There’s been a lot of queries about the state of comic industry female activist/awareness pressure group Friends Of Lulu, with current President Valerie D’Orazio talking about folding down the organisation, after various expressions of frustration.
However, that all seem to have done a 180 degree turn of late, with the organisation announcing the Lulu Awards being held at the Long Beach Comic Con at the end of October, on the 29th.
Hmm. One day before the Eagle Awards (Bleeding Cool passim) in London. Also announced today.
Nominations are now open, pop by and vote. Categories include
Kim Yale Award for Best New Talent
Lulu Of The Year
Woman of Distinction
Leah Adezio Award For Best Kid-Friendly Work
Female Comic Creators’ Hall of Fame
Best Female Character
I talked to Richard Caldwell on the board of Friends Of Lulu about the current state of the organisation. He told me;
Val has made the attempt at keeping as much information public as possible, through a series of posts at her Occasional Superheroine blog. After a bit of frustrated digging, she sized up the current state of FoL and received enough responses interested in volunteering so as to gather a temporary Board of Directors, to see things through. Or at least to have this year’s Lulu Awards see the light of day. Everybody now involved wants to get the ship back on course. This is bigger than any of us, even me and my ego.
If all goes smoothly enough, then the Board could well become a more permanent body, which is something we all want to happen. Valerie is taking a lot on her shoulders in all of this, but the cause is good. We could always use more volunteers, of course. There is strength in numbers.
Also, with the remarkable increase in female comic creators and prominent characters at Marvel and DC, can you tell me what you see Lulu’s role as now?
Personally, I think there is an ebb and flow to interest in the mainstream female characters. But obviously, being caught in a general stereotype does little to advance anything noble or even ethical. The online outpouring of contempt over Wonder Woman’s suddenly showing less skin was, let’s face it- absurd. And the Marvel Divas book was a step back on the evolutionary chain, while the Girl Comics mini was certainly a step forward. Basically, there is always room for improvement, and a definite route in that direction would be by the Lulu charter itself. To employ more female creators, to allow and enable their voice as creators, as writers and artists and editors. There were times past when female readership was much higher than current numbers. Bazooka bras and sexpot mentalities and air-headed stereotypes are not the way to get those numbers back up.
However, things do feel more open now than say, just ten or twenty years ago. It seems more folks, more publishers, are willing to take chances just to stay afloat as the medium flutters. Like leaving the he said/she said rubbish in the schoolyard. If the medium wants to move forward, then it has to be open to anything, and it simply cannot rely any longer on archaic ideologies or prejudices of our forefathers. An open future really can mean so many wonderful things, for everybody.
Lulu doesn’t claim to be the grand gatekeepers in this, but we want to help make it possible for anyone who wants to read comics to find suitable material, and for anyone talented enough to work in the industry to have an honest shot. This will mean sharing information, first and foremost, and promoting education. We have a ton of ideas…it’s just a matter of staying alive til we get our grounding again. Which will happen.
And of course, continuing the Lulu Awards.
As for Valerie, she told me;
I’m overseeing Lulu until the end of the year, and then I’m looking for someone to take over. All my efforts for the rest of the year include getting Lulu up-to-date paperwork wise, and doing the Lulu Awards which will be held at Long Beach Comic Con in October. These two things, even with the generous assistance of volunteers like Richard Caldwell, will take up a large part of my free time for the rest of 2010.
The major reason I continue to spend time on the organization is because of the many people — mostly outside the industry, most of whom I do not even know personally — who contact me in support of it. If nothing else, these people deserve a Friends of Lulu in some shape or form. That’s really the only thing at this point that keeps me going on it.
These volunteers and concerned comic book readers are really the heart and soul of Lulu. I’m just giving their energy and goodwill a framework for the time I have left in the organization.