Comic Con 2014's Special Guest List Holds a Lot of Promise for Women in the Industry
Things are already looking bright for the 2014 installment in the epic International Comic Con saga. While last year's Comic Con did inspire some great discussion about respecting women in cosplay, and featured an awesome appearance from Tom Hiddleston, it also featured some comic book artists, as all great Comic Cons should. The Special Guests category hostED all of these great writers, artist, inkers, and other comics-crazed folk, and last year, it had some glossy page starpower. From industry greats like Sergio Aragonés, one of MAD Magazine's longest-running artists, to John Romita Jr., son of a Marvel great and co-creator of the hit series Kick-Ass , San Diego brought out some of the oldies but goodies in the industry. They also made space for some indie comics producers like Ellen Forney, whose graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me was a hit in 2012, as well as webcomic producers like Faith Erin Hicks.
Although last year's Special Guests represented a diverse group of comics, the gender diversity among the professionals themselves was almost nonexistent. There were 57 men among the Special Guests, with comics creators, TV producers, and a member of Congress represented. How many women were featured alongside this huge cast of dudes? Eight. There were a paltry eight women in the comics industry featured at Comic Con last year. That means that there were around seven men for every woman, and that ratio is abysmal, given the contributions to women in comics recently.
Luckily, Comic Con seems to have changed their lady-hating ways. The recent announcement of the first 20 Special Guests included 14 men and 6 women, approximately two men per woman. This may not be exactly equal yet, but if the proportion of non-male guests remains this high, it will be a significant improvement over last year. Also, the women included seem awesome: among them is an artist from the Silk Spectre prequel to Watchmen, a children's graphic novel writer, and the producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Let's hope that the announcement of the next 20 Special Guests will keep the hard-working women of the comic industry in the spotlight.