Advice for a comic series
andersoncarman last edited by
My opinion is that you should make the book YOU want to make. I understand needing to change with times, be sensitive to current topics and being inclusive of minorities and the oppressed but you are at your best when making a story You are passionate about. You shouldn't make a story out of obligation or least of all fear of criticism. Not everyone is going to like your book. And that is okay. I've heard a lot of creators say this before "Make the story you want to read." If that means it is an all-male cast, then cool, if not, then cool.
If you try to shoehorn a female character in, your readers will be able to tell. It will be obvious and probably disliked.
That said, if you have zero female characters, then I have some questions about how your story works because half(ish) of the world is female, even the birds...
If there is a take away from this comment I hope it's this: Write your story, not the story someone tells you that you should write. Still, be tasteful and tactful and always be a responsible storyteller
Susan Marks last edited by
I'm interested in hearing about other aspects of your story beyond the gender of the gang-of-birds. What else do you have cooking?
@Aleksey Thanks, that's all really helpful! Yes, I've heard of the bechdel test, and I think it's a really important and helpful thing to point to problems in fiction, however I think it should be a guideline and not an actually 'test', because otherwise you get these really odd conversations put into works just so it can be passed. That kind of shows the writers needed to think more about their female characters to begin with, but you get my point. (Band of Brothers doesn't pass the Bechdal test and that's OK).
I have quite a few female characters who are not connected to the main male characters by family or potential love interest. I agree, it would be bad if they all were.
I think thematically it works them being all male, and for this first story it will be more heavily male, but as the series goes on, there will be a larger female presence I think.
You're very right that writing is an anxiety driven process! I may take you up on that.
I understand that it’s a guideline and not a rule. At the end of the day you make the decisions of course. What I’m saying is you still gotta think about the implications and your reader audience.
Band of Brothers was a historical drama taking place during WW2 based on journals and document entries, you’re writing a cartoon comic with superhero birds. Of course it’s your choice on how you wanna approach it and Im not saying you need to change up your main bird line up or anything I think thats fine. All I’m saying is If a little girl picks up your comic, how would she feel? How would parents of little girls feel about this comic? That kinda stuff
@demotlj Hi there, thanks for the reply! I definitely have realised more about the world as I've grown older and I do want to reflect that in my comic, but I do also want to remain true to the vision I've had for so long, so it's a hard thing to think through. I think if you have an all male cast or all female cast, or a mix, you're going to get something different with each. Not bad, just different. Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Eight bring something different with their single gender main characters, even though they are very similar in plotting. And I think The Hobbit would be different if it's all male main characters were all women instead.
I think diversity is important, but I don't necessarily think there needs to be diversity in everything, as long as you give a diverse range of creators the space to be creative. In the same way that Friends doesn't have a diverse cast in terms of race, neither does Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but Fresh Prince was diverse as a piece of fiction, because it was a rarity having an all black cast of main characters. And when I was growing up watching it, I didn't find it harder to relate to the characters because of their race. It's harder to relate with gender, which is why I'm concerned, but I've watched things that were predominantly female and enjoyed them too.
I suppose my main concern is whether it would turn lots of potential readers away. It very well could do, but I know a girl who loves the Captain Underpants books, and they have mostly male characters. So I think I'm just going to stick with them all being male, but just make sure I have good female characters in the stories too. But I'm still thinking it though! Thanks for taking the time to give your thoughts. Also, I looked at your instagram, very nice paintings!
@andersoncarman Hi there, thanks for replying! This is what I've held in my mind for the longest time, which is why up till now I've not changed them. I suppose I'm just worried about turning away potential readers or scaring off publishers. But I wonder if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill here.
I am worried about shoehorning in female characters. I find if characters grow organically, they become better characters, instead of thinking, 'now I need a female character' or vice versa. Having said that, it's obviously now become something I'm more aware of, which I do think is good, and yes there are female characters in the story, as you point out it wouldn't be realistic to have none! And I wouldn't like that anyway!
At the end of the day, yes you're right, it needs to be my story. Thank you.
@Susan-Marks Thanks for asking Susan! Over Inktober last year I did some setting design, which shows you some aspects of the world. They are a bit rough round the edges as it was Inktober haha!
BenBernardSmith last edited by BenBernardSmith
@Aleksey Totally agree, and I got that was what you were saying, I just worry it is becoming industry standard - there's a very odd conversation in Incredibles 2 that seems to be there just to pass the test. And yes, you're right, it's not the same, as Band of Brothers is historical and my story isn't, I think I was just meaning that each piece of fiction doesn't have to pass the test. But it's good if it changes things for the better in the industry.
That is the worry that's going through my head, what would a girl think it she picked up the book. I have wondered whether it would be the worst thing if it appeals more to boys than girls, but then I think, why can't it appeal to both? I don't know, I'm still thinking about the cast gender, but whether I change it or not I'm just going to make sure the female characters are as well written as possible.
I would love to see something of your webcomic, please do share something on the forum if you like.
@BenBernardSmith I appreciate the fact that you even asked the question. A lot of people wouldn't have even thought about it. Good luck with the comic. It sounds like a lot of fun.
@BenBernardSmith yeah honestly i think when it comes to all media, these questions SHOULD be addressed regardless if you plan on using female characters or not. Media, including comics, are very influential especially to kids so making sure these messages we are sending dont impact these kids negatively. even If you’re not going to put any female characters in the story, what message are the male characters sending to little boys?
As someone that works with kids regularly, i can see a distincy difference when it comes to groups of boys and groups of girls. Little boys have plenty of media that makes them feel more important than girls. The girls are told this as well and some grow up believing this is true and it makes me sad.
And yeah i am working on a fun webcomic idea called “Magic Minis” where the main group of characters are kids. They live in a fantasy world, with dragons, magic, etc.
Here is art i made that influenced this.
In the end do what you love! This post has helped me figure some stuff out myself so ty.
Susan Marks last edited by
@BenBernardSmith I love your settings and if each of these was a daily Inktober drawing-more power to you. I think you have a good sense of perspective in the scenes. And I really like the flying birds with their backpacks. Even in this drawing, each of the birds has a bit of their own character. Way to go!
@Aleksey That's a really lovely art style, and a great idea! I look forward to seeing more of Magic Minis. When do you think it'll be ready for publishing on the web?
Yes, I go into schools and do drawing clubs and I've noticed those differences, so I will try to be aware of what messages I'm sending out!
@Susan-Marks Thanks Susan! I really appreciate the encouragement!