I was introduced to comic books fairly late in life and I was far more loyal to the cartoons of my favourite comic book heroes than the books, which to me at the time seemed like a waste of time.
But when your eyes are opened to the beauty, mastery and utter genius of this medium you do your best to find the genre you enjoy the most, the characters you like best and you tend to stick with it, at least me.
But the comic book community in Israel is still very much a "boy's clubhouse", I mean when I walked into Comikaza
the proprietors took one look at me and said "Neil Gaiman?" I smiled and answered in the affirmative, took my money for the pre-ordering of stuff for iCon and asked me if I was interested in anything else.
I was about to say "Batman" when one of them said "Give her the Jill Thompson little Death book".
It sounded interesting so I accepted the offer and rifled through the little book, I didn't bother to read it, because really Jill Thompson is not my favourite and the art was too Manga for my taste, so I gave it back to them and told them I didn't like the art work so much.
One of them stared at me as though I'd grown another head, I then asked if they could show me some DC stuff.
"You prefer American Comics?" The one who stared asked
"Yes, I don't like the art in Manga that much"
"But, but that's what makes it better than American ones"
*shrug* "I don't like the large eyes"
"But you're a girl!"
A death glare of doom was given to him.
"What does that have to do with anything?" he was obviously new to the business, because the other one rolled his eyes and was about to interject when the new guy said "All the girls like Manga and Neil Gaiman".
I gave him a frosty look and said "I don't think you hang with a whole lot of girls if all the ones you know like Neil Gaiman and Manga, when in fact a majority of the young women I know much prefer the American style comic books for a variety of reasons, in fact, and this may come as a shock to you, most girls actually like not only Neil Gaiman, Manga and Comic Books, but cartoons like Transformers and shows like Star Trek, Farscape and not just *gasp* the Joss Whedon stuff, which I'm sure *all* the girls like".
The new guy gave me a look which basically dismissed everything I had just said and went back to the counter without addressing anything I had mentioned.
The other proprietor shrugged and said he hopes to see me at iCon.
I don't understand this stereotyping and classification of girls and young women within this little community of sci-fi, fantasy and fandom.
Boys like Neil Gaiman, Manga, Star Trek, Transformers AND DC & Marvel, Buffy, Firefly, Anime and more, but girls aren't expected to have more than one or two fandoms, at least 'round here.
What? I like other sci-fi shows that have nothing to do with Buffy other than the fact that they appear in jokes. What? I know the difference between a Galaxy class ship and a Sovereign Class. What?! I know that there were FOUR Robins! Four! Not three, four! Two of them dead. And guess what; I even know their names.
And so girls, young and old are marginalized in the Israeli comic book community, not because there is a lack of presence in the sci-fi community, far from it, as I've stated the sci-fi & fantasy community is very egalitarian and has a very strong female presence, not so in the Comic Book.
What really gets me, is that this isn't really true, at the Animation and Comics festival I went to a few weeks ago
there were a ton of girls and many booths run by both men and women and one or two run exclusively by women, but there were still more boys than girls and I couldn't help but feel a bit isolated while I was riffling through Marvel comics searching for something worth while discussing Slash with one of the guys standing next to me, while at the other end of the table there was a group young girls "ooohing" and "Aaahing" into yaoi Manga. And the other girls at the Americana books giving me suspicious looks, because They are the only girls who know Comic Books.
And there are those few who know I've seen Anime and tell me that of course I like Manga, no people, I watched a few Anime shows in High School that were good and even had a crush on Integral from "Hellsing" for a while (thank you Shira for showing me Anime and thank you Taly for showing me Integral), but anyone who will look at my book case will notice a lack of anything Manga-ish.
Maybe I'm over reacting, maybe I'm overly sensitive.
Maybe I'm just observant.