Column: New San Diego IDW Comic Takes Women’s Lives Seriously

Patricia Campos was the first female jet pilot in the Spanish Navy. She has been a football coach, newspaper columnist and football commentator for radio and television. After leaving the army in 2013, she came out as a lesbian in an autobiographical book.

And in 2015 Campos moved to Uganda to spend four years teaching the sport to women and children. This passion project grew into Goals for Freedom, a global non-profit organization that promotes equal rights, education and empowerment through football.

Like the other women featured in “Voices That Count,” a new comic book anthology released this week by San Diego-based IDW Publishing, Campos has an incredible and inspiring story to tell. And after reading IDW’s English translation of this acclaimed Spanish collection, they will be your stories too.

“People can learn from all these stories. You are going to read this and you will know what really happens to women in life,” Campos said during a Zoom interview from his home in Valencia, Spain.

“With this book, you will be able to help your friends, your daughters and yourself. Maybe you are from another part of the world, but at the end of the day, we are the same. It is a question of respect and the fight for equality.

First published in Spanish in 2021, “Voices That Count” features nine stories of love, liberation, struggle and emotional independence told in comic book form. Each of the stories was written and illustrated by a different all-female creative team, and each collaboration tackles big issues and intimate revelations in its very own unique way.

The cover of “Voices That Count”, featuring artwork by Esther Gili.

(IDW Editions)

In the “Julio” cinematic, author Julia Otero and illustrator Ada Diez tell the touching story of how a strong father’s determination to raise an independent daughter made him a “self-taught feminist.” The trippy “24 Hours,” written by Lola García and illustrated by Agustina Guerrero, imagines an unassuming day in a world where women are in power and men have to take what alpha women cook up.

And in “The Bug,” writer Diana López Varela and illustrator Akira Pantsu join forces to chronicle Varela’s fierce battle with anorexia, which the high school narrator calls “that bug that nests in my brain.”

With artwork ranging from dark and nightmarish to bright and bubbly, “The Bug” follows the teenage girl from Varela as she struggles with depression, guilt and anxiety before regaining her health through therapy, support of her friends and family, and a feminist. awareness.

What this chorus of diverse voices adds to is a tribute to survival. Survival of the heart, survival of the soul and survival of humanity.

“Comics are about telling everyone’s stories. The stories of ‘Voices That Count’ are universal. They’re not just for women,” said IDW originals editor Megan Brown, who pointed to serious issues with George Takei’s graphic memoir, “They Called Us Enemy,” and the “March” trilogy. from the late civil rights giant. John lewis.

“Things like body image and what it does to your self-confidence are things trans and non-binary people have to deal with as well. It’s really good when you can read something about your experience that you can relate to. The idea that you are not alone and that you have a supportive community is really great. It’s a good feeling to have this support.

The final story in the “Voices That Count” collection is “Mzungu”, which was written by Campos and drawn by Sara Soler. In nine action-packed pages, “Mzungu” (meaning “white” in Swahili) follows Campos as she shatters one gender stereotype after another.

As a girl, she played the trumpet and lived for football, two hobbies that were supposed to be for boys. As the first and only female jet pilot in the Spanish Navy, she had to be the best at everything, all the time.

When she left the military to coach soccer in California, Campos rediscovered the youthful joys of being a sportswoman. She loved it so much that she took her soccer ball and her passion to Uganda, where she triumphed over a deeply sexist society to form soccer teams for girls, boys and women with AIDS.

For Campos, being part of “Voices That Count” was a way of doing what she has always done. Sharing deep stories in comic form opens up lines of communication and reaches people in surprising ways. Campos will always be up for it. The stronger, the better.

“Maybe you see a book that talks about equality and you think, ‘I don’t want to read that,'” Campos said. “But that’s what makes the title of the book so beautiful. You hear ‘Voices That Count’ and you think ‘What are you going to tell me? I want to know.’ This book is perfect for the society we live in right now.

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