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July 15, 2014

Go, Read: Gender Breakdown Of The Best American Comics Series

A couple of readers have sent in this livejournal post with a breakdown of gender representation in the Best American Comics series. It heavily favors male participants, both in each volume and overall -- 193 to 58 particpants, male/female.

I think it's undeniably worth noting. As with most of these kinds of things, I'm not sure what to do with it other than note it, and continue to question why this happens, to do this rigorously and without fear, and come to terms with the overwhelming likelihood of potential bias in play. You then work ruthlessly hard on unearthing how this might manifest itself through you and in those systems in which you participate. You then take steps to counter that kind of long-term bias as manifested. In other words, you do what you can in an unblinking, up front fashion.c

Beyond that, I'm not sure. While I like every single guest editor that's been involved with the projects, I'm not an ethusiastic fan of these books. The ones I've read have been of a mostly high quality, although I imagine they don't match anyone's personal conception of what the best comics are except those involved, and even then do so according to the constraints of the project. I would love to see more women cartoonists represented. I'm pretty confident there are similarly dim showings -- if not much worse -- for gay cartoonists and for non-white cartoonists. At the same time, it's impossible for me to believe anyone involved is doing anything other than picking the best work possible. This includes series editors Anne Elizabeth Moore and Jessica Abel/Matt Madden as well. I don't think Jeff Smith is more enlightened than Francoise Mouly.

I would imagine and hope that future shapers of this series like Bill Kartalopoulos and Scott McCloud are aware of this math and will keep it in mind while undergoing this process.
posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink

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