Fear of a Bitch Planet.

Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1I usually hate to double dip in regards to posts, but this news is too good not to share on the blog! First and foremost, solicitations for Image’s June slate of books have dropped and yours truly will have a short featured in Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1! Massive shout out to my partner-in-crime and collaborator Maria Frölich as well as the entire Bitch Planet team from creative to editorial. I’m honored to be in same league as y’all, as fleeting as the moment for that might be!

Want to know more? Of course you do! So I advise you mosey on down to Image’s website and preorder a copy of Image+ #12 to find out more about it. The magazine not only contains interviews with the Bitch Planet: Triple Feature gang, but also a Walking Dead short for you zombie lovers, and an expose on Marc Silvestri (my favorite ol’ school Image artist). The homie David Brothers brings you the best in independent comics month after month. Don’t sleep.


Wisdom and earth.

A lot can happen in a month!

First and foremost is that I and artist Maria Frölich will have a short story appearing in an upcoming issue of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s and Val De Landro’s Bitch Planet. I’m honored to have been allowed to contribute to the amazing world that Kelly Sue and Val have created, to work with an artist of Maria’s caliber, and to learn from an editor as skilled as Lauren Sankovitch. All opportunities are a gift, but this one came at an exceptionally trying time in my life and gave me a bit of hope in a year where happy moments have been few and far between.

2016 has made the world of Bitch Planet more ominous than satirical—a world that could easily enter into our reality via the randomness of an election or a major catastrophe (or perhaps one in the same). I am a massive fan of fictional dystopian futures and equally a fan of making sure they never come to fruition!

With the publication of this story I find myself in a small, but powerful and growing league of black women writers in comics. And I could not be more pleased about it. Black women have always been here and have always been creating. What is new is the recognition—the realization that to have an organization where images of black female bodies are a source of income but black women are not invited to speak is parasitic and harmful. That realization, and the reaching back of a small handful of white women and black men who have secured a foothold in the industry, has finally resulted in a space for black women to write in the mainstream. However, it is important to note that black women created their own lucrative space outside of the mainstream long before we had become a consideration to those we championed as they pushed through glass ceilings. As I’ve said, we’ve been here.

And now we’re there. With the addition of powerful writers such as Roxane Gay, Vita Ayala, and Yona Harvey at DC and Marvel, black women are no longer voiceless in the mainstream. Flesh-and-blood black women are receiving compensation for their creativity. There is now reciprocity at these companies—black women are consumers, black female characters are profitable commodities, and black women are highly sought (and fairly paid) artistic laborers. I cannot support companies that take from black communities—black women—and give nothing in return. Thankfully, I no longer have to count Marvel and DC among said companies. And while it’s frustrating that we had to wait until 2009 and 2016 for that to come about, the fact that it has come about should be positively noted. And I hope we do not once again see a regression for nearly a decade should these women decide to return to their original creative mediums.

We are together, but unequal. While I am absolutely elated to have women such as Roxane Gay in this industry and in the mainstream it is very important to note that their presence is a clear example of “twice as good for half as much.” For only black writers must reach the pinnacle of fame in other creative industries in order to be deemed acceptable to pen a mid-list mainstream comic book. A white man or woman? Well, he or she would merely need to have written an independent comic that an editor took a liking to in order to receive an invitation to pitch. The doors are now open to everyone, but only black people have a very long and winding staircase they must climb in order to reach them. It’s okay though, we’re used to having to be twice as good to get in, only now we’re going to be damn sure to remind you of it once we get there.

As for me? I’m going to work on stepping my game up to reach that elusive 200 percent! Sadly, I can’t talk about my next step now—God, I’ve become one of those people—but poke me about it in a few months!


How does it feel?

That’s a snazzier title for a blog post than “Untitled.”

Times have been hard. Excruciatingly hard. Do-not-want-to-get-out-of-bed-in-the-morning hard. But I keep getting out of bed in the morning, every morning, until the day that I don’t.

I am very tired. And now that my birthday has just passed, I am also very old.

Tiffany Pollard

The above meme has strangely become my life’s motto. Sadly, I’m not as aggressive as New York—the television personality or the place of my birth—but I got up this morning, and the morning before that. I paid a couple of bills. I had some tea.

Okay, I had lots of tea.

All my clothes fit again. Chunks of weight have fallen by the wayside as parts of my life have been stripped from me—love, home, career. I have muscles in places that were soft before, sinew sparking to life with each box hauled and each hill climbed. I hike a lot, in the hopes that I can somehow walk my way out of my troubles. Truthfully, I’m probably asking for it given my penchant for routes that I assume black people don’t take often—given how often the police take an interest in me.

Tiny, and yet apparently very dangerous.

I wave cheerfully to everyone I encounter to avoid becoming the next Twitter hashtag. Silly, because not one of those souls was extinguished due to a lack of amiableness. And doing so distracts me from the crunch of pine cones beneath my feet and the magical way sunlight filters through the leaves. If only I could figure out a way to walk forever, a part of nature and yet apart from it.

I get up earlier as my workouts get longer—15 minutes, 30, 45, 60, an hour and 15.

I am of a mind to read Walden again, this time in earnest as an instruction manual of sorts and not hastily flipped through for a school assignment. I’m at a point where I’m required to start life over but would rather retire from it entirely. I reflect on white faces in articles, men and women who have walked away from Wall Street and onto farms and into artisanal [insert object here] franchises and wonder if I can do the same. Is it feasible for a woman in a much lower tax bracket? Is it feasible for a woman walking through life alone?

I don’t hear kind words often. I hear harsh ones frequently. But I’m here.

Until I find someplace else to be.


What’s in a name?

Kevin Zawacki’s recent article on Internet identity has fascinated me and has also forced me to take a closer look at my own online behavior. As the Internet has grown more personal and less mysterious, more people have taken to using their own name as their personal online handle. And yet I cling to Digital Femme as if a comfortable pair of shoes.

Why? Truthfully my last name is dull and fairly common. I’ve finally grown to enjoy my first name, Cheryl Lynn, no longer ditching the country compound in an attempt to appear sophisticated. Friends call me Cher though—because humans are lazy. And I answer to that name because Cher makes me think of Clueless and the ‘70s—and both of those things delight me. (Though I must admit I get a thrill from hearing strangers get my real name right and use it properly. Bonus points for Southern accents too!)

As for the Digital Femme handle, I’m not completely certain why I chose it. I knew I wanted people to be aware that I was a woman in geek circles. (Yet given the rate at which women within geek circles are harassed by men, that was probably an unwise decision.) I also wanted a handle that was my own since previously I had gone by the names of my favorite comic book characters—brands owned by large conglomerates.

And so DigitalFemme.com, hastily chosen because DigitalGirl.com was not available, was born. And I love it.

But I’m not the only Digital Femme! I share the online handle with the phenomenal Carmen Villadar. I’ve almost grown to view her as a digital sister of sorts, to the point where I will take the handle digital_femme on a social networking site, leaving digitalfemme for her if it is available. I also joke that we should fight crime together under the Digital Femme banner given the geek world’s propensity for interracial female crime-fighting duos.

It is amusing to me how digital_femme has supplanted my real name to the point where I grow irritated when the handle has been taken by another. Recently I opened an Origin account only to find that the digital_femme handle had been assumed. I was furious. How dare someone use my name?

But it is not my name, is it? But why would someone want to use a handle so strongly linked to two existing women? For example, the Digital_Femme account on Disqus belongs to neither me nor Carmen and is fairly recent. I’m intrigued!

Are you a Digital Femme? Hit me up.