Will the Real Superheroes Please Stand Up: Fanboys and Sexual Harassment
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 21, 2014
ComicsAlliance senior editor Andy Khouri was horrified at the extent of the vitriol directed at his colleague and ComicsAlliance contributor, Janelle Asselin. His article, “Fake Geek Guys: A Message to Men About Sexual Harassment,” is directed at both trolls who indulge in anonymous threats of sexual violence against the women with whom they disagree, and the majority of male fans who would never contemplate engaging in such behaviour.
Asselin’s recent ordeal began when she strongly criticized the cover art of DC Comics’ Teen Titans. Among issues with perspective and composite, Asselin pointed out that the gravity-defying enormity of Wonder Girl’s breasts was both a physical impossibility and highly inappropriate on a 16-year-old character. This resulted in a backlash of criticism directed at Asselin that escalated to cracks over her credentials and legitimacy as a comic art critic which seemed to be fueled by her gender, and not her well-documented experience within the industry. The furor escalated to the point that Asselin began receiving virulent threats on an online survey she was running on sexual harassment in the comic book industry. As reported by Khouri, one male respondent wrote: “Women in comics are the deviation, the invading body, the cancer. We are the cure, the norm, the natural order… In the end all you are is a pathetic little girl trying to effect change and failing to make a dent.”
Khouri was also inspired to write his article after hearing a panel discussion on sexual harassment in comics fandom while at Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon. The women presenting at the panel – Asselin, along with ComicsAlliance Editor-in-Chief Laura Hudson and contributor Rachel Edidin – made the point that the sexual harassment was not their problem to solve, but that of men.
Khouri takes the point to heart when he writes:
“Sexual harassment isn’t an occupational hazard. It’s not a glitch in the complex matrix of modern life. It’s not something that just ‘happens.’ It’s something men do. It’s a choice men make. It’s a problem men enable. It’s sometimes a crime men commit. And it is not in the power nor the responsibility of women to wage war on this crime.”
“It’s on us.”
He concludes by pointing out that harassment, and enabling harassment by remaining silent when it occurs, is antithetical to the standards of decency and fairness promoted by superhero comics. Khouri challenges men to check trolling and harassment. In other words, Khouri is inviting fans to emulate the true superheroes.
Brought to our attention by @colleendoran.
Skip the Rage: Jessica Hische on Dealing with Ripoffs
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 17, 2014
Lettering and illustration rockstar Jessica Hische is also the author of warm, witty treatises on working and thriving as a creator. Her most recent article deals with the thorny issue of ripoffs. A designer wrote about discovering imitators – some working for large campaigns for major companies – and asked Hische “…how you personally deal. Frankly, I'm flattered and simultaneously depressed at any given moment and try not to think about it.”
Hische’s counsel is her typical blend of humor and practical advice. In describing the typical sequence of outraged reaction followed by regret and a more formal communication with the infringer, she recommends skipping the rage. She also distinguishes between an individual who is copying an artists’ style versus a designer or agency actually reusing work without permission. In the former case, Hische points out that the imitator may be inexperienced, and she advises educating them about the inadvisability of copying someone else’s style.
In the case of a work being outright infringed, Hische recommends sending a stern letter to the artist or agency that produced the infringing work. However, she cautions that taking on a large company can be expensive and time consuming, citing Modern Dog’s recent successful case against Target, Disney and Jaya Apparel Group. She sums up by stating that her best advice is to register the copyright on your creations: “While you of course ‘own the copyright’ to the images you create unless you're transferring them to the client in a contract, it’s difficult to pursue copyright infringement cases without having filed for copyright of the images officially.”
Note: While original images are automatically copyrighted to their creators, registering the copyrights confers a extra degree of legal clout: it creates a public record of authorship, it’s required before an infringer can be taken to court, and it enables the creator to sue for damages and be awarded legal fees. For more information on copyrights, visit our article in our Resources page.
The issue of fan-copying is a topic Hische addressed in a much earlier article, “Inspiration vs. Imitation.” The article was directed towards aspiring artists and fans who openly plagiarized Hiche’s work. In this article she makes a clear distinction between copying as a learning tool, versus passing off work which closely replicates another’s as original work. She advises new artists on how to move past simply imitating their role models: draw from many inspirations rather than a chosen few; dig into historical references; train your eye to spot differences and originality; and be aware that passing derivative work as original will ruin your reputation amongst your peers and potential employers.
Stickman’s Tips to Displaying at a Convention
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 11, 2014
In 2011, Seattle member Mark Monlux published “Stickman’s Advice to Having a Table at a Comic Book Convention.” The primer’s advice is borne of Monlux’s many years of experience as an illustrator, cartoonist, convention attendee. The strip covers the process of renting a table, from the initial reservation through handling booth visitors. He offers commonsensical advice, such as bring lots of business cards, prepare your pitch, and bring water (useful after exercising that well-prepared pitch). Other advice is less obvious, such as how to scan the crowd and the advisability of having of a mobile phone credit card processor.
The strip was drawn during the 2011 24 Hour Comic Challenge sponsored by CLAW, the Cartoonists League of Absurd Washingtonians. During the event, artists were challenged to write, sketch, and ink 24 pages in twenty-four hours. In a previous year, Monlux had struggled to finish the assignment using his finished, more labor intensive style of cartooning. For the 2011, he decided to do an instructional strip – creating the strip ate up the first seven hours of the challenge. So Monlux repurposed his long-running comic strip character Stickman for a much faster illustration style. With the trade show and comic/illustration convention season heating up, the strip functions as a charming and succinct visual checklist for anyone planning on renting a table.
Artwork © Mark Monlux. Used with permission of the artist.
Name that Typeface from 1932: Advanced Font Search
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 07, 2014
Designing a poster for a production of “Ragtime” and want to achieve typographic authenticity? Visit the Advanced Search feature on Fonts in Use. The search parameter will permit you to search for fonts by publish date, or covering dates before or after a particular year. Additional search fields will let you select by foundry, designer or agency, published format (including tablet/iPad), location, etc. The results are displayed in thumbnails with the typefaces used listed underneath. Clicking onto the font name will take you to a page listing the designer and foundry, with links to their websites, and a list of related faces.
The samples displayed are pulled from examples submitted to contributors to Fonts in Use, and are limited to that database. Searching by multiple fields can yield little to no results. However, Fonts in Use is soliciting contributions to their collection. To do so, you must create an account. Once that’s done, you can upload samples from your computer, or add images directly from the Web or Flckr. Submissions are reviewed by staff, who can also identify the submitted fonts. (Custom lettering is not accepted.)
While the material on the site is published under the doctrine of fair use, the website encourages contributors to include the source, designer, and photographer, if possible. The site also asks that they be notified if any work is identified as infringing on copyright. A full description of how to contribute to the collection is included in their FAQs page. Fonts in Use is a public archive of typography founded by Sam Berlow, Stephen Coles, and Nick Sherman. It exists independently of any type foundry or corporation. In addition to the collection, the site includes a blog with articles written by contributors such as Roger Black and Indra Kupferschmid.
The Unvarnished Truth: Susie Cagle on a Freelance Career
Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 25, 2014
At first glance, writer and cartoonist Susie Cagle looks as if she’s swimming in success. A graduate with a Master’s in journalism from Columbia University, her recent work includes such prestigious clients as Wired, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and McSweeneys. She’s appeared in radio and TV spots, and her work has been featured on NPR and in the Los Angeles Times, Print Magazine, and the Washington Post. People with “regular” staff jobs often tell her they envy her lifestyle. Yet, as Cagle describes it, “they then break eye contact when I tell them how much I am paid.”
In “Eight Years of Solitude: On freelance labor, journalism, and survival,” Cagle gives an unsentimental look at her career as an independent journalist and cartoonist. Her career has followed a trajectory similar to that of many capable and well-educated journalists: a Master’s degree, unsuccessful applications to entry level positions and unpaid internships, blogging assignments for $10 an hour, and a brief stint as a staff writer for a real estate blog before being laid off.
To distinguish herself from a glut other out-of-work journalists, Cagle taught herself to cartoon. The additional skill gave a boost to her bank account – a small illustration could earn as much as a 2,000 word story on a major news site. While her unusual skill set attracted notice (and requests for free work in exchange for “exposure”), she discovered that her talent in illustration devalued her legitimacy as a journalist. She also discovered the huge disconnect between publicity and income, earning less than $20,000 in the year in which she had the most exposure on TV, radio, and in print. (Check out Tim Kreider’s beautiful summation of the value of “exposure” to a working illustrator.)
Cagle now finds herself on a treadmill of underpaid work: “I’m terrified that if I don’t publish an article one week, I might be forgotten altogether, losing out on the hypothetical opportunities I’ve been working toward for the better part of these last eight years.” It’s a bleak assessment of the freelance world, but one that rings true.
Top right: self portrait © Susie Cagle. Used with permission of the artist.
Brought to our attention by @ColleenDoranPrevious Page Next Page
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