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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Breaking into Comics as a Female by Jayme Roxann Wright

I begin writing this article on the heels of a momentous moment in Entertainment history where a woman (for the first time) has won an Academy Award for Directing. A likely ponderance ensues about all the areas where women are proving themselves “boss” in the good old boys clubs. Many women have blazed trails for a women like me to happily follow behind in so many areas of life. Yet, the hardest part of any groundbreaking moment for a woman is that not only do we have to be good in our own right, but we have to be BETTER than a man. Sometimes, even that isn’t enough.

When I first decided that I wanted to take my writing career seriously, it was as much a shock to me that people started sitting up and paying attention. From blogs to micro-fiction posted on Facebook, people seemed to notice that I had some talent. Yet, as a female, talent isn’t enough. You have to be more talented than a man, and in many ways are expected to approach a subject like a man would. If you can write like a man, conceive horrific or action packed imagery like a man, then you might have a decent shot. But what about the unique perspective a woman has on life? What about the diversity that we bring to the table for just being a woman? I don’t quite think we are there yet, and why? We are still forced to play by the men’s rules because they wrote them.

I have loved comic books since I was young, but then neglected the love for some years until I could afford to be a collector in my 20’s. It was discovering the DAWN comics by J.M. Linsner that pulled me back in. Comics to me was the great combination of imagery and dialogue, where a story could be told and the reader was spared trying to figure out what things looked like because it’s all on the page. The hardest thing to digest was the unrealistic way that women were written about, either portrayed as cold and heartless or overly emotional; a very bland portrayal in my opinion. When I envision comics, I want it to be a myriad of colorful characters not just colorful costumes. Dawn was complex and all woman, but wasn’t overly emotional. She was everything that a woman is from kind and compassionate to merciless and manipulative. Joe’s grasp of the feminine form in its reality -not its ideal-appealed to me. As I began crafting my stories, I leaned towards complicated feminine archetypes, not the one dimensional women that most men write.

So far, almost two years into the process, I feel that I have been shunned quite a few times, mostly for being a new unpublished writer, and then as a female. However, I am blessed that while there are many naysayers in the publishing ranks, the artists have been exceptionally willing to work with me, and genuinely intrigued by my ideas. I feel because I am considered an attractive female that it is harder to get to know publishers and editors professionally because they might prefer to deal with me on another level -Back to the boy’s club. The industry is such a close knit one, and because I am a female dealing with men, I find that people love to speculate on the nature of my relationships with others in the industry. I often want to pretend I am married just so I take any non-professional agendas off the table. However, there are women out there in the industry who are knee deep in geek/nerd-dom that are kicking butt and taking names while still being completely female. It can be done.

My current project that is in development is EVIL WAISE created by Jason Craig (Seven, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash), and art by Jason Craig, written by me. I am also working on three other projects currently shopping publishers, and a horror screenplay.

Bio: Jayme Roxann Wright is a freelance writer working on breaking into the world of comics. She is a single mother of a comic savvy 6 year old. Currently pursuing her masters/Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology, she lives in downtown Los Angeles. She is the assistant editor/reviewer for SheNeverSlept and writes for the LA Examiner website as well as has three blogs that she maintains: Contemplative Afflcition, The Subtle Charm, and Swordplay and the Single Mom. She is also a professional Belly-dancer at several restaurants in the Greater Los Angeles area.

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