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Reading List: Drawing Power (Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival)

Today is Human Rights Day and the last day on my reading list. I’ve got a treat for you. And tomorrow I’ll give you a sneak peek of the BIM notebooks. Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival By various authors Edited by Diane Noomin More than 60 female comics creators share […]

Today is Human Rights Day and the last day on my reading list. I’ve got a treat for you. And tomorrow I’ll give you a sneak peek of the BIM notebooks.

Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival
By various authors
Edited by Diane Noomin

More than 60 female comics creators share their personal experiences with sexual violence and harassment through new and original comics.

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The last book I’m recommending you is actually a collection and a suitable way to close my streak. If you don’y buy anything, you should at least buy this.

It’s a huge work, an editorial masterpiece that had to take forever to put together, because 60 artists coming together is, let’s face it, a shitload of artists.
And if 60 female artists come together to speak about the topic of gender violence, from the heart of their pens and pencils, you can expect something really powerful.

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Inspired by the global #MeToo Movement, Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival is a collection of original, nonfiction comics drawn by more than 60 female cartoonists from around the world.

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Featuring such noted creators as Emil Ferris, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, MariNaomi, Liana Finck, and Ebony Flowers the anthology’s contributors comprise a diverse group of many ages, sexual orientations, and races—and their personal stories convey the wide spectrum of sexual harassment and abuse that is still all too commonplace. With a percentage of profits going to RAINN, Drawing Power is an anthology that stokes the fires of progressive social upheaval, in the fight for a better, safer world.

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In bringing together stories and allowing us to share, this book really reflects the power of the #MeToo normal.
To me, reading about these stories is a mean to wash away years of a sexist culture that has soaked through my clothes and almost convinced me that some things were normal, that we had to endure certain behaviors because people who don’t know any better are just part of life and in order to be a woman in a male-dominated culture you have to swallow it.

Full list of contributors:

  • Rachel Ang, author of Dream Diary and Swimsuit (I wrote about her here);
  • Zoe Belsinger, a young Belgian artist whose prints you can buy here;
  • Jennifer Camper, an American-Libanese lesbian artists often drawing from experience and author whose work is collected in a vibrant and powerful book rightfully titled Rude Girls and Dangerous Women;
  • Caitlin Cass, splendid American artist often working on historical subject matters and whom you might have seen sketching comics for The New Yorker, part of her work includes the Great Moments in Western Civ Postal Constituent and my favourite chapter has to be the one aboout Effie Stevens, the tale of a reclusive quilt maker;
  • Tyler Cohen, famed author of Primahood Magenta, «that might lead to thoughts about femaleness, social constructs, where we are, where we are going, and how we relate to one another»: I talked about it here;
  • Marguerite Dabaie, a Palestinian-American cartoonist based in Brooklyn, author of The Hookah Girl and Other True Stories (I talked about it here) and A Voyage to Panjikan;
  • Soumya Dhulekar, who brought her personal experience in the graphic work My Hindu American Childhood, described as «A timeline of my relationship to Hinduism from age 5-18»;
  • Wallis Eates, an extraordinary author and human being, known for her graphic novel Mumoirs (about growing up the only child of a single mother) but also author of marvellous works such as the collaborative graphic novel Like an Orange, about brain injury survivors;
  • Trinidad Escobar, author based in Oakland and whose work include non-fiction like Bakla, about Pride and the Stonewall Riots, and illustrated poetry of beutiful delicacy;
  • Kat Fajardo, an often light-hearted latina whose more serious works include Gringa!, «A 17-page mini comic expressing years of personal struggle with cultural identity through assimilation, racism, and fetishization of Latin culture as an American Latina»;
  • Joyce Farmer, pillar of the American feminist underground community and founder of the anthology Tits & Clits Comix in 1972, alongside Lyn Chevli: she also authored stories in Wimmen’s Comix and Abortion Eve, a pioneeristic work on the subject, in 1973;
  • Emil Ferris, famed American artist who won upon a personal ordeal of illness and paralysis, and has been recently aknowledged in Italy as well for her masterpiece My Favourite Thing is Monsters;
  • Liana Finck, regular contributor to The New Yorker, and with an unmistakable style, she authored the authobiographical Excuse Me and Passing for Human, a story about the need to conform and the urge to claim back our individual strangeness;
  • Sarah Firth, who also contributed to the collections #MeToo stories from the Australian Movement and Choice Words, a collection of writing about abortion;
  • Mary Fleener, also author in the underground Wimmen’s Comix and author of Hoodoo, a work about Zora Neale Hurston, the slightly authobiographical Slutburger and Life of the Party;
  • Ebony Flowers, author of the extraordinary success Hot Comb, currently sold out on most of the selling platforms;
  • Claire Folkman, editor of the anthology Dirty Diamonds, featiring autobiographical comics by female creators from around the world;
  • Noel Franklin, a Seattle cartoonist whose work includes Gone Girl Comics and Last Call;
  • Katie Fricas, cartoonist and bibliophile in New York City, author of both fiction and non-fiction, mostly known for her Checked Out, about almost a decade spent working in NYC’s oldest library, but I suggest you read her work about the Lewinsky-Clinton affair, about which she writes “these details are fascinating to me, and they’re important because they portray someone who became a national punching bag as human”;
  • Siobhán Gallagher, author of works about self-awareness and self-respect (or respect in general): her latest most significant work is bound to be Who Do You Think You Are?, “a bundle of free therapy sessions in an attractive, gifty package”.
  • Joamette Gil, a queer Afrocuban cartoonist that you can support on Patreon here;
  • J. Gonzalez-Blitz, a multi-versed artist, cartoonist, painter, musician and student;
  • Georgiana Goodwin, a graphic designer specialized in book covers and jackets, working among other things for the United Nations;
  • Roberta Gregory, author of works the like of something titled Bitchy Strips, and small delightful stories such as Sheila and the Unicorn;
  • Marian Henley, a pioneer in feminist comics and author of books such Maxine! (1987): I particularly suggest The Shiniest Jewel (2002)
  • Soizick Jaffre, a French artist mostly known for her contribution to Egoscopic and LGBT works;
  • Avy Jetter, mostly known for her self-published Nuthin’ Good Ever Happens at 4 a.m. (and can you argue with that?);
  • Sabba Khan, architectural designer and graphic novelist, one of my favorite artists of the selection.

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  • Kendra Josie Kirkpatrick, illustrator and cartoonist shining for her goth take on social topics;
  • Aline Kominsky-Crumb, American underground comics artist, author of Love That Bunch, defined autobiographical, unvarnished, confessional and with a beautiful review here;
  • Nina Laden, author of children books such as Yellow Kayak, illustrated by Melissa Castrillon;
  • Miss Lasko-Gross, known for her semi-autobiographical graphic novels Escape from “Special” and A Mess of Everything, she illustrates with a beautiful touch and I really really like her;
  • Carol Lay, an alternative cartoonist who published the weekly comic strip Story Minute for more than 20 years: she draws and writes and animates, wrote a cartoon diet book named The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude, the mythological themed Fable-Minded, the delightfully witty and dark Murderville, but my favorite are the stories of Irene Van De Kamp;
  • Miriam Libicki, who publishes her works on the blog Real Gone Girl;
  • Sarah Lightman, author of The Book of Sarah: I wanted to feature her on the reading list but I didn’t get the chance, so below you have a video of her presenting her work.

  • LubaDalu, surreal illustrator from Barcelona;
  • Ajuan Mance, who recently published 1001 Black Men, “a series of drawings inspired by the faces I see in Oakland every day, and by my memories of the family, friends, and neighbors I grew up with out east”, you can find her work on Etsy;
  • MariNaomi, author of the adventures of Claudia Jones in books such as Distant Stars, Gravity’s Pull, Losing the Girl, a story about friendship called I Thought YOU Hated ME, and stories about race segregation and being an outsider in a foreign culture, such as Turning Japanese;
  • Lee Marrs, an American cartoonist and animator, and one of the first female underground comics creators, she worked ironic works around body shaming such as The Fattening Adventures of Pudge;
  • Liz Mayorga, based in San Francisco and author of the beautiful Bread & Butter;
  • Lena Merhej, former teacher and now researcher, she has published lots of work in her native language, some in French such as Recettes de vengeances Libanaises, her website is filled with illustrations and excerpt from her work;
  • Bridget Meyne, quite prolific and my favorite work of her is Content Machine, about the internet;
  • Carta Monir, author of Don’t Touch me, I still want to kill that boy and Don’t Fucking Touch Me (in case you were wondering about her style);
  • Hila Noam, delightful cartoonist who could use a letterist, author of Back to the Homeland;
  • Diane Noomin, another American comics artist associated with the underground comics movement;
  • Breena Nuñez, Afro Guatemalan-Salvadoran living in Oakland;
  • Meg O’Shea, based in Sydney who also published on The Nib, like others of the same selection;
  • Corinne Pearlman, author and editor, interviewed here;
  • Cathrin Peterslund, another favorite of mine, drawing beautiful illustrations in both ink and color.

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  • Minnie Phan, an illustrator and cartoonist based in the Bay Area, mostly specialized in works for children, also designs covers;
  • Kelly Phillips, creator of the comic series Weird Me about her teenage years as the webmaster of a “Weird Al” Yankovic fan site, co-editor and publisher of the all-girl comic anthology Dirty Diamonds;
  • Powerpaola, a Colombian-Ecuadorian cartoonist author of the graphic memoir Virus Tropical, among other works;
  • Sarah Allen Reed, author and cartoonist and musician, in case you need more talent in your life: she illustrates beautifully, among other things, and below I give you a sample of her works.

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  • Kaylee Rowena, Baltimore-born cartoonist living in New York City, who worked on lots of stuff such as a comics adaptation of Brokeback Mountain, one-page illustrations of poetry from Sappho collected under the name Mostly Goes Astray, and many many more beautiful works;
  • Ariel Schrag, American cartoonist and television writer acclaimed for her autobiographical works Awkward, Definition, Potential, and Likewise;
  • M. Louise Stanley, incredible painter “known for irreverent figurative work that combines myth and allegory, satire, autobiography, and social commentary”, working in the Bay Area and with works dating back to 1969;
  • Maria Stoian, author of one of the first books I told you about: Take it as a Compliment;
  • Nicola Streeten, illustrator, teacher and cartoonist, author of the feminist The Inking Woman;
  • Marcela Trujillo;
  • Carol Tyler;
  • Una, author of the vibrant and beautiful Becoming Unbecoming I talked you about on December, 4th;
  • Lenora Yerkes, “artist and coffee person”, author of Field Trip and interviewed here for that;
  • Ilana Zeffren, strips in Hebrew about cats and a lot of other stuff (but mostly cats) you can also find on Etsy.

This concludes my series of reading recommendations. Try and pick at least one of them and go for it.

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