Valerie D’Orazio was an Assistant Editor at DC Comics working on, amongst other things, the Identity Crisis series, published ten years ago. However she came to prominence after she left the publisher and wrote about her treatment at the hands of the comics industry, from comic store owners to editors to the human resources department, as well as her own healthcare issues and attitudes towards her sexuality. Occasional Superheroine was a much read volume when she published it digitally, though it has been unavailable for some time. I consider it one of the most important pieces of writing about working in comics – not to mention one of the best written.
She’s written a number of comics but her announced Cloak & Dagger series at Marvel never happened. D’Orazio worked as an editor at MTV Geek before that service closed. But things seem to be turning around with major projects on the way. However she still sees the same problems in the industry she encountered ten years ago. Writing on her blog, she says,
But it has not gotten better. My news/ Twitter/ Facebook/ Tumblr feed is regularly stocked with stories about how it is not getting better. I mean, there are a number of publishers who are really responding to female talent, like BOOM! Studios. But as a whole, women are still woefully under-represented in “mainstream” comics, and stories of sexual harassment of females at publishers, by creators, at conventions, and so on continue and continue and continue.
I’m at one of the most creative and productive times of my comics career, with work from major publishers on the way and more creator-owned stuff than I can shake a stick at. But something kept bothering me. And what bothered me is that burying the truth flat out doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. You really have to be a complete psychopath—or completely terrified—to be OK with keeping the truth hidden.
She had given Bleeding Cool permission to embed a PDF of the volume, with a new cover by Kevin Colden. If you haven’t read it, you really, really should. Like, right now.
P.S. Just to warn any of the usual forum suspects I have my banhammer out today…