Here are some questions that, while not technically speaking “frequently asked,” definitely come up a lot, in our own minds, as we consider our own programming.
What is an Adventure School for Ladies?
Please see our History and Future page, here. Basically: We have no idea. Are you OK with that? Then you are our ideal collaborator.
Do I have to know how to draw or be obsessed with comics to participate in the Comics Intensive?
No. But you do have to be interested in the idea of comics as holding a potential to develop new forms of communication.
How old do I have to be to attend the Adventure School for Ladies: Comics Intensive?
Old enough to draw from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day for two weeks, with only one day off, during which you will probably draw anyway. Comfortable enough to be able to defend what you believe to be right and malleable enough to be willing to learn anyway. Be warned: We will make fart jokes. We will swear, even if we try not to. We will talk about, and probably look at, pictures of naked ladies. It’s a comics class. If these things make you or your guardian uncomfortable, then you probably shouldn’t be reading comics. On the other hand, the best way to change comics’ decades-long reliance on juvenile humor and boobs will be to have more creators interested in other stuff. Maybe you should come anyway.
This sounds an awful lot like that Ladydrawers stuff. Do you know those people?
Yes. We are those people. And this is, essentially, a Ladydrawers class. We will be using Ladydrawers data to inspire, challenge, and situate our collaborative work. If you’re not familiar with what we do, read about our postcard project, check out our blog, read our first anthology, listen to us (or collaborator Esther Pearl Watson) on the radio, read about us in English or Dutch (
and, if Dutch, please tell us what it says or see Liz Holden’s translation below), watch this video we made of things people said about us on the Internet, and definitely read the column on Truthout. These are not required texts to participate in the Comics Intensive, but they will give you a general idea of what we do and how we work.
Well why not just call it the Ladydrawers School?
Ladydrawers is the name taken by a loosely affiliated group of former students who run a Twitter feed (@TheLadydrawers), host events on gender diversity in the comics industry, and create comics using research methodologies. It is also the name of the class Anne Elizabeth Moore teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Ox-Bow where the raw data that fuels our work is accrued and explored, as well as the name of a Truthout column on gender and media Moore co-creates with a different comics artist each month. In an effort to de-brand the notion that gender should not be a decisive factor in comics publishing, sales, or readership—we are of the opinion that gender should not be a consideration at all—this course will run under a different name. The Adventure Shool for Ladies predates the Ladydrawers project by a couple of years, and forms the basis for a pedagogical method of participatory learning and teaching that better describes the way Ladydrawers functions, although research from the SAIC Ladydrawers course and conducted by Ladydrawers students will continue to fuel our collaborations. Graduates of the Adventure Shool for Ladies: Comics Intensive may find themselves interested in joining forces with the Ladydrawers collective, which may or may not develop an organizational structure by then, who knows. You, in other words, are welcome to identify as a “Ladydrawer.” You do not need our permission, nor do you need to work directly with us.
Do I have to identify as a feminist to attend the Adventure School for Ladies?
It is essential to our programming that we request only that you be willing to identify as “ladylike.” Gender is a performance, and we are requesting for political reasons that you position yourself along a particular stretch of an imagined gender binary. This is an anti-capitalist strategy as well as a safeguard for our students: you will not be comfortable working on the issues of global capitalism that emerge in the comics industry if you do not do so in solidarity with those who often find themselves silenced under this system. While the issues of silencing under global capitalism are not exclusively tied to gender—they are tied also to race, class, sexuality, and hundreds of other factors—historical and theoretical precedent allows gender to be understood as transient in a way that race, class, and sexuality are not currently. Additionally, the Adventure School for Ladies is the funniest name we could come up with, so we’re stickin’ with it.
Do I have to identify as queer to attend the Adventure School for Ladies: Comics Intensive?
No, but you do need to be comfortable with the fact that what you are doing is queer, even if you don’t want to admit it. The bottom line is: we don’t care how you identify, in any perceived area of potential difference, as long as we can walk into class every morning and jokingly say, “Hello, Ladies!” and this doesn’t cause some kind of panic of self-esteem, gender dysphoria, or questions about whether or not those jeans make your butt look big. They might. What the hell do we care? We already like you. And we’re all here, together, drawing comics that identify and challenge oppression under the free market. It’s a way bigger concern than your butt, for sure.
What if I am male? A straight, white, American, cismale? Can I attend the Adventure School?
Of course. But in the future, please refrain from flattering yourself that we, or anyone else, intend to persecute, punish, or challenge you for the privileges you enjoy under global capitalism. We like everybody. And we believe that the issues of global capitalism that affect the comics industry damage everybody. They keep cool stuff from existing in the world, that you could be reading, and they keep the bar for cool stuff really low, that could be challenging you to make better work. Self-identified men have participated in every iteration of Ladydrawers courses and collaborations held thus far, and we are of the opinion that they will not stop just because we are now working under the name “Adventure Shool.” We could be wrong, however, which would probably make us laugh really hard.
If I love what you are doing but don’t personally want to spend two weeks drawing comics. How can I participate?
The very best way would be to donate some money. $700 covers all our lunches for the whole two weeks. $500 will pay for one of our rented spaces or get one deserving student in, tuition free—or could result in discounted tuition for everyone. (Feel free to stipulate. You can even have a scholarship named in your honor.) $300 will allow us to hire a TA. Even a hundred bucks toward a scholarship fund will greatly help one brilliant student in need. Or, you can donate drawing or printing supplies, lend us a car or bike, spread the word on our behalf, or just come check out what we made at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, June 16 & 17th.
What is the single most important thing I should bring with me as I prepare to participate in the Adventure School for Ladies: Comics Intensive?
A sense of humor. However, if you ask students who have participated in Ladydrawers classes before, they will probably answer, “coffee.”