Ladybroad Ledger Relocates to Center for Cartoon Studies
What should appear in my inbox but an original illustration. When I first asked Phayvanh Luekhamhan at the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) for a photo to accompany this post, I got back something much better; such are the rewards of emailing with cartoonists. The illustration by Violet Kitchen depicts Kitchen, Annabel Driussi, and Sofia Lesage. They’re bringing the Ladybroad Ledger, a women’s comics newspaper, from Burlington, Vermont to the Upper Valley via CCS.
What’s the story behind Ladybroad? You’ll want to know. Below is my email interview with Annabel Driussi.
1. Can you give a brief history of The Ladybroad Ledger? How old is it, where has it been, and what is behind the move to bring it to CCS?
Ladybroad was started by a group of phenomenal Burlington cartoonists in 2017. It published four bi-annual papers until Spring, 2019, but plans for a fifth issue were placed on hold when the pandemic began. Many of the founding members of Ladybroad have moved out of state, so bringing in a new generation of femme cartoonists from CCS was the best shot to revive Vermont's only free femme alt comics newspaper.
2. Who’s who?
Violet Kitchen (she/her), lead editor at Ladybroad, has worked as an associate editor for LAAB magazine and worn many hats as cartoonist, illustrator, and comics historian. She hails from Massachusetts. My name is Annabel Driussi (she/her), and I'm the lead designer for Ladybroad. I'm a freelance graphic designer and neuroscience illustrator from California. Sofia Lesage (she/her) is our lead social media manager, and she's also taken on the task of handling Ladybroad's finances. Sofia is a cartoonist fresh from the UK. The three of us are wrapping up our first year at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction. We're taking the reins from Teppi Zuppo (they/them), assistant professor at CCS and one of the creators of Ladybroad. A huge thank you to Phayvanh Luekhamhan (she/her), who is helping generously with event planning and organizing.
3. I know this may be a tired question but why the Ladybroad? Do we still need a publication that publishes the cartoons of women, even if “woman” is broadly defined?
Yes, cartoonists and readers still need a comics newspaper for femmes! We strongly believe that there are not enough spaces for lady-identifying, lady-presenting, or lady-adjacent people to make and share comics. It's not just about producing work by and for femmes, it's about networking with people who understand you, having a space for bravery and exploration, being able to talk unselfconsciously about what it means to be femme and make art. It's about supporting each other, and in doing so, finding ways to support ourselves.
Speaking of space, one of the coolest things about Ladybroad is that we accept quarter-page, half-page, and full-page comic submissions. A full page is 11 by 17 inches, poster size. That's more physical space than I've ever had to explore cartooning. There is so much more you can do at that size that's impossible on, say, a two-by-two inch square on Instagram. So Ladybroad is also about creating literal space on the page for ourselves and each other.
Driussi goes on to say that “Now is a thrilling time to be reopening the newspaper, because one of our main purposes is to encourage the flourishing of Vermont's grassroots femme artist community. . . We believe in meeting your neighbors, organizing with people you care about, and talking to that cute queer tattooed femme at the bar. Real change comes from igniting new friendships and finding out what you love, what empowers you, and what makes you furious – and then grabbing those things by the horns and changing them. See you in Issue 5!”
Submission window is open until June 1, 2022.
Past issues of the Ladybroad Ledger can be read and downloaded—with a little patience—for free or with a nominal donation—at https://ladybroadledger.com/issues. Issue #5 is slated for release in August, 2022.
(Illustration, above, by Violet Kitchen, used with her kind permission.)
Welcome! You’re reading Artful, a blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley, and I hope you’ll subscribe and then share this with your friends and on your social media.
And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.