When You Think Deeply, You Think Alone. When You Don’t Think, The Whole World Doesn’t Think With You

Hello, my name is Erica Friedman and this is my obligatory wankery self-introductory post here on Hooded Utilitarian..

I originally began to overthink anime and manga in 2002, and now Noah has given me the opportunity to overthink comics  as part of the team here on HU.  Who among us would pass up the chance to overthink comic books, cartoons and related stuff? And with a pre-existing audience to boot?  In the blogosphere building an audience is the hard part.  Any schmuck can build a blog – getting other people to care about it is work.

So you’re probably wondering what I’m going to bring to the HU table.  Well, I think I’m here to provide a unique perspective.

I’m not just here as a woman or feminist or a lesbian.  I’ve always been pretty bad at being a good female comics reader (my collection started in 1972 long before “female readers” were a thing) and I’m a terrible lesbian (I hate cats and Ellen Degeneres and have completely forgotten to run out and buy Batwoman, whoops.)  I’ve been in the industry as a publisher of Yuri manga since 2003, and have been writing stories of and articles about lesbian themes in comics for many years.  I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. My perspective is uniquely mine.

Frankly, there’s no such thing as the “female perspective” or the “lesbian perspective” anyway.  Summing up the thoughts of 51% of the world’s population (or the miniscule portion thereof that reads comics) isn’t really doable.  As for representing lesbians, I can clearly remember a day on a mailing list I *own* when a member replied to a post I had made about what lesbians want in manga with something like, “I am also a lesbian and I have never agreed with a word you said and you do not speak for me.”

Therefore, when I write about perspective here, I’m basically speaking for no one but myself – and not for myself of the future or past, only the myself that is right now.  So, here’s my perspective right now:

My perspective is that I do not read comics like most women, nor do I read comics the same way men do just because I’m a lesbian.  I don’t like big breasted female characters with tiny waists AND I don’t like sunken-chested, sparkly lads, but I do like strong women.  I have this utterly weird belief that comics don’t owe us reality in situation, but they do owe us realistic portraits of people acting consistently within the rules of the world portrayed in the story.  My perspective is that comics don’t have to condescend to women or minorities and the fact that they still do is everyone’s fault – publishers, writers, artists and readers.  It’s my perspective that the Internet may have killed the comics industry, but it is has saved sequential art.  It’s my perspective that overthinking things is the third best thing about comics, after creating them and enjoying them.   It’s my perspective that the best reason to be involved in comics is to meet the obscure, unknown,  independent artists who are reinventing the wheel every time they create a work from scratch.

And it is my perspective that I will have a great deal of fun here overthinking things in the months to come.  Thank you Noah and thank you HU audience.  I look forward to working with you!

Erica Friedman is the President of Yuricon & ALC Publishing. She blogs about Yuri in anime and manga at Okazu.

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