Misogyny?! You need a history lesson on the comic book industry and it’s fans

Certain types of blogs I do always generate backlash, they are blogs about the comic book industry and they always generate the same type backlash

– I don’t care about the comic book industry. I don’t want to read about the comic book industry. Let the tights and capes people do what they are going to. It is boring.  No one cares. I just want to read about how your life is a train wreck. I just want to see sneak previews of Arsenic Lullaby. – 

It’s like clockwork.  Because my work is unique and seen in more than one media type, the bulk of my readers only really care about/read one comic book… the one I do, and me talking about inside quibbling in comic books wears thin quickly.  Alright…Fine…I’ll move onto something else…right after another three pages about the comic book industry.

See, it’s just that…I handled the issue very calmly, and rationally  in an open letter explaining why saying there is a misogynist problem in comics is unfair assertion, and did so in a mature level headed way…and I can’t go out like that. I just can’t, it goes against my very DNA, I won’t be able to sleep at night.  This lady rolls into the industry for about two cups of coffee and lays out a claim about misogyny because all hell broke loose on a twitter page, where she has zero way of knowing if any of the bad apples where even comic books fans.

I can’t stress that enough.  She wanders onto twitter completely oblivious to it being the land of a-holes, as though she is some 65 year old who’s grand kids set up her account, runs into a bunch of a-holes, and then blames comics…because she is apparently completely unaware of the 70 plus years of contributions to the comic book industry by women and massive support of them by fans.  Apparently completely unaware that comic books with female action heroes, and worked on by women, have been not only common place,but topping the sales SINCE BEFORE WORLD WAR TWO.

Take all the charged emotion out of it and look at the simple equation.  She writes a comic book and on her twitter feed she receives a flurry of negative comments.   She writes a comic book and on her FB page and she does not receive a flurry of negative comments.  What’s the variable there? hmmm?  I watched her FB page while this was going on, she made similar posts and comments about the situation and did not receive the  hassle on FB that she did on twitter… and yet normally rationally thinking people FAIL TO SEE THAT THE VARIABLE IS THE TWITTER PLATFORM. This is like dropping a brick of dry ice in a sandbox and not seeing any smoke form and dropping it into water and seeing smoke form and not realizing that the reason it started smoking was the difference between the two elements it was exposed to and not the dry ice itself. 

Perhaps that was too complicated,  what with it being hidden by all sorts of eye pollution like other words you have to read, so I’ll break it down again…

Female writer + female comic book +twitter=she has to delete her page because of problem with vile comments

Female writer +female comic book + Facebook=she does not have to delete her page because of vile comments

 That is the simple equation of it all and not one thing that has been written changes it any more than it changes that the chemical makeup of water is H2O.


1.a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.

The word Misogynistic got thrown around a lot last week on many comic related web sites, and was directed at fans of the comic book industry, “not all of them”.  People like to say “not all of them” when they mean “all of them” or when they mean “all of them, except the ones who agree with me”.  I know…I do it all the time. It’s the “sorry, not sorry” of insulting an entire group of people. 

See, in this day and age, in the climate we live in, when you say “some” of the comic book fans are “misogynists”, ALL comic book fans are viewed through a very cynical lens, and the industry itself is tarnished and credibility harmed.  Because if it is boosted in part by misogyny, then it must be okay with misogyny to some degree.   It was not just implied, but declared that there is a level of “misogyny” in the comic book industry fans, above and beyond what you find in other industries. Which is, as I will point out, a statement that flies in the face of reality.  And now there is comic book news article after comic book news article questioning whether or not there is a “misogyny” problem inherent in the comic book industry.  

***update, I made that sentence in blue…because even making part of it bold was not enough for some morons to understand what the premise I am arguing against is. read it slowly…pay attention to the bold print…after that read the rest of the blog slowly, morons***

And the internet being what it is, nobody reads past the headline to see this is in question over a handful of incidents out of the THOUSANDS of comic book pros who interact with millions of people and that the incidents were occurring on twitter, and WITHOUT THEM BEING COMPARED to incidents of the same or worse nature, in a higher ratio everywhere else, in every other industry, in every corner of twitter, or even comparing them to the interactions by the same creator, at the same time, on a different social media platform.  This is the ole “unfair dial” cranked up to 11 on the comic book fans.

If the comic book industry had a misogyny problem, to the degree that was claimed,  it wouldn’t have made it this far because a GIANT  percentage of it’s talent, characters, innovations, and SALES ( money spent by fans on work done by women) is owed to female creators.  And these are not token women or throw away titles.  The women who have and had careers in the comic book industry earned those jobs and beat out men to get them and kept those jobs because fans supported their work. 

This lady, as evidence of misogyny, said she got tweets from “comic book fans” disgusted that a female character had her own book.  WHAT?!  She’s believed this was actually from a comic book fan? In what country?  Yemen?! About half of the top 25 best selling comic books in the last sales figures (sept.2016 sales directly to comic book stores) either have a female creator, a lead female character on a team with the female prominently featured on the cover or is the solo book of a female character. 

In the top 25 in sales, the order of popularity of characters with solo books goes like this 1-Batman 2-Supergil 3-The Flash 4-Harely Quinn 5-Superman 6-Wonder Woman 7- Spider-man.  HARELY QUINN AND WONDER WOMAN BOTH OUT SELL SPIDER-MAN.  And Deadpool, Captain America, and Green Arrow don’t even come close to either of them in sales. More comic book fans buy Harely Quinn or Wonder Woman than Thor, Dr.Strange, The Avengers, The X-men, Green Lantern, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hellboy, Daredevil, the Punisher…you name it, they outsell it. SUPERGIRL’S BOOK OUTSELLS EVERY SINGLE OTHER MALE CHARACTER’S BOOK EXCEPT BATMAN.  I don’t have time to break down the whole top 100 down for you but there are a whole lot of other female comic book characters and female professionals all up in that mix. So how could anyone in their right mind see that tweet and not realize it was some random lunatic who has probably never laid eyes on a comic book rack.  If that person reads comic books and is “disgusted” that a female has her own book…he must be in a living hell every time he walks into a comic book store.  IF…he actually reads comic books (which he doesn’t), and isn’t just some twitter troll (which he is).

This would be like saying that there is a viable percentage of people who watch pro golf who hate middle aged white guys, because some trolls on the internet said middle aged white guys shouldn’t play golf. That…is looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

Comic books about about female super heroes aren’t just accepted, or have a following, or are doing well…they are kicking the ass of most other books.  Now if Cain is going to roll into an industry that she apparently knows nothing about, out of the clear blue at age 40 something, write 8 issues, and then cast an aspersion on the industry based on a sampling of trolls on twitter…that’s on her.  But you ought to know better.

To the people who are going on as though this woman, who wasn’t savvy enough to avoid a typical twitter clusterf*ck, is some brave pioneer who has weathered slings and arrows, to fly in the face of the norm, and challenging some misogynistic comic book patriarchy breaking new ground being a female creator in the comic book industry…Are sh*tting me?


This industry had women in major roles, on major books, for major publishers, who were free to be innovative and add their voice to the projects, back when other industries were still restricting the contribution of women to them picking up lunch at the automat, and this was all able to happen because the FANS didn’t give a sh*t who worked on the book as long as it was good.  This industry has a right to be proud of itself for it’s track record and everyone working in it, and fan of it, has a right to hold their head up high.  And has a right to respond to the ludicrous accusations with “our track record speaks for itself, take your projecting somewhere else and don’t involve us in the rest of the world’s bullsh*t”…I would add “now buy something or move the f*ck on” but that’s just me.

The first woman who popped into my mind as “misogynistic” was being flung around, was Marie Severin (photo above) who  colored for EC comics in the 1950’s and eventually illustrated on Marvel super hero books. She co-created SpiderWoman in 1974.  “What’s that?  There was a female super hero with her own book in 1974?  You mean…the female super hero books out now aren’t pioneering that?!”  No…they are not…neither was Spider Woman in 1974, she was about 35 years late, but more on that later.   In between those two highlights was a formidable career in which Marie worked on many other books, FROM TOP PUBLISHERS…books that were successful BECAUSE FANS SUPPORTED THEM, too many for me to track down, much less remember off the top of my head. 

**correction, I have been informed that Spider-Woman actually first appeared in 1977 not 1974…eh, that’s pretty close for just off the top of my head.  No doubt the misogynist male comic book fan remembers that date because it was such a dark day for the comic book world***

And her work mattered to millions of fans.

EC comics is and was the gold standard of quality in the industry and her innovative coloring of their celebrated horror comics was a big reason why.  Yeah, Horror comics, they didn’t just, because she is a woman,  regulate her to funny books or romance comics. She colored Tales From The Crypt….perhaps you’ve heard of it?  She helped make that book a success. I remember her coloring in particular because she had a technique that was really innovative and groundbreaking.  She would color some particular image with just blue, inside of a full color panel.  For instance, the disemboweled body would be all in blue in the foreground and the rest of the panel would be full color…like somehow only the body was in shadow. This dialed back the gore and focused on the gore at the same time…ingenious.  I am of the opinion that in most cases, what you imagine to be happening is often more horrific than what anyone can draw.  So gore that happens off camera can be very effective. EC was big on showing gore, but coloring the gory part in blue dialed it back enough to give your imagination some free reign and gave the books a more classy and creepy feel than their over the top competitors.  I might not be explaining that well. I’d just show you a page but my scanner isn’t working.  Just ask ANY comic book fan to show you her work, they probably have a EC collection you can look at, it’s pretty much a staple of any comic book collection…just don’t tell them Marie is a girls name or they’ll throw it out the window because you know…Misogyny demands it of them. 

Anyway, the point is she was given the freedom to be innovative and the titles she worked on where some of the best selling books of the golden age (OVER SIXTY YEARS AGO). Meaning more FANS bought HER books than most others, including books colored by men.  Her work has been praised and reprinted and collected into hardcover editions continually since.   She got work on some of the best books and fans bought them by the millions.  And this happened at a time when giving a woman a job that a man wanted was a rare thing…much less giving her the best job in the office.  60…years…ago,  the industry was doing this.

Ever watch MadMen?  Donald Draper promoting Peggy to a creative position was head turning…that was set in 1960, and the scenario was used to show the progress that was just beginning in that, and other industries, at that time.  Marie was working in a prominent creative job at THE major comic book publisher in 1950.

Ever hear of Wonder Woman?  She was co-created by Elizabeth Holloway Marston in 1942.  and edited by Alice Marble

But the first female action hero in comics created by a woman was Miss Fury. Created by June Mills in 1941.  1941…and that’s not even the first female action hero, that’s the first female action hero created by a woman.  Was there a whole lot of female action hero’s in movies then?  I can’t recall any. How about female movie directors?  any?  1941, Female comic book character created and written by a woman, and FANS bought the hell out of it.  The character even got painted onto a plane or two by U.S. Air-force MALE COMIC BOOK FANS.

I would be remiss to not mention Ann Nocenti who had a hand in a whole lot of marvel books and was driving creative force in Marvel when I was growing up as, either an editor or writer, including some of the best selling issues of Daredevil.  From what I understand Ann had a dust up or two with Marvel management about things she wanted to do.  I say that to point out that we aren’t talking about “yes women” who would go along to get along.  These women wanted to and did leave their unique mark on the books they helped become successful.

Those are just a few women who were blazing the trail decades ago, with innovative work that was wildly supported by fans. and whose careers flourished because the fans paid their hard earned money for their work.

If you think, perhaps in recent years, the industry and importance of female characters and writers somehow drifted back to the stature and attitudes about women from the industrial revolution…

Allow me to introduce Faith, to those of you still not aware of her.  Published by Valiant Entertainment. And yes, Jody and Marguerite are girls names…women worked on this book.


Not exactly the normal body archetype for a female super hero is it?  This industry, as usual, is at the forefront of expanding acceptance of characters outside the usual archetype.  Those of you looking down on this industry.  Is there a popular video game character who looks life Faith? Tell me the last action movie you saw with a female lead that looked like Faith?  HMM? Or an action t.v. show, or for that matter any movie or t.v. show with a female lead that looks like Faith, that isn’t a comedy? Name some….I’ll wait…you got NUTHIN’.

It’s a Female lead character, with a female writer, with a body positive message, and it has been going on for years.  and it’s not just a gimmick. It’s a well written book, with a character that is integral to the rest of the Valiant comic book universe.  AND…the character got her own series because THE FANS, wanted it.

I could give you other examples of women doing great work in today’s market…but I work in this industry too and that’s gonna get counterproductive in regards to my bottom line. Needless to say, there are women right now in the field that are loved by fans and so good at their job that I ain’t gonna give them a free plug, for the sake of my own career.

I’ve probably made my point already, but since I found the accusations so vile, unfair, and IGNORANT of the actual attitude of the industry for the past 70 YEARS, I am going to pile on.  And if you are one who cast the aspersion that this industries fans has a level of misogyny not seen elsewhere, and begin to feel embarrassed in seeing all the books that were created by women..and succeeded because the FANS loved them, be double embarrassed because I a GUY am the one who is having to tell you this.  ME, Douglas Paszkiewicz, I am an awful human being and everyone knows it, and I revel in it.  If there was a level of misogyny in this industry of a higher degree or percentage than other industries…I …WOULD…KNOW IT.  I would be off somewhere cackling with them and making lewd comments, instead of educating your ignorant ass about all the women who where/are vitally important to this industry.   I am a compete jerk who, by and large, doesn’t give a rats ass about anyone’s book by my own, and even I am well aware that the industry is where it is because of the work of women and the fans supporting that work.

You oughta be ashamed of yourself, that you are learning this from ME, rather than YOU knowing this yourself, or you yourself touting all the great comic book work women have done.    I would wager the comic book fans you slighted and called misogynist would be able to give you even more examples of great work by women.  This industry owes more to female creators and characters than probably any other industry and there isn’t a comic book fan out there that doesn’t know that.

Rather than combat any a-hole, who claims to be a comic book fan ,who feels there should not be a female comic book, with the DELUGE of examples of how important female characters and pros are and have been…you declare the industry has a problem.   So, who is the real misogynist here?  Because it seems to me, that YOU ignoring the hard work of women and crediting the existence of an entire industry to men and claiming it is a world of men, is pretty F*CKING MISOGYNISTIC.

 These claims against this industry are ignorant, repugnant and absurd. And this industry should be defending itself against piss ant, pot shots with the nuclear bomb of it’s 70 plus year history of work by women on the most popular projects from the largest publishers, being supported by fans.

If there is any misogyny problem in any percentage the comic book industry, it is not inherent to it, it is inherent to a percentage of all of humanity.  I present to  you as evidence …the incident report files from every human resources department in any other industry on earth.

…Industries that have no where near the track record of supporting women as this one does, or going back as far as this one does.  The comic book industry has a misogyny problem?! What the f*ck world are you living in?!  Maybe stop spending so much time on twitter and research a little…maybe…hmmm?…maybe that’d be a good idea, so that you actually know what you’re talking about before you claim misogyny of an industry that has a 70 year and still counting track record in the EXACT OPPOSITE DIRECTION, and puts most other industries to shame with it’s support of female characters and creators.

…but I digress…

The Phantom Lady was one of the biggest hits’ of the golden age and has been collected and reprinted at the demand of fans ever since…most of it written by Ruth Roche.  On a side note, Phantom Lady was drawn by Matt Baker who was Black.  …My memory could be fuzzy on that, but I’m almost positive I’m right.  If I’m right and Matt Baker drew the Phantom Lady, then you had a top selling book being written by a woman and drawn by a Black man in 1950.  Wanna find me some other industry where the two best jobs in the office were owned by a woman and a black man in 1950!?  I’ll wait….

Tigra/Greer Nelson is a Marvel character that ebs and flows in popularity.  She was a super hero who’s origin was steeped in women’s lib and created by Linda Fite in 1972!  How about you ask HER about her “feminist agenda”…you’ll need a time machine to take you back 40 years, when she was first intertwining a feminist message into a super hero comic book.  Oh, you thought ground was being broken in comics on that in 2016?…you’re adorable.  It was probably being addressed long before that for all I know.

…actually, now that I think about it, it was, Lorna the Jungle Girl’s entire running gag was that she kept saving a male chauvinistic supporting character.  That was a golden age book…sometime in the EARLY FIFITES.  and it had BIG sales.  I think Werner Roth drew some of it, don’t remember who wrote it…go ask some misogynistic comic book fan.

One of the most influential FAN magazines of the 80’s and 90’s Comics Buyer’s Guide, was run by Maggie Thompson.  This was a magazine that helped make careers of comic book pros, and guided the dispositions of fans, and helped give a voice to comic fandom and helped it grow into what it is today.  Maggie is a woman…In case my point was too subtle.  In case it got by you…a WOMAN helped pioneer making “fandom” a thing.  Fandom grew into what it is today …in part because of Comics Buyer’s Guide…which was run by a WOMAN.  I hope you got it that time because I do have some comic book fans who read my blog and if I use the “w” word one more time they’re gonna punch the computer screen and run to their therapist to scream about how much they hate their mother.

Those are just some examples off the top of my head from different eras, fields, and genre’s, of important work by women and supported by fans. But you know what, I’m still not satisfied.  I think a full on curb stomp, of the notion that there is a misogynistic undercurrent that exists only in the comic book industry, is called for.  Here is a list of some other NOTABLE female contributors to an industry that employs, celebrates, and owes much of it’s success to women and has, even way back at the beginning, when other industries would not consider letting a woman rise past the level of secretary.  Keep in mind that in order to have a successful career you need FANS who support you and buy your work. Scroll down nice and slow so you realize what ignoramuses the people who declared that comic fandom has a misogyny problem are… not all those people, just “some of them”.  These are just SOME notable examples.  There are many many other examples not listed, because trying to make a list of prominent female comic book contributors is asinine in and of itself…it’s like trying to make a list of Latino Baseball players. Want some more?  Ask some “misogynistic” comic book fan.

I’ll let myself out while you read through the list, I just realized my colorist is a woman so I have to go fire her before the fans figure out her gender and take back all the praise they’ve been giving her work.

Platinum Age (1897–1937)

Golden Age/Silver Age (1930s to approx. 1970)

Bronze Age and Modern Age

Mic drop.


When Douglas isn’t complaining he and his work can be found here


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  1. Whoops..well…I was pretty close. the point remains intact.

  2. Granted, there was awesome humor in it as well, but SPY by Melissa McCarthy (and more recently Ghost Busters,) had some amazing action scenes with a woman who vaguely resembles Faith. Faith looks like an awesome comic though, I’ll need to go find it next Wednesday. Thanks for the heads up on that one!

    I’m not on the “the comics world is misogynistic” bandwagon, but one thing I’ve noticed in my hometown’s comic expos is a lack of female writers or artists in panels. You’ll see a few in artist alley, but mostly in the “amateur” section. It would be nice to see more balance in public inspiration, allowing female fans to see with our own eyes that we’re represented within the writer/artist hierarchy of popular comics.

    Thank you for the history lesson, it is appreciated. 🙂

    • That dovetails into my point though, McCarthy is only given comedic work.

      To your observations on areas conventions, I will tell you this much. Let the promoters of the show know you want to see more female pros! Promoters, to the best of my experience, tend to invite pros that they grew up liking or who books they read, but do pay attention to what the fans ask for. A lot of the shows I am invited to, I am invited because fans contacted the promoters and said “get this guy! his work is great!”.

      So try this, look at the web sites of other comic-cons, look at which female pros are out and about attending shows and mention a few of them the promoters of your local cons. It really pays to be proactive. It’s tough for a comic-con promoter to know what all the fans are interested in, and easy for them to just focus on the stuff the like. it’s one half lazy and one half just having a blind spot. That’s why so may guests are pros who do Marvel and DC super hero stuff So let them know!

      In fact, I’d recommend you send them each an email just like you worded things here. That was a GREAT way to put it…and give them a few suggestions at the end.
      And do check out Faith! Valiant’s whole comic book line is really solid well crafted, well thought out stuff and Faith is one of their crown jewels.

  3. Well, if *you’ve* never experienced misogynist trolling from comics fans, then I guess it doesn’t exist.

    • In the future, actually read the blog before responding. I will give you 1000.00 if you can point out where in this blog I actually said mysogynistic trolling comic book fans do not exist at all, or even that I never experienced it. 1000.00 cash on the barrel head. The POINT of the blog was countering the assertion that there is MORE of it and to a different degree, than elsewhere.

  4. …now, I remember why I usually have the comments option disabled. Because you get people like “Todd”, who only read the title of the blog, and nothing else, before typing out a response. I’ll go disable that now.

  5. This was an excellent and super informative read. It makes me wish we could go back to pre-twitter days. It’s hard to have “real” conversations when we’re all very passionate (and some people are just human garbage) and the platform has lead to knee-jerk reactions on all sides. I believed one thing, and then I found this article, took the time to educate myself, and am reconsidering some notions. Thank you for this.

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