I started reading Loveless because I got it for free at the ALA meet waaaaay back in January. And I just . . . I just can't. It's the cat ears. It could be a really good story, and the art is very pretty, but a bunch of people walking around with ears on their heads totally weirds me out, making the story feel surreal and difficult to believe. I really, really tried because I keep hearing girls rant and rave about it, but . . . no. Just . . . no. I'm just way too far outside of it's target audience.
In fact, I can't seem to get into any new manga lately, for that matter. Except for Nana and Tramps Like Us, and I'm still trying to finish collecting Buddha and Eagle. My money is spent entirely on the new OEL TP produces (I've yet to get attached to any Seven Seas titles, unfortunately, though they're perfectly well written and illustrated) and works from mostly American artists and writers I admire. And it not's because I'm one of them. Far from it, because there are plenty I don't like as well! It's just . . . the stories have had a lot more appeal to me lately. When I was a teen, I was infatuated with Japan as well as manga; it was distant, dreamy, and easy to idealize. But I think as I grow up I find myself becoming more interested in things I feel I can relate to. I've been through more experiences now at 24, than I did at 16. The kind of stuff I love now, I probably would have hated as a teen because I never knew what was reality and what wasn't. I was into Sailor Moon and Magic Knights Rayearth where I could dream and envision myself in a world and circumstances far, far away. Now I prefer books like Boys of Summer, Carnet de Voyage, and Peach Fuzz, all graphic novels that have a certain harsh reality to them beneath the pretty surface.
But I digress. As to the real reason I pick up so many OEL lately (and no, this is not an advertisement ^_~ ) is because I like the uniquely Western perspective, and I like the style of writing, especially from many of the female creators. Lindsay Cibos, Queenie Chan, Svetlana Chmakova, Amy Reeder Hadley, Joanna Estep, and Ashly Raiti (who wouldn't be complete without Irene Flores) aren't just friends, they're also some of my favorite writers in the comics industry. They write with a sensitivity and perspective that's so difficult to find. There's a certain . . . preference . . . for the harsher realities in the graphic novel trade, and these women bring forth a much more subtle voice that I personally love and appreciate. I love the works of Will Eisner, Terry Moore, and some of Frank Miller, but I can't relate to their stories like I can to these female writers and artists.
And it's not a sexist thing. It's just the simple fact that girls know girls and boys know boys, but we'll never entirely know each other. That's why it's so important that the female voice continue to grow in comics, graphic novels, and all forms of sequential art. Not just for more female creators, but more female readers as well--a demographic that is honestly, still greatly lacking. But I don't want to segregate, but rather to grow and integrate. To bring in a more diverse audience as well as diverse creators! What's out there now is certainly good, and at times divine, but it really could be even better, bigger, and heck of a lot broader. (haha. I made a pun.)
ANYway, I don't know why I'm ranting except that it's been heartening to see similiar sentiments lately echoed by Heidi over at "The Beat" and Johanna at "Comics Worth Reading" who've been, by far, some of the most supportive and vocal about the female creators they love and appreciate. The girls don't want to take over the boy's club. We just want our OWN damn club with secret handshakes, passcodes, meetings . . . the works. ^_~
If you're a girl out there, reading this, who has her own stories to say: create! If you have books and people you appreciate: speak up! If you feel like you have an opinion: don't be afraid to talk about it to others. Not only do I want to create my own stories, but I hell as sure want to read more of your stories as well.