#VisibleWomen and shattering glass ceilings for women in the comic book industry

By Mica Magsanoc
Images by Monica Magsanoc

Back in 2016, a production company called Milkfed Criminals Mastermind, Inc. posted a response on their website to the result of the Angoulême International Comics Festival wherein 30 men and 0 women were nominated for awards. Their post mentioned how women comic book artists and animators are “overlooked by their industry,” and not given enough recognition. This is yet another added issue in the lack of female representation in a male-dominated industry. There is even a popular response of men saying that they would happily hire women if only there were more women comic artists of quality around. Thus, the viral and empowering hashatg #VisibleWomen was born.

The goal of the hashtag was to raise awareness for the abundance of talented women comic book artists who are usually considered “rare” in the industry. The founders of the site—successful comic writer and artist Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction—found the need to prove this notion wrong. The instructions were to tweet your name, the kind of visual art you practice, and a link to your portfolio. Submissions were open to women and those who identify as non-binary. At the end, Milkfed said they’d combine all submissions into one masterlist and submit it to hiring professionals in the comic book industry to widen job perspectives. And boy, did women deliver.

Hundreds of aspiring comic book artists and illustrators have shared their works, and thousands more have re-tweeted them in support and camaraderie, proving that there really is no reason for comic book industries to not hire women. How can they after the surplus of talent that has poured out #VisibleWomen?

This particular issue is important since there is little to no recognition for females in the comic book industry, adding yet another issue in the ever-growing problem of gender inequality.

This initiative has now paved the way for many talented and unheard of artists who are sure to shatter the glass ceiling many women have longed to break.

Chrissy Curtin on Twitter

I’m Chrissy Curtin, a freelance illustrator who loves all things pencil! #VisibleWomen

Kristina Gehrmann on Twitter

Some of my #illustration work, painted in #Photoshop. #visiblewomen

Miracle Mosley on Twitter

Hi! PB| Miracle Mosley, an illustrator|character designer in Atlanta, GA! I am currently learning animation & pixel art! #VisibleWomen

To make things more exciting, last August 7, Milkfed brought #VisibleWomen back, much to everyone’s delight. This time, they opened up submissions to writers, letterers, and inkers to gain recognition and open up possible opportunities of employment. They further stressed the motive of the movement—to increase visibility of women in the comic book industry.

 

Hundreds of aspiring comic book artists and illustrators have shared their works, and thousands more have re-tweeted them in support and camaraderie, proving that there really is no reason for comic book industries to not hire women. How can they after the surplus of talent that has poured out #VisibleWomen?

This particular issue is important since there is little to no recognition for females in the comic book industry, adding yet another issue in the ever-growing problem of gender inequality.

This initiative has now paved the way for many talented and unheard of artists who are sure to shatter the glass ceiling many women have longed to break.

Check out some of the most recent works shared on Twitter:

Maike Plenzke on Twitter

Heya, I’m Maike, a freelance illustrator. I love drawing plants & other beautiful things nature comes up with.🌻🌱🌼 #VisibleWomen

amidstsilence🌿🌵 on Twitter

Hi I'm Kelsey and I'm working on pursuing my dream job in the animation industry! I love drawing aesthetic settings and rooms #VisibleWomen

waneella on Twitter

background artist waneella hi ❤ #VisibleWomen

Hyein Jeon on Twitter

Hello #VisibleWomen ! My name is Hyein and I draw and embroider things. I love embroidering women characters from my favorite movies.

Hyein Jeon on Twitter

Hello #VisibleWomen ! My name is Hyein and I draw and embroider things. I love embroidering women characters from my favorite movies.

Amei Zhao on Twitter

I'm Amei, I work in colour and design for animation, and draw personal work in the spare time that is not spent in the sea. #VisibleWomen