Archive for the ‘holy shit’ Category

Thursday, July 14th

Anne Elizabeth Moore Interview.

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Author, editor and activist Anne Elizabeth Moore dropped me an email a few months back and told me about the LADYDRAWERS project, an exhaustively researched graphic essay series focused on gender inequalities in the comic book publishing world, working with (and from) interviews with Alison Bechdel, Ariel Bordeaux, Lynda Barry, Julie Doucet, and other comics artists you have and haven’t heard of before. The series had already run in Bitch, Tin House, Women Comics Anthology and was soon to be a monthly column at She asked if I wanted to run an installment in the new issue of Annalemma. I said hell yes.

A few weeks later, Anne delivered the the latest installment illustrated by Susie Cagle and I was shocked at the stats brought forth in the essay. Let’s just say it’s a lot worse than you think.

Anne is the author of Unmarketable (The New Press) and was the founding series editor of the Best American Comics (Houghton Mifflin). She received a Fulbright this year for her work on global media and youth culture in Cambodia. Her book Cambodian Grrrl is forthcoming in September from Cantankerous Titles.

We had a chance to speak over email last week. If you’d like to check out, Where the Girls Aren’t, latest installment of the LADYDRAWERS project click here to pre-order Annalemma Issue Eight: Creation.

ANNALEMMA: I was listening to the Matthew Filipowicz show and you said the idea for the LADYDRAWERS project started while you were on tour with Harvey Pekar promoting the Best American Comics series when a group of male fans crowed the stage to get Pekar’s autograph, subsequently shoving artist, Esther Pearl Watson, off the stage. Was this the breaking point for you? What other events leading up to the project inspired it?

ANNE ELIZABETH MOORE: No—they were male cartoonists. Really smart, strong, talented, kind people who would also consider themselves feminists. That’s the thing, and it happens everywhere, not just in comics: dudes shutting women out completely by accident, even when they would claim, otherwise, to be supportive of diversifying their own areas of interest. I had experienced that personally a zillion times, but this was different because I could see, objectively, how completely accidental it all was. So I guess this incident wasn’t so much the breaking point as the first time I had someone else to talk to about how deeply embedded regressive gender norms are in this field that’s supposedly about opening up the potential for communication.

Up to that point, I was only experiencing this stuff from the receiving end—getting silenced, many times quite deliberately, by male creators who dominate the field. But here it was like, I was in a position of authority, and I respected everyone there. This was my book, and I’d established a structure for these events that was deliberately inclusive of women artists, and had made a point of openly addressing this: I saw the Best American series not just as a way of celebrating amazing work but reestablishing a center for comics, like, reevaluating the different directions the field could move in. I think that’s why people are still buying that first book, it was a really exciting idea both Harvey and I embraced. And there it was, a talented female creator getting silenced in my presence at my event by other people who totally respected her. That’s when you know there’s a problem significantly larger than one person can change.

A: The scope of the project is pretty impressive, seeing that you’ve published installments in a range of different magazines and now lead a class on the issue. How does the university class fit into the project?

AEM: Well, I have these vague research ideas and then I work them in a milion different directions at the same time, that’s just sorta how I do things. As I say I’ve been collecting anecdotes related to gender and comics over my twelve-or-so years in the field, but having this shared crazy experience with Esther meant we could chat over ideas and ways of representing and addressing them. After that, I started doing some polling and collecting data from women and trans people in the field, and then pitched this class in the Visual Critical Studies and Art History departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and that’s been running for two years. The students sort of help me sort out different ways of gathering information around hidden bases of knowledge, and then we research, collaboratively.

Last semester we had a really incredible class that ended with us wanting to share our research with the publishers directly, and the postcard project came out of that. This summer was the first time we got to work together and look at that data in a studio course—make art out of it. Of course Esther came with me and we spent a couple weeks at art camp, basically out in the woods, making super crazy gender and media theory comics. It was the funnest thing ever. We put together a handbound anthology, Unladylike, that is smart and fun and gorgeous. Working with students on these issues has been the funnest part of this project. Everyone goes into those classes super bummed about institutionalized sexism, really feeling at the mercy of it, YES even the dudes, and then they leave the class with facts, strategies, experience, and a sense of humor that they can apply not just to comics but to the other fields they work in—video games, journalism, art, theory, etc.

I’ve also been pulling in these other artists and asking them to work with me on parts of the big picture that maybe they relate to more closely. That’s sort of the above-board aspect of this work, and the Annalemma piece was a part of that, and also a bimonthly column for Truthout that just launched. Work like this—media-based, anti-oppression work—it just takes a lot of different approaches, each of which serve a consistent reminder that stuff needs to change, not once, but every damn day. Plus that these regular outlets serve to establish a forum for young creators that will be there when students enter the field—my own students, and the students I speak to when I lecture elsewhere—that’s really important. That means, you know, we’re not complaining about a problem, we’re developing shared vocabulary about one that we are also changing at the same time.


Panel from “Gender and Comics Potluck,” Esther Pearl Watson and Anne Elizabeth Moore, Bitch Winter 2011

A: Installments of this project frequently reference the now-famous VIDA numbers where it was pointed out the literary publishing community operates with a strong bias towards publishing and promoting the writing of men. What the VIDA numbers didn’t address was how women are portrayed in writing. The LADYDRAWERS project attempts to tackle the issue of how women are portrayed in comics, as well as the issue of how many women are employed/published by the industry. Which is more important to you?

AEM: Yeah—I think that’s a more relevant issue in comics than elsewhere, basically because the ways that women are portrayed do, we know from studies and from anecdotes, turn off both readers and creators, and both women and trans people, but also other people who are just gender aware. So content matters in some fundamental way right now across comics more so than literature in general. But the important things for me are establishing these issues as labor issues, because that’s where most of the laws that govern these fundamental concerns are made tangible. It’s one thing, in other words, when a comic shows a lot of gratuitous naked boobies, but it’s another thing when a comic-book publisher is committing gender-based discrimination or sexual harassment to do so. One’s annoying, the other is legally actionable.

A: The interesting/confusing thing about the bias towards men in the lit publishing world is that influential positions within the industry (editors, publicists, PR people, etc.) are dominated by women. The opposite is true for comic book publishing. One of the more interesting stats you provided in the Where the Girls Aren’t was that of the 1,112 jobs in comic book publishing, 85.43% of those jobs went to men. Why do you think all these jobs are going to men?

AEM: Women totally “dominate” literary publishing, it’s true, and that’s really important to point out. These problems, of inequity and gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment, exist everywhere, but really flourish in comics, which are traditionally seen as underground and alternative, but also informal and unregulated and slightly outside the law. So that situation in literary publishing that still allows men to receive most of the slots available for creative work, and therefore most of the income that supports that as a career, that’s just more tangible in comics. Comics are a form of media, which should be beholden to the same principles other media in the US should be held to, that it represent readers, that it remain open to new participants, that it engage in an active relationship with the world. Why it doesn’t happen in the literary world is how institutional sexism plays out: small decisions, made every day, supposedly automated by policy and technology and language and standard modes of operation that very, very slightly are also discriminatory. It’s much more obvious why this doesn’t happen in comics because we can trace all the players. Why do they hang out with? Who do they model business practices on? Who do they drink with? Who do they work with? Who do their creators recommend? What does the content of their work show that their website’s “About Me” page doesn’t? That’s what institutionalized oppression is: the thousands of tiny decisions that collectively favor one group of speakers/decision-makers at the expense of others.

A: What do you say to the argument that gender inequality in the comic book world is symptomatic of a larger patriarchal system that favors men over women? Why go after the comic book industry for catering to men? Does it ever feel like there’s bigger fish to fry?

AEM: Well, sure, it’s symptomatic of a larger problem, and the next level up of it is referred to as “a patriarchal system,” but the big picture here is pure capitalism. This work closely examines one of the very jarring but popular ways that capitalism operates, every day, that we don’t notice. It points to some negative effects for creators, for readers, and for democracy in general. It presents a few obvious solutions, and opens up more questions within those, all backed up with a real and newly collected data pool to which hundreds of people (or more) are contributing to around the country in the direct hope to change something that they aren’t wholly comfortable with. If there’s a bigger fish to fry than the daily, grinding, unseen, negative effects of capitalism, I don’t know what it is.

A: Can you give us a reading list of titles that are doing things right? What are some good reads written by women and/or feature strong female leads?

AEM: I can’t. This is a deeply embedded issue, and it’s been going on for a long time. We simply haven’t seen very many women, trans, and queer creators besides those that everyone already knows about (who ARE great) flourish, and until there are a plethora of non- straightwhitemale types reinventing what language could be in comics I refuse to forward single names or publishers. I should also say, though, that I’m pretty selective about who I collaborate with on the literary and journalistic strips, so everyone I’ve worked with on the BITCH, TIN HOUSE, ANNALEMMA and TRUTHOUT pieces make great fucking work, and I literally have hundreds more underrepresented women, trans and queer creators lined up to work with in the coming months. There’s still room for more though so if you make comics, and you are awesome, and we are not already working together, send me your stuff at


Thursday, June 16th

Issue Eight: Creation is Available for Pre-Order.

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Barry Grass takes us to Belgium on a journey into the heart of artesian brewer Dany Prignon of the Fantôme brewery. Designer/dressmaker Jen O’Malley walks us through the American history of the bridal gown. Fiction writer Blake Butler talks about the role playing game he invented as a kid. Author/activist Anne Elizabeth Moore shows us the landscape of gender inequality in the world of comic books.

This issue is dedicated to creators, people who make things, people who use ingenuity to work around barriers. To the people who aren’t satisfied with a problem and instead of ignoring it, they face it and try to make it better. This issue is dedicated to the makers of the world.

This item is available for pre-order only. This item will ship July 15th, 2011. Order now and save $5 off the cover price.

Tuesday, June 14th



If you live in New York and feel like doing some pre-party for independence day weekend come hang out with us, Avery Anthology and La Petite Zine at Bookcourt in Brooklyn.

We’ll be celebrating the release of Annalemma Issue Eight: Creation, Avery Anthology #7 and La Petite Zine #27 The Broom. We will be drinking wine and eating baked goods and listening to ridiculous and entertaining words from readers of our respective publications. And it’s at Bookcourt, which is the best bookstore in the continental United States, definitely in the Western hemisphere, probably the entire planet. What’s that? You’ve never heard of Bookcourt?

Come kick off your independence day weekend with us!

Friday, June 3rd

The Lit Pub.


I’m very psyched about a new venture bounding from the loins of Vouched Books impresario Christopher Newgent and author Molly Gaudry. Though you’ve most likely heard about it by now, The Lit Pub is a marketing, promotion and representation source for independent writers and publishers. It’s a place where the current curators are pumping up books worth reading, it’s a place for people to hang out and chat about books and, most importantly, it’s a place promoting a sustainable literary publishing community.

To learn more, read an interview with Molly at TFT and HTMLG.

Friday, May 20th



The subscription drive is kaput this Sunday night at midnight EST. So where do we stand with only two days to go? 20 subscriptions. That’s all it’s going to take to help us pay for the next print issue of Annalemma. Haven’t subscribed yet? It’s now or never. Click here to subscribe for $5 off the cover price of Issue Eight: Creation.

A lot of you (two, to be precise) have been asking how this “$5 off” thing works. If you were to buy issues seven and eight separately, it would cost you $30. But just for the subscription drive we’re hacking off $5 off the cover price of Issue Eight, meaning you get Issue Seven for normal price and Issue Eight for ten bucks. Still confused? A diagram:


Subscribing is a no-brainer.

So this is it, folks. If you’ve already subscribed then thanks for everything, you’re incredible and it means everything that you’re into this mag enough to spend your hard-earned money on it. If you still feel compelled to help out please spread the word on you blog/facebook/twitter, anywhere you like to share the stuff you dig with the people you care about.

If you can’t shell out the dough right now, totally understandable. If you still want to help out regardless please repost this message anywhere and everywhere folks who care about writing and art and all things beautiful are going to see it.

Thanks again to everyone for helping out. Hearts are swelling on this end. See you Monday.

Tuesday, May 17th

Subscription Drive Update.


Hey! Look at that, we’ve got less than a week to go and we only need 23 more subscribers in order to pay for productions costs of Issue Eight: Creation. This is pretty incredible, people. We’re trying to make this thing a reader-funded publication and the readers have heard the call. Big thanks to Chris Newgent over at Vouched Books for throwing a contest to give away two subscriptions. And congrats to Katy and Jonathan who won the contest, you’ve got some goodness coming  from your local mail carrier very soon.

All very exciting news. BUT: we still have that number 23 looming above us like a terrible Jim Carrey movie. Click here to subscribe to Annalemma Magazine for $5 off the cover price. Already subscribed? You’re the best. Truly, the best. Feel like going above and beyond the call of duty, like many people are taking it upon themselves to do? Please repost this message on your blog/facebook/twitter, wherever you share the stuff you dig with the people you care about.

Can’t cough up the dough for a subscription right now? We get it. Still want to help out? Please spread the word about our subscription drive wherever you see fit.

It’s a dream of mine to make this thing a more sustainable and this is how we can do it. We need to start paying bills by the end of the week. This is an attainable goal. We can do this. You can help. Thank you for everything. Your continued support and enthusiasm for this mag means everything. Seriously.

Thursday, May 12th

Issue Eight Roster Announced.


[image: Donya Todd]

Behold, a tentative list of folks we’re publishing in Issue Eight: Creation. Thanks to all these talented folks who felt the desire to submit and those who responded to the call. I’m very excited about the stories and essays we’re publishing in the issue, I’ll be giving some details on each piece in the coming weeks. Also, big thanks to this issue’s readers who helped out big time in whittling these choices down: Sarah Bridgins, Sarah Rose Etter, Justyn Harkin, John Kemmick, Nicolette Kittinger, Eric McKinley, Anna Neiger, and, of course, Dylan Suher.

Also, thanks to everyone who’s helping out with our subscription drive (that’s helping us pay for this issue).


I Tried Really Hard to Play

Essay: Blake Butler

Images: TBA

How to Make a Bride

Essay and Images: Jen O’Malley

Uncommon Knowledge

Essay: Gina Ishibashi

Images: Amber Albrecht


Essay: Barry Grass

Images: Paul X Johnson

The Measure of Creation

Essay: Amanda Jane Smith

Images: Susan Hope Lanier


Win a Chance to Be in my Next Novel

Story: Eliza Tudor

Images: Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo

South Beach

Story: Ryan Rivas

Image: Shannon May


Story: Peg Alford Pursell

Image: Yann Faucher

Autonomous in my Rib Cage

Story: Maggie Ritchie

Images: Donya Todd


Story: Paul Kavanagh

Images: Jon Mcnair


Story: Dov Naiditch

Image: Walter Green

And it was Good

Story: Sam Libby

Images: Joe Gunn

Thursday, December 2nd

Lisa Hanawalt.


Meet Lisa Hanawalt. She’s weird. Exhibit A: her new window dressing at Desert Island.


So you can see she’s weird in the best way. I recently read a copy of I Want You #2. The cover drew me in, anything with anthropomorphized animals usually does. I wasn’t ready for what was inside: Crude humor expertly illustrated, a recipe for a deliciously devilish good time.


First you barf at the image of an Avatar character defecating out if its mouth, then you marvel at the attention to detail on a she-moose’s face as she pleasures herself with a newly bought vibrator. Hanawalt sticks to the classics to get laughs, good old fart and poop jokes. You’re lying to yourself if you don’t find those things funny.

And then there’s this:


Monday, November 1st

Issue Seven: Edurance – Out Now.

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This sweet baby is shipping today to folks who pre-ordered and subscribers. Noteworthy features:

Joe Meno asks what your favorite war is.

Patrick deWitt presents an old man doing a terrible thing.

Matthew Simmons talks to God.

Zora Neale Hurston inspires you yet again.

A portion of the proceeds of this issue go directly to The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, an organization dedicated showcasing the work of artists of African descent.

Being a part of the best thing we’ve ever made is only a couple clicks away.

Tuesday, October 12th

This Weekend.

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Technical problems be damned. We’re having a party in Billy-burg this weekend. If I don’t see you there I am coming to your apartment and I am going to stand in front of the TV until you put on some jeans and come hang out with us. If you are intimidated by this flyer, here is one that Melissa made that is much more pleasing to the girly eye: