{comics}womanthology: team mariah 2/2

I am reading through IDW’s Womanthology: Heroic, a themed anthology featuring work by female artists of all ages and geographic locations who write, pencil, color, ink, letter, edit or some combination of the above. The anthology is divided into Teams, groups organized under a comic-industry professional: usually an editor. We’ve met with Team Suzannah and Team Bonnie and 1/2 of Team Mariah.


Today, I will be finishing up Team Mariah, which is “Part 2” of the 5-partitioned book—a huge section spanning pages 79-141. I will try to keep my comments on pin-ups and comics brief and as the book provides site addresses, I will link them to the names (upon first mention) so you can check out more of their work. Images are hard to come by without planning—and one of these years I will be organized enough to allow sufficient time. The !! marks my faves.

On the section page introducing the editor heading up the team of artists, Womanthology acknowledges Kara Leopard (of TX) whose “skills” list: layouts. Ms. Leopard had that crazy fun job of gathering info, photos, & designing all the creator write-ups. I like the inclusion of these kinds of acknowledgment, especially part of a book focused on the necessary contributors to a successful story and book.

Team Mariah


“The Culper Spy” (110-3) Writer Amanda Deibert (CA); Art: Amy Donohoe (TX); Letterer: Rachel Deering.

Set during the Revolutionary War, the story is one of a young woman underestimated because of her youth and sex. She is less interested in sewing and catching a husband and more interested in political intrigue and espionage as the only female member of The Culper Ring—not that they know recognize her as a woman. She is Agent 355. I love these Historical figures that surface in Heroic. While I was not crazy about the noses at first, I adjusted. The comic has a lot of energy; it’s entertaining and inspiring. {image via Donohoe’s blog}


“So Shine the Weary” (114-7) Writer: Sandra Mellott (MT); Art: Saicoink (Canada)

“So Shine” finds a young heroine wounded from some sort of intervention that we are unsure was really welcome. She feels responsible for her gift and to help people, bearing the cost which includes doing the unpopular thing. Her lover who finds her and helps her reminds her that she is worthwhile and most certainly not alone. The line work is great, and I could have done with more of the compositions in blues, greens & yellows like the first and last frame. The title panel alone is wonderful.


!!“The Little Stranger” (118-22) Writer: Robin Furth (US/UK); Art: Kat Laurange (TX); Color: Hanie Mohd (Malaysia); Letters: Rachel Deering

Having lost their father, two girls go to stay with their grandmother by the sea. The older one is skeptical of the magic in the ancient place and wanders off away from her sister. She enters a cave, enthralled by children who “had no grief, no sense of loss. They were happy, & I wanted to be like them” (121). She is in peril and soon so is her younger sister who tries to help her. It is a wonderful story of family and magic and the loneliness of grief and growing up (the elder just turned 12). “The Little Stranger” is beautifully done start to finish. {image (w/out text) via Laurange’s site}

“untitled” (123) by Jill Fogarty (Canada)

an action portrait of a heroine leaping upward over and onto tall buildings’ rooftops. The fore-shortening was a little torqued (thought elasti-girl-ish initially). Honestly unsure how to read this one. Is this everyday-wear girl (jeans and tank top) tech-savvy and set to intervene with a defective dish/broadcaster?

“Shadow Dancers” (124-7) Writer: Tatiana Christian (NY); Art: Andrea Agostini (MA); Color: Elizabeth Breitweiser (AR); Letters: Rachel Deering.

The young woman’s mission is to collect nightmares for her supernatural mistress. It took me a moment to figure out she collected, not dispensed, them from a little orb, because she is tempted to taste the nightmares. But her floating feline companion disapproves and we get a sequence of memory, of how our hero was saved and why she feels the need to help others. There are hints of temptation, addiction, and recovery within the primary thrust of the story which is helping other people, having the compassion of one who knows they themselves have been rescued. Nice art, the coloring not to dark even in the nightscape or themes.

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“Greatest of Ease” (128-131) Writer: Ma’at Crook (San Diego); Art: Blue Delliquainti (GA)

This text-free comic is about a little girl and daughter to trapeze performers. She slips and we get a small indication she may be a bit clumsy. After a sequence of the imaginary adventuring sort, we see a girl who finds purpose in the attempt and she gains confidence in her abilities. The ‘greatest of ease’ is duplicitous—there is a lot that goes into that effortless appearance of flying through the air in elegant acrobatic flair. The egg-shaped clowns are a delightful narration of the girl’s journey. She fell, she’ll heal, she’ll return having learned something about herself. The colors, the situation, this is a sweet little comic.

“untitled” (132-3) writer/artist: Mariah McCourt (SF); letters Rachel Deering.

The frames on the first page remind me of a vanity, but they are windows overlooking the landscape the young woman is considering. This wonderfully illustrated piece is a love story, a story of sacrifice—a zombie story. anyone else think Ophelia on the second page?

“Lady Liberty & her Star-Spangled Spaniel in…Rocket’s Red Glare” (134-7) Writer: Samantha J. Mathis (CA); Art: Caytlin Vilbrandt (WA); Color: Mary “Zorilita” Bellamy (CA).

A young girl finds courage in a classic superhero scenario where she is the feature’s hero who has friends who step in when needed—which is often the nick of time, right? This comic is bright and playful, and then the import of the adventure strikes. And through it all, the girl is nothing but courageous—heroism taking different forms.

!!“There’s a Good Girl” page by Leah Mangue (CA)

A full page panel framed contains 5 nicely drawn and colored portraits of historical women who overcame not only the gender expectations of their times, but all the ridicule directed toward them. We meet Lucy Maud Montgomery, Helen Adams Keller, Phoebe Ann Mosey “Annie Oakley,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning & Dr. Mary Edwards Walker. Each woman is accompanied by a speech bubble with a quote, and factoid text boxes which list their accomplishments and the opposition they had to overcome (usually by family members). Around the portraits, against the light brown background, are words of ridicule commonly directed at these and other women. In the blue backgrounds of the portraits, positive words. The last bit of text the Reader would read (bottom right) is a quote from Dr. Walker and it pulls everything together—including the present day—“Now is the time for the women of this country, if they would save our free institutions, to defend the right, to buckle on the armor that can best resist the keenest weapons of the enemy—contempt and ridicule.” I want to send this page to so many people. It is so good.


“The New Adventures of Queen Elizabeth I!” (139) a short comic by Christianne Benedict (MO)

What would modern London look like if it was deemed necessary to splice Queen Elizabeth I’s DNA & return her to “power”… very amusing—great sense of humor.


“Isabella” (140) pin-up by Kathryn Whiteford (Australia)

A fantasy figure on a barren but high altitude landscape, eyes prophetic and holding a doubly sharp staff she embodies significant ideas of a female hero.

“untitled” (141) pin-up by Kali Fontecchio (CA)

cartoonish of the classic sort with a story I’ve yet to decipher [the book does not have the text]. the artist refers to image as part of a “maude comic” on her blog.

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sprinkled throughout Womanthology: Heroic there are “Pro-Tips.” In “Part Two:”

“Deadlines” by Stephanie Hans (125) “Never miss a deadline!” exclamation point.

“No Apologies” by Wendy Pini (132) has advice for those portfolios that involves standing behind your work.

“Dedication” by Mariah McCourt (135) “Comics is a tough field. […] if you really want to be a part of it, don’t give up.”

“Portfolio” by Barbara Kaalberg (138) good practical advice.

“Be Helpful” by Dani Jones (139) ways to remember how to “be helpful and courteous to other artist and peers.”

“Experiment” by Barbara Randall-Kesel (140) “try something you’re not sure you can draw” and why.

“It’s a Job” by Renae De Liz (141) how to prepare for a job in comics, artists.

Published by L

I read, and I write. and until recently, I sold books.

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