Review: Voices That Count: A Comics Anthology by Women
by Diana Lopez Varela, Maria Hesse, Leticia Dolera, Lola Garcia and Sandra Sabates. IDW Publishing, June 2022. 125 p. ill. ISBN 9781684059171 (h/c), $16.99.
Voices That Count: A Comics Anthology by Women is a comics anthology previously published in Spain, which collects nine stories by female Spanish cartoonists. It covers a broad range of feminist topics, from love and relationships, to the difficulties of speaking up in professional environments, to the gendered expectations underlying eating disorders. Eating disorders are a predominant theme in “The Bug” by Diana López Varela, whose art stands out among a talented crowd.
“The Bug”’s mint green and pink color palette, visual metaphoric body horror, and clean manga-inspired art style enunciate the contradiction inherent to the story. Our protagonist restricts her eating to gain control over others’ perception of her, yet she is allowing patriarchy to control her by restricting her eating. Meanwhile “Sexier,” by Raquel Riba Rossy and Leticia Dolera, draws attention for its frank discussion of how beauty standards are even imposed on those women who don’t want to allow their choices to be dictated by said beauty standards. It all comes together in the artists’ statements at the end of the book, necessary additions that contribute to the clarity of this collection. While a few stories in the anthology come across as less masterful (the last story features few of the tools sequential art can use to shine), this anthology still deserves a read for its feminist messaging and breadth of styles.
Voices That Count: A Comics Anthology by Women is recommended for teen and young adult comics collections in middle school, high school, and public libraries.
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