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Work In Progress / 21 April 2021

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Where are all the women?

Article / 19 April 2021

By Rebecca Olsen

We’ve all heard of Wonder Woman. She’s as tough as they come, smart as a whip, and was there at the creation of the Justice League, way back in issue #28 of The Brave and The Bold, in March, 1960. But she’s been around a lot longer than that. She made her debut to the world in October, 1941.

Who would Superman be without Lois Lane? She’s been the star reporter for the Daily Planet since day one, way back in 1938.

But have you heard of Katy Keane? Or Mopsy? Or Phantom Lady?

Nyoka the Jungle Girl starred in a whopping 76 issues from 1946-1953. Suzie starred in 52 from 1945-1954.

If you’re not a real comic book guru, chances are you’ve been missing out on a lot of incredible leading ladies. The website Comic Book Plus has a category for leading ladies, which boasts 117 different comics, and over 1,000 different issues.

If you look closely, the vast majority of them went out of print in the 50s. A few of them made it to the 60s.

And if you look around the Wikipedia list of superheroines, you’ll notice that there seemed to be a burst of new female characters in the 80s. Though there still aren’t that many that come to mind when we’re talking about leading ladies.

So what happened? War, probably.

When the US finally got involved in WWII, the total number of deployed servicemen nearly quadrupled in one year, from about 450,000 in 1940 to about 1.8 million in 1941. By 1942, the total doubled, to 3.9 million. By 1945, the US had about 12.2 million active duty troops deployed around the world. To put that into perspective, that’s just shy of 10% of the total population of the US at the time.

The war created a void in the US workforce. To make up the slack, women were recruited to replace men in repurposed factories. And they totally crushed it! Rosie the Riveter became a new role model for women and girls all over the country.

We Can Do It! was the original feminist battle cry, and was even propagated by the US government. And rightly so. The men may have been overseas in the trenches, but they were using supplies built by women. The war effort depended on women. And the economy depended on women.


Here’s a Rosie putting rivets on a bomber plane.


By Alfred T. Palmer - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress


So it should come as no surprise that there were at least 117 leading ladies in comic books in the 40s and 50s. Women had risen to a new place of power and strength, and the popular culture of the time was celebrating and mirroring what was seen in society.

So then why do our leading ladies start fading away in the mid to late 50s and early 60s?

The war ended (and thankfully so!)

The soldiers came home to parades and great fanfare, and also a society changed.

Women were used to independence and being praised for their strength. In just a few short years they’d emerged from their kitchens, supported the economy and helped considerably bring about a swifter end to the most catastrophic war in history. Simply put, women had risen to the occasion. And in doing so they had redefined American society.

Unfortunately for American women at the time, however, their male counterparts weren’t at home to witness and evolve in the same way and at the same pace.

After the parades ended and the bands went home, American men expected to go back to life as usual - that is, pre-war life, the husband going off to work and the wife staying at home in the kitchen.

To say that the readjustment post-WWII was difficult for everyone would be an understatement. The automotive industry, for example, refused to hire women after the war ended and factories were repurposed back to peacetime production. These were the same women who were deemed competent enough to build airplanes. After all, the men were back, and they had always enjoyed controlling the labor market. And now that they were war heroes, who could possibly stand in their way?

While many women found themselves being pushed out of skilled jobs, many found clerical positions, and the rise of the office secretary was born. The glass ceiling and the wage gap were born at about the same time. When they did find new jobs, they were nearly universally lower-paying than the ones they’d held during the war.

I suppose secretaries don’t make as credible super heroines as Rosie the Riveter. The We Can Do It! posters must have been torn down and used to fuel the furnace. And popular culture must have done what its always done, followed the moods and trends of the time.

The American Dream was reborn, and with it came a new call to women, “take care of your man.” Post WWII women married younger, and had more children. Even if they wanted to work, there was less time to do so. Magazines featured more and more ads for white picket fences and shiny new appliances, modern conveniences for the modern housewife.

TV shows depicted the ideal American woman as happy, made-up, dressed well, and waiting for her husband with a martini as soon as he got home from the office. Long forgotten were the days of fear and uncertainty.

Women weren’t being called on to be heroic now that the world was enjoying a time of peace, so they hung up their capes and went on with their lives.

Orlok Explains Fanmail

Tutorial / 14 April 2021



Congrats to our Heroes for Causes Article Contest Winner!

News / 07 April 2021

Well, we went through the entries and it was really, really hard, but We eventually chose one piece that stood out above them all!

Our official contest winner is Saikat Goswami, who submitted a well written and insightful article on the history of comics being used to help with real life causes. 

You can check out his article here: All Day Breakfast - Superheroes & Society: When Great Powers Met Great Responsibilities (artstation.com) 

Saikat also scored a cool $50 prize for his entry!

If you'd like to share your writing with the world for a good cause and score some money in the process, just keep an eye out on this blog for future contest announcements!



Comic Culture Profile: Bangladesh

Article / 06 April 2021

By Suzon A. 

How comic books are perceived in Bangladesh?

There was a time when comic books were perceived as children's entertainment only. With the passage of time, that old notion has started changing.    

Through the combination of words and pictures, comics serve as an artistic medium to engage readers. Now comic books are considered to be a form of art that is enjoyed by people of all ages - no longer limited to children.

With that in mind, several publishers have been publishing comic books, and those books have been attracting bookworms to their stalls at the Amar Ekushey Granthamela this year.

Children, teenagers, and adults alike were enthusiastically buying those books, as they consider that form of literature no less entertaining than traditional novels.  

Though there were stalls selling comic books with an exclusive focus on the juvenile age group, some others have comics targeted at people of varied ages.

Dhaka Comics is one of the few publishers that are selling comic books catering to the need of people of different ages. Founded in 2013 by Mehedi Haque, the publisher aims to give preference to local culture in their works. Their popular comics include Zoom, Durjoy, Rishad, Rohan Rohan, Mrittu Pathar and Dinyed.


“People used to think that comics are for children only, but comics have a universal appeal. For instance, a graphic novel can tell the story of a novel through cartoons, making it comprehensible for all,” said Tanjim-Ul-Isalm, the writer of the Ibrahim and Solemani Angti comics by Dhaka Comics.

Last year, the publication brought out Pancha Romancha by Qazi Anwar Hossain. It was a great success, according to Tanjim, who added: “Even adults bought the graphic novel from our stall then…”

The publication rates their comic books using the letters “T”, “M”, and “E”. Books rated “T” are for the teenage audience, while “M” is for matured and “E” is for everyone.

“Their comics are attractive, and stories are adventurous,” said Prodorshee, an eighth grader at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College. She was visiting the stall with her mother.

Prodorshee's mother, Dr. Taniya, also could not restrain herself from joining the discussion. She added on: “During my teenage years, we could only find Unmad to read."

"Things have changed. My daughter has many options now," continued Dr. Taniya, in reference to the variety of comic books available at the book fair.


However, some comic book fans said that the number of comic books at the fair was not sufficient. They appreciated the fact that at least a few publication houses were bringing out new comics and graphic novels though.

“When I was in school, I used to read comics, which were mostly from abroad. Now a few [local] publishers are trying to publish comics incorporating our own culture,” said Tahmid Hossain, a student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

Popular cartoonist Ahsan Habib, editor of Unmad magazine, a pioneer in the genre, said: “Comics are not always for children. Anyone can read those if those are created considering their age. Now the scenario is changing, with initiatives of different young graphic novelists who are explaining a story through cartoons for everyone.”

Mentioning that a wind of change has started to blow, he added: “Different publications now demand graphic novels from me.”

Progoti Publishers has brought out a celluloid graphic novel titled Kasahara by Ahsan Habib this year. The cartoonist said the book is for everyone. 

Another publisher, Panjeri, is selling graphic novels on Charles Dickens, as well as the popular comedy series Basic Ali by Sharier Khan.

The Unmad stall on Bangla Academy premises was seen drawing a large crowd of comic fans.
Apart from that, the fourth edition of a graphic novel series on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman titled Mujib-4, was available at the fair, along with its previous editions.  
A comic series named Chhoto Kaka Babu by Faridur Reza Sagar was available at the stall of Sapta Dinga. The series is also rated for all ages.

DAILY STAR BOOKS

At the recent book fair, popular Bangladeshi stand-up comedian and columnist, Naveed Mahbub, visited the Daily Star Books stall.

People were seen buying his book, Humorously Yours and Counting, published by Daily Star Books. The book is a compilation of his columns, which he wrote for The Daily Star newspaper.



How are they viewed/any impact they've had on Bangladeshi culture, and any way that comic books/graphic novels have affected your life?

In Bangladesh, where four out of ten people are illiterate and the annual income per capita is only about $1,000, spending money on comic books has never been a high priority. However, that has changed over the past three years, as a growing number of Bangladeshis are buying and reading English and Bengali comic books.

Twenty-four-year-old Farhan Mahmud Akash, a business student at a private university in Dhaka, says he can now buy the latest issues of Batman or Hawkeye in the Bangladeshi capital just a few weeks after they are released in North America. In the past, Akash had bought second-hand comics from used bookstores. “Still, I could not follow my favorite titles regularly,” he said, “Also, most of these issues were from the eighties or nineties.”

The situation for readers like Mahmud changed rapidly after stores began importing comics from top Western publishers – like DC, Marvel, Icon, and Vertigo – and selling them in Dhaka.

Bangladesh also now has two comic publishers of its own, which together sell 10 titles. The burgeoning demand has been facilitated in recent years by the release of several Hollywood movies, featuring Marvel and DC superheroes. Meanwhile, social media and the internet have allowed Bangladesh’s publishers to more easily reach out to their target audience.

Growing reader base

Opening a shop selling only comics and paraphernalia was a risky venture for AKM Alamgir Khan, who goes by the nickname “Jamil”. He is the sole proprietor of Jamil’s Comics and Collectables, which launched in Dhaka’s upscale Banani area back in 2010.

“I was doubtful about making profit, as comics culture had not taken off in Bangladesh ’til then,” said Khan. Importers had deemed it inadvisable to ship in expensive comic books, but Khan, a die-hard comic book collector himself, went forth with the venture and ordered a stock of back issues. “The first few months were tough due to low sales, but the reader base grew rapidly with time,” he said.

Khan took another leap of faith in 2011, when he decided to participate in DC Comics’ “New 52” project, in which all its major series were relaunched.

“I wanted to see whether my readers are willing to buy the latest issues of their favorite comic titles, a few weeks after their release in the US,” he said. It was a risky proposition since the cover prices for most of the issues are between $3 to $4.

“For example, I had initially ordered 10 copies of Batman by Scott Snyder. To my surprise, all the copies sold out within three weeks. Soon I reordered for more from DC distributors, and these issues sold out as well!” he said.

The store’s success has encouraged others to open superhero-themed restaurants and stores selling T-shirts, posters, watches, and other memorabilia. “Big-budget superhero movies from Hollywood were also released in Dhaka coincidentally around the same time, catalyzing the growth of this culture,” said Faizul Khan Tanim, a 37-year-old advertising professional and comics collector.

The growing demand encouraged Mehedi Haque, a cartoonist at Unmad, Bangladesh’s longest-running satire magazine, to launch Dhaka Comics this February. “Until now, Dhaka Comics has released eight different titles in Bengali language,” said Haque. With prices ranging between 50 and 120 takas ($0.65 to $1.50), Haque said the company is selling 600 comics per month – up from 300 a month when it launched. The comic books’ genres include mystery, horror, fantasy, science-fiction, comedy, and more.

“Earlier, comics publishers could not survive in Bangladesh, as during the eighties, there was little scope for connecting with your target segment,” said Haque. “But, right now, through social media and the internet, we can reach out to our young readers very easily.”

The revenue is satisfactory compared to the fate of Kalpadoot and Shuchipatra, two Bangladeshi comic publishers founded in the 1990s. Both had to shut down within months of launching, due to low sales.

Comics’ growing popularity in Bangladesh may also be the result of a snowball effect. “The comics community is growing larger by the day in Bangladesh, and some just want to be a part of this community,” said Khan. He explained that many new readers are coming to his store after seeing their friends reading comics.

Comic conventions

As a comic-crazy community gradually formed in Bangladesh, Saadi Habib Rahman and Abu Yousuf – both owners of stores selling action figures and accessories in Dhaka – planned to organize a comic convention in Dhaka.

The first-ever Dhaka Comicon materialized at a restaurant in January of 2012.  It was attended by more than 10,000 fans, who shrugged off a cold wave then. Besides “cosplays”, where participants dress up and pretend to be characters from comic books and pop culture, the two-day event also featured stalls selling T-shirts, comic books, and collectibles.

Following the success of the first convention, Dhaka Comicon 2013 was held at a bigger venue in November and drew in 16,000 people, according to organizer Saadi Habib Rahman. University student Muhammad Mustafa Monowar said he had to wait in queue for an hour and thirty minutes before he could enter the convention.

One week later, the Unmad-JCC Comic Convention was held in Dhaka, which Khan said attracted around 12,000 people. Jamil’s Comics and Collectables gave away more than 22,000 comics at the convention to promote comic culture, he said.

Motivated by the success of these conventions, the organizers have continued running the show annually up until the temporary slow down caused by COVID. 

Orlok Explains April Fool's Day

News / 31 March 2021


Now more than ever we need to put our differences aside. The old divisions of race, religion, gender and politics will only lead us to ruin and not help humanity survive this pandemic. Help your neighbors, regardless of their social status, orientation or beliefs. Change the world, one person at a time.

Thoughts on Coping During Covid

Work In Progress / 31 March 2021

All Day Breakfast Productions proudly presents the open and transparent thoughts of our PR rep, Lys Fulda and the challenges of dealing with living in a COVID ravaged society.

------------------------------

So I think this will be easier as these messages keep coming up in private conversations.  Remember all those messages you saw about the gaslighting of Amerikkka after Trump. We’d be constantly told it wasn’t that bad even though it really fucking was and we dodged a goddamn bullet. You are now dealing with a horror SO big you can’t even really wrap your head around it to get over it.  In the US a whole city would be gone if you put all the deaths in one place. If this were in a zombie movie there would be a big sign saying DO NOT ENTER.  But it’s not that segmented or compartmentalized and your covid pod is. That nice cozy bubble has a leak too. And so you try and move and eat better but you are still tired and let’s be real, that happens if you are lucky a few days a week at best, yet you don’t feel more energetic cause you are still dealing with TRAUMA. My mother might be dead but I look down and yup there’s her thighs:)..If you are living with others the tiniest things annoy you. If you live alone it’s just a question of what stage of The Shining you are in.  The before times are over. The after times sort of haven't really started and it’s a cracked Tabula Rasa. New ways haven’t formed yet so we don’t have a narrative to follow. Hunger Games? Judge Dredd? Who the fuck knows….and your boss and the media says...You aren’t making enough money...you aren’t saving enough for retirement, you aren’t thin enough, you aren’t in shape. You’d feel better if you were just in the office and around other people even though the thought of that fills you with existential dread and you think ….maybe. Shutting out all the bs is hard when your entire brain is starved. And then your brain says but others have it harder..i’m lucky...yes yes you are..so SHARE if you can. Share a laugh, a joke, a shoulder, flirt.  This is HARD give yourself a break. Give others a break.  This is a fucking War/Siege. We have all seen the war movies where the love interests don’t see each other for months or even years and then reconnect and then have to separate again.. It’s more like that than any cute ass lockdown movie although there have been ones that sort of get it.  You are doing the best you can with what you have. You may not be the person you once were at the beginning of this but as we all wanted better than normal maybe you are better than your previous self. You aren’t alone even though the walls around you say “Your my bae forever”.  It’s not just you. You can do this. I believe in you. I love you so love your goddamn badass self and be the hero you need to be even if your superpower is the ability to Inhale, Exhale. Repeat. 

###

#covid19 #trump #iamnotatherapist #therapistsfatigue #cantagirljustgetsometacos #warriorsisterstrong #youdontevenknowtheemailsiget


Want more of Lys's thoughts? Visit www.sphinxpr.com 

A quick update on our status!

News / 26 March 2021


Well it does appear that we have a lot of news and updates ahead of us. 

We never expected this much support this early. 

We're still in beta stages and testing for our website and communications! LOL

As a start up that has to sell a product to raise money for charities, we aren't ready to report stats and figures yet, but we see the support and sales growing daily and we are so appreciative.

Also, the nature of the book sales industry is that we won't actually be collecting the money on those sales for 3-6 months, sometimes longer, so the support everyone is showing us today is what is going to bear fruit for our good work months from now. 

All revenues will be pooled into a fund for disbursement and we will be ready to make announcements for that in a few months when all the sales money has actually come in. 

In the meantime we have a particular interest in several parts of the world.

Being in Canada, the plight of native and indigenous people hits close to home, and we have a lot of issues to fix right here.

Of course this is a democracy with many voices and each member of our team is treated with equal respect and given a voice. 

In future our voting poll will also allow fans and readers to give their opinion on which areas they think we should support. 

We have an awesome IT person that's been building a database of relief organizations in need throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 

We want to hear from YOU too.

Do you know of a place, community or region in trouble? Do you know any local organizations that need help providing food, water or shelter? If so, feel free to use out CONTACT page and drop a line!

Thanks,

Mike

Chair/Creative Director - All Day Breakfast Productions - A Not-for-Profit Publisher

Win $ and Share your Writing with the World - How comics help causes!

News / 25 March 2021

We are looking for a writer out there who can write us a great article about how comic books can and have been used for good causes. 

We're running the contest here: Talented Writers needed to write about comic books and social justice themes | Freelancer 

And someone will be chosen to have their work posted to our blog and shared with the the world, as well as receive a cash prize!

Check the link for full details and to enter!



  

Blessings and Thanks to Everyone for the Support Messages

Work In Progress / 24 March 2021

We are so busy, I have to make this brief. 

We are so happy and overwhelmed with the support of not just the comics community, the business community and the general public. 

We did not expect such an overwhelming response for this venture before we had even finished building the website.

We appreciate your continued patience and each and every message and inquiry will be answered, just bear with us, as a start up NFP we are still building our department contacts and a lot of other things aside from the work of making comics that will feed people, which we have to put first, as our duty as an NFP is to put the public good first in our priorities. 

Thank you so much for the support and we look forward to connecting with all of you inside and outside the comics community working to create a better future. 

Thanks,

Mike Gagnon

Chair/Creative Director - All Day Breakfast Productions - A Not-for-Profit Publisher