You may have missed it on Twitter this week but the TGC collective of Scottish women artists responsible for the long-running anthology Team Girl Comic (more recently re-branded as That Girl Comic) have announced that the group is coming to an end this year. Originally growing out of British Comic Award-nominated artist and TGC founder Gill Hatcher‘s first Team Girl Comic anthology in 2009 it evolved into one of the most vitally important loose organisations of creators in the UK’s great small press renaissance of the early 2010s.
Hatcher, of course, is the artist behind Avery Hill Publishing’s The Beginner’s Guide to Being Outside and she’s posted in depth about the decision to bring the group and their projects to an official end on the TGC collective’s site here. It’s a piece that’s well worth your time – celebratory, commemorative and a fond reminder of everything they’ve achieved since 2009. As Hatcher says, “Together, we’ve helped change the comics landscape in Scotland. We’ve produced an impressive body of work, and always supported each other along the way.”
And that essentially sums up what always appealed to me about TGC – a crew of artists who embodied ideals of collaboration and creative camaraderie. I first covered Team Girl Comic at BF way back in 2012 on the old Broken Frontier site in the first few months of ‘Small Pressganged’ with a review of TGC #4. I described it then as “egalitarian, accessible and always inviting; you’d be hard pressed indeed to find a comic that better sums up the co-operative spirit of the small press than this!”. The anthology was also one of my annual ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!‘ in that yearly feature’s very first instalment in 2012.
As the years went on Team Girl Comic became as much a mini-movement as a comics anthology. Contributors came and went but included such grassroots practitioners as MJ Wallace, Coleen Campbell, Amanda ‘Hateball’ Stewart, Mhairi Hislop, Claire J.C. Stewart, Claire Yvette, Cacachute and so, so many more, all covering a wide range of genres in comics shorts. By the time of the anthology’s tenth issue anniversary in 2014 such was its profile that it attracted guest contributions from Trina Robbins, Hannah Berry, Donya Todd and Kate Charlesworth!
With its frequency beginning to wane by the mid-2010s news of TGC’s closure is perhaps not that surprising an announcement and Hatcher cites the incredible amount of time needed to keep something like TGC going as a prime factor. It feels incumbent on us at BF though that Team Girl Comic doesn’t quietly fade away without public acknowledgement from the site of its importance to the scene over the last several years. When I interviewed Hatcher about the project in 2013 she described TGC’s role as “To make comics, make friends, have fun, promote women’s stories and inspire others to give comics a go!”
And that seems the perfect soundbite to finish this short piece on. After all Team Girl Comic/That Girl Comic wasn’t simply a publication – it was as much an initiative, a statement and a supportive community. Thanks to Gill and the crew for their achievements since 2009 and best of luck in the future from all of us at Broken Frontier to all the creators involved over the last 8 years!
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