March in the Emerald Isle is Irish Comics Month and as you’d expect our chums on Irish Comics News are a good source for information on events and works celebrating the month. One recent event took the form of a talk on Irish comics production with Declan Shalvey, Stephen Mooney, Robert Curley, Darrin O’Toole, Robert Carey, and Ciarán Marcantonio, taking place in the revered academic environs of Trinity College, Dublin. Writer Maura McHugh – no stranger to the readers of the blog, of course – notices that the discussion panel didn’t include any female creators from the Irish scene:
“I’m delighted that there is interest and support for the burgeoning comic book community in Ireland. I’m disheartened and disappointed that last night’s event did not include any women.
As an Irish woman who writes comics and reads them, this hits me hard. It offers no representation for women producing work in the field. I would not expect this invisibling of women in my country in 2013.”
Obviously this isn’t a problem unique to the Irish comics scene – some creators such a Paul Cornell have been quite active in requiring and inspiring more female creator presence at comics and science fiction convention panels at home and abroad recently. We know simply from our own reading and reviewing that there are plenty of very talented and innovative female creators on the scene all over the globe (quite a few of whom have become firm favourites with the blog crew), but there’s obviously more work needing done to make sure there’s a fairer and more representative mix of gender at events. Maura being Maura she tries to be constructive about this negative, thoughtfully suggesting several Irish female creators that would have been suitable for the Trinity College event (modestly she left one obvious candidate out – herself, so I’m adding her name to that list because she is a terrific writer and when I’ve talked with Maura her enthusiasm for writing and encouraging other talent and more reading is very evident).
It’s worth pausing to have a look, especially if you are someone who may be planning discussion panels at conventions and events (at the very least in addition to raising awareness of the problem the article will also point you to some other interesting creators you may not be familiar with yet and that’s never a bad thing). Maura also points us to the Pubcast crew who have a recording of the event available online and this is also a good point to remind readers that Maura maintains a list of women working in comics in Ireland and the UK, and I’m sure if you are a female creator who isn’t on that list she’d be happy to hear from you; Maura and Laura Sneddon have now also set up a Facebook page for Women in Comics, Europe. (thanks to our own James for the link)