The Story: If you’re a fan of comic books, or even if you simply know what comic books are, you probably know that for too long they’ve been thought of as a dude club. Women weren’t welcome, and if you happened to be female and a comic book fan, it was like you were out in the desert, alone with half a canteen and miles to go. She Makes Comics discusses the history of comics, filtered through the lens of women who broke into the business, women in the business now, and fans of the medium.
The Good: And the Award for “Best Summation of The History of Women Dealing With the Comics Industry” goes to Heidi MacDonald; “you managed to alienate the half of the population that like to shop. How’d you do that?” Because that’s how it was for decades. It’s only now getting better, thanks to the work of some amazingly talented and badass women in the field, from creators to bloggers to cosplay pros.
This film hits a whole lot of topics in a short period, including cosplay, Manga, webcomic, and how the Internet helped “level the playing field”. There’s also the problem of “real geek” negging and other forms of sexism in the fandom. And it’s all handled beautifully by women who have jumped through hoops to simply do what they love. She Makes Comics is positive, uplifting, and hopeful for the future of comics, for both creators and readers. That’s a very good thing.
There’s also the huge amount of talented women who come together for this film. From Silver Age creators to underground artists, DC to Marvel to webcomics, the depth and breadth of the scope of this film is impressive. That the film manages to pack all this in in a little over an hour is simply amazing.
The Bad: At around 70 minutes, I’d love to have had more. Not because topics were inadequately covered, but because director Marisa Stotter manages to make this documentary feel more like a Skype conversation you’re having with your best fannish BFFs rather than a bunch of history being thrown at you ’til something sticks. I wanted to hang with this crew for longer. And then go read all the things. Wanting more counts as bad, right?
The Everything Else: I loved the Stuff Your Mom Never Told You podcast’s “Women in Comics”, Part 1 and Part 2. So when I got wind of this series, I snapped it right up. And loved every minute. So think of those ‘casts as an aperitif for this documentary. She Makes Comics is a fantastic start to getting info you never knew you desperately needed about women in comics, women who like comics, women who like to cosplay, and everything in between. She also manages to inject some humor into her subject matter (the Pretty Woman shopping scene as shout-out to the experience of women in comic book stores is just perfect.)
She Makes Comics is a doc I’m hoping college women’s studies, creative writing, art and RTVF departments fold into their curricula. Heck, I’d love to see it played in primary school.
Here’s the breakdown:
Would I watch it again?: ABSOLUTELY. It’s fascinating, made me think, and at approximately 70 minutes, it only took a tiny chunk out of my day.
Should you see it?: See above.
Streaming average rating: * (see below)
My rating: 5 Stars (otherwise known as A)
[NOTE: I streamed this title for free thanks to the folks at Sequart. I received no compensation, nor did the free streaming influence my review.]