, it’s about where what you like to read intersects with what they like to create. 

My hope is that male readers will not feel isolated with the release of this book and that they will feel just as inclined as female readers to pick this book up. Schaefer expressed similar sentiments, citing that while many of the creators that signed on to work on the book chose some of their favorite female characters, the book will not be focusing solely on Marvel women, but all Marvel characters. 

Although some creators have gravitated towards their favorite female super hero, it’s not specifically focused on our female characters, and I’m not trying to generate content that I think will appeal to more women. I don’t want to give away all the stories, but we’re really running the gamut of Marvel characters, from Punisher to the FF to Mary Jane. We’re making great comics by great women, period—when given the opportunity to create a story about whatever they wanted, the pitches I got back from everyone have been hugely diverse in tone and characters. 
That said, I definitely think women and girls will pick this up but not because we’ve hit upon the combination that will make all women like comics. I’m hoping it’ll be encouraging to see so many women who are making their livings in comics, that the idea will be reinforced that comics can be (and already are) as much for them as they are for men.

 This is not the first time that Marvel has tried to branch out to reach female audiences. Recently, they had released 'Models,' a book that seemed to clearly target a female audience, which primarily featured female characters. A book, might I add, that was not very good. Having said that, I think it is really great that they are bringing a book like 'Girl Comics' out and getting some of the biggest talents in the industry to create it. I am really looking forward to this book, and I would love to hear from both guys as well as girls about their respective sentiments regarding this book. What do you guys think? Does it appeal to you more knowing that the book will be created entirely by women, or does it not make a difference to you one way or another?