Women in Comics: Kymera Press isn’t asking for permission

Mary Shelley Presents #1 cover. Photo: Kymera Press
Mary Shelley Presents #1 cover. Photo: Kymera Press /

Kymera Press is a woman-owned comic book publisher that is blazing a bright trail in the industry, and they’re not asking for anyone’s permission.

It’s always fascinating to hear other people’s surprise upon learning, or perhaps acknowledging, that women are the fastest growing consumer of comic books these days. In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I’m shining a spotlight on woman-owned comic book publisher Kymera Press and its inspirational founder Debbie Lynn Smith.

Women have been part of the comic book industry dating back to the industry’s inception. Dorothy Woolpert, for example, served as the first female editor at DC Comics in the 1940s. These days we’re living in a time when more women are getting involved so that the people creating comic books are more representative of the people who are reading them.

I first met Debbie Lynn Smith at Long Beach Comic Expo in 2015. It was the first convention for her fledgling creation Kymera Press, but even back then she was proud to announce the company’s motto: “We’re not asking for permission.” Kymera Press, you see, is owned by Smith and all of the writers and artists are women.

Kymera Press started with one title, a comic book based on a TV pilot that Smith wrote years before. It wasn’t just that Gates of Midnight was created by an all-female staff, but it was the concept that made it so notable.

Gates of Midnight follows Raven Alice Moon, a combat medic recently returned home to New York after serving in Afghanistan. Like so many soldiers coming back from their tours of duty, she’s suffering from PTSD, but what she doesn’t know is that she’s also about to embark on a very powerful and mystical journey.

Four years later Kymera Press has expanded its line to five titles: Gates of Midnight, Pet Noir, Dragons by the Yard, Mary Shelley Presents and Ivory Ghosts. Each title is unique and they all feature strong female protagonists. Of note is Mary Shelley Presents, which is a lovely Gothic horror series featuring Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, who introduces horror stories written by her contemporaries.

Mary Shelley Presents #1
Mary Shelley Presents #1 cover. Photo: Kymera Press /

In addition the commitment to hire female writers and artists is Smith’s desire to help grow new talent. It’s hard to break into the comic book industry and as someone who spent a lot of time in Hollywood (Smith wrote for shows like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Murder She Wrote) she has dedicated her company to helping empower women in comics.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and the release of Marvel’s first standalone comic book movie with Captain Marvel, it’s important to shine a spotlight on the creators who are helping women find their voice in the comic book industry.

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If you’re wondering how you can support the effort, it’s simple: Buy a comic book. Whether it’s an indie title from a small publisher like Kymera Press or if it’s supporting a female writer at a larger company, it all helps. Local comic shops place orders based on sales, so when you make a purchase it leads them to keep ordering those titles, which supports the writers, artists and publishers like Kymera Press.

For more information about Debbie Lynn Smith and Kymera Press, please visit their website.