A self-described "femme alt comics newspaper" is popping up throughout locations in Vermont and is seeking submissions from "lady-identifying, lady-presenting, or lady-like" cartoonists in the state.
The new publication is called The Ladybroad Ledger.
"Lady creators should definitely be featured more often in comics, because a lot of people really do think of it kind of like a 'boy's club,'" says creator Stephanie Zuppo. "So it's starting to grow into more lady creators, especially in alt-comics, which I think is really, really awesome. And a lot of the larger publishers are starting to take notice ... Marvel and DC are hiring more and more female creators.
"So that's really, really nice, but I also feel [that] if you have female experience as a nonbinary person or a trans person, that is totally valid and you should definitely submit."
Zuppo told Vermont Edition on Wednesday that the idea for The Ladybroad Ledger came out of a reading by a group comics creators last year. The first issue was financed through a GoFundMe campaign.
The publication is free and can be found at various places throughout the state – The Ladybroad Ledger's Instagram shows where issues have been dropped off.
"I want to get it out to as many towns in Vermont as possible," Zuppo says. It's also free to download online from their website, with the option of adding a donation.
Within The Ladybroad Ledger, there's a range of comic types to be found.
"We have a wide variety of submissions," Zuppo says. "Everyone kind of has their own style and their own subject that they like working with."
Some local contributors in the first issue may be familiar names – such as Rachel Lindsay, whose work appears in Seven Days.
The Ladybroad Ledger is now accepting submissions for its second issue, and Zuppo says those who are interested in contributing can check out the current issue, their website or their Facebook page for more information.
According to the online submissions page, creators don't need to follow any content guidelines.
"I love featuring such a wide variety of work, which is one of the reasons I don't want a restriction on content," Zuppo explains. "I just want to see what everyone can bring to the table and play to their strengths."
Zuppo adds the publication welcomes comics that would be considered suitable for children, though there is a disclaimer on the cover of the first issue that reads "Not For Kids!"
"There's no like, graphic content," Zuppo explains. "It's really just kind of subject manner in this issue – like there's a lot of comics about death and politics and stuff like that."
The cover of the debut issue is done by Glynnis Fawkes, who is also interviewed in the issue. Fawkes' comic depicts a woman and a Minotaur departing from a party and entering a maze. What happens next is left a mystery.
"[Fawkes] said that she wanted to kind of work more with the story too, so I'm hoping maybe in future issues, it'll be continued, which would be really cool," Zuppo says.
As far as those future issues, Zuppo's plan is for The Ladybroad Ledger to be released "twice a year ... as long as I can."
Zuppo says there's a plan to look into other possibilities for funding the newspaper, including advertisements and grants. And while the first installment of The Ladybroad Ledger was printed out of state, Zuppo says finding a printer in Vermont would be ideal.
"It's so much fun," Zuppo says. "I love it. Yeah, this is kind of what I've always wanted to do, so this is great."