Lynda E. Rucker has been devouring comics for as long as she’s been able to read. Her fiction has been or will be published in a number of places including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, Black Static and Postscripts. She can be found online at http://lyndaerucker.wordpress.com We wanted to find another opinion on Womanthology and are grateful for her guest contribution.
Edited by Bonnie Burton, Rachel Deering, Nicole Falk, Jessica Hickman, Mariah Huehner, Suzannah Rowntree
Review by Lynda E. Rucker
Originally conceived by comic artist Renae De Liz, Womanthology is a huge comics anthology entirely written and illustrated by women, one which belies any assertion that this is a minority-interest medium for women as either creators or fans. Consider that Womanthology
- Was the 25th most funded Kickstarter project of any kind in its history
- Was the best-funded comics project ever featured on Kickstarter
- Took a mere 19 hours to reach its original funding target ($25,000)
- Features the work of over 150 women artists and writers
Now, enthusiasm among writers, artists, and readers is one thing, but the ultimate question has to be is it any good? And I can happily report that the answer is yes—it’s very, very good, with such varied approaches to storytelling and art that any comics reader is bound to find something that appeals. As Womanthology features 300+ packed pages of comics; interviews; ‘pro-tips’; how-tos on drawing, inking, lettering, and more; facts about contributors; and profiles of early women comics creators, it would be impossible to give every component its due.
Contributors range from experienced and well-known professionals (Trina Robbins, Gail Simone, Jill Thompson) to newcomers. Many of the stories are celebrations of the glorious imaginations of girls and women. It’s difficult to choose just a few highlights: certainly one was Renae De Liz’s tale of plus-sized Lady Power Punch, a perfect blend of teen girl angst and superhero kickass. The stark recollections of Amanda McMurray’s protagonist in “The All Too Real World” are realized in artist Valia Kapadai’s jagged color pencil illustrations: “I remember being ridiculed for being a girl,” she tells us, striking a chord with every reader who ever felt not-quite-good-enough merely on account of being female.
Mado Peña’s macabre illustrations and muted colors give way to a frenzied red as events reach their climax in Anya Martin’s wonderfully weird “Stuffed Bunny in Doll Land” (so I was not the only girl who found dolls frightening!). A different kind of war story, “The Aviator and the Elephant,” written by Kimberly Komatsu and illustrated in deceptively bright colors by Tanja Wooten, is shot through with melancholy; who among us hasn’t felt the time that he had lost was like an ache inside his bones?
The look of Janet Lee’s stylized framing, her gargoyle-like creatures lurking at the top margins of Rachel Pandich and Jenna Busch’s historical tale “Ladybird” evoked, for me, medieval triptychs. Maura McHugh and Star St. Germaine’s “The Nail” tells the story of a real-life superhero of sorts, Dr. Edith Bone, who survived years of solitary confinement in Hungary.
There is more, so much more–there is science fiction, horror, realism, there is a girl sailor, there is a girl who creates our dreams. Womanthology is full to bursting with art and text, and is worth every penny of its price (all proceeds go to charity). If you don’t have a local comics shop nearby, you can purchase it at one of the links from their website at http://womanthology.blogspot.com/.