For the last year cleanskies, mardoucomics, and ellenlindner have been talking about ways of restructuring Whores of Mensa so that it can grow without the fear of a copyright injunction. The success of our Party Issue convinced us that bringing in new artists was something we wanted to do on a regular basis - so, what next?
Enter The Strumpet. We started talking about how she could be our Alfred E. Neuman or Eustace Tilley...someone who embodied the smart-and-sexy ideals of Whores of Mensa, but had a new identity. Our intern, Elliot Baggott, started designing a new logo. And we started talking to contributors.
Some may wonder what the purpose of a comic book that only publishes women could be, in this modern world of equal opportunities. As an experiment, I did a survey of three of the top independent comics publishers in the UK publishing original stories (as opposed to adaptations). In one case, out of 21 artists listed on their website, only one was a woman. In the second, out of nineteen original projects published (discounting anthologies), only two had women as the creators. In the third, out of seventeen recent books, only three had a woman author (two by the same person, neither from the UK). We could discuss the reasons why this condition exists - and everyone's got a theory. But the fact remains that the vast majority of original work by women in the UK remains unpublished in the traditional sense - and until that changes, the Strumpet will be there. DIY, baby - DIY.
Strumpet Issue 1 will début at this year's Thought Bubble Festival, 19-20 November in Leeds. We'll be launching the comic on 24th of November at the Miller pub in London Bridge. And we have a group of contributors to drool over: Kripa Joshi, Patrice Aggs, Tanya Meditzky, Jeremy Day, Mardou, Lisa Eisenberg, Ellen Lindner, and...MEGAN KELSO!!! And more! AIEEE!!!!!
Right now we're taking pre-orders over at our Kickstarter page - if you want to be one of the first to reserve a copy of Issue One for your very own, I suggest you act quickly!
Kickstarter is brilliant - it's easy to use, fills the gaping distribution hole left by Diamond, and enables us to keep all of our titles in print (as well as pay for extra expenses like contributor copies, review copies, and postage). So please, have a think, and pre-order at the level you're comfortable with. All of the prizes are fab - and you'll be making a band of Strumpets very, very happy.
It's been a long, crazy summer here in Whores of Mensa HQ. We've been working on a secret project - the relaunch of our beloved collective as a brand-new annual.
Why the upheaval? No one likes upheaval!!!
Well, a lot has changed for us over the course of the seven years we've been publishing comics as WoM: personal stuff and professional stuff.
Our last issue made us think really hard about what we wanted to do, as a collective. It was great printing regular work by the three of us, but having so many fantastic guest artists for our blockbuster fifth issue felt like something we'd like to do again.
Over our travels in New York and Portland, we met so many great lady cartoonists. We got excited about the possibilities of bringing female creators from the USA and the UK together for a fun cultural exchange - an exchange that, due to the failure in the personal jet-pack market and the total washout of the transatlantic Tube system, could perhaps most easily happen on paper and on the internet.
To whit, we're creating a publication, and soon a website, that will take some small steps (or maybe even some big ones!) towards that goal. And it's called...
Whores of Mensa will not be going away - thanks to the generous lift given to our fifth issue by our Kickstarter supporters, we've printed 400 copies of our Party Issue - the most ever of any single WoM issue - and it's still very much in print.
It'll be sold right alongside the Strumpet, keeping the WoM flame alive (if you're coming to the party late you can get your own copy here). We're also hoping to put together a book collecting all of our best work from our seven year stretch.
Very soon we'll be taking pre-orders for our first issue of the Strumpet, and we're planning a London mega-launch in late November to which you'll all be invited. But in the meantime, please let us introduce one of our newest artists, the amazing Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg of Portland, Oregon.
Here's our video to introduce her.
And here's a page from her story!
We met Lisa when we bought Cut Your Hair 3, which is about her epic travels in China. We love her work and we think you might, too!
Mystery Strumpet as Seen By The Oval Mistress, date unknown.
Hey there Whores fans!
Over the past few month, Whores of Mensa has been having something of an identity crisis. We’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and introspection; really questioning who we are. A lot has changed for all of the Whores of Mensa since we first started this comic - but where are we going? What are we trying to achieve? What does it mean to be a Whore of Mensa? And how can we grow, while maintaining that identity?
To reflect on our self-reflection, we’d like to open this out to our loyal readers in the form of a WoM Competition! We want you to get in touch with us and answer the question:
What is a....strumpet?
Sure, we know the dictionary definition. But what does Strumpetism mean to you?
You can write, draw, photograph or mix all three- either create your own strumpet, or pick a famous loose lady from history! All work will be published on the Whores Blog, and you could be in for a chance to win one of the highly desirable and much coveted WoM T-shirts! We’ve got three, yes, THREE! to give away, so grab your pencils, typewriters and cameras and get cracking!
And as for us, well, let’s just say that great change is afoot...but we need your inspiration to make it happen. Your deadline is 31st July - thanks in advance for giving this a go!
Whores of Mensa Apprentice Elliot
Nothing says love like farmer's market fresh caramel popcorn...ta Stephen!
Woo! It's been a crazy two weeks, with Whores of Mensa and the Comix Reader hitting two major indie comics shows - MoCCA and Stumptown - in two crazy weekends! Sarah McIntyre and Cliodhna Lyons were fantastic tablemates - thanks, ladies, for doing so much organizational work and making this super-fun trip possible! And thanks to Stephen Betts for taking the lion's share of these pictures!
( A full report UNDER THE CUT!Collapse )
Many thanks to everyone who came out and supported us at both shows, and to the New Yorkers and Portlandians for their hospitality. Each festival was an adventure! I particularly enjoyed exploring the Pacific Northwest...what an amazing place!
See you next time...
Editrix Ellen here.
This month Whores of Mensa 5 contributors Cliodhna Lyons, Sarah McIntyre and myself will be tabling together at NYC's MoCCA on the 7th and 8th (K-10-12, the UK/Ireland Quarter) and the following weekend at Portland, OR's Stumptown (B-3). *Excited!*
If you stop by and say hello, you'll have the chance to buy limited edition deluxe copies of Whores of Mensa 5 (assembled with the help of our wonderful intern Elliot Baggott), hand-stamped badge packs (ditto - thanks, Elliot!) and a super-special mini edition of Whores of Mensa 5.
There'll also be all the books I usually sell at fairs: Undertow, my graphic novel, and wonderful London-based comics newspaper The Comix Reader - in its US début!
We'll also be hitting both branches of Drink and Draw Like a Lady - fun!
See you there...
Hey there Whores of Mensa Fans!
There’s been a lot going on at Whores of Mensa HQ this month, so perhaps I should take the time to introduce myself. I’m Elliot Baggott, a second-year BA student at Wimbledon College of Art. For the past month I’ve been the official WoM Intern, helping Editor Ellen get everything ready for exciting anthology news and changes to come! But first, we have a special surprise; the digital return of long out of print Whores Issue One!
It’s been nearly seven years since Whores of Mensa first hit the British Comics Scene. Jeremy Day (then Jeremy Dennis), Mardou and Lucy Sweet met while promoting comics at Ladyfest Bristol in 2003. Since then, these ladies - with the addition of Ellen Lindner, and in Issue Five, a bevy of guest artists - have been flying the standard for women in alternative comics and producing their own brand of smart, quixotic cartoon stories.
We’re currently preparing our sixth issue - and Issue One is the best possible way of seeing how it all began and really getting a flavour for the tone of the anthology as a whole.
( Plenty of preview images under the cut!Collapse )
Here, with no further ado, is the link to download your own copy in PDF format.
Issue One is free to download, but if you have enjoyed reading then please consider donating. All your donations go towards financing future WoM projects and paying for printing costs, and help to keep this wonderful anthology going!
Elliot Baggott’s personal blog is http://surrealistetiquette.blogspot.com and his latest comic TEETH is available at many comics stores in London or by direct order.
I'm very excited, because this weekend the London Comic and Small Press Expo is coming to New Cross!
New Cross is also the home of the Fleece Station, the studio I've shared for the last year-and-a-bit with Gary Northfield, Lauren O'Farrell and Sarah McIntyre.
Here's a map of some places I like in New Cross, or that have been recommended to me - New Cross high street can look very forbidding, but there are a few real gems, and if you get into Deptford - well, everyone's got to experience Deptford just once. Especially now that you can get bubble tea on the way in!
Some quick notes: Meateasy is FAB for greasy American diner food (exactly what you came to New Cross for, I imagine) - but it's only open after 6, and the waits are almost as legendary as the chili dog. If you're serious about checking out London's most talked-about popup restaurant, get there before 6.
Personal fave Panda Panda, purveyor of amazing banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) and bubble tea - is legendary if you read Sarah's blog - they're also open until 9, so if you get a chance, give them a try. (I haven't given them a coffee icon - they sell too many good things to represent visually - but their Vietnamese coffee is amazing!)
One thing I haven't covered: transport. New Cross is accessible by rail, Overground and loads and loads of buses - too many to cover here! Check out the London Transport Journey Planner instead.
Please let me know if you have any questions about my map - there's a bigger version here - and hopefully, I'll see you at the show. Look for me at the Fleece Station table - I'll have Undertow, Whores of Mensa, and some great little prints Sarah and I have done just for the show.
See you there!
Earlier this month cleanskies and I gave two workshops on anthology-making at London Print Studio, London's center for print-making excellence. Pretty exciting stuff for us small-pressers!
LPS has a great team of comics interns at the moment, including Freya Harrison, William Goldsmith, Joe Kelly and Isabel Greenberg. The interns are collectively keeping a record of their LPS experiences at their amazing blog.
Here's Issy Greenberg's take on our private workshop for Issy, Bill, Freya and Joe, in which we focused on plans for their Imagined Cities anthology.
If you like Issy's work here, check her out in No Brow Press's Graphic Cosmogony - mindblowing work in there, some of it from Issy. Highly recommended!
Thanks again to Karrie Fransman for inviting us in, and for the interns and young people who came to our workshops. And thanks LPS!
Want Whores of Mensa to come and do a workshop at your school, art centre or other institution? Email me at ellen at little white bird dawt calm, and let's talk comics!
Whores of Mensa Head Honchette Ellen Lindner here with some news about a very swiftly upcoming Whores of Mensa teaching event.
The delectable Karrie Fransman has invited Jeremy Day and I to give a FREE workshop for teenagers at the estimable London Print Studio this Wednesday!
We'll be talking about the process of putting together the last issue of Whores of Mensa, and our very DIY approach to community building through comics.
In short, it'll be a workshop about creating anthologies - why they work, why they don't, how to get into the famous ones and - most importantly - how to do it yourself!
WHEN will all this be happening? This Wednesday, 2nd February - 5-7PM
WHERE? London Print Studio, 425 Harrow Road London W10 4RE
HOW to sign up? Either turn up on the day, or email ahead for more information - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to see you there!
As you may have seen in a prior post, I recently made an awesome discovery - the world of Scotland's Team Girl Comic. Edited by Gill Hatcher, a talented draughtswoman in her own right, Team Girl Comic unleashes the storytelling powers of a cool crew of young female cartoonists on an unsuspecting UK comix scene.
Tell us about yourself. Who is Gill Hatcher?
I’m 23 and originally from Wishaw, one of the greyer parts of North Lanarkshire. I used to draw comics just to entertain my school friends, and then when I left school I started meeting people involved in the Glasgow small press comics scene. About 4 years ago I got the confidence to start photocopying and selling my work, and this evolved into Team Girl Comic. I haven’t been to art school, I studied product design which suited me because I enjoy both art and science. And now I’m doing a PhD which really suits me because it gives me the flexibility to work on comics as much as I need to!
( Read more about Gill and Team Girl Comic, under the cut!Collapse )
Thanks a lot, Gill! Be sure to follow the ladies on Twitter - they're @TeamGirlComic - and visit them on Facebook. And look out for the ladies and their comics - especially Team Girl Comic 2, out now!