Yesterday, Mks_Monsters asked me to talk about an experience of hers, which I have seen being shared with a range of creators belonging to certain social groups (female, LGBTQ, POC, etc) if their occasional tweets on the matter are to be believed: That support for them on the basis of belonging to a certain group doesn't come unconditionally. It comes on the condition that they create a specific type, genre or content type when they are making their art. Otherwise, they are not picked for features, promotion and general exposure to the greated public. (Find Mks_Monsters' thread on the issue here on DD )
It is true that, as is the case with mainstream trends, editors and reviewers pick the titles that will have the greatest probability of attracting and keeping the interest of their audiences. And usually, those titles conform to certain mainstream expectations that ‘make the cut’ for what is considered ‘good’ or ‘worthy of attention’ or ‘progressive’.
Especially in our time and age, the ones that manage to secure the coveted title of “Progressive Work” seem to be more likely to gain the limelight, at least as far as the art industry is concerned (there is feedback that this might not be a guarantee that it will also secure sales or popularity with readers). Such gatekeeping, so to speak, even has occured in huge deals and gigs, such as being hired in the big two of the mainstream comic industry or landing a job with superhero movie teams and Star Wars (too soon?).
In Mks_monsters' experience, female creators are supported only if they create certain specific content- romcoms and steamy lemon-esque female or queer-led comics. If the lady creator has picked some other type of story and genre to explore, they get the silent treatment and of course, no support despite having the proper anatomical prerequisites for said support.
In the same vein, it might be that creators in mainstream comics get deals only if they are keen or willing to create a specific type of cartoon or a specific type of theme and character range, because by dabbling in these only can they prove they are progressive, and therefore appropriate for the position in question (be it promotion of their work or hirings or whatever).
In previous eras, the same could be said for creating propaganda comics, or pro-war comics, or comic where the Russians, the communists or the vaguely mediterranean or asian guys were always the bad guys and ladies where cheering on for their man, or zombie and science fiction, or gender-targeted stuff… but perhaps back then, there was no declaration of support for certain groups of artists regardless of what they choose to create, only to in the end do as every other gatekeeper of the past did: choose by product specifications.
Or is it simply that along with the art product, now the artist is also the product, and such gatekeepers are simply looking the right creator making the right thing they need to suit their PR needs?
I'd love to hear your thoughts in this, your experiences and have you add to this conversation.
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, June 30, 2018
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