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    Out of the way pops, this is my book now.

    WOMEN CHARACTERS DO NOT SELL BOOKS. Especially in big Action-Adventure. This is what I’m hearing, like it’s foolish to even think of trying it. This is the prevailing wisdom in comics.

    Until it’s not.

    Bad practices in the past decades have paved over diversity we once took for granted. Instead of considering the comics industry this closed loop that can never change, how about we find those shoots trying to break through concrete and clear their path?

    It’s now been announced that HULK, the title I write at Marvel, is switching focus to be about Red She-Hulk. If you don’t know her character, she is the transformed version of Betty Ross-Banner, the longtime love of The Hulk proper, often a damsel in distress and pawn between powerful forces in the long running adventures of the monster-man hero created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.

    Red She has been recently featured in THE DEFENDERS from which I’m borrowing here because it’s terrific. My editor, Mark Paniccia, asked for permission to try something different and bring her in as our book’s lead. It would make for a serious shake-up. When I heard Marvel agreed, I couldn’t believe it- this would allow me to do a very different kind of story. I wanted to go even more off course. Marvel of course has had a She-Hulk book before, most recently excellently done by Dan Slott and company. So we’ve seen a female Hulk and how heroic she can be.

    I thought why not dive in with a woman lead, AND tap the very roots of Hulk? Originally he always walked the line between menace and hero. Even if Hulk liked you, that still didn’t guarantee you were safe around him once he started raging, it was like being friends with a category 4 hurricane. As the newest of the Hulks, Betty is still formative and unknown- in a perfect position to be that kind of Hulk to the world.

    Though you may only know my superhero stories, I am far from someone who thinks that genre IS comics, and I know that others may fit female readers more naturally. But I don’t think we should abandon trying, because despite conventional wisdom, many do want stories about powerful women in big action- did Buffy the Vampire Slayer teach us nothing? This gender does have daydreams about throwing cars around and flattening fools with a backhand swat. The superhero model appeals to something fundamental in us- that we feel, despite appearances, we have untapped power that could break out in the right circumstances.

    The HULK myth goes further- and somewhat scarier- because it acknowledges our rage. The feeling that deep inside, whether from personal history or even wilder remnants still left from our ancestors, we harbor something devastating. Feelings we have to work at constantly because in the real world, letting that out doesn’t end well. But to be Hulk is to let that wave roll right out and wash away everything in your way. If you don’t think the ladies can relate to that, you haven’t talked to any lately.

    We’re working hard on this book and believe we have a dynamic that will get attention and make great stories. What it needs next is you- using your influence and persuasion to convince readers to to try it, and stores to double down. There’s some book you follow out of habit that hasn’t entertained you in a while. Let it sit out a couple of rounds and give the smashing red lady two months to convince you, that’s all I ask. Not only can it work, we’ll all be surprised what will happen next with this hitting the radar in a big way. Conventional wisdom will flip over. Suddenly more books become possible at Marvel and DC.

    Tomorrow Marvel rolls out CAPTAIN MARVEL by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy, and it doesn’t have to stop there. I want to see VALKYRIE and SATANA follow with their own comics. STORM. TIGRA. Right now while Avengers and Dark Knight are making the media have to stop and pay us attention, lets put our best foot forward and show the whole other half the population they aren’t excluded.

    Thanks for your time. She’ll see you this October.


    Comment from Carol
    Time: July 17, 2012, 4:52 pm

    Yay! Female emancipation from damsel-in-distress tropes… But So. Much. Cleavage.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 17, 2012, 4:56 pm

    I know, but I loved Carlo’s drawing of her there. The rest of the time she wears her stretchy clothes!

    Comment from Yogi
    Time: July 17, 2012, 4:58 pm

    Parker, you are one of Marvel’s finest. Your work feel both classic and fresh at the exact same time. I’m looking forward to the new book!

    Comment from Joel Jenkins
    Time: July 17, 2012, 5:01 pm

    After Loeb’s run on Red Hulk I was mostly hoping to see the Red Hulk die, yet you managed to make him a sympathetic (and sometimes even likable) character. I’m looking forward to reading your take on the Red She-Hulk, and I’m confident you can pull it off.

    Comment from david brothers
    Time: July 17, 2012, 5:06 pm

    Parker, you are an alt-text assassin and a great salesman. This is good stuff.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 17, 2012, 5:07 pm

    Thanks Hermanos!

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 17, 2012, 5:08 pm

    thanks JJ

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 17, 2012, 5:08 pm

    Right on, Yogi

    Comment from MuhollandBlack
    Time: July 17, 2012, 5:14 pm

    Wonderful post! However, I do need to say that DC is already releasing a plethora of successful female-led series. Many of them are even beating some of the big boys on the sales chart! Take a look.


    Counting their digital comic and their minis, DC will soon have 12 female-led projects going on. That is really wonderful.

    I don’t mention this to slight Marvel in any way. I just wanted to show that successful female leads are already being created from other companies. Hopefully more companies can succeed in this area!

    Comment from Johnny Bacardi
    Time: July 17, 2012, 5:54 pm

    I want to see … SATANA follow with (her) own comic.

    From your lips to God’s ears. Or Satan’s. Well, you know what I mean. With Kev Walker on art.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 17, 2012, 5:58 pm

    I think Kev would be ON BOARD.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 17, 2012, 6:00 pm

    MuhollandBlack, yes, it is good news. It’s seemed to me for a long time that women readers have turned out for DC heroine books more than when Marvel tries it. And I’m hoping that will change, not that DC lose them but that they read both.

    Comment from Costa K
    Time: July 17, 2012, 6:18 pm

    Stoked. Like, beyond stoked.

    You’ve actually made me care about the Hulk family, Jeff, and I look forward to continuing to follow this.

    Comment from Mark Ogilvie
    Time: July 17, 2012, 6:28 pm

    I was linked into this by a “Why Ms. Marvel failed” thread on the comic book resources boards and while I appreciate your enthusiasm I’m not sure what there is her for me. I lost most of my Hulk interest at the, in my opinion, terrible way WWH ended and after that with all of the Hulk’s running around I wondered where Plaid Hulk was. Really what is the difference between Betty Hulk and Jen Hulk? Marvel has had a lot of weak female characters in the last few years, characters who have folded against strong male characters so maybe this wouldn’t be that, but really what is there here for a non-hulk fan?

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 17, 2012, 6:38 pm

    Costa, thanks!

    Mark, I have to hope you’ll find our story compelling if you give it a try. Have you read any of my work before? I feel you should judge the book on what I’ve done, not other books and events.

    Comment from Justin S. Davis
    Time: July 17, 2012, 7:45 pm

    I’ll happily plunk down cash for this. You’ve worked wonders with Satana (she’s one of my faves now), and as much as I’m a Jennifer Walters fan, I trust you.

    Comment from John
    Time: July 17, 2012, 8:49 pm

    I was already in. Can I be double in?

    Comment from Zeno
    Time: July 17, 2012, 9:46 pm

    Jeff,reading your interview from earlier last you seem to be hinting that AIM will have something to do with the story. This makes sense since they are involved with World War Hulks and the creation of the Red SHe Hulk through MODOK. The Intelligestia tried to create superhumans from normal people in that storyline also. Which also fits with what you said she is trying to stop.

    It also seems you were hinting that Machine Man will stay on as a supporting character. I at least hope so.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 17, 2012, 9:56 pm

    Zeno, you’re going to be happy!

    Comment from Warren B.
    Time: July 18, 2012, 6:43 am

    “…give the smashing red lady two months to convince you…”

    Yessir Mr. Parker.

    Although, still a bit sad about the development summed up by ‘out of the way pops!’.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 18, 2012, 7:31 am

    The Hulk family are crass, Warren!

    Comment from Jeremy Wiggins
    Time: July 18, 2012, 8:34 am

    You made me like Red Hulk, something I thought would never ever happen, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this too.

    I’ll be giving this a little more push when it comes out. I already recommend anything by you as reliably good. It needs to be proven that a female led series can work, the requirement is that is has to be good.

    Also, keep Machine Man around, please!

    Comment from Sean Nelson
    Time: July 18, 2012, 2:42 pm

    I have already said I am getting this book and looking forward to it (not that I wasn’t enjoying Hulk). I like Betty a lot (Jen and Lyra too) I do enjoy her in Defenders (she’s the reason I picked it up) it just bugs me that she doesn’t have her red streaks and yellow eyes in that book but that’s a minor niggle.

    I am also getting Captain Marvel, I hope this trend continues. I would love to have a red She-Hulk book and a green She-Hulk book on my pull list. A Valkyrie book would be great, though I thought Marvel was planning something the way Fearless ended, if these books are successful that might still happen.

    As you can probably tell I am a She-Hulks fan (I like the Hulks too). I will be looking forward to when they show up the most. I wonder where they stand (all the Hulk family for that matter), I know Jen would look at both sides of the coin and Lyra would have an understanding, she had a dealing with Origins Corporation in the Fred Van Lente back-ups. I know you can’t answer this I am just merely speculating. That’s how much I am looking forward to this. You know its probably best to just ignore this paragraph.

    I hope these books do well, I lead into more female led books.

    Comment from Sean Nelson
    Time: July 18, 2012, 3:22 pm

    “I hope these books do well, I lead into more female led books.”

    And lead into more females books. Was what I meant to say.

    Comment from Bill S.
    Time: July 18, 2012, 3:33 pm

    There was no way I wasn’t going to be getting this, but now I’m twice as stoked. Too often with weak characterization of women in comics has been mistaken for them being weak characters, and Red She-Hulk is not a weak character. Besides, I’m up for just about any title you write right now.

    My question is if I buy this, Captain Marvel, the theoretical Valkyrie and Satana books (which I totally would), what’s the likelihood that I could eventually get a PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT ongoing?

    Comment from Dean
    Time: July 19, 2012, 12:47 pm

    Mister Parker I think you became my hero with this article. I just discovered the Dark Avengers and love them…I will be adding She-Hulk to my pull list.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 19, 2012, 12:53 pm


    Comment from Foo
    Time: July 25, 2012, 1:04 pm

    I’m going to look into this book, but I know people who are wondering: why Red She-Hulk and not She-Hulk? What’s she up to these days that we can’t give her profile in this way?

    Comment from Angry Hulk Fan
    Time: July 25, 2012, 2:03 pm

    I love everything you’ve written here about women characters, but I wish it were being done with Jen in a revived She-Hulk book, and that you were taking advantage of a new age of Hulk fans with his book.

    Here Marvel is coming off of a massive success with the Avengers, with people coming out of the theaters *loving* the Hulk, and they’ve decided to replace him in his title book with a concept that should have been as short-lived as Hulked-Out Heroes. I don’t understand that.

    I wish you guys would stop replacing Hulk and She-Hulk with Rulk and She-Rulk. I wish the Rosses would be depowered, so the real Hulks can stop being shuffled to the sidelines.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 25, 2012, 2:54 pm

    AHF and Foo- the story I want to do with the book, making RSH a menace, is something that I think would anger everyone much more if I used Jen, because of how fleshed out her character is. Betty is still new to Hulking and can go a different direction. Also, Big Green is going to be back all over the place so there will be no shortage of him.

    What I hope you’ll find intriguing is that I’m going to address the Hulk expansion in the story in a direct way. I think a lot of readers will be surprised the stance this book takes. Thanks for weighing in, I do appreciate it. JP

    Comment from Foo
    Time: July 25, 2012, 8:04 pm

    Thanks for answering. I’ll keep my eyes open in October. Do you know which week yet?

    Maybe I’ll just Google solicits like an adult.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 25, 2012, 9:32 pm

    Foo, I don’t know- I thought the next issue of Hulk was out this week and it’s not! Schedules are getting a life of their own it seems.

    Comment from Angry Hulk Fan
    Time: July 26, 2012, 8:50 am

    Thanks for the response, Jeff, and yes, you’re right that people would be upset if you did that to Jen. I’m also glad to hear that Hulk is going to be showing up in more places.

    I also think I owe you an apology, as I didn’t realize that we weren’t talking about the Incredible Hulk, but the Hulk title, which has been Red Hulk domain since its inception. I was directed here from another site, and misunderstood.

    Anyway, I understand your interest in a new character that you can develop on your own, and I don’t begrudge you that desire. I’m sorry that I am not inclined to pick the book up as it comes out because of my feelings about the Red Hulks. They feel cheap to me– for the last few years they’ve not only taken the place of Hulk and She-Hulk in books I’d have loved to see them in, but they’ve also taken what are probably the two most important members of Hulk’s human supporting cast– the characters that are best used to contrast against Banner to show exactly how Incredible the Hulk is, and have made them nearly just like him.

    I think a good writer can take some of the worst, most uninspired character concepts and make them brilliant. Deadpool is a perfect example of that. I believe it is entirely possible for you to do that with Red She-Hulk. Apparently many people believe you’ve already done it with Red Hulk. It’s just difficult for me to stomach because all of these Hulks (Skaar included) dilute the specialness of the Hulk for me. Having one other, who behaves in a completely different way, is interesting and exciting, and I never felt like Jen encroached on the Hulk’s “space”. I *loved* Dan Slott’s run on She-Hulk, and was sad to see it end. But Skaar and the Red Hulks are just too much (not to mention how Skaar’s survival erased some of the powerful tragedy from Planet Hulk).

    I’m interested to see what you have to say about the “Hulk expansion” as you put it. I’m a cautious comic reader (they’re expensive, if you like a lot of them!), so I generally wait for reviews from friends before picking up a new storyline. The original Red Hulk run contributed very strongly to this cautiousness. I was very excited about a Hulk “reboot” after how badly WWH ended despite coming after the brilliant Planet Hulk, and was crushed again. Unfortunately, it’s likely that the only way I will pick up this book is if it ends with both Rulks being depowered.

    Sorry for the long diatribe. I don’t know how representative my thoughts are of Hulk and She-Hulk fans, but there they are.

    Anyway, now fully understanding the context, and that you’re replacing Red Hulk with Red She-Hulk in an attempt to bring female characters to the forefront, to show people that they are no less compelling than male characters, I applaud the decision.

    Thanks again for the response, and thanks for providing a place where I can express my feelings directly to the writer of Hulk. Hulk and She-Hulk are my two favorite superheroes (with Ms. Marvel being up there too, I’m really excited that she’s taking the Captain Marvel name, finally), so I’m hoping to see more of them in the future.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 26, 2012, 9:48 am

    I bet you’re fairly representative of Hulk fans. What I wish you would do if you get time is check out the Scorched Earth trade from the library and see what we did upon taking on Red Hulk- what it’s really about is showing what happens when the lifelong antagonist is forced to walk in his enemy’s footsteps. It gave us a chance to flesh out Ross and I think builds up the legend of Hulk (I almost wrote the Legend of Bruce!) in a natural way. As a result when we have Hulk appear, the effect is that his presence is a really big deal.

    Thanks again for coming here and talking, I like knowing where everyone is coming from and getting to tell you my views too.

    Comment from Angry Hulk Fan
    Time: July 26, 2012, 12:32 pm

    Thanks for having me. I’ll check that trade out. I’ll buy it though, since you’ve been so gracious here, and because that is an interesting idea that you’ve described (as long as it’s not permanent!).

    Comment from Angry Hulk Fan
    Time: July 26, 2012, 12:34 pm

    Whoa, what’s with that humongous smiley face?

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 26, 2012, 12:39 pm

    I guess my blog now emoticons! I took it out for ya.

    Comment from Michael J.N.
    Time: July 27, 2012, 12:03 am

    Why do you keep doing this to me? I absolutely hated the entire idea of the Red Hulks (A-Bomb was tolerable because he had a different power-set, Lyra was interesting in how she had to be calm to be bad-ass, and of course Jen is pure awesome). I found the entire Hulk run to be a joke of the worst kind, but then I found out you were going to be writing it. The dude who made me love a killer robot, a gorilla with the mind of a man and the Uranian.

    So I had to take a peek and lo and behold I was hooked. The constant mockery from my fellow comic book loving brother about reading the adventures of Red Hulk were no deterrent. Of course, I still felt some shame early on, hiding Hulk in my issues of Scalped or Walking Dead, but eventually I became a proselytizer for Hulk and proudly announced “There is no character (excepting Spider-Man, as I will never forgive OMD, yes I know it’s “just comics”, it’s my right) so broken that Jeff Parker can’t fix them and get me to read that book.”

    So, you just had to go and find the one character I detested more than Red Hulk and see what you could do. Well, after Agents, Thunderbolts ( I won’t call it DA, and you can’t make me…well unless you edit my comment, but I don’t think you’d do that), and Hulk, I’ll give you those 2 issues and possibly a third, but man that better be some awesome writing.

    I’m sort of scared to hit the submit button, pretty sure I rambled through this, but it is 4am, so please forgive any typos or insanity.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 27, 2012, 12:13 am

    All right Michael, let’s make it happen! Thanks for the vote of confidence, it’s much appreciated.

    Oh, and that trait of Lyra’s where getting mad makes her weak is one of my favorite ideas that Fred Van Lente implemented, I’m still jealous of that!

    Good to hear from you.

    Comment from ZombieWolf
    Time: July 27, 2012, 6:27 am

    Hey Jeff! Dude, I love your Red Hulk serious to death! (it’s the main reason I got into monthly issues in the first place). I’m stoked for She Red taking center stage and I hope that the same kick butt storyline and action you gave her dad will be bestowed on her.

    Although I am pretty sad about Big Red being booted off his own series. I just hope his next series will have all the awesomeness you gave him, and possibly more.


    Annie rocks my socks. I never thought I’d say this…but she and Rulk make a very cute couple.

    Comment from Michael J.N.
    Time: July 28, 2012, 6:42 pm

    By the way, is there any chance that “Red She-Hulk” will get changed to a more manageable name? I mean it makes her a double derivative character and it really highlights the fact that there is no unique facet to her “Hulk-ness” Even Red Hulk started off with that energy absorption power, if you trace her path through the “Reds” and if you track her through the “Shes”, Jen was the first female Hulk, and she was able to change at will and retain her normal personality (for the most part) and, as we’ve already discussed, Lyra has the whole “rage makes me weak” thing. Is there anything power-set wise that makes her unique, and if not, maybe a more distinctive code name would help her carve out her own niche.

    Not to belabor the point, but Red She-Hulk feels like calling Storm “Black She-Thor”. Ok, that’s pretty bad, but I hope you get the point.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 28, 2012, 7:31 pm

    I’ve actually been pushing for a name I like, but that kind of thing is always tough. Still, keep your fingers crossed please!

    Comment from Ray
    Time: July 28, 2012, 10:44 pm

    I don’t see why this is such a big deal. I’ve always read female hero books. In fact, I feel no need to read the new Ms. Marvel because I bought, read, and enjoyed all 50 issues of the previous volume. I bought HERALDS. I’d buy MARVEL DIVAS if I could find it. Liu’s pitch was weak because it involved a motley crue of the same heroines we alreday know. Pitch a mini for the women of NEXTWAVE. Monica, Elsa, and Tabitha! That will sell.

    Comment from Joe Huber
    Time: July 29, 2012, 1:08 am

    I hope Marvel continues moving forward on diversity. I’d love to see solo titles (or even mini-series, limited series etc) of females like Black Widow (even though Brubaker uses her as much or more than Winter Soldier in Winter Soldier) Storm, Psylocke, She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters).

    Marvel has to see some of the success DC has been having with diversity. Batgirl, Batwoman, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Catwoman, Supergirl, World’s Finest. I mean there have been some failures like Mr Terrific, Static Shock, Voodoo etc but that’s what you risk when you try something new.

    I’d love to see titles outside the Avengers or X-Men lines like Alpha Flight which I was severly disappoint it got canceled. That was a really good mini-series. Or how about some different genres? More horror and more sci-fi? Blade would fit in very well with the current Marvel. Everybody loves swords and vampires!

    Questions for Jeff – With the recent industry growths in sales of from AvsX, DC’s new 52 and titles like The Walking Dead #100 selling 300,000+ books and the return of Valiant which is bringing great quality work, do you think Marvel will be taking more risks on some characters of diverse racial and sexual backgrounds? More females and characters like Black Panther, Storm, Psylocke, Luke Cage, X-23, Blade getting solo titles for the first time or again? We see what Bendis is doing with Miles Morales in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man so it shows a black character can sell as a solo title at Marvel. How much of it is creative teams maybe not being as interested in a character as the fans and how much of it is Marvel maybe being careful to avoid something that might not sell? I’m not accusing Marvel of anything because they gave Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, X-23, Daken and Black Panther runs that might have lasted longer than sales warranted. I’m just saying as a fan I’d like to see a more diverse Marvel again. In other words bring back Alpha Flight! hahaha

    Thanks Jeff for putting up with my sarcasm and serious questions…

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 29, 2012, 6:49 am

    Joe, I like your vision. I know for a fact a lot of the characters you mention are beloved by creators and come up a lot. And they’re even beloved by the people up top but they’re wary of the market for them. That’s why I’m asking that we do a big push and show that books like this can really sell. It sounds self-serving because obviously I’d come off looking pretty good, but it really would open up our options for the kind of books that get greenlit. Then we’d be closer to bringing back multiple genres too. That’s the way to healthy industry.

    Comment from Angry Hulk Fan
    Time: July 30, 2012, 2:15 pm

    Hey Jeff,

    I just wanted to let you know that I did buy the Scorched Earth trade, and read it this weekend. It’s definitely better than my first experience with the title, but I’m sorry to say that Red Hulk is still just not for me. I liked your statement about Ross being forced to walk in Hulk’s shoes, but I didn’t get that from the book itself at all. I expected some kind of self-reflection and humility from Ross, but got arrogance and rudeness. I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you. I guess that’s how he is, and he’s unlikely to change at his age, and that’s fine, but it’s just not really the kind of thing I like to see in a superhero book.

    Regardless, please know that I do really appreciate your personal effort to reach a Hulk fan.

    Thanks again.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: July 30, 2012, 3:19 pm

    Well, the change doesn’t happen that soon, I didn’t think that would be believable. It takes almost my whole run. I thought you might like seeing him get hit a lot! Thanks so much for giving it a shot, I do appreciate that a lot.

    Comment from Caz
    Time: July 30, 2012, 11:28 pm

    @Angry Hulk Gan: Except Skaar was always meant to survive and Pak’s storyline with Skaar and Banner was great!

    And I disagree, Betty and General Ross becoming Hulks has been great for them. Betty was dead and this was a good way to bring her back and now she’s a badass and no longer needs rescuing.

    And Betty and Her father had gotten powers before. Like when she was Harpy.

    I’m looking forward to this book, because Betty is awesome!

    Pingback from Ein Bild von einem (Super)Mann – Superhelden, Ideale und Sexismus « Ein Comic Leben
    Time: July 31, 2012, 12:49 am

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    Comment from Angry Hulk Fan
    Time: July 31, 2012, 8:33 am


    Yeah, you’re right that it shouldn’t happen that quickly. Clearly you know what you’re doing!

    It’s interesting that you thought I’d enjoy seeing him get hit a lot. I had a friend who expected that, too, from one of the AvX issues where he takes a beating. There are characters that you love to hate, right? Those are the characters you love to see take a beating. I don’t enjoy seeing Red Hulk take a beating. I just want him gone. I’m sorry, because I realize those words might be painful to you, as you’ve put a lot of effort into writing and developing him.

    If he ever gets depowered, I promise you that I will go back and read the rest of your run on this comic, as I’ll be able to just look at it as a temporary event like Betty becoming the Harpy. But right now, it’s hard for me to read anything with him in it without seeing a less likeable, red replacement for one of my favorite superheroes.

    @Caz: I know Skaar was meant to survive, but I disagree with the decision. I’m also happy to have Betty not need rescuing, but I’d prefer it was due to different reasons (her intelligence, for example) than that she was turned into yet another Hulk. I’m happy for you that you’re enjoying everything, though!

    Jeff, I’m sorry so much of what I’ve posted here has been negative. I also really want to be supportive what you’re doing for women in comics, but I’ve really been off-topic. I’m going to go ahead and move on, as I think it detracts from what you’re trying to do here.

    Good luck, and thanks again!