Category: Women’ s History Month

Brainiac On Banjo: To Ramona

Brainiac On Banjo: To Ramona

I’ve heard you say many times that you’re better than no one and no one is better than you. If you really believe that you know you have nothing to win and nothing to lose, from fixtures and forces and friends your sorrow does stem that hype you and type you, making you feel that you gotta be just like them. “To Ramona,” written by Bob Dylan

Back in the post-WWII days when 10 cent comics cost a mere 10 cents, there were but a handful of ongoing superheroes, all of them were published by DC Comics, and each had a very distinctive look. Not the razor-sharp nearly photogenic linework of artists like Curt Swan and Carmine Infantino, but highly stylized and not quite real-world: Wayne Boring’s Superman, Dick Sprang’s Batman and Robin, Russ Andru’s Wonder Woman, George Papp (and, briefly, Jack Kirby’s) Green Arrow, and Ramona Fradon’s Aquaman. They maintained and advanced the standard for comics’ most enduring characters.

Of course, this was seven decades ago. Time seems to move on and, now, the last of these famous artists has left the building. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: To Ramona”

Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 4 – A Pair of Wonderful Women

Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 4 – A Pair of Wonderful Women

The final episode of our special live SquadCasts celebrating Women’s History Month happens tonight at 8:00PM Eastern. We are lucky to be able to bring together two amazing comics creators.  These women are fantastic and super important to comics. One of the things that I usually say about comic professionals that have made a mark is that you can’t tell the story of comics without this person or that person. That is certainly the case with both of these women, but humanity is better for these women for having participated in it.

Our Guests:

Continue reading “Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 4 – A Pair of Wonderful Women”

Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 3 – Shade: The Changing Girl Reunion

Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 3 – Shade: The Changing Girl Reunion

Part 3: Shade: The Changing Girl Reunion

We held the third of our series of Live Broadcasts celebrating Women’s History Month last night on March 22nd. This week’s broadcast featured most of the creative team for one of the most undercelebrated comic series of the past decade. Shade: The Changing Girl and subsequently Shade: The Changing Woman was part of the initial offering from the DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint that was curated by creative whirlwind Gerard Way.

Shade ran for a total of eighteen issues plus some appearances in the Milk Wars crossover event. The writer/artist team was intact all the way through as well as the colorist, letterer, and main cover artist. The comic is a true evolution of what has come before with the character that was created by Steve Ditko in the seventies and revamped in the eighties by Peter Milligan and Chis Bachalo. It is a story about what it means to be a human.

We were able to bring four of those women together last night and talk to them about their remembrances of their time on the book as well as their careers in comics. The result was a truly joyful celebration of an excellent comic book. The admiration and respect for each other as well as what they produced came through in the interaction that these women had with each other.

Our Guests

Continue reading “Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 3 – Shade: The Changing Girl Reunion”

Brainiac On Banjo: Tits and Boobs and Breasts… Oh, My!

Brainiac On Banjo: Tits and Boobs and Breasts… Oh, My!

“‘Tits’ doesn’t even belong on the list! That’s such a friendly sounding word. It sounds like a nickname. ‘Hey, Tits, come here, man. Hey! Hey Tits, meet Toots. Toots, Tits. Tits, Toots.’ It sounds like a snack, doesn’t it? Yes, I know, it is a snack. But I don’t mean your sexist snack! I mean New Nabisco Tits!, and new Cheese Tits, Corn Tits, Pizza Tits, Sesame Tits, Onion Tits, Tater Tits. ‘Betcha Can’t Eat Just One!’ That’s true. I usually switch off.” – George Carlin, The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television

Of course there are a lot of things going on in this world that confuse me, and I suspect that might be true with you as well. Much of that confusion comes from America’s new environment of interpretive truth. To be fair, that is exacerbated by our politically correct atmosphere — that which the Christian Nationalists, dullards and assholes call “woke” because they can’t cope with five extra syllables.

One of the things that confuses me, and it has for quite some time now, is the proper euphemism for breasts. Oh, c’mon. It’s not like we don’t all have them. I realize the holy-moly rounders are not allowed to say “breasts” unless they’re in a Chick-fill-A and their hunger overwhelms their religious angst. Yes, I’m looking at you, Mike Pence.

From watching television commercials these days, it is clear that the word “boobs” is the current preference. Some find the word “tits” to be rude or even outright disgusting. Whereas boobs sounds like it’s more fun than tits (which is nonsense; they are equally fun), I don’t quite get it. The Oxford Dictionary defines boob as “a foolish or stupid person” and, second, as “an embarrassing mistake.” The whole breast thing is noted further down the listing. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Tits and Boobs and Breasts… Oh, My!”

Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 2 – Letters to the Editors

Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 2 – Letters to the Editors

Part 2: Letters to the Editors

Welcome to the second of our series of Live Broadcasts celebrating Women’s History Month. We will be bringing you a different group of women creators and professionals each week to talk about their experiences, as well as their inspirations and hopes for the comics industry.

This week’s broadcast has a group of women who have curated some of the best comics of the last thirty years. They are best known for editing comics from Grendel to Fables to Bitter Root. There impact on the industry is massive and we are excited to have them on the show.

Our Guests

Continue reading “Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 2 – Letters to the Editors”

Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 1 – Legendary Ladies of Comics

Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 1 – Legendary Ladies of Comics

Welcome to the first of our series of Live Broadcasts celebrating Women’s History Month. We will be bringing you a different group of women creators and professionals each week to talk about their experiences, as well as their inspirations and hopes for the comics industry.

Our first group of women helped to create the backdrop for many a young person growing up in the 1980s and beyond. They are masters in their craft and continue to excel while showing the younger generations how it is done.

Our Guests

Continue reading “Special Live SquadCast: Women in Comics History – Part 1 – Legendary Ladies of Comics”

Pop Culture Squad Is Celebrating Women’s History Month

Pop Culture Squad Is Celebrating Women’s History Month

The calendar flipped to March, and here at Pop Culture Squad, that means Women’s History Month. We will be spending the next few weeks celebrating the contributions that women have made to pop culture industries, particularly comic books.

There will be a series of Live SquadCasts with an amazing array of creators and professionals in the comic industry. Tune in as the all women guest panels talk about their history in the business as well as those that came before and who is coming next.

Throughout the month we will also have other special content devoted to celebrating Women in Comics History. In the meantime, you can also check out our archive of Women in Comics History posts from 2021. Continue reading “Pop Culture Squad Is Celebrating Women’s History Month”

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Comic Edition: Part 3 – Colorists and Letterers

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Comic Edition: Part 3 – Colorists and Letterers

As we continue our Women’s History Month tribute to Women In Comics History, we focus on two areas of comic making that are often overlooked: Colorists and Letterers. Both of these disciplines have changed radically since the women in this list began working in comics.

The technological innovations of the last couple of decades have revolutionized comics coloring and lettering. They have also opened the doors of opportunity. Both of these careers were at one point considered part of the in house production department of comic book publishers. These women who were innovators and trailblazers made great strides in their fields and showed that they are part of the creative team deserving of recognition.

Colorists:

When these women were working in the industry the process of coloring a comic involved using dyes and creating color maps on copies of comic book pages to give printers instructions on how to apply color to the pages. Today almost all comics are colored using digital software to add tones, hues, and effects. Without those tools, these women were able to generate amazing depth to comic books for decades.


Glynis Oliver (Wein)

Glynis Oliver spent most of her career working for Marvel Comics. She colored the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, New Mutants, Thor, and Uncanny X-Men among many others.  She also worked at DC Comics and contributed to titles such as Batman, Superman, and Adventure Comics. For a time she went by her married name in the comics and was credited as Glynis Wein. She was a constituent contributor to some of the most important comics for over twenty years.


Adrienne Roy

Colorist Adrienne Roy has special meaning to me as she colored my childhood. Her work on the New Teen Titans and Infinity Inc. series was glorious. She worked primarily for DC Comics during her coloring career with long runs on the afore mentioned series as well as Batman, Detective Comics, and the Outsiders titles. There was richness and depth that Adrienne brought to the comics she colored. Her life was cut short by cancer at the young age of 57.


Christie “Max” Scheele

Christie Scheele worked as a comic book colorist for over two decades. She is most well remembered for her long run coloring Daredevil for Marvel Comics. The famous Frank Miller and Ann Nocenti Daredevil stories were painted with color by Christie Scheele. Her use of tone and hues give those stories important emotional narrative. Besides over one hundred issues on Daredevlie, Christie worked mostly for Marvel on titles like Squadron Supreme, Defenders, and The Avengers.


Lynn Varley

Award winning colorist Lynn Varley created the color pallet for some of the most critically acclaimed comic books of the last half-century. She was the colorist on The Dark Night Returns, 300, Sin City, and Electra Lives Again. The color work on each of these books is a critical factor in the texture of the story and how the reader experiences the comic.


Tatjana Wood

Tatjana Wood began working in the comics in the 1950s doing uncredited work in issues published by EC Comics. By the 1970s, she was the primary colorist on covers for DC, and that role lasted into the mid 1980s. She had long runs for DC on Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man. She brought the color to the well regarded Brian Bolland line work in Camelot 3000. She has over 1000 comic book credits to her legacy. Chances are that some of your favorite historic covers from the ’70s and ’80s were colored by this legend. Continue reading “Celebrating Women’s History Month – Comic Edition: Part 3 – Colorists and Letterers”

Celebrating Women’s History Month Comic Edition: Part 2 – Writers

Celebrating Women’s History Month Comic Edition: Part 2 – Writers

This is the second chapter in our celebration of women in comics history.  In this post we will highlight a fantastic group of writers that made lasting impacts on the industry.

This category has been one of the most difficult to fill. While some of the women listed in Part 1 of this series were cartoonists in that they both wrote and drew their stories, the list of impactful full-time writers before 1990 is short, and to be truthful, most of these women started their careers as editors.  It is disappointing to see the paucity of women writers in some of the formative years of comics creating.

I will say that the last two decades have seen a substantial rise in women writers in comics. But that rise is of course relative when you look at how bad it has been. While more women are getting work writing, recognition still has some territory to gain. There have been fifteen people in the last thirty-two years who have received Eisner Awards for Best Writer. Only two of them were women, and they were only in the last three years.

Well, let’s celebrate some amazing writing. The women listed below in alphabetical order created some amazing stories:


Toni Blum

Born Audrey Anthony Blum, Toni Blum, was one of the very few women comic writers in the golden age. She worked the Eisner-Iger Studio which produced stories for Quality Comics and National Allied Publications. She wrote scripts for golden age characters Dollman, Black Condor, The Ray, Uncle Sam, and more. She even ghost-wrote stories of The Spirit for Will Eisner. One of the remarkable aspects of Blum’s career is that she used over a dozen pseudonyms and all of them were either gender obscured or outright masculine. Even her most commonly referred to professional name is gender blind adaptation of her middle name. She was the only woman working in her office and contributed in important ways to some of the biggest comic characters of her time.


Mary Jo Duffy

As a writer for Marvel Comics in the 1980s, Mary Jo Duffy is responsible for some well-known long runs of stories. She wrote Power Man and oversaw the transition of the title to Power-Man and Iron Fist. She had a memorable run on the Marvel Star Wars series and wrote the Fallen Angels mini-series spinoff of New Mutants. In the 1990s she wrote the first fourteen issues of the first ongoing series for DC’s Catwoman. By the mid-2000s, Duffy had retired from comics writing. She began her career as an assistant editor for Marvel and often went by Jo Duffy in credits. Her work is spread across dozens of titles in the 80s and 90s and made an impact.


Barbara Kesel

Barbara Kesel has had an interesting career arc in comics. Her first freelance writing work, a Batgirl backup story, was published when she was twenty-two. She later became a full-time staff editor at DC Comics and then transitioned back to writing. She helped create Dawn Granger as the new Dove and wrote the “last Batgirl” story as DC retired Barbara Gordon from the cowl for a long time. She has also had stories published by Archia, CrossGen, Dark Horse Comics, Image, IDW, and more. She has gone by her birth name Barbara J. Randall at times earlier in her career. Kesel is known to be a staunch defender of women’s rights in comics and featured strong and fully formed women characters in her writing. She continues to write and create interesting stories to this day. Continue reading “Celebrating Women’s History Month Comic Edition: Part 2 – Writers”

Brainiac On Banjo #108: The Purple Zombie! – Women’s History Month

Brainiac On Banjo #108: The Purple Zombie! – Women’s History Month

Thanks to several decades of following Trina Robbins’ research, I’ve been a Tarpé Mills fan since… well, probably since dinosaurs started making oil.

Mills is best known as the creator/writer/artist of the costumed newspaper comic strip hero Miss Fury (1941 – 1949), which, for the record, debuted six months before Wonder Woman. But prior to that, she worked for a variety of neophyte comic book publishers, creating such features as Diana Deane / White Goddess (1936), Devil’s Dust, The Cat Man, Daredevil Barry Finn (1939), and The Purple Zombie (1940). It is this latter creation that now brings my fingers to the keyboard.

In addition to my affection for Mills’ work, I have a serious thing for stories that are insanely weird and bizarre. The Purple Zombie was so weird it makes Herbie The Fat Fury look like Mark Trail.

Here’s the short version: a pair of scientists come up with a way to create zombies, but one is an evil scientist and the other wants it to be used for the betterment of humanity. Zombies For Peace! Right on! The bad guy does not kill the good guy, although he does try. He gets killed in the process and P.Z. divines the good guy as his master. So, the good guy drafts P.Z. into joining the 1940 anti-fascist movement which, at the time, was pretty much limited to fighting Nazis and the Spanish civil war. By the way, in Spain the American antifa was called “The Abraham Lincoln Brigade.” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #108: The Purple Zombie! – Women’s History Month”