Reads like a graphic novel … except it’s non-fiction

“If you care about the general welfare of women, and all people around the world, this book is for you.” There are quite a few gems in this very, very early review of Threadbare from Portland Book Review, and we couldn’t be more excited to read it!

PBR says the work of comics journalism “reads almost like a graphic novel with a loosely connected plot, except it’s non-fiction. … Otherwise, the drawings and the cited research compel the reader to finish this quick read and feel uneasy in his or her very clothes.” The reviewer even concludes (correctly, according to our research) that, “Despite the belief of some people, anti-trafficking efforts make life harder for sex workers.”

International Comics Survey deadline: May 15

Our International Comics Survey—currently available in EnglishFinnishGermanLatvian, and Spanish—has a brand new deadline: May 15. Don’t stress out! We’re doing this because we’ll be running the data in an exciting Chicago-based workshop with our international feminist cohort starting at the end of May, and then turning them into comic scripts—or maybe even comics—during our Finnish residency in July.

To be specific, we are hoping for 100 Spanish and Latvian respondents by mid-May, 85 more German respondents, and 30 more English respondents. That should get us going in the Spring!

It’s a long survey, but it’s the information we need. Therefore, after you have filled it out, you can request a brief neck massage from The Ladydrawers or the next time you’re seated near us at a convention.

We are also actively seeking Swedish, Malay, Russian, French, and Japanese translators; if you’d like to pitch in, we’d love to work with you!

 

Growing Season: not over yet!

A Ladydrawers Meeting

Our quest to explore connections between food policy, public health, and race in comics form won’t end until March, but we thought we’d drop an update on you in the mean time. Our first update traced the humble origins of our project from a local Chicago artist’s garden to native food gathering traditions in Washington State (with Sarah Becan); then highlighted connections between food policy, consumption, and race in two strips about a farm collective on the East Coast (with Melissa Mendes) and a final strip by Sarah  Becan on the origins and machinations of food law.

Epidemic (drawn by Mendes, excerpted above) took a slightly more personal turn, and looked at the growing numbers of autoimmune diseases among members of our own comics collective, while Sheika Lugtu followed it up by illustrating a strip called … Like Lupus, in which specific racialized implications of these diseases and their treatments are discussed.

…Like Lupus promo

We’re excited to have active Ladydrawers member Sheika working with us on this strip (above), and on the final two in the series (still upcoming.) She’s an amazing force of fun and smarts!

sixthmassextinction_promo

We’re equally excited to have brought Laura Ķeniņš on board the strip, a Canadian resident who’s worked with us since her days in Latvia. She drew The Sixth Mass Extinction, a look at soil diversity through the work of Chicago-based artist Claire Pentecost, and (below) Superbug Apocalypse! A look at a potential impact of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on public health. (Fortunately for us, although unfortunately for the world, the publication of this piece coincided with a BBC report on the actual pending superbug apocalypse, so it’s been quite a popular strip.)

fullsuperbug_promo

In the months ahead, Laura will illustrate a piece on meat processing and disease, and Sheika’s final two strips will look at violence as a public health crisis. These will, again, probably hit kind of close to home, so keep an eye out for them, only at Truthout.

 

GERMAN, and other International Comics Survey developments!

As you are surely aware, we here at Ladydrawers HQ—in conjunction with pals actually literally around the world—are working hard to gather any and every bit of data we can on race, gender, physical ability, maternity, and economics in the comics industry, everywhere. This, as you can imagine, is a difficult and time-consuming task, especially when it is all volunteer run by folks who don’t get paid a ton in their regular jobs. Which, by the way, is just as true for women in comics in the US as it is for women in comics in Finland, if our current findings are any indication! (Spoiler alert: they are.)

That being said, through the tireless efforts of Vienna-based women’s rights and culture organizer Katharina Brandl, we have just added a German language edition of our international comics survey! Please forward it far and wide to all your German-speaking comics-creating pals (and those who aspire to such an exalted position) so we can continue to provide you with interesting and depressing information on global freedom of expression!

We are working hard to complete Swedish, Malay, Russian, French, Japanese, and other versions of the survey now. (If you have language skills to donate, please get in touch!) In response to our current translations, we could use more male and non-binary respondents. We would like to have more English-speaking respondents. We appreciate the possibility of more Spanish- and Latvian-speaking respondents. We crave more dolphin respondents, but what are you gonna do? We require more Italian-speaking respondents. To achieve these, we have decided leave all versions of the survey open until further notice.

That all being said, our handy guide to currently existing translations of the International Comics Survey is here:

Please share them far and wide, so we can gather as much information as possible. And thank you so much for your input into our exciting if overly sobering work!

Mid-Season Growing Season Update

Although the fifth and sixth installments have yet to post, we’re halfway through Growing Season, our public health and food justice comics journalism series for Truthout. While it’s our fourth season at Truthout, this is only the second year we’ve taken on a single focused subject for year-long exploration. Considering the popularity of Our Fashion Year (to be collected in a book called Threadbare in the spring), we thought it best to give you a little update on where the project stands.

1.R&M

Roots & Migrations, written by Anne Elizabeth Moore and drawn by Sarah Becan, focused on a Chicago-based artist named Fereshteh Toosi, whose food-based work references her own migration history and that reflected in the culture around her.

2. SN

Sarah Becan also drew our second strip, Stinging Nettles, written by Anne Elizabeth Moore. In it we speak to Elizabeth King George in the Pacific Northwest, who leads Native American food explorations in person and online to pass on vital health, healing, and taste traditions.3. Cultivation

Melissa Mendes then joined us for two strips that looked in-depth at Soul Fire Farm, an inspirational food justice program in upstate New York. Cultivation (above) and Cultivating Policy (below) presented the organization’s work around food and racial justice, but also opened up the discussion of food access to a query of the role of food policy.4. CultivatingPolicy 5.Food&Freedom

Our upcoming strip by Sarah Becan and Anne Elizabeth Moore (posting Tuesday at Truthout!) talks to the dude who helps keep an eye on Food and Freedom, Baylen Linnekin. Can’t wait for it? Sorry! We promise it’ll be worth the wait.

Melissa Mendes and Anne Elizabeth Moore return in August with a strip that looks more closely at how particular food policy issues are contributing to a public health epidemic. It hits a little close to home for some of us, so we’re not even going to preview it for you. Just stock up on some hankies next week and we should all be good to go on the second Tuesday of the month, as usual.

Comments? Suggestions for artists, interview subjects, or food issues to bring in? We’d love it if you’d leave ’em below.