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The Rise of the American Comics ArtistCreators and Contexts$
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Paul Williams and James Lyons

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781604737929

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604737929.001.0001

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Questions of “Contemporary Women’s Comics”

Questions of “Contemporary Women’s Comics”

(p.135) Chapter Eight Questions of “Contemporary Women’s Comics”
The Rise of the American Comics Artist

Paul Williams

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores how women’s comics form part of the field of contemporary comics in North America to challenge the notion that comics, superheroes, and male readers are firmly interconnected for its humor—and its depiction of exclusion revolving around gender—to work. It argues that women’s comics are not a radical innovation, and instead exist on a historical continuum of women’s comics dating back to the 1930s. Highlighting the complexity of approaching comics creators and readers with the framework of gender, the chapter examines how “contemporary” “contemporary women’s comics” really are, who the “women” are in “contemporary women’s comics,” the material forms of these “contemporary women’s comics,” and how different material forms suggest certain reading communities. It first outlines a genealogy of comics articulating feminist political positions and looks at contemporary women’s comics ranging from photocopied and stapled mini-comics to lavish hardcovers and graphic novels. The chapter then considers a specific feminist subculture, the Riot Grrrl movement, to illustrate the material affiliation between women’s comics and feminism.

Keywords:   comics, North America, superheroes, gender, contemporary women’s comics, women, mini-comics, graphic novels, Riot Grrrl movement, feminism

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