Who run the world?
Yesterday, the Valkyries hit 300 members. For those who don’t know, the Valkyries are a group of women who work in comic shops. Retailers, owners, organizers, volunteers - babes on the front lines of the comic world. It’s kind of a big deal. We’re an army.
I started the group two years ago on Facebook out of the desire to connect with other women in my field. I was working full-time at my comic shop, Strange Adventures, and didn’t have many ladies to talk to about what is essentially a pretty niche job. You can’t just plop down at a bar and strike up a conversation about how thought-provoking the back matter of Saga is, y’know? So, the group. We started with, I think, 12 members. Two years later, we’ve crested 300 members throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and beyond. Best part is, it just keeps growing.
What was conceived as a place to converse and vent about our jobs and the industry became something greater than I could have ever imagined. I’ve made incredible friendships and the girls… Man, the girls in this group are amazing. They’ve used it for any number of purposes - sharing rides to conventions, exchanging cosplay tips and back issues, couch-surfing, hosting ladies’ nights and book clubs, and putting together what have now become prerequisite Valkyries Breakfasts at conventions (frequently attracting awesome guest-stars like the ever-supportive Kelly Sue DeConnick, Babs Tarr, Gail Simone and even Chip Zdarsky, who is our honorary fiancé). Publishers have begun to take note of us and involve us, particularly Image, who I have to give props to as being on board from the very start.
It’s a positive space, but it’s also a safe space. We’ve been through loss and love together, and I see friendships popping up between members all the time, supporting each other in troubling times and celebrating the great ones. We started viral campaigns to support books like Saga and Lumberjanes, to great success. I think some people suspect that the group exists just to complain about customers and the industry, but it’s not that at all. It’s a place for nerd girls to feel comfortable, to find companionship and to geek out.
In time, the group got too big for me to moderate alone, and I’m joined by my amazing inner senshi Juliette, Danni, Steenz and Ivy. Juliette, who you might know from The Greatest Comic Cover Of All Time; Danni, who is an acclaimed geeky vlogger; Steenz, who runs a Comics University; and Ivy, who is a librarian and helped develop NYCC’s harassment policy this year. Some seriously powerful, amazing ladies, and I’m lucky to call them my friends.
At 300 members and climbing, I just wanted to address how much this group and these women and everyone who supports us means to me. There’s no shortage of negativity and sexism in geek culture, but this group gives me strength. They empower each other. It’s a sisterhood, it really is. In our little way, even if just for each other, I think we’re making some change. At the very least, I know I’ve been changed for the better.
Here’s to 300 more.
The Valkyries are a force for good. We of Team Batgirl are eternally grateful for their support. See if you can find the Easter Egg in issue 35….