One of the Women in Comics panels at NYCC seemed kind of off to a lot of people. (Shot of Jenna Jameson in that one that may or may not be sfw?)
How do the ladies creating comics do it? They’re constantly blowing us away with the most outrageous and provocative titles. Jenna Jameson (Shadow Hunter), Colleen Doran (Distant Soil, Reign of the Zodiac), Amanda Connor (Birds of Prey, Painkiller Jane, Lois Lane ), Louise Simonson (New Mutants, X-Factor, Superman) and special guests reveal why they know what Fan-Boys want.
Yeah, Jenna Jameson is the odd man out there, so to speak. She’s got one comic under her belt, which she is credited with creating, rather than writing, so I can totally understand the consternation. If anything, I’d pay cash money just to see Louise Simonson talk. I’d pay extra if we could get a “Walt’n’Weezy Hour” where they just tell stories.
But, I kind of feel like the fan-based hostility toward writers or creators from outside the medium has run its course. It’s gotten stupid in its fervor. Case in point– Steve Bunche wrote a panel report on the Women Who Kick-Ass panel, which was subsequently reposted on The Beat.
Here’s a bit of it:
Billed as a sounding board for women in the funny books biz, the panel garnered a bit of controversy for its placement of former adult film star Jenna Jameson among the likes of Colleen Doran, Louise Simonson, and Amanda Conner. Jameson, a funny and intelligent speaker, is quite lively in her own right, but her presence was guaranteed to detract from the other panelists and attract a legion of devotees of “one-handed” cinema, many of whom couldn’t have cared less about the creative process of comics and paid their admission fee in hopes of worshipping at Jameson’s tenderloin flick altar. I have absolutely no problem with Jameson’s porn past, in fact I’m a staunch advocate of such fare, but the inherent sensationalism that comes with her simply doesn’t jibe with a panel aimed at women being taken seriously in the medium. No matter how sincere her intentions may be, the vast majority will most likely not be able to embrace Jameson in any real capacity as a creator and see her as anything other than a “tainted” woman who splayed her naughty bits on camera for the, er, amusement of folks living in a hypocritically anti-sexuality culture. Just ask Traci Lords.
Here is what I learned from the panel report:
-Jenna Jameson used to do porn.
-Colleen Doran and Louise Simonson didn’t show.
-There were more moderators than there were panelists.
-Jenna ain’t that interested in comics, no way, and probably didn’t even come up with the story for her book.
I can’t find any info on the Women Who Kick Ass panel online. All I’ve got is this report to go on, and it’s got no quality information in it. It’s got a lot of unsourced and specious conjecture, to be sure. Most of the crowd were Jenna fans, rather than comics fans? Really? It cost forty-odd dollars to get in the con for a day pass. You mean to tell me that you seriously think “about twenty or so comics enthusiasts” were the only comics fans in the audience? For really real?
Jenna was there to shill the comic “she supposedly created” is a huge claim to make– particularly when you aren’t privy to the inner-workings of Virgin Comics. A lot of their comics follow the format of (Celebrity Name)’s (Two Word Title). That’s their thing and it’s a formula they’ve worked to some success. Why throw in that jab about “supposedly created?” What’s the point? What does that have to do with the panel?
Conner’s efforts were valiant, but, for all intents and purposes, for what may have been the first time in her life, Amanda was the smart, talented, and funny wallflower in the eyes of a room full of wolves sniffing around the dance’s popular “hot” girl in a futile omega mating display.
This is the bit where I realized the post wasn’t a panel report at all. It’s a hit piece. The first paragraph is about how we don’t need a Women In Comics panel ’cause gender has nothing to do with nothing, the second paragraph is dissing Jenna’s fans and saying how she’ll be distracting, third paragraph disses the fans and moderators, fourth is dissing Jameson, fifth disses Jameson again and calls her comics illiterate, sixth mocks her movie, seventh is reproduced above and is basically a White Knight in action, eighth is dissing the audience, and then the ninth is a wrap-up that says the panel sucks.
The only paragraph I remotely agree with is the ninth one. I agree that the panel line-up was a bad idea and unbalanced. I disagree that Jenna Jameson being on the panel deserves an entire hit piece devoted to how she sucks, doesn’t know crap about comics, her fans are slavering fanboys who just want to touch the goddess’s hem (or i guess thong, whatever), and Amanda Conner got done dirty.
Conner did get done dirty, but that isn’t a good reason for the rest of that. I don’t even like Jenna Jameson and her comic is not my thing– so don’t even think that I’m just sitting here defending her. I don’t like the trend of “X person is coming from outside comics” with the subtext of “stealing jobs from worthy comics creators.” It’s crass.
I do agree with Johanna in her comment here, though.
I don’t think it’s her so much as cynicism towards famous names on comics. Remember Tekno’s Neil Gaiman’s whatever and how he had nothing to do with it besides the original concept? If someone licenses a name just to get PR value off of it, then I think readers are justifiably skeptical about that.
I just feel like the reaction is out of proportion. I’m sure that there was something funny or interesting or clever or new said on the panel. Bunche makes a big deal out of Conner’s quick wit and sense of humor (which considering her art, must be pretty awesome), but never actually gives us any anecdotes. It’s like what David Uzumeri said a while back.
What’s starting to disturb me more is the reaction to this that I see on a lot of the more moderated/respectable blogs – this conscious attempt to cut ties with the tastes of the hoi polloi and instead turn the topic to how cleverly you can savage a certain creator or book. Mike Choi is right – the switch is defaulted to “snark” all across the blogging community and everyone’s tripping over themselves to be the funniest guy to say something’s going to suck.
I’m tired of empty snark. You’re clever, you’re mean, you’re smart, you’re witty, you’re awesome, I get it– now tell me what you saw.
edit: Ragnell pointed me to Girl-Wonder’s Four Color Heroines podcast, which discusses the issue at around 12:00 in or so. I may not 100% agree, but they do make good points! Which, really, makes for a great post. Also, they just posted this new post which is all about the panel. I haven’t gotten a chance to check this one out, though, but it may warrant a followup post later!