Kuti Kuti, Cutie

kuti40_kansiDid you know Anne Elizabeth Moore and Esther Pearl Watson collaborated on the very first Ladydrawers strip together way back in 2010? Well it was collected into the latest edition of the rad, international anthology Kuti Kuti—the feminist issue, with a cover drawn by our superbestie Emmi Valveand you can download it here.

Short Lists of Bad-Asses and More THREADBARE <3s

We couldn’t have been more thrilled by a review than we were by Kristen Sollee’s listicle of bad-ass feminist comics in Bustle. From her intro:

Like many kids, I devoured my fair share of comics growing up, but they were mostly of the dude-centric variety. When I finally discovered feminist comics in my teens, it was thrilling to see characters and storylines that more closely reflected the world I inhabited. These days, I’m particularly a fan girl of feminist comics that wield humor and irony like weapons — two things indispensable to dealing with life as a lady-identified person in the 21st century.

Give you feels? Us too. That’s part of why we made Threadbare, which Sollee calls “a gut-wrenching yet vital zine about exploitation, consumption and production … a serious slab of truth that should be required reading for every fashion-loving feminist.” Read the rest here!

Don’t miss this amazing review—and analysis of human trafficking and anti-sex work media and policy narratives—by the awesome Morgan Claire Sirene at Slutist, either:

When you look closely at widely publicized sex trafficking campaigns, you see less facts and more anti-sex, xenophobic mythologies. … What does stand out is a corporate agenda, a Christian Imperialist agenda, and an anti-sex work agenda. There is a capitalistic puritanical reign that perpetuates biased, moralistic notions of sex while reinforcing the “merits” of cheap, exploitative foreign labor. There is also the erasure of trans women and men in the sex industry. The anti-trafficking narrative criminalizes and endangers consensual sex workers and through lack of any other options pushes more women (cis and trans) in places like Cambodia, India and Haiti into the harsh, dangerous and often times worse-than prostitution conditions of the garment industry. Women worldwide are kept in poverty, and the same myth remains: sex work is sex trafficking, and a woman is better off in the sweat shop than the brothel. In Anne Elizabeth Moore‘s latest comics journalism expose Threadbare, we see these myths unravelling.

Women Write About Comics weighed in with a great conversation-as-review here, ending on this stellar note:

Readers who are searching for something they can do to combat the exploitative nature of the garment industry can help by expanding Threadbare’s reach. Tell your schools and libraries to purchase it, order it from your local comic shops and bookstores, and buy copies for your friends! Awareness is important; awareness can increase the number of people who try to vote for policy-makers who have these issues on their radar. Ultimately, there isn’t much we can do on an individual level, but we can spread the word.

Finally, there’s this delightful look, by Kevin Bramer at Optical Sloth. Worth reading in full, but here’s the kicker:

Even if you think you’re an expert on this subject I guarantee that you’ll find new information in here, and the comics are drawn by the some of the best artists working today. If you know any millionaires please tell them to throw some money at people who are looking to do this type of graphic journalism, because the world needs more of it.


THREADBARE launch events

We’ve been so busy winning houses for comics and prepping for CAKE and the AMC that we’ve barely had time to attend our own book-launch events, much less post pics from them! Still they were quite fun, and we wanted to share the love.


The pre-release panel talk at the Evanston Literary Festival, with Özge Samanci and Keiler Roberts, moderated by Brian Cremins.

Image 5

The cashier’s station at Women and Children First for the booklaunch. Rivven brought all the collaborative zines we’ve made together over the last year!


AEM presents an overview of the book, the garment industry, and the particularly negative impact anti-trafficking organizations have had on Chicago sex workers. 

We were thrilled to be joined at the Women & Children First event by SWOP-Chicago’s Serpent Libertine, who is also interviewed (extensively) in the book. We even held a raffle and raised over zero dollars for SWOP-Chicago’s educational and legal support efforts! (We forgot to count it, but we greatly appreciated your donations!)


Delia Jean gives an excellent intro to making comics journalism, as well as the unique difficulties facing those of us who want to depict the experiences of sex workers accurately, despite very few other media representations to turn to for inspiration or guidance. 

Great LA Times writeup!

Carolina Miranda at the LA Times wrote up a fantastic piece on our new book:

The collected reports look at the history of the trade, the lives of those employed in it (from sweatshop workers to retail staff to models) to the high human cost of fast fashion — which has put pressure on manufacturers to churn out ever cheaper clothes at ever faster rates.

“People faint on the factory floor,” Moore says. “They physically cannot keep up with the workload.”

“Threadbare’s” drawings by Leela Corman, Julia Gfrörer, Simon Häussle, Delia Jean, Ellen Lindner and Melissa Mendes allow Moore to engage with readers about complex (and often dry) material that would be infinitely more difficult to communicate with words alone.

Thanks for taking the time to credit each of the stellar artists, Carolina! Not to mention really thinking about what makes comics journalism so effective.

“Threadbare” is not light reading. But the comics format makes an opaque topic artfully illuminating. We may never visit the inside of a sweatshop. But the drawings take us right inside, amid the dusty piles of fabric and the whir of sewing machines.

Figge installation II

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last week we were invited to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa (see details here) to install an oral history window mural entitled Let’s Chat About Civil Rights / Let’s Chat About Civic Memory. Here are a few process shots, with Sheika Lugtu, Melissa Mendes, Chris Reno, and Tessa Pozzi working on the mural. (Anne Elizabeth Moore was behind the camera.)


Figge installation

We’re off to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa at the behest of St. Ambrose University this week to install an original window mural. (In-progress draft below by Melissa Mendes.) The images, by Mendes and Sheika Lugtu, will be accompanied by oral histories from local Quad Cities residents regarding two major aspects of Davenport’s participation in the struggle for civil rights, and public commemoration of that past: the fight for equal marriage and black history.


The interviews, conducted by Chris Reno and Tessa Pozzi of SAU’s Catich Gallery and edited by Anne Elizabeth Moore, focused on how folks defined and experienced civil rights, and what visible reminders of past struggles they had located in their community. Questions were inspired by articles on the queerest cities in America; this amazing wedding; and the city’s destruction of sites of black history, as well as this powerpoint presentation on civil rights in Iowa and this video (from SAU!) on a planned civil rights walking tour.

Our interviewees were very generous with their time and our questions, and gave some beautiful insight into the Davenport area, and the absolute importance of keeping a constantly updated notion of civil rights at the center of public conversation. You’ll see more in the mural when we finish it April 7—a part of SAU’s Fair Play conference, hope you can come—but some of the quotes we’re most inspired by are below.


“I didn’t come out until I was 40. I grew up here—the community has become more diverse. I left here when I went to college. I don’t remember any African-American kids in my elementary school. …

“I grew up a product of a poor education. We had no sex ed when I was growing up. I didn’t realize that gay was an option. … My only recollection of a comment when I was younger was, I can remember my folks or their friends saying something about ‘those people down by the levy.’ The way they said it, you could tell it was dirty. I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I could tell it was unacceptable. That was, you know, the cruising area.”


“I have the best job in the whole world. In my own work, I address power relationships. In one of the projects I’m working on, I’m working with a biracial student on this notion of microaggressions. In general, why does a person of difference have to educate everyone else? Can art and design help further that?”

“I’m the last member of my family that could move back to the reservation. But people don’t meet me and go ‘Oh, Native American!’ Whereas they do see [my student] and go, ‘You’re black.’ So we both have a long list of things that follow us that you can’t leave behind. …”


“I feel like civil rights really mean equality. Equality for every type of person. … I feel like that really gets smudged along the way. It’s weird to say that I am this, or I am that, but according to standardized tests, I am half Caucasian, half African-American. My dad’s side is the white side and my mom’s side is the black side. It’s strange because here in school, either you’re a part of the Black Student Union, or you are the populous of the white student body. I feel like I try to tread that line—honestly, trying to get that privilege on both sides. Or wherever I can. I’ll go over to my dad’s side of the family. He’s a general in the military and he wants rights for people, but only if people have earned their rights. It’s hard to be like, well you were born with rights. Then I go to my mom’s side of the family, and she’s like, we need women’s rights, we need LGBTQ rights. I even have friends who haven’t experienced that push and pull from both sides. … I think when people pick and choose what kind of rights people should and shouldn’t get, they’re not really enforcing civil rights.”


“Right or wrong, the assumption has been that gay, lesbian, transgender, and/or bisexual people are outside of the realm of—this is gonna sound bad—us good black folks. So then those of us who fit any of those [categories] are on the fringes. I remember studying sociology and talking about marginal people. So if you were white and gay and male in the 1960s, then you were kinda marginalized. But you still had your whiteness and your maleness, but if you’re black and lesbian, then you got nothin’.”