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Geek Girl in Hollywood: 'She Makes Comics' shows superheroes aren't just forboys

A new documentary reveals the secret history of female-driven comics.
Wonder Woman
"Wonder Woman" has helped make it clear that women love superheroes, too. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

A couple of years ago, I took part in something that I’m very proud of. The film "She Makes Comics" is hitting VOD and iTunes on July 11. I promise you, this isn’t some sort of shameless promotion. I’m just interviewed in the film for a few minutes. I didn’t write/produce/direct or do anything other than chat about what this art form means to me. Here’s the info on the film:

“She Makes Comics traces the fascinating history of women in the comics industry. Despite popular assumptions about the comics world, women have been writing, drawing, and reading comics since the medium’s beginnings in the late 19th century. And today, there are scores of women involved in comics and its vibrant fan culture.”

Here’s the thing about this film: Even knowing what I know about the history of comics and the women in them — even having written comics — I had no idea about the extent of the history of women in the genre. I don’t think most people, even within the industry know how much we’ve been a part of it since the beginning.

There is a reason I say this. A number of years ago, I was lucky enough to be a part of the comics anthology “Womanthology.” Everyone involved identifies as a woman and it shocked the industry. The Kickstarter tried to raise $25,000 and ended up raising $109,301! Comics greats like Jim Lee, Steve Niles, Cat Staggs, Gail Simone and Neil Gaiman donated rewards for donations. All of a sudden, I was hearing from industry insiders that they were stunned. They had no idea how much people wanted to see this. How could they not, you ask? That’s a little of what the film takes on.

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It’s fascinating learning about the things women have been involved with. It’s fascinating hearing what they went through in the early years and how at one point, there were more female readers of comics than male readers. However, the longer I do what I do, the less surprised I am. It’s not that women aren’t involved in industries. It’s more that no one talks about them.

Guys, I’m really proud to be a part of this project, even in my very small way. I want to help get the word out there and let people know about this film. I’ve told this story before, but here’s a reason why: When “Womanthology” came out, I was at San Diego Comic-Con. I was showing a friend the book and my stories in it. A tiny little girl came up to me and pulled on my pant leg. She said, “Are you in this book?” I told her I was. She asked, “Can I hug you?” After I was done choking back tears, her mom told me that she wanted to draw comics and that “she didn’t think girls could do that.”

If you’re a comic book fan, then these women are part of the history of something you love. It’s worth learning about more than just the men who created this art.

Follow Jenna Busch on Twitter @jennabusch and visit her site, Legion of Leia