I'm a huge comic nerd, but you seem to learn something new about the industry all the time. Oakland Press' Monica Drake pointed out that in comic books, white males make up about 79 percent of the protagonists, according to a study in the Race, Gender and Class Journal. The Detroit-based Maamoul Press is on a mission to see if they can make an impact on changing those numbers. Maamoul Press is looking for ideas from 30 to 50 page graphic novellas (longer than a short story but shorter than a novel) made by male or female comic artists who have never been published professionally. The stories must be about communities frequently marginalized within the comics industry.

Maamoul Press co-founder and local graphic novelist Leila Abdelrazaq expressed her excitement to Freep for the opportunity for more diverse comics to be made: “Comics readers are really hungry for more diverse stories. We want to see ourselves represented, not just through a few token characters, but also in terms of authorship. Sadly, the industry still has a long way to go in order to start meeting that demand."

The winning artist will receive a grant to support the completion of the work, which will be published by Maamoul Press in its first full-length graphic novel, awarded a three-week art residency as part of the Arab American National Museum’s Artists+Residents program in November, free private housing and studio space at the Dearborn City Hall Artspace Lofts on Michigan Avenue, and will have the opportunity to learn from and network with local comic artists. The company will no loner be accepting submissions after Sept. 14th. For all the information, interested artists can visit maamoulpress.com/Open-Call-Graphic-Novel-Proposals.

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