L.A. Public Library Panel Examines Gender Diversity in the Comics Industry

The Los Angeles Public Library's Vernon Branch hosted a "Women in Comics" panel, bringing on five female comics creators to examine the current state of gender equality and diversity in the comics industry. These creators included Christina Strain (
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane), Talya Perper (Steven Universe: Anti-Gravity), Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex), Cecil Castellucci (Star Wars: A Princess Leia Adventure), and Christina Rice (My Little Pony). 

With the increase in female fans and professionals as well as younger readers, the need for diversity in comics has led to expanded story-telling and content from creators, new calls for submissions from publishers specifically seeking out diverse creators, and has driven programming at comics festivals and pop culture conventions nationwide. 

The panel was organized by young adult librarian Corinda Humphrey and was inspired by Humphrey's recollections of her grandmother working in Disney animation in the 1930s when male and female creators were segregated. In a statement from Publishers Weekly, Humphrey explained that women "were not to be fraternizing with them men" and they were not allowed to write any of the stories. Today, these boundaries are no longer in place; however, the panelists examined the ways that other discriminatory measures have continued to oppress current professionals and future generations of female creators.

“I didn’t see a lot of Asian American women, especially mixed Asian American women, ever being main characters, if they were even there at all,” Sarah Kuhn, creator of Heroine Complex (a series about Asian American superheroes), explained. “Growing up, I didn’t know I could be a main character, because I never saw it. Subconsciously, I made myself a sidekick in my own life.” Christina Strain, a Korean-American colorist and writer for Marvel, expanded on this by recalling her time as a writer for the Syfy Network's adaptation of The Magicians. Strain pitched the creation of three Korean characters for the adaptation, a creative choice that she says "the show’s producers would never have considered" without her presence on the creative team. 

While the panelists agreed that diversity in comics has made progress in the years, the creation of diverse characters is not the only important aspect of growing the comics industry. Tapping into the stories of diverse creators is also an intricate part of the equation that allows for a story to capture the interest of current and new readers. Panelist Talya Perper encouraged young creators to face the diversity head on stating, "If you notice there’s no character representing what you represent, you have to make it. You just have to do it."

Photo by Jason Boog/Posted to Publishers Weekly. Pictured on the Women in Comics panel at the L.A. Public Library (l. to r.) are Christina Strain, Talya Perper, Sarah Kuhn, and Cecil Castellucci. My Little Pony writer Christina Rice is not pictured.


Saga Book 2 Saga Book 2
Image Comics
SAGA BOOK TWO continues the action-packed education of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Collecting 18 issues of the smash-hit comic, this massive edition features a striking original cover from Fiona Staples, as well as a brand-new gallery of exclusive, never-before-seen SAGA artwork from legendary creators including CLIFF CHIANG, PIA GUERRA, FAITH ERIN HICKS, and MORE! >>
Walking Dead Volume 27: The Whisperer War Walking Dead Volume 27: The Whisperer War
Image Comics
The time has come. The forces are aligning. The war has begun! Has Rick brought about the demise of everything he's built? Or will he triumph once again? Know this... there will be a cost. Collects THE WALKING DEAD #157-162. >>
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 6 Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 6
The End is Nigh! Truly legendary heroes require truly legendary foes, and now these world-ending menaces have arrived! Within this book, you'll find hundreds of monsters for use in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. >>
Monstress Volume 1: Awakening Monstress Volume 1: Awakening
Image Comics
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900's Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power. >>
Disney Manga: Beauty & Beast - Belle's Tale Disney Manga: Beauty & Beast - Belle's Tale
In Disney's live-action film "Beauty and the Beast," Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. This manga explores Belle's innermost thoughts as she learns that true beauty comes from within. >>
Rick and Morty Volume 1 Rick and Morty Volume 1
Oni Press
The hit comic book series based on Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s hilarious [adult swim] animated show RICK & MORTY is now available in its first collection! Join the excitement as depraved genius Rick Sanchez embarks on insane adventures with his awkward grandson Morty across the universe and across time. >>
Providence Act 1 Providence Act 1
Avatar Press
Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Providence Act 1 Hard Cover edition that contains Providence issues #1-4. >>
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Art of the Cards Yu-Gi-Oh! The Art of the Cards
Udon Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! THE ART OF THE CARDS collects the classic artwork of every real life playable card featured in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! DUEL MONSTERS animated series. Featuring over 800 cards, this prestigious hardcover tome is the ultimate archive of the cards used by Yugi Muto, Joey Wheeler, Seto Kaiba, Mai Valentine and more in their battles to prove who truly has “the Heart of the Cards." >>
Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales Slipcase Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales Slipcase
Penguin Group (UK)
Read legendary stories of monsters and heroes from across the Whoniverse, in this beautifully illustrated collection of dark and dangerous Time Lord fairy tales. Now including a brand new story for 2016, 'The Emporer Dalek's New Clothes', this slipcase is the perfect keepsake for any true Doctor Who fan. >>
Divinity III: Stalinverse Divinity III: Stalinverse
Valiant Entertainment
Earth has a new god. The world you know is gone. Welcome to the Stalinverse, comrade. New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (4001 A.D.) and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine (DIVINITY II) bring you the Valiant Universe like you've never seen it before! >>