Modern Tales, the leading publisher of subscription-based webcomics, announced this week that its newest offering, girlamatic.com, a webcomics anthology targetting female comics readers, has launched to tremendous success.
“This is our biggest launch since Modern Tales itself,” said site publisher Joey Manley (the company publishes numerous targetted webcomics sites, including the avant-garde serializer.net, the action-packed AdventureStrips.com, and several single-cartoonist sites, such as James Kochalka’s AmericanElf.com).
“The established comics industry, whether mainstream or ‘alternative,’ doesn’t exactly have attracting female readers at the top of its priority list,” said Joey Manley. “And I’d say that that’s a shame … but, hey, they’ve left a huge business opportunity open for us. I couldn’t be happier.”
The site is edited by comics veteran Lea Hernandez (“Texas Steampunk”, Rumble Girls, Killer Princesses, Near-Life Experience), whose Rumble Girls series, formerly published in print by Image Comics, is now published by Modern Tales at RumbleGirls.com.
“My very first concern for girlamatic.com was that it not be seen as a ghetto,” says site editor Lea Hernandez. “Or as ‘angry man-hatin’ chix talkin’ about their periods’ comics, or ‘It’s got GIRLS in it, why don’t you like it, you HAVE to like it’ comics.” Hernandez continues, “Predictably enough, some of the first reactions to the announcement of girlamatic.com (from men and women) were to call it a ghetto, to say an imaginary bar was being lowered to get enough women in to fill out our athology. Both of these stances were so ridiculous I realized I had to laugh off the naysayers (who made it blessedly easy) and get to the business of assembling a great site. I handled recruiting of artists for girlamatic the way I handled writing my own comics: I picked what I liked to read. I picked comics with smart writing and visual appeal. I picked comics that were good enough for the creators to be getting paid for, period.”
Manley described girlamatic’s market position thusly: “It’s not about ‘levelling the playing field’ or correcting social injustices. It’s about reaching out to an audience that has typically felt excluded from the comics industry. Girlamatic is ‘for women’ in the same way that Esquire Magazine is ‘for men’ — women write for Esquire, and women read Esquire, but the editorial focus is definitely geared in one particular direction, for business ends. Girlamatic is a business, unashamedly so.”
Lea Hernandez said, “Besides all the girlamatic.com comics having the common thread of being great comics, I made an effort to get as many different kinds of comics as possible. Going through in alphabetical order:
“Donna Barr’s ‘Ancient Stinz’ (and ‘Rotten Pot’) are a completist’s dream, the story behind the story of a long-time favorite comic of mine, and little- or never-seen art.
“In ‘Arcana Jayne: Hair of the Dog’, I have the unfair advantage of knowing the whole story of Lisa Jonte’s ‘Boy Bites Girl’ werewolf tale, and it keeps me laughing to myself.
“Dylan Meconis proves the world is horribly unfair in ‘Bite Me!’, her story of vampires during the French Revolution. Unfair because she’s only 19, and already has a massive talent, and a massive fan following.
“‘Dicebox’ by Jenn Manley Lee is definitely one of those ‘she sould get PAID for this’ comics. It’s a slice-of-life story with a science fictional setting, but the people are more important than the clank-and-gadget.
“‘Encounter Her’, a wordless comic about crossing paths, is by Eisner nominee Kris Dresen. Kris was one of the gamites (along with Jonte, Sparx and Spike) who had an idea that was waiting for a home. I was hugely excited she decided to join, as I’ve enjoyed her work for a long time!
“‘Inferno: Prayer’ is a re-telling of Dante’s ‘Inferno’ by another unfairly talented young ‘un named Harley Sparx.
“‘Andre Richard has been charming me for a couple of years with his bouncy sketches, and his submission, the black comedy ‘Jeepers’ won an immediate ‘Yes!’ from me.
“Layla Lawlor’s ‘Kismet: Hunter’s Moon’ was tapped for gam because I went to read it and didn’t move, then clicked compulsively for more.
“Vera Brosgol, creator of the fabulously popular webcomic ‘Return to Sender,’ has teamed with Shaenon Garrity to make ‘Li’l Mell,’ a spinoff of Shaenon’s daily Modern Tales strip ‘Narbonic.’
“‘Lucas and Odessa’ by Spike is a rare find (thanks to Carla Speed McNeil, who first pointed me in Spike’s direction). I expect Spike to be the biggest story in webcomics (and print) this year. She’s got a fluid line laid over a mercilessly sharp insight about people.
“Finally, there is Jason Thompson’s ‘The Stiff.’ I could not resist ‘The Stiff’ once Jason pitched it as, more or less, ‘I’m going to be mean to shonen comics.’ That’s quite something coming from the editor of the VIZ’s SHONEN JUMP, arguably the most popular comic in America.
“And as if this weren’t enough,” Hernandez adds, “Carla Speed McNeil will be joining us in the next few weeks with ‘Mystery Date,’ remastering rare stories first published in ‘Mythography,’ and Rachel Hartman will be giving me and many other ‘Amy Unbounded’ fans what they’ve been drooling for: more stories about the Goreddi trickster Pau-Henoa, the ‘Mad Bun.’ Jesse Hamm will be along as soon as he survives his wedding, hopefully with more “Happy Goth” stories.”