I felt like it may be fitting to read this after the Second Presidential Debate between Clinton and Trump this weekend. Then I opened the cover and the very first page proved that it was a good idea. It begins with men debating on whether at least some women should get to vote and that we wouldn’t know what to do with it and blah blah blah. You know, some of the reasons I’ve heard over my lifetime about why we haven’t had a female president yet in the US.
The title was compelling enough to get me to read it, but here’s the back cover just for good measure:
London, 1914: The leaders of the radical women’s rights movement are fugitives from the law. Their last line of defense is the secret society of “Amazons”: women trained in the martial art of bartitsuand sworn to defend their leaders from arrest and assault.
After a series of daring escapes and battles with the police, the stakes rise dramatically when the Amazons are forced into a deadly game of cat and mouse against an aristocratic, utopian cult…
• Persephone Wright, a “fallen woman” who will protect those she loves at all costs
• Flossie Le Mar, a rough-diamond adventuress from New Zealand
• Katie “Sandwina” Brumbach, a fiercely loyal Austrian wrestler and strongwoman
• Toupie Lowther, a cunning, cross-dressing woman of means
• Judith Lee, a proud Anglo-Chinese socialite and amateur detective
• Kitty Marshall, a quick-witted teenager who keeps her radicalism secret from her wealthy family
• Miss Sanderson, an enigmatic “governess” with an appetite for violence
This book was initially released in episodes as a Kindle Serial. All episodes are now available for immediate download as a complete book.
Okay, it’s not set in the US or about the US suffragist movement so the relation may be a little thin, but some of the best ideas are and I found that as I got further into Suffrajitsu, I fell further in love. Not only does it have some BA women doing BA things, but I love the dialogue. Now, I will take this time to remind potential readers that this is an alternate history and events did not go down like this. However, this graphic novel is less about the suffragette movement than it is about the actions of these specific suffragists. It’s the kind of graphic novel that you have to know a little about the subject matter to really enjoy but the little that is required is totally covered by the Suffragette movie that came out last year, which can be streamed on Amazon Video here. I might be a fan of this movie. It just does a great job of not romanticizing one side or the other. It shows the hardships the women went through without over glorifying it and lets the viewer make their own decisions about their actions. There are also plenty of books that cover this part of history.
Getting back to Suffrajitsu, I enjoyed it, particularly after realizing what it was. This is not a graphic novel overview of the historical events. It’s just a set of comics that use some of these women as characters. It’s a fun read but not the kind that a reader should take their history from. Definitely fiction. Definitely interesting. Definitely fun. I loved the main characters. I’ve known quite a few women like this. They could be sitting in a bar talking about anything and I would love to read about it.
I went ahead and bought this one at Amazon, which was the only place I found it available. You can buy it here too.