The women in Scotland championing comic books – BBC News

Image copyright DC Thomson & Co Ltd
Image caption An example from 1977’s The Nine Life of Kitty Foster, which functions in a new exhibition on girls’ comics in Dundee

Perceptions that will comics and graphic novels are simply about city-wrecking scraps between superheroes and super villains are being questioned by a growing number of women within Scotland interested in the genre.

Among these types of women are a university masters level graduate and artists and authors from across Scotland.

In their own words they describe why they are passionate about comics and exactly how they are so much more than stories regarding caped crusaders.


Tanya Roberts: Amusing and graphic novel artist

Image copyright laws Tanya Roberts
Picture caption Artist Tanya Roberts and examples of her artwork

Edinburgh-born performer Roberts has illustrated comics depending on Star Wars spin-off Clone Battles, as well as Toy Story and Blood Shortcake.

Among the girl current projects is creating a visual novel called Abeyance, with the girl husband.

She feels that now is a good time for women artists, writers and readers, also for comics generally, irrespective of gender.

“There are a few reasons for it, ” she says.

‘Emotional connections’

“Comics, the characters which are within them and the worlds they create are now people’s playgrounds.

“People can write about all of them, dress up like them even generate alternative universes or fan artwork for them.

“All of the of course is then posted to several online social media type things plus perpetuate people’s interest in that particular fandom. That, in turn, sells more comics.

Image copyright laws Tanya Roberts
Picture caption Art from Roberts’ graphic novel Abeyance

“I think right after in attracting a male/female audience is subtlety small. Because I actually go to conventions and sell my materials to people I get feedback plus notice who is buying my art work.

“Females appear to appreciate character relationships and that psychological connection between them a bit more. I know I actually do, as a female reader, get influenced when there’s great characters within the story with interesting relationships in order to others. ”

Roberts believes there to be a healthy woman audience for comics.

She says: “Girls don’t just seem to cosplay as their favourite figures they also buy comics too.

“I always obtain excited talking to people who are inspired simply by comics and even more so to learn they have taken their passion even further, it in turn has inspired them to produce something, like fan art, hype or even their own original stuff.

“To which I say to all of them: see you next year at the stall alongside mine selling your own comic. inch


Louise Quirion: Comic book exhibit curator

Image copyright Louise Quirion
Image caption Louise Quirion giving a tour of the new exhibition on comics within Dundee

French-born Louise Quirion is a graduate student of University of Dundee’s MLitt course in Comics and Visual Novels.

She is furthermore the curator of Girls on the web, an exhibition running until twenty one October in the university’s Tower Developing Foyer.

The exhibit includes more than 30 original artworks from a number of Dundee publisher DC Thomson’s titles such as The Topper, Bunty and Twinkle.

“When I began looking into this particular area, I was amazed at the range associated with stories covered by girls’ comics, inch says Quirion.

Image copyright DC Thomson & Co Ltd
Picture caption An illustration through 1977’s Spellbound comic story Be careful the Mystery Dolls

“As well because school and ballet stories, additionally, there are sports stories, historical dramas, sci-fi and tales of the supernatural.

“This exhibition is an excellent opportunity to discover or re-discover benefit school stories of the Four Marys or the space adventures of the Supercats, while appreciating rarely seen initial art. ”

To demonstrate how comics have evolved nowadays, the exhibition also features function by current female comics performers such as Kate Charlesworth, Tanya Roberts and Gillian Hatcher.

‘Marketing strategy’

During her research for the screen, Quirion became interested by exactly how publishers in the UK target readers along with gender-specific titles, which is a different method of other parts of Europe.

She says: “I find it interesting because France and UK are usually geographically very close, and yet their particular comic cultures are based on very different concepts.

Image copyright laws Maria Stoian
Picture caption Modern works furthermore feature in the Girls in Print

“I feel as if this separation girls/boys is mostly a online marketing strategy. They are still using it in The japanese and it works great there. inch

But she provides: “Everyone reads comics in Italy, whatever their gender or age group is, so the best strategy much more to appeal to everyone.

“I know American comics are usually pretty popular right now, but I actually encourage anyone that likes comics in order to also read other things. ”


Group Girl Comic: Scottish-based collective associated with comic book creators

Image copyright Clare Forrest
Image caption Artwork by TGC performer Clare Forrest

TGC was set up in order to as a support network for women cartoonists throughout Scotland, and features in Louise Quirion’s Girls in Print exhibition within Dundee.

Gill Hatcher, editor and founder of the group, states: “The number of women and girls within Scotland both attending comic occasions and making comics has erupted in recent years.

“When TGC began in 2009 we were an extremely small tight-knit group, but the number of individuals getting in touch and asking to participate keeps on growing.

“There are a lot more possibilities for young people to learn the compose of writing and drawing comics, and lots more channels for them to obtain work out to a wider audience.

“And gradually, a lot more women have got involved in the Scottish comics scene, the more it has opened up in order to new creators who might have earlier felt intimidated or unwelcome. inch

Image copyright laws Cover of That Girl Comic
Image caption Ren Wednesday’s cover art for TGC’s anthology That Girl Comic

Hatcher states the subjects women want to deal with through comic stories and artwork are wide-ranging.

The girl says: “Our contributors write about a variety of subject matters, often highly individual and touching on politics, identity plus feminism.

Image copyright Gill Hatcher
Image caption A good illustration by Gill Hatcher

“There’s normally a lot of humour in the stories we all tell too. ”

Hatcher adds: “Our latest anthology, That Girl Comic, featured our own artists’ different takes on the concept ‘growing up’ and we ended up with an excellent mixture of childhood memories, teenage concern and present-day reflections, as well as even more surreal and whimsical interpretations. inch


Vicky Stonebridge: Artist plus comic book fan

Image copyright Vicky Stonebridge/Northings
Image caption Vicky Stonebridge and a good example of her comic book illustrations

Stonebridge, the painter, craftworker and co-organiser from the Highlands’ popular but now defunct HiEx comic convention, is based in Lochcarron in Wester Ross.

Growing up in the Highlands, she recalls pouring over a comic her father bought her when she has been three or four.

“It was not the Dandy and Beano We later came to love, but the ‘boys’ comic with sci-fi, activity and crazy perilous monster tales in it. I loved it, inch she says.

“I was an early reader, but failed to really get what was going on, there is a giant rat man who was mugging people and being generally threatening. ”

‘Geek culture’

Stonebridge’s fascination with comics was reignited later in art college when a friend demonstrated her a copy of the Uk sci-fi and fantasy adventure amusing, 2000AD.

She states: “It blew me away. I used to be the only other person I understood who read it, it was for a long period the only comic I knew.

“I even had written part of my dissertation about it. We loved the escapism, the motion, satire, punk attitude, fantasy plus adventure. I was never a feminine girl so stories of ballerinas and public school girls had been never going to cut it beside me. ”

Picture copyright Vicky Stonebridge
Image caption Stonebridge dropped in love with sci-fi and fantasy artwork at a young age

She adds: “My really like of sci-fi went along comparable lines, with a teacher taking a guide off me when I was 7 as it was ‘too old intended for me’.

“I nevertheless remember vividly the aliens, mutants and space paradoxes that thrilled me, and the feeling of bitterness at being told it wasn’t for me personally.

“This is why I like working with young people and encouraging their own interests in comics, geek tradition, genre fiction and art, mainly because I think it is important to support them within their journey of discovery in order to create creativity and imagination instead of shutting doors. ”

‘Always evil’

Stonebridge says a big challenge with comics is challenging the way female personas can be portrayed in the illustrations.

“There are lots more types of strong female characters in amusing books and film adaptations visiting the fore, ” she states.

“2000AD at all times had some strong women, yet often these were sidekicks to the primary male character.

“The character Psi Judge Anderson is an interesting character, some authors and artists have given the girl real depth, and yet there nevertheless persists other artists who nevertheless portray her as a pouting toy with ridiculous breasts.

“A more consistent 2000AD women character was Aimee Nixon. The lady switched sides and her allegiances were muddy, but she has been always fierce and kick-ass. inch

Stonebridge adds: “As I’ve become middle aged personally I crave to see older ladies characters, as all these idealised thin attractive comic women just shouldn’t resonate.

“I love to see diversity in comics, characters who reflect the real world. You will encounteer gnarly old men characters, but exactly where are the women – apart from getting super villains of course , because everybody knows that older women are always wicked. ”

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