Over at Comics Alliance, Laura Hudson has a great interview with Axel Alonso and Jeanine Schafer about women in comics. Although Alonso may seem like the marquee name there, being EiC at Marvel, the interview is all about Schafer for me; she comes across really well, and much more willing to see past simplistic idea of how to “fix” the problem, but instead seeing things in a more nuanced way:
In following the discourse about women and minorities in comics, the one thing I see brought up so often is the idea that people don’t see gender. “Oh, I don’t see gender,” they say, “I just want good stories.” There’s an idea that actively looking to hire women is counter-intuitive to good stories; the simplified version of this is “hire good writers, regardless of gender.” Of course, I agree that the people we hire need to be good at this, first and foremost. But what this argument misses, in implying (and sometimes outright stating) that actively hiring people with different life-experiences is somehow creatively bereft, is that having a variety of viewpoints is the best way to not only tell better stories, but to grow your market, so that you can continue to tell those stories.
On a totally practical level, being a woman there are things that I will be more attuned to than one of my male colleagues, and vice versa. So I always feel like I’m learning and growing as an editor and as a story-teller the longer I work here, because it forces me out of my head. A room with a group of people who are all passionate about different things with a shared goal of finding the perfect intersection of those passions is my kind of writers’ room!
Not all women are going to agree on what stories they like. Just like not all men will. Or all minorities. But having different voices gives us a well-rounded group of books that speak to a variety of people; without it, it’s akin to someone talking to himself and in this particular economy, that will spell our doom.
Seriously, go and check out the interview. Really worth reading.