I had a ton of fun with Sequart’s documentary She Makes Comics directed by Marisa Stotter.  Now the documentary is actually about three years old at this point but the film has finally made its way to iTunes and various video-on-demand services like Amazon and your local cable company.  So I finally had the chance to sit down and watch it.

The basic premise of this documentary is to show successful women in comics.  Or perhaps the lack thereof.  There is some history to it as it shows us some of the first women in comics and moving us through the decades until we get to the present day where women are at least a bit more successful.

Missing is the total harassment pointed toward female creators from men online.  My most recent case in point on this is Mockingbird writer Chelsea Cain being bullied right off of Twitter – but I fully understand that was just last year and this doc predates that.  But it doesn’t touch on harassment.  Maybe I’m thinking that is a good thing.  Try to keep a positive spin on the women in the industry.  Show the good…..and kinda just ignore the bad seeds.

The documentary goes through the history of females in comics by interviewing many of comics most famous female writers.  Female comic journalists are also interviewed for the doc.  From the early days of Ramona Fradon and Marie Severin the doc then moves to the 70’s with a slew of indie comics, and moving into the modern era.

The doc interviews greats like journalist Heidi MacDonald, Anne Nocenti, Paul Levitz, Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Jill Thompson, Shelly Bond, Karen Berger, (the super awesome) Colleen Doran, Gail Simone, Wendy Pini, and so, so, so, so, so many more.

Now the names above I know.  From The Beat to Vertigo Comics to ElfQuest to X-Factor to A Distant Soil to The Sandman to Birds of Prey…I mean it is just a who’s who of amazing comic talent.  I know them all because I spent many years collecting comics from my first Western Gunfighters comic to the stuff I still read today like Motor Girl, Amulet, Savage Dragon, Harbinger Renegade and a slew of indies.

My lone gripe is that as I’ve gotten out of mainstream comics there were a slew of new artists and writers featured in this film that I just didn’t know.  The film moves so quickly it doesn’t really allow you time to get to know any of these people.  Writer Kelly Sue Deconnick gets a little screen time talking about her work on Captain Marvel so that was cool to see who she is and what she was writing (and now I totally have to pick it up even though it seems I’m so late on this).  I feel this ultimately took away from the film – at least for me.  If you are a total comic lover and know all of these creators you may not care.  If you don’t know any of them or some of them it may have been worth spending just a bit more time on the writing, the art, the process, and so on for the viewer.  Wouldn’t you have loved to listen to Karen Berger talk about the early days at Vertigo Comics???  That could probably be a documentary in itself.  Hey Julian…Mike…I’m down for helping on that one whatever you get around to it.

I don’t want to talk away from the film with my “lone problem.”  It really isn’t a problem.  It really is a situation where I just wanted more of the film.  I could have totally spent two and a half hours with everyone and really gotten into the nitty gritty of women in comics.  At 71 minutes this flick was way too short.  That extra 20 minutes that could have been added to the run time not only would have brought the film to a solid 90 minutes but perhaps would have been able to feature more of these amazing women.

All that being said if you are a fan of comic books this movie is for you.  But if you are a woman who likes comics this film really shows you how to embrace what you love and how you can channel your love without fear.  That’s a very powerful message.  Whether the adversity for these women was big or small they made their way to becoming truly successful in a male dominated field.

If you want to make a director’s cut…I’m totally game for watching that too.


And a total P.S. to this is – I now totally have a crush on Jill Thompson.  Like a super duper crush.  Don’t tell my wife.  She already hates me for hogging the bed.