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Women in Horror Month

February 8, 2020 Leave a comment

February is Women in Horror Month. This event has grown over the years into an international movement supporting and celebrating women authors, artists, film-makers, and everyone else who contributes to the horror genre. If you don’t already know about it, you should. Here are a few links to get you started.

The Women in Horror Month web site: https://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/

The WiHM Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WomenInHorrorMonth/

…and Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/womeninhorrormonth/

…and Twitter feed: @WiHmonth

…and hashtag: #WiHM

But, of course, women in horror are not something to be celebrated in February and forgotten for the rest of the year. These sites and groups are busy year-round. There is always news, and there are always creators in need of support. Today, I heard about Debbie Lynn Smith Daughetee, the owner of Kymera Press. She has just announced a Kickstarter campaign for Mary Shelley Presents, the Trade Paperback.

Using Mary and Frankenstein’s monster as hosts, this project will use the graphic novel format to retell stories by the great female horror writers of the Victorian era. It looks good – very good. Here’s a link to the Kickstarter page.

Borrowed from the Mary Shelley Presents Kickstarter page.

Kymera Press is one of the few woman-owned comic book publishers in the industry. They embrace the fact that women are the fastest growing demographic in comic book readership, and in their own words, they “publish comics that are written and drawn by women, to be loved and cherished by folks of all sexes.” Here’s a link to their web site.

As in science, art, and just about everything else, women have been involved in horror from the very beginning, and their contributions to the genre are just starting to be recognized. Everyone knows about Mary Shelley, of course, but she was not alone. This BBC article claims that women wrote as much of 70% of the horror tales published during the form’s first golden age in the 19th century.

Here are some names to conjure with: Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edith Nesbit, Helena Blavatsky, and Edith Wharton. In addition to the titles for which they are famous, all of these ladies wrote horror tales. And there are many more ladies whose work is being brought back to life – if you’ll pardon the expression – by Kymera Press and others.

A couple of years ago, I published an anthology called More Deadly Than the Male, in which I showcased the work of these ladies and others. That’s one reason why this Kickstarter campaign is especially interesting to me. If you’d like to know more about the book, here’s a post I wrote about it, and here is an interview I did for Colorado Public Radio talking about the book and the ladies whose work features in it.

More Deadly than the Male

A small but shameless plug for my own book.

I’m working on a couple more anthologies, and part of me hopes to compile another anthology of stories by even more of the ladies who helped define horror in its early days. Another part of me hopes that it will no longer be necessary to showcase women – as writers of horror or in any other context – with the unspoken subtext “…and they’re girls!” Rather, I hope for a world in which they and their work are recognized on their own merits, on equal terms with the male writers whose names are still much better known.

To me, Women in Horror Month is part of the process of bringing that about – and of helping ensure that today’s women in horror will never face such undeserved obscurity.