marriage. Her children are now successful adults and she did it all on her own. Here is a success story of somebody who escaped a world of slavery. Who knows what could have happened to them if they had stayed in Nigeria. Look at those Nigerian school girls who were kidnapped, basically to be sold into marriages and slavery by radical Islamists who believe that women should not receive any education. We can't just change centuries of their beliefs overnight! But those women are making themselves heard more and more. Muslim comedians, actresses, filmmakers, all speaking out. Change is still possible, and could happen rather quickly. I don't believe that all Muslims support what's going on with the way women are being treated.
Ceres: I think you are right when you said earlier that we take things for granted and pretty well dropped the ball on some women’s rights that still need fighting for. Where do you see the future generations of women?
Terre: Well, as I mentioned with my daughter, I see that her generation is not willing to play the game, at least not all of them, anymore. Many want to have complete control of what they're singing or what they're writing about. That’s what we were doing in the comics, in the 70s. I mean, look what's happening in Hollywood. There are few women directors though they were the first directors in the early days of cinema. It's amazing how it has backtracked. So, what you are seeing is more and more women working for independent films. They are not working for the big studios. They're independent filmmakers, and that’s where we went, us, as cartoonists. We wouldn't get hired by Marvel or DC. And, at the end, we didn’t want to, thus we own our copyrights.
Ceres: Any anecdotes that you would like to share?
Terre: Here is a story about a great rejection I got, once. I Sent a comic, that eventually did get published in L'Écho des savanes, and in High Times as well as in underground comix. I sent it to Playboy magazine—at the time they had a comics section—and I sent it to Ms. magazine. I got rejection letters from both of them. It was really interesting because they were very similar, but the one from Playboy said that my work was too female identified, and the one from Ms. said that it wasn't enough [Laughter]. How could it be because it was my life, it was the story of women that I knew, I was drawing it, writing it, and telling stories from my own personal experience.
Ceres: What would you say to women out there?
Terre: Be whatever you want to be, do whatever you want to do. The people who don't succeed are the ones who stop. That's plain and simple! That's the message I've always given to the women in my life, my friends, my family, my daughter, my nieces… Don’t stop! Giving up is the only way you can fail.
Ceres: Terre, thank you so much for sharing bits of your life and passion with Ceres Magazine and its readers. You have so many great stories and adventures that I’d love to publish in a later issue, like the one when you were kidnapped in Morocco and almost got sold into slavery, and how you escaped—and that’s probably what we will do. For now, you have given us quite an insight on a world that is still mainly dominated by men, the comics world. Your perseverance showed that one can succeed if she or he truly wants to.
"The people who don't succeed are the ones who stop. That's plain and simple!"
27 | Ceres Magazine | Fall 2016
Dori Seda and Terre Richards, San Diego Comic-Con, 1982. Photo by Clay Geerdes. Permission to reprint given by Terre Richards.
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