What do you get when you combine three of my favourite things: the history of women in comics, tattooed ladies, and animal rescue? Things & Ink's second Miniature Ink exhibition featuring kewpie dolls with all sales proceeds going to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home!
I've been a subscriber to Things & Ink for a while, an independent tattoo magazine packed with gorgeous artwork and great articles, all with a supremely women-friendly approach. The Miniature Ink II exhibition at the Atomica Gallery in London begins on the 23rd of September, showcasing work from over 100 international tattoo artists who were given a kewpie doll as their canvas.
Kewpies, perhaps most well known now for their stylish place in traditional tattoo work, are rejuvenated from their initial popularity as flash tattoos in the early 1900s. These cute little characters were the creation of Rose O'Neill back in 1909 in the Ladies' Home Journal (US), tumbling down the side of her story pages and advertising multiple products.
Kewpie Sorcerer done for @thingsandink and @atomicagallery #miniatureinkii #miniatureink #miniatureinkshow #kewpie !! Cheers A photo posted by Henbohenning (@henbohenning) on
The Kewpies marched for suffrage, an important milestone on the road to improving women's rights given the national love for these little cherubs. O'Neill would parade through the streets, holding her Kewpie dolls high with banners running between them: "Votes for Women!" and "Give Mother the Vote!"
Unusually for the time, O'Neill maintained all her rights to her creations, achieving great financial success and popularity, allowing her to bring attention to the cause without fear of bad press or harassment.
Finn the Kewpie. This is the kewpie I did for Miniature Ink II. An exhibition being put on by @atomicagallery and @thingsandink to raise money for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home #rizza_boo #miniatureink #miniatureinkii #finnthehuman #bmo #adventuretime #kewpietime #finnandjake 💌email@example.com A photo posted by Rizza Boo (@rizza_boo) on
Demand was so high that the Kewpie doll was soon created in 1912, with many a soldier carrying them to war for luck, and it took at least twenty factories in Germany, as well as manufacturers in France and Belgium, to fulfil the orders.
Later, in the '30s, the Kewpies were given their own comics but that isn't what O'Neill is most renowned for in comics. That honour goes to 'The Old Subscriber Calls', a four panel comic rendered in O'Neill's favoured cascaded style published in 1896 in Truth magazine - the first recorded American comic created by a woman.
🔪🔪🔪 #miniatureinkII #occulttattoo A photo posted by Liz Clements Illustration (@lsbeth) on
You can see many more of the Kewpies before the exhibition on Instagram using tags #miniatureinkII and #miniatureink, get all details at the event page on Facebook here, and sales are on a first come, first serve basis.
You can also read more about Rose O'Neill on my site here, with more soon to come!
Hit the jump for the full list of artists:
At the end of a wonderful week of articles on the LSE Human Rights blog focusing on comics, human rights, and representation, comes my "mic drop" moment - a look at the forgotten women of comics history.
These women were popular, successful, influential and brilliant, yet repeatedly omitted from the history books with the great exception of "herstorian" Trina Robbins.
This is a brief look at just some of those women, built upon my university and ongoing research, and has had an amazing reaction - I'm thrilled!
In a year already tragically marked by the ever familiar battle between art and religion, freedom of speech and religious (in)tolerance, this fable about faith, identity, and art within an oppressive society from the critically acclaimed Miss Lasko-Gross has been noted as being particularly timely.
It's a tale that will be relevant for a long time to come, commenting not only on fundamentalist beliefs but societal oppression of women, rebellion against repression, and the power of art.
Underground comix star Lasko-Gross is well known for her celebrated semi-autobiographical graphic novels Escape from "Special" and A Mess of Everything (available from Fantagraphics), as well as featuring in the Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women touring exhibition.
The world of superheroes is a funny old place, home to some of the craziest and most imaginative storytelling of the last century, but eternally trapped in a constantly regressive rut. Long time fans simultaneously demand change and uniformity, for heroes to evolve and remain the same age forever more.
This month Marvel announced three key upcoming changes in its comics line, which was met with familiar outrage and increasing mainstream press interest towards this medium that has given the public their favourite superhero movies. But what was most interesting to many onlookers were not the announcements themselves, but the chosen method of broadcast.
The View, a US daytime talk show, exclusively announced that Thor was to be female in an upcoming title. "It’s a huge day in the Marvel Universe," revealed Whoopi Goldberg. "Thor, the God of Thunder, he messed up. He is no longer worthy to hold that damn hammer of his. And for the first time in history that hammer is being held by a woman."
For such a small country, Scotland has long maintained a great influence over the comics industry - at least that part that reads in English at least - from the long-running Beano to modern day maestros Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, not to mention every Judge Dredd and Electric Soup in between.
Scottish comics are thriving, with sold out conventions in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, the first Masters in Comic Studies at Dundee University, and small press success for many.
Yet despite Scotland's illustrious history and a reputation for funding national endeavours, the country lags far behind our European cousins in taking comics 'seriously'. While comics are now winning Costa Awards and elbowing review space in the UK newspapers, the popularity of "wham! pow!" headlines is still high, and negative publicity the more frequent outcome.
This Monday, the Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance (SICBA) introduced Scotland's first comic symposium, Issue #One, drawing together speakers from academia, the comics industry, and beyond to discuss - with a willing audience - "the future of Scotland’s comic book industry".
A great interview with Kelly Sue DeConnick, a look at the return of Captain Marvel, and chatting about the popularity of the Carol Corps.
The crazily busy writer was kind enough to give up some of her time to answer some questions on all things Carol Danvers as the character makes her spectacular cosmic return!