Diana McCallum writes for Bleeding Cool:
"Sure Fred Astaire was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, … backwards and in high heels."
I think about that quote almost every time I see a woman in heels kicking ass on a comic book page (especially as a woman who is certain she's going to stumble in front of a bus every time she wears a shoe that's higher than half an inch). I've always been unbelievably awed by women who can fight in heels and look good doing it, which is probably why the team members of Fashion In Action are all my personal heroes.
If you're not familiar with John K. Snyder III's Fashion In Action, buckle in because you're about to get hit by an 80's nostalgia suckerpunch delivered by a diverse group of fashionable femme fatales!
Fashion In Action was an indie comic originally published in its giant-haired glory by Eclipse Comics/Dean Mullaney in the 1980's and it went a little something like this:
The year is 2086, Mars is colonized, people have jetpacks, and of course, the world is still obsessed with celebrities, which is where Fashion In Action comes in, "the world's highest priced and best dressed celebrity protection agency." This team of badass ladies spend their nights guarding the rich and famous and their days chilling at their base inside the Statue of Liberty. That's right, they're so fashionable that they even live inside a well dressed woman.
The women of Fashion In Action are all business though when it comes time to square off against their enemies, such as the coldly manipulative Dr. Cruel and his accomplice, the violently unpredictable Roxanne, who looks like she might find a way to murder you straight through the comic book page.
But these baddies are no match for the amazing team at Fashion In Action who are armed with deadly weapons and killer looks. First we've got the team's leader Frances Knight, a master of martial arts and business, whose look is a bitching cross between Bowie in Glamour and the Eurythmics.
Filling out the team we've got Talia, the combat expert, Sarah, the modern day cowboy, Kelly, the weapons and tech expert and Ursula, the rich heiress, who, no big deal, is also psychic.
The entire book is a feast of big 80's fashions and diverse women working together to kick ass. So how can you get your hands on Fashion In Action? That's the problem, right now you can't, as it's been out of print since the Reagan administration (which is the real crime here). But that will all change soon, with a little help.
John K. Snyder III has teamed up with Hope Nicholson and Bedside Press to get Fashion In Action fully restored and back in action (and print!) but this can only happen if the Kickstarter harvest is bountiful.
Fashion In Action's campaign launched on March 1st and you're going to want to check it out to see the amazing original art from the book, details on the restoration process and the unbelievable perks this Kickstarter is offering, such as an original eyeshadow and blush pair created by Dandizette Cosmetics, Paper Doll Dossiers of the Fashion In Action characters ready to cut out, and stunning original art by comic artists known for being influenced by fashion including Kevin Wada (Deadpool, Catwoman) Jen Bartel (Jem and the Holograms) and Sara Richard (My Little Pony), to name just a few.
Even if there were no perks (but there are, check them out, they're great) this book would be worth supporting in equal parts for its 80's nostalgia and its cultural significance. Fashion In Action was released at the height of big 80's fashions but long after the fashion comics craze of the 70's had died away, and the book's new publisher Hope Nicholson (who has had huge Kickstarter success with books such as The Secret Loves of Geek Girls and Brok Windsor) wants to see it remembered for being a female driven action book ahead of its time.
"I think that there's been a lot of talk about the importance of making comics for women to enjoy that feature a wide range of representation. You can see this for example with the new Jem book, people want these type of stories! And here is a comic that was giving exactly that at a time when it wasn't being rewarded! It's an important part of comic publishing history, and shows that there was resistance to the status quo of comics all throughout time."
Today we love and embrace female driven team books such as A-Force, Lumberjanes and Rat Queens, but this is your chance to show a little love to a book that showcased that women could be feminine and badass way before we had characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer teaching us the same thing.
As Snyder himself puts it, "Back in 1985, I set out to create an entertaining series that would reflect the times we were then living in by projecting it onto a futuristic society where the cult of celebrity and personality would become the status quo. It only seemed natural at the time to cast a group of strong-willed women as a symbol of reason and security in the middle of an ego-driven world full of social and political unrest."
Now, if you're anything like me you might think that you're not all that into fashion (and maybe you also can't walk in heels, so much in common!) but when I thought about it I realized fashion is actually one of the things I love most about comic books. For example, have you ever gotten excited for the reveal of a new superhero costume? Did you watch 13 episodes of Daredevil just to freak out when we finally saw the red suit, or groan in disgust at Green Lantern's CG monstrosity of an outfit? Then have I got news for you, you care a whole more about fashion than you thought, as you should, because fashion brings us awesome things like Captain America's uniform and gun toting badasses in crop tops.
So if you like fashion, awesome female-led comics, 80's nostalgia or all of the above then check out Fashion In Action on Kickstarter before Roxanne kills us all.