CHICKS DIG COMICS: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them

Chicks Dig Comics
Mad Norwegian Press
Pub date: April 10th, 2012

Presented by Mad Norwegian Press, CHICKS DIG COMICS is a collection of essays and interviews from the comic world meant as celebration of female fandom. It succeeds. For every one of us who’ve walked the floor of a comic convention, hit seven stores on Free Comic Book Day, dreamed of an outlet to share our fandom or despaired that the nine panels we’ve spent months perfecting will never be seen by anyone who “gets it”, this is the book. Male or Female. I discovered this book at their panel at C2E2 2012.

Well edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Sigrid Ellis, CHICKS DIG COMICS will make you think. The comic industry did (mainly) ignore half of its potential readership for a long time. There were outlets. All of the women speak of their initial love. Eisner award winner Jill Thompson’s piece COMIC BOOK JUNKIE is the purest fan piece. From a very early age this lady knew comics are her life.

Many of the ladies discuss comics getting them through hard times and rainy days (Jen Van Meter, Sigrid Ellis, Jennifer Margret Smith). Not a few talk of making bracelets and becoming Wonder Woman. This makes contributor Tammy Garrison’s I’M BATMAN a delight to read. Anika Dane Milik’s comic fashion tips will bring a smile and my understanding of Cosplay has increased about 2000% thanks to Erika McGillivray.

The interviews sprinkled amidst the collection (Amanda Cross, Terry Moore, Greg Rucka, Alisa Bendis and Louise Simonson) add to the feel of this book. Filled with information and the pure joy of finding their community, the interviews celebrate both the universal and the female world of comics.

The collection as a whole has also made me aware of large gaps in my comic education. While I certainly did ponder Betty vs. Veronica I met Jean Grey and Emma Frost far too late in their storyline or mine to care. I need to read the Uncanny X-Men (almost 50% of the contributors mention Chris Claremont). I really want to re-explore Seduction of the Innocent and the comic code. The parallels to McCarthyism and the resulting rules are so very reflective of the last 70 years in America.

The very first essay of the collection comes from Gail Simone. It
touches on her fandom, activism and path as a creator. “Women in
Refrigerators” was an all-important outlet for femmes tired of being fataled. That it comes at the beginning of this book is great. To be unaware of the “boob zone” is ignorant. To be dismissive of comics because of a flawed conception of the female experience would be a shame. It’s everywhere, that conception.

CHICKS DIG COMICS is a celebration, a celebration of one of our most complex art forms. When you open a well done comic there is a marriage between the script writer and the artist where a single panel can and does tell the story of 50 pages of prose. It is truly remarkable. That one’s appreciation of the form can lead one to a real life community full of unforgettable moments and unconditional support? CHICKS DIG COMICS is an affirmation of this. Necessary reading for geek girls everywhere.

Ruth Jordan