This time has come to start thinking about Christmas shopping; I know, I know, it feels too soon and it can’t be time to start planning Christmas yet surely?! But with Black Friday at the end of the week many people are starting to make Christmas lists and get the bulk of their present buying done. Maybe you’re hoping to pick up some bargains on Friday, but why not also consider supporting some independent and women-led creatives and start-up retailers when gift-giving this festive period?
1. Princess Princess Ever After Comic
Tired of endless fairy tales about princesses being rescued from castles by boring knights? In jumps Princess Princess Ever After; the story of the sweet Princess Sadie being rescued from a castle by…the adventurous Princess Amira, before they head off together on an exciting quest. Princess Amira is a dashing and gallant hero, but she doesn’t steal any ‘page time’ from the more feminine Princess Sadie; the two are clearly equals and their relationship is lovely to read. The comic is gently humorous, underlying its important message that anyone can be the hero in their own story, however unorthodox the route.
One of the other things I love about this comic is that Sadie has a chunky body type, and Amira is rocking a mullet, refreshing the expectations of not only what a princess can do, but also how they might look, compared to the tiny waists and flowing locks of the traditional Disney princesses. I adore Katie O’Neill’s cute and colourful art style and although this graphic novel is aimed at 9-12 year olds, you know I’m always encouraging everyone to read comics, and this would be an adorable stocking filler for anyone.
Best for: Stocking fillers
2. Jen Bartel Prints
If you follow my Thursday posts you’ll know my soft spot for women-centric comics, and Jen Bartel is a comic artist whose specialism is drawing strong (and gorgeous) ladies. Win! She’s currently doing on-going cover work on the fantastic Jem and the Holograms and has done some supercool variant covers on other comics, including my favourite, The Wicked and the Divine. Her online store means you can get yourself or your favourite lady friend an awesome print; my personal favourites are (naturally) the WicDiv variant, Wonder Woman, and the Girl Gang print which is the cover image for this post (hint, hint!). Her store also stocks rad pins and badass attire, like this ‘Don’t Tell Me to Smile’ t-shirt. What better way to proclaim your feminism than by wearing it, AND supporting an artist in the process?!
Best for: Your coolest friend
3. The Answer Book
Buying for a young family member or child of a family friend? Why not give the gift of love and representation? Not to get too political, but too many LGBT youth grow up without seeing themselves anywhere in storytelling, and in 2016, it’s long past time for every child to know that they deserve to love and be loved by whomever they choose. The Answer is a fairytale for our times, telling of star-crossed love between Ruby and Sapphire, two alien gems who together form a beautiful relationship against the strict rules of their society. If that sounds heavy for a children’s book, let me assure you that Rebecca Sugar, writer and showrunner of the show Steven Universe from which this story originates, handles it with love, honesty and the lightest of touches. The art is dreamy, and it’s a book clearly written and illustrated from the heart. You never know who that child might grow up to be, and the immeasurable impact your gift might have in allowing them to see a narrative that includes them. If you’re still not convinced, I encourage you to watch this from the episode that encapsulates their story.
Best for: Kids
4. Clavis and Claustra
Clavis and Claustra is an independent British publisher run by Cat Crossley, and they do some fun, eccentric notebooks, totes and cards. I love their Suffragette range, including their ‘Votes for Women’ writing set, weekly planner, diary and the witty ‘Totes for Women’ bag. Their ‘Beads Not Words’ bookmarks in the colours of the WSPU would not only make a beautiful gift for the feminist reader in your life, but also get top marks for suffragette-themed punnage. What’s not to love?!
Best for: Mums
There are of course many creatives and retailers that deserve your money and support, not only at Christmas, but all year round. Take the time to shop outside the box this Christmas, and give something uniquely amazing.