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ADDED:
Heidi at THE BEAT says:
"Over at her blog, Lea Hernandez has been drawing attention to the fact that this year's SDCC has no announced female guests. Today, Jackie Estrada responds, basically saying they invited Gail Simone but she didn't want to come she has not yet accepted the FINAL guest list has yet to be announced."

Heidi, Jackie says no such thing. (At least not to me.) She says "Yes, we have recently invited female guests for CCI who have turned us down or had scheduling conflicts. And we do have some female guests (both our own and sponsored) for 2006 that haven't been officially announced yet."

Heidi says, "Hernandez makes some good points afterwards, but we're still too pooped to do a big long cut'n'paste so just go read the whole thing yourself."

Can't argue with that. So, if you're here from The Beat, Hello!

END ADD.

Here's Jackie's email to me (she gave me permission to post it).
This is the full email. My only edit was to add spaces to her email to befuddle spambots. My ananswer follows.

I tried to post this as a response on your live journal site, but since I'm not a member, it wouldn't let me. Please feel free to post if for me--


Jackie Estrada here, chair of the Comic-Con International guest committee--which I have been for numerous years now. The guest committee also includes Fae Desmond (the executive director of CCI) and Sue Lord (the guest coordinator), along with other committee members.

Each year we come up with lists of people to invite who fit into various categories--from Golden/Silver Age, to Indie Comics, from comic strips to animiation/media--and who fit the themes and anniversaries that year. This committee also comes up with the proposed guests for APE and WonderCon. You will notice, for instance, at this year's APE the guests included Carol Tyler and Raina Telgemeier (accounting for half the guest list), while Ramona Fradon and Laura Allred were special guests at WonderCon (Marie Severin had to cancel at the last minute). Other APE guests in the last couple of years have included some of the names mentioned here, including Carol Lay, Alison Bechdel, and Chynna Clugston.

Over the past 20 years, I don't think you will find another comic-con in this country that has had more female creator guests than San Diego. In the last few years alone, CCI special guests have included Pia Guerra, Louise Simonson, Carla Speed McNeil, Devin Grayson, Jill Thompson, Phoebe Gloeckner, Gail Simone, Julie Doucet, Francoise Mouly, and Wendy Pini. We've also had women sf/fantasy writers, artists such as Rowena, and media greats like June Foray. (FYI: CCI has never had any actress/pinup/models as our official guests--only women who are actual creators.)

I'm not quite sure, why of all the guests CCI has had over the years, you select Harry Knowles as an example of who gets invited instead of women. Harry was a guest in 2000, and was specifically invited in relation to new media.

Yes, we have recently invited female guests for CCI who have turned us down or had scheduling conflicts. And we do have some female guests (both our own and sponsored) for 2006 that haven't been officially announced yet. But no, we don't sit down in our guest meetings and say, "Gee, what women should we invite this year?" (or "What gays should we invite this year?" or "What black creators should we invite this year?") As I said, we try to come up with guests who are appropriate to the year's themes, who haven't been invited to a CCI before or recently, and who may have new work coming out that will be of interest to attendees.

We try to have as diverse a guest list as possible, which is why this year you see names like Roger Langridge, Andy Runton, and Brian Fies along with Brian Bolland, George Perez, and Robert Kirkman from comics, plus folks like Peter S. Beagle, Basil Gogos, and Shag from other aspects of pop culture. And Comic-Con has more Golden and Silver Age guests than any con going, bringing in creators like Everett Raymond Kintsler who have never even been to a Comic-Con.

We are always open to suggestions for CCI guests. Our guest committee meetings to talk about 2007 guests are under way, so anyone who would like to see a particular creator as a special guest is welcome to e-mail me: jackiee @ mindspring . com. I will be happy to submit for discussion any names that I receive.

Jackie Estrada


Thanks for writing, I appreciate it. I also appreciate how carefully you chose your words.

The issue is not with the diversity of the work of the guests--it absolutely speaks for itself.
You're right, I did single out Harry Knowles, because that is one of the most head-scratchingest ever, at least by my standards.
In my opinion, Knowles stood for the worst in new media, and was (and is) representative of that part of the San Diego experience I like least, the locker room funk. The funk brought in with dot bomb exhibitors with bump 'n' grind dancers (like the one for farclub.com (RIP) across from my booth in 2000 that repelled women who wanted to visit me), models dressed as cheerleaders (ADV Films, 2004), two models dressed in midriff-baring "Incredibles" costumes (Disney 2004), countless "models" and booths selling nicely-framed and explicit prints of Manara and superheroines topless. (And these booths were uncurtained, unlike Fanta's and NBM's adult offerings.)

"media greats like June Foray. (FYI: CCI has never had any actress/pinup/models as our official guests--only women who are actual creators.)"
Uuuuuh, as far as I know Foray, awesome as she is, IS an actress, not a creator. Calling her a "media great", though completely true, doesn't make her a creator and not an actress.
Calling Harry Knowles a representative of New Media doesn't make him a creator, either. (And he isn't one.) It's good to see the "actual creator" standard applies equally to men and women.

I am specifically addressing CCI guest lists, though, not APE or WonderCon. This isn't to take anything away from those women or those conventions--but I'm talkin' about CCI here.
To include them is to consider them as CCI guests, which they are not. That's rather a dodge, in fact.
I did recognize the fact that the guest list at APE this year was half women. I also recognize that guest list is four guests.

My issue is also not with what women HAVE previously attended CCI--it is a stellar list. (I am not aware Gail was ever a Featured Guest at CCI, although I am now aware that she was invited and hasn't yet accepted. (Rather than declined, which is how I read what she said at other blogs, and she did not correct me.)) My discussion is RIGHT NOW THIS YEAR'S lack of women, plus CCI's historic habit of having one, perhaps two, women guests per year. (Last year: ONE, Pia Guerra.)

Regarding "Over the past 20 years, I don't think you will find another comic-con in this country that has had more female creator guests than San Diego"

That is a remarkably specific point you make there, which means I can't bring up the female guests of this year's Toronto ComicCon, which number around 25 (I kept losing count, thanks to the eyeball-bending link no link link colors of the list), when the female guest who is a model, not a creator, is excluded.
25 female guests in one year, out of a list of about 190. A 1 to 8 ratio. Pretty good.
In this country, there's CAPE! Of sixty guests, eight are women. A 1 to 7.5 ratio.

I'm glad to hear there are female guests to come. However, I was talking based on what I KNEW from reading the first CCI 2006 circular, which came with my pro reg packet, which is there is not a woman in sight.
I'm reasonably insightful, and possessed of a fairly good intuition, but I could not have possibly gleaned from the first circular anything regarding female guests but what I did. That, coupled with CCI's history with women guests, led me to write what I did. I've thought CCI has been derelict with regards to women for some time, and failed to speak up loudly enough to be heard, lest I be branded as "not nice" for saying so. (And, consequently, lose work and prestige.)

Unless, perhaps, CCI has gone DaVinci Cod judge and the first letter of the first word of each sentence spells out "WOMEN TO COME, PUT AWAY THE RAZOR FLAIL AND LEMON JUICE" and I missed that.

Finally, "...anyone who would like to see a particular creator as a special guest is welcome to e-mail me: jackiee @ mindspring . com. I will be happy to submit for discussion any names that I receive."

That's your cue, gentle readers.
Let's see if "Lea Hernandez, outspoken comics industry critic, manga and webcomics pioneer, is here to talk about her new books Ironclad Petal and Near-Life Experience Vol. 1" makes the CCI cut in 2007. Like Nixon, I'll be tanned, rested and ready.

EDITED: to correct that Gail Simone hasn't declined, nor yet accepted, her invitation to CCI, although I had not heard from her, nor Jackie, to correct my misapprehension. I learned it from The Beat. Huh.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
rfrancis
May. 3rd, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC)
But no, we don't sit down in our guest meetings and say, "Gee, what women should we invite this year?" (or "What gays should we invite this year?" or "What black creators should we invite this year?")

No kidding. "We don't do quotas," the last refuge of the demographic that doesn't need them to get included. What I'm saying is: maybe, just maybe, they SHOULD sit down and say those things.
divalea
May. 4th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
Word.
karmenghia
May. 3rd, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC)
CCI isn't trying hard enough. I hope they do invite you.
divalea
May. 4th, 2006 12:34 am (UTC)
That'd be novel. I have never been invited.
takhisis
May. 3rd, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
In this country, there's CAPE! Of sixty guests, eight are women.

*raises hand slightly* Nine! It doesn't detract from your point at all, but I figured every little bit of representation helps? :)
divalea
May. 3rd, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
Understand when I miscount, no one's left out.

And 9 of 60 is 1 to 6.66. Moo hoo etc.
takhisis
May. 3rd, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
Totally understood, like I was saying, it doesn't make your point any less true.

Oh good, I'm so glad I can help create the Ratio of EBIL! XD
arcana_j
May. 3rd, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
"...we do have some female guests (both our own and sponsored) for 2006 that haven't been officially announced yet."

And? People have to judge a tree by the fruit it bears, not the fruit that it talks about.


"...we try to come up with guests who are appropriate to the year's themes..."

Funny, I thought the over-arching theme was comics.
divalea
May. 4th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
Don't be confused by the name "Comic Con International."
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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