Dirty Diamonds: Women Using Comics as an Outlet

On Thursday October 30, 2014, Villanova presented two local comic editors, Claire Folkman and Kelly Phillips, marking the fifth year of a string of graphic novel events at the university. Claire and Kelly opened up to the audience about the concept behind their most pressing project, Dirty Diamonds, which has just published its fifth issue. They explained that the mission of this all-girls comic anthology series was to give women who create comics an outlet to tell their stories. Referencing their semi-autobiographical approach of getting snippets from various women, Kelly expressed, “We get a whole new group of people involved in each issue which is very exciting for us.” Not only do the people change, but the subject matter varies as each of the Dirty Diamonds novels revolves around a centrals theme which have been alcohol, jobs, travel, break-ups, and comics. The theme for their upcoming sixth issue is beauty.

Claire and Kelly also elaborated on the experience they had with their Kickstarter campaign to fund their most recent issue of Dirty Diamonds. With incredible support from a community who felt a connection with their project, they surpassed their goal of $6,500 reaching a grand total of $8,623. Reflecting on their crowdfunding experience, Kelly advised, “The biggest thing to keep in mind when doing a Kickstarter is transparency.” As a warning, Claire soon added, “You don’t make any money. You use all of it. All of it.” Acknowledging the unique nature of the crowdfunding platform, they were clearly successful in portraying their vision while keeping in mind the needs and wants of the donors. Looking forward, these two local graphic novelists have plans to initiate a second Kickstarter campaign to fund another issue of Dirty Diamonds and continue giving women an outlet to express their stories through comics.