She Has No Head! – 2 Year Anniversary Post
Unfortunately, while last year I had the time to do a massive post talking about my 20 Favorite Fictional Comics Females, this year I’m sick and 80,000 words deep in a new novel, so rather than treating you guys to something fun, I had to treat myself to something easy, which is a phoned in post – i.e. a post about my favorite She Has No Head! columns.
Hopefully for those of you that are newer readers, you might discover a post you had missed, and for those of you who have been here since the beginning…well, maybe you’ll throw tomatoes. Either way, should be fun all around.
This was my very first post, and as such, it holds a special place in my heart. Parts of it make me cringe, including the fact that I was clearly nervous as hell to start writing for CSBG, but there’s a lot that I really like here as well. It’s also one of my best ever titles, and nicely reflects a time when I could write a post in under 1,000 words. A time I like to call “the good ol’ days.”
The great thing about this particular column is that it was not only an opportunity to talk about a great book, but it also gave me a nice lens to explore what I felt (and continue to feel) is the big misnomer of what comics need to do in order to make the medium (and specifically the superhero genre) more appealing to female readers. The answer to me, which you can find in that post, is “not much.” A little goes a long way with these things and DV8: Gods & Monsters was a perfect example to me of getting it right. A great comic that can work for just about anyone. It’s not a surprise to me that Brian Wood was the guy to get it so right and I enjoyed talking about it. It’s also probably my second favorite column title.
This was my first “interview” style post and it was some of the most fun I had writing a column, in large part thanks to editor and writer Mariah Huehner being such a doll. One of the greatest things that writing She Has No Head! has brought me is a much closer relationship with the comics community and fandom. More specifically, it brought me a connection with other women that read (and create) comics. I grew up reading comics with my y0unger brother Scott, I went to college with a metric ton (not really) of dudes that read comics, and my boyfriend knows more about comics history than I suspect I ever will, but I had never, until the last two years, known women who read comics, let alone had relationships with them. It was eye-opening to say the least. Columns like this one with Mariah really made me realize what I’d been missing out on not knowing women that read comics. Since that post I’ve become friends with a whole slew of amazing women comics fans and creators, most especially of course, Sue and Maddy who run 3 Chicks Review Comics with me and are truly amazing ladies.
I held off on writing about Wonder Woman for a while on She Has No Head! in part because I just straight up feared doing it. She’s a controversial character, and despite the fact that She Has No Head! seemed controversial to many people from go, I don’t love to write stuff that incites rage. But with rage you also get love…so it’s a slippery slope. If want people to read what you write and to think critically about it and sometimes agree passionately with you and send you fan mail, then you’re also going to get hate mail. In the end, all the concerns about controversy aside, it just took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to say about Wonder Woman. But I feel pretty good about what I ended up with.
This column hit at a time when I was really feeling down on mainstream comics. But rather than give up on them as I had in the past, I used this column to try to think critically about what I loved and hated and what I thought they needed. This was a time when She Has No Head! felt very burdensome to me because I was feeling bitter about my love of comics, but in the end, writing through my malaise turned out to be the best medicine. The only thing that bums me out about this post is that we still don’t have this Ben Caldwell (or similar) Wonder Woman. Such a missed opportunity. This is also another favorite title in a sea of “ugh, why can’t I think of a good title for this post?!”
Because I don’t read a lot of webcomics consistently, this was a very hard post for me to write. Too ambitious perhaps, but in the end I was really happy both with my choices and with the response the column received. All of those webcomics (that are still running) are still my favorites, though I’ve added a few new ones to the list that I also check regularly: Perry Bible Fellowship (which honestly should have been on the original list and is the biggest problem with the original column), Greg Rucka’s Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, Oglaf (seriously, seriously, NSFW), and the crazy adorable through not updated enough Waking Up Abbey.
This post was a hell of a good time to do, in large part because Hope Larson is a helluva lady. But this post ended up being crazy controversial, which I couldn’t (and still don’t) understand. I still shudder at a lot of the comments to that column, not what they said to me, as I’ve gotten used to that, but that commenters would treat a creator in such a way. However, anytime you write something galvanizing like that (even inadvertently) it can’t help but open your eyes. This post was a huge reminder to me that I was trying to do something good on She Has No Head! and that we all had a very long way to go before something as innocuous as Girls & Comics could be written about without drawing criticism just for being addressed.
This was my first big column about a comics arc that I really loved – Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III’s “Elegy” run on Detective Comics. I remember trying to write this piece while I was on vacation and really struggling to do it justice. It wasn’t until I was finished and then went back in and re-tooled the entire thing that it finally started to feel even remotely worthy of the book. It’s still not worthy of the book, but the column holds up better than most when I revisit it.
This was easily one of my favorite columns, even though it was incredibly time consuming, because it highlighted so many amazing female creators that I love and always want to share with others. It now sits there, eternally on the internet, looking back at me, filled with uber talented comics women and a gorgeous mini collection of their work. it makes me unreservedly happy. Those posts also got picked up and re-run on Jezebel, which was particularly badass for me.
This was of course the beginning of a project that I feel well defines everything I hope She Has No Head! is about. The Ladies Comics Project columns really made me think a lot about the “comics problem” in new and different ways and it was a great way to get some other voices that weren’t my own into this column. Those ladies brought me no end of insight into the problems comics face for non-fans, and they weren’t always the same problems I had expected they would be. Of course The Ladies Comics Project also had a “sequel” in the form of The Ladies Comics Project: Phase II and had a spin-off of sorts with The Comics Project. I’m sure there will be future Ladies Comics Projects here, and any number of iterations going forward. It’s the kind of column that keeps on giving and I love that about it.
So those are my 10 favorite columns of She Has No Head!. Are they different from the columns you liked? Out of curiosity I asked our fearless leader Brian Cronin what the 3 most popular columns were. His answers?
#3. 10 Webcomics I Love
#1, with more than double the views of any other single column: 10 Great Female Comic Book Characters Of The Decade.
I do like that 10 Great Female Characters of The Decade piece, but because of some fudging with dates and eligibility I would never feel comfortable listing it as one of my favorites. The most interesting piece on there to me is the Greg Rucka post. It’s easy to see why “list posts” get big hit numbers, but the Greg Rucka post is curious. It’s also funny to me that my post with the most comments – “An Interview With Hope Larson About Girls & Comics” which comes in at 213 comments (which holds that title by at least 50 comments) – isn’t one of the most highly trafficked. Clearly, after two years of “serious” blogging, I still have no idea what I’m doing!
Anyway, if you made it this far, a huge thanks to all of you that have made this column such a great success, and have been so supportive and welcoming. Any success I have is entirely thanks to you fine folks, and it’s been a great experience, even when it has been harrowing.
Here’s to another year!