About these ads
Tag Archives: women of boom

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Nichol Ashworth

Upside-downIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 25th “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Nichol Ashworth is a writer and artist who has worked on Fraggle Rock volume 1 and 2 for Archaia.

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?

Nichol Ashworth: My degree is actually in animation. Though I LOVE animation, I found it (surprisingly) monotonous to illustrate 24 pictures per second. I turned to comic books as a way to still tell wonderful stories – just without so many in-betweens.

GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now? 

NA: Not until I was in college, actually. From then on I became addicted! My poor fiancée looks upon our home (that is becoming ever-crowded with more and more bookshelves) with a deepening resolve to read less books to make up for my over abundance.

Fraggle Rock v2 003 Cover AGP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia? 

NA: I had prior relationships with the magnificent Tim Beedle, who edited the Fraggle Rock title for Archaia. We met each other when I was submitting/doing work for Tokyopop and got along quite famously! He knew that I was a true Fraggle fan, down to my tootsies, so he gave me a shot to pitch for the series. I was able to write for a story of volume one and do artwork for a story in volume 2. I laughed, I cried… and then I danced my cares away. :)

GP: How would you describe your job for people? 

NA: It’s a little like giving birth, a little like being an overachieving successful communicator and a little bit like being lost in self-depreciation. I guess what I mean to say is that, the process of creation comes with highs and lows – and you need to embrace that as a part of the process. It is really fun to tell people what I do, though. It’s not something you hear from people every day… and it may or may not be cooler than being a proctologist.

GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them? 

NA: Never give up. Your successes may be nil at first, or may come more slowly than you wish… but never stop trying. Also, never stop giving yourself the opportunity to learn from others. Listen. There’s a saying that “God gave you two ears and only one mouth for a reason”… but I think I also like the one that says, “The more you talk, the more you’re re-hearing what you already know. The more you listen to successful people, the more options you’ve now found for new success.”

GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself? 

NA: Again, I must bow to the almighty Tim Beedle. More than a mentor, he is also now my very good friend. He helped me break in, helped me stay in and is always there for some good feedback and a swift kick in the ass, when appropriate. While mentorship is a huge word and I wouldn’t be comfortable putting myself in that position of godlike power, I will say that I have paid it forward. I’ve helped people make industry connections, gone back to my high school and college to teach and even currently work together with an aspiring teenage writer to help her stay focused and motivated.

GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?  

NA: I think that one of the reasons that breaking in/staying in has worked well for me is that I haven’t tried to be a part of the Marvel/DC creator world. Smaller publishers seem more open to creating relationships with women, in my opinion. That being said – I’ve never actually tried for a Marvel or DC job… so perhaps I would get one, if I tried hard enough! :)

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this? 

NA: My work relationships with these lovely human beings has always been very positive, productive and personable. I’m treated like an equal. In fact, the people I’ve been blessed to work with have all seemed just as excited to work in the industry as I am, so there’s a great energy and synergy that comes from that. Except for reading about other women’s struggles in the industry, I wouldn’t have known there was an issue!

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?  

NA: In this particular industry, I’ve personally had no issues… but I also work in the Real Estate Investor industry and the Software Security industry. Both of those can get intense. Discrimination and harassment both abound.

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry? 

NA: My advice is the same as the answer to question #5. Plus, an added push to “prove them wrong”. If someone is a misogynist, that’s not your fault – don’t put any added stress or self-hate on yourself. That being said, don’t let it stop you, either. Don’t use it as a crutch that helps you explain away why you’re not getting what you want. Just make your work. If the work is good and you’re a good person to work with, the rest will come. Like anything, it just takes time and also, like any modern business, it’s partly about who you know. So, NETWORK, ladies! Make friends! Be responsive when called on and do your work well / on time. If people like to work with you once, they’ll usually work with you again! (And brag about you to others!)

 

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Leigh Dragoon

Fraggle Rock Vol 001 HC CoverIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 24th “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Leigh Dragoon is a writer and artist who has worked on Fraggle Rock for Archaia, Scholastic Canada’s Timeline Series, and adapted the Vampire Academy series into graphic novels, among numerous other things..

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?

Leigh Dragoon: I started my own webcomic, By the Wayside, in the early 2000s. Shortly afterwards, I stumbled across Girlamatic. I prepared a pitch, and as soon as they opened their site for submissions that year, I sent it in!

GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?

LD: When we were kids, my sister and I read the covers off my dad’s old Little Lulu and Disney comics at our grandmother’s house. Then we unearthed our uncle’s complete set of original, mint-condition Elfquests, and read the covers off of those, too.

GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?

LD: I had worked with Tim Beedle on a few projects while he was at Tokyopop. He thought my writing style might be a good fit for Fraggle Rock, so he gave me a chance to pitch a story.

GP: How would you describe your job for people?

LD: I tell people I’m a sequential artist. It sounds really fancy, and by the time they figure out what that actually means, I’m long gone.

GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?

LD: Get a really good dayjob. With health benefits and paid vacation time.

GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself?

LD: I’m extremely lucky to have Sam Kieth as a mentor. He’s an incredibly gifted artist, literally one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and he gives wonderful advice.

GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?

LD: I think women do have a more difficult time, at least as far as mainstream publishing goes, but I’ve seen things change quite a bit in the past ten years, and I’m hoping they continue to change.

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?

LD: I think Archaia’s done a good job offering a wide range of titles, instead of focusing on just one age group, gender, or genre.

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?

LD: Personally, I have not; however, I know that I’ve been very, very lucky in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to the projects I’ve been chosen to work on, and the editors I’ve worked with on those projects.

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?

LD: Get a really good dayjob. With health benefits and paid vacation time.

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Katie Cook

Katie CookIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 23rd “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Katie Cook is a writer and artist who has worked on Fraggle Rock and Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard for Archaia.

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry? Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?

Katie Cook: These two questions go hand in hand… I have had a love of comics since I was old enough to have an opinion that Archie couldn’t possibly see anything in Veronica when he has someone like Betty. I’ve never wanted to be anything BUT a cartoonist since I was in kindergarten, so a career in comics was really my only option!

GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?

KC: When Archaia announced they’d be doing Fraggle Rock comics, I became an immediate pest and sent Fraggle sample after sample. Fraggle Rock is something I have a DEEP love for and i WANTED the comics. Luckily, the folks at Archaia agreed I should be a part of the book.

GP: How would you describe your job for people?

KC: I get to wake up every day and do what I love for a living. I draw, I write and I hang out in my pajamas with my kid. It’s great.

GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?

KC: Making comics is WORK. More work than you’ll ever think it is.

GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself?

KC: I consider my comic peer group my mentors… all the folks in the same position I am in the field, who I’ve known through comic conventions and online for years, are who I look up to. When someone I know sees a great success, it’s a proud feeling of “I’ve been watching their career for XX number of years and NOW look where they are! Wow!”

GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?

KC: I think the spot where you run into “women don’t work in comics” talk is when you talk about the “big two”. DC and Marvel don’t have a lot of female creators and that’s a sad thing… but step outside of them and the comic world is FULL of female creators that are kicking ass at what they do. There’s also a slew of indie creators that are women who are doing amazing, unique comics that make me slap my forehead and yell “why didn’t I think of that?!”.

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?

KC: When you have a great editor or team of editors looking for creators… It’s about talent, the art, the storytelling and turning in work on time. When you hire the right person for the job, gender isn’t an issue!

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?

KC: I’ve got a lot of weird stories from almost 10 years in illustration.. I think the one that I’m finding now that I’m a woman AND a parent is the question “Well, you’re a mom? Does that mean you can’t make a deadline anymore? We can get someone else…” This question just makes me MAD.

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?

KC: Work hard, be good at what you do and be professional. It’s the same rules for any other job… you just get the bonus that you get to make comics.

Related:

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Guin Thompson

Guin ThompsonIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 22nd “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Guin Thompson is a writer and artist whose graphic novel Beautiful Scars will be out through Archaia next week! The graphic novel which will retail for $19.99 tells the the story of Ridley Shaw as he explains to his granddaughter how he got each of his scars, each one gained through either a sad or uplifting adventure. Through his tales, his granddaughter learns how to tell her own stories and how to hold on to his through her own, magical re-telling. Weaving historical fiction and fantasy together, Thompson, who along with co-creator Durwin S. Talon remind us of the power of stories, both those from our imaginations and, more importantly, those from our own lives.

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?

Guin Thompson: I always loved telling stories, and always loved illustration. I tried animation when I was in college, but didn’t have the patience. Comics was like a revelation for me; I could tell a complex story in a very cinematic way, but could do it (mostly!) on my own. It remains my favorite medium for storytelling.

GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?

I read some titles when I was young, like Archie, Peanuts, Garfield, the usual. I remember my family checking out the Asterix books from the library when I was young, and those were great. I still have vivid memories of early 1990′s Barbie comics. When I was in high school, I discovered alternative comics, and I was hooked for life. There was such a variety of storytelling and style. I think the catalyst for me was reading Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. It was heartbreaking, beautiful, and made me cry into my shirt at 3 am after reading it in one night. I decided that this is what I wanted to do, right then and there. I still definitely read comics; nothing energizes me more than going to a comics shop. It always makes me want to go home and work!

Beautiful_Scars_rev_Page_01GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?

My wonderful partner, Durwin Talon, knew Mark Smylie from way back. Durwin and I came up with the premise for Beautiful Scars and wanted to see if Archaia would be interested. They have always done such interesting stories, with beautiful production values, and we felt our project would have a great home there. (This was when Mark was unloading books at GenCon out of the back of his station wagon!) So, we helped him break down one night after the con and all went to dinner. We pitched it over dessert and it was a go! It’s been so great to see the company grow and I’m so excited to be a part of it.

GP: How would you describe your job for people?

It’s hard work, but extraordinarily rewarding! I’m grateful that I get to do this. I’m also a professor, and when I teach my comics classes, I try to prepare them for how much work it is. It’s a job you do out of love. Or craziness. Maybe both.

GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?

Learn to budget your time. Make things and show them to as many people as you can. Make friends with other people in the industry, it’s invaluable. Not just for professional contacts, but because they are members of your art family; no one else knows as well what you go through. Take advantage of every interesting opportunity that comes your way, but learn how to not be taken advantage of.

GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself?

My partner really knew the ins and outs before I did. It was a great help to draw upon his expertise. And the advice, friendship and guidance of many wonderful comics pros was invaluable to me. I don’t mentor anyone one-on-one but I do teach. I think it’s important for us to share our experiences with others, and to give back. I find the comics community to be very open for the most part, very giving about their knowledge, and I want to be a part of that, since so many people were gracious and generous with their own experiences. That’s very important to me.

GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?

I think in mainstream comics, there is still a lot of bias for women looking to break in. There’s still this boy’s club mentality. I have read interviews that feel very threatened by the fact there is a demand for more diversity in their artist lineups, and to me, that means they know they’re not doing right. They complain that their readership is dwindling, but don’t want to include story lines “for girls” (which are really just interesting stories available to a wide variety of humans). Their solutions are tone-deaf, like revamping a character’s costume to be even more revealing, which only panders to the current readership, and doesn’t grow their fan base. (I’m aware it’s fantasy, but it’s a power fantasy for dudes about what is capable with their bodies, and what is capable of being done to women’s bodies). It’s very tiresome to read these interviews with editors and creators that go on and on about how women don’t read their books, it’s not their audience, women don’t want to create comics, blah blah blah, when clearly this is not the case.

I think the comics medium as a whole is changing and evolving every year and creators are pushing what is capable as an art form, which opens up a lot more space for different kinds of stories and voices. There are a lot more avenues for artists and creators who want to get into the industry other than the entrenched mainstream publishers. But if you are drawn to that kind of story, and really want to be an inker or a penciler or whatever for one of those companies, and you are a lady, you’re going to run into some flak. If your work is excellent, it shouldn’t matter, but it still seems to in some arenas. In others, it doesn’t.

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?

Really, it’s because of the stories. The range of stories and styles is stunning. It doesn’t feel like it’s by the company line; it’s really creative and interesting. I think anywhere that encourages and supports unique expression is going to have a more diverse range of storytellers. I’m very happy to be associated with it.

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?

For the most part, I’ve been lucky. In my experience, the vast majority of people related to the industry are lovely and wonderful. However, I do not want to negate the very real experiences that some women have regarding sexism and harassment; I have just been lucky to not have encountered them. I have heard some horror stories from friends and acquaintances, and it just makes my blood boil. I’ve had people come up to me and offer their comments and want me to respond on behalf of all women, and I can’t do that. It’s dumb. I’ve had generic bad experiences, people taking the opportunity of my presence to rant at me about female characters, demanding I defend my place there because I can’t possibly be interested in comics. That kind of stuff. I don’t really engage. It’s not worth the energy.

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?

Same advice as above. Just keep at it! A support system (whether it’s family, friends, other professionals, your partner, etc) is absolutely invaluable. Strive to make your best work, show it off proudly, seek advice and don’t give up!

Related:

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Nimue Brown

nimuebrownIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 21st “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Nimue Brown is a writer who has worked on the Hopeless Maine graphic novel series published by Archaia.

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?

Nimue Brown: I was lured in by my artist, Tom Brown. Although I loved Sandman, I wasn’t much of a comics person, had grown out of capes and superheroes and didn’t really see it as a space for me. It took him a long time to persuade me to have a go, and it was the alternative nature of Tom’s art work that convinced me there could be a space in comics for the kinds of stories that interest me.

GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?

NB: I grew up with Batman, a bit of Superman and some exposure to X-Men. In my teens I found and fell in love with The Sandman, and then I fell out of comics entirely. However, trying to write them it seemed only sane to dive back in, so I read all sorts of things, sometimes just to try and understand technical aspects, sometimes out of love. I like webcomics a lot, I like the immediacy and the sheer diversity.

GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?

NB:We asked nicely and Archaia said yes! We came along with an existing webcomic, and were taken on as a property.

Hopeless Maine v2 Inheritance GN CoverGP: How would you describe your job for people?

NB: Being the writer doesn’t take long. A couple of weeks of intensive work from me can keep Tom busy for months, so I feel a bit like an absentee landlord sometimes. I love what I do though.

GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?

NB: The webcomic was great for us, it allowed us to build an audience, and it made us keep working. It’s no longer the case that putting things in the public domain rules out getting a contract – often the reverse. A readership is a real asset, however you go. It’s not until you jump in and really do it, putting the work in front of people, that you find out if you can, and if anyone likes it. Knowing you have readers is a great motivator, finding that you don’t is a great teacher.

GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself?

NB: Tom had a lot more comics experience than me, which has helped a lot. Donna Barr gave me a lot of advice about what I might run into as a woman in comics. Other people have picked my brains along the way.

GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?

NB: I think the industry is still assumed to be stories for boys, and that stereotype needs breaking down further. However, publishers are getting savvy to the fact that women generally read more than men, and are 50% give or take of the population, and that’s a big potential market to break into. So, I think things are getting easier. There are still too many places where women in comics as characters are either highly sexualised eye-candy, victims to rescue, or prizes to win, but the indy sector is delivering much more engaging female characters all the time, and I think that will knock on to inform how accessible the industry as a whole is for women, both as readers and as creators.

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?

NB: Archaia doesn’t do superheroes attired in something dangerously close to fetish gear. It’s not afraid of stories that go outside the usual bounds of ‘comic’ and this means it is more attractive to women, more likely to get female creatives knocking on the door in the first place. There’s no sense of some ‘old boy’ network at Archaia, there are women on the staff, in the editing team, so there’s an openness to female participation I don’t think you get everywhere. It’s a culture thing, and culturally, Archaia is excellent.

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?

NB: I’ve not had any first-hand experience, I’m very glad to say, but we spend more time at Steampunk and Druid events (very female friendly spaces) than we do in the specifically comics gatherings, and I don’t bare my skin. I think all women should have the freedom to dress as they please and be free from harassment, but at the same time, I don’t feel any desire to wear that kind of kit myself, so I doubt I’d attract that kind of attention. Archaia is the only comics publisher I’ve ever worked for, and gender just isn’t an issue there, except in so far as I suspect Archaia of wanting to court the potential female comics reading market, which is fine by me!

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?

NB: Tell your own stories on your own terms. Whatever those are. There is no need to replicate what already exists, or to conform to assumptions about what comics mean, and require of us.

Related:

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Penelope Gaylord

AT Fionna and Cake 001 Awesome Comic Con VariantIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 20th “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Penelope Gaylord is a cover artist and inker who has worked on such titles as Adventure Time With Fionna and Cake, Adventure Time, Fanboys Vs. Zombies, and the recently launched Loki: Ragnarok and Roll!

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry? 

Penelope Gaylord: When I met my then-boyfriend/now-husband, Jerry Gaylord, he really opened my eyes to the possibility that being an artist could actually be a job. Comics was a natural industry that we wanted to be involved with since it’s been a huge influence in both of our lives. After my first taste of being behind an artist alley table at a comic con, it just felt good.

loki ragnarok and roll cover bGP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?  

PRG: No, I don’t really recall reading a lot of comics growing up. But the stories were always around me. I was definitely exposed to Superman and DC superheroes and the X-Men through tv/movies before I read any of the comics. When I got into high school, that’s when I started reading manga (Japanese comics) because it was really just starting to make its way into the U.S. From there I started to appreciate the medium more. I definitely read them now, both manga and American comics, but just a select few.

GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?  

PRG: When my husband Jerry Gaylord got the penciller job for Fanboys Vs Zombies, I volunteered to be his inker because we love to work together. When we went to San Diego Comic Con two years ago, I got to meet the BOOM! family and they were just the coolest people I’ve ever met. Honestly. There’s a bit of an expectation of editors being somewhat aloof and almost pretentious when you meet them for the first time, at least in my experience anyway. But all the editors at BOOM! were extremely friendly and down to earth. After getting to do an exclusive cover for Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake #1, I got to talk with Shannon (editor) and Whitney (asst. editor) and shoot them some more ideas which got me more work with them.

GP: How would you describe your job for people?  

PRG: Not as easy as it looks. =) Yes I get to draw for a living, and believe me that’s a dream come true. But just like any job, it has its good days and bad. You definitely have to persevere through the bad days because the good ones are so worth it. With being a freelance artist, you really have to work hard to make sure you get more work. More work means more bills paid but it also means less time to do other things. You don’t have a supervisor to keep you in check, you just have you.

GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?  

PRG: Be sure that you really really really want to do this. And I can’t stress that last “really” enough. Anybody can draw, nobody can stop you. But to make a career out of it, you have to be willing to work HARD. Like I mentioned before, being a freelance artist means you have to work harder than everybody else. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid and you can’t pay bills – it’s that simple. You have to be ready to show your work, then show it some more. You have to be willing to learn new techniques and grow as an artist. You’ll have to draw some things that you really don’t want to, but you have to anyway. Always be ready to take some rejections and corrections. But with perseverance and a really strong support system from family/loved ones, it’s absolutely possible and you won’t have to worry about being categorized as a “starving artist.”

GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself? 

PRG: I don’t think I had an actual mentor who knowingly helped me break into the industry. Jerry definitely kept me focused because of his determination to break in. But when we were first starting, guys like Jonboy Meyers and Sean Galloway were really the first ones that spoke to us on a real level. They weren’t secretive about how they broke in like most of the other artists we’ve met at the time. These guys understood where we came from and where we were trying to go as artists and really pointed us in the right direction. I suppose that qualifies them as my mentors.

As far me mentoring someone, I don’t think I am. I’m a terrible teacher in my opinion. But if I can spark someone to follow their artistic dream, that’s all I can really hope for.

GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?

PRG: Yes I do, but not AS difficult as it used to be. As with anything in our society, the established norm is tough to break. Though the comic industry seems to have taken huge leaps in progress in the past couple of decades, it’s still very much a man’s world. Someone like Gail Simone has been extremely important in seeing women gain high recognition and respect from her peers, but she is ONE in an industry of many men around her. There are so many factors to look at, definitely too much to write here. But basically, when you see the age demographics of those that read comics and attend comic cons, it’s easy to see why it’s still very much geared towards men. The comics that were out during the Bronze Age and earlier were very much geared towards boys. And now those boys are men buying comics. Now I’m no history buff so I can’t tell exactly when, but at some point the focus shifted to include girls and women into comic readership. That, however, has been too recent so there’s not as many grown women buying comics YET. Webcomics seem to really lend itself well to female creators and younger audiences that, many times, are also females. These ladies are able to write/draw their own stories without any pretense, and readers (both men and women) really respond to that creative freedom. I think it’s really just a matter of time before women take a more dominant role in the industry as long as we continue to do what we love – whether it’s writing, drawing, or editing. There’s simply too much talent to hold back.

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?

PRG: I think the great thing about BOOM!/Archaia is that they’re willing to open their eyes to NEW possibilities. They’re not interested in the same stories that everyone has told, you can get those anywhere. They want truly unique and different approaches to the medium and I think that’s why the diversity is so great with them. They don’t promise brand new stories but hire the same writers/artists/editors to work on them. When you look at a title like Adventure Time, BOOM! has really taken it to so many different tangents. We can all be grateful for Pendleton Ward, that much is certain. But BOOM! has given the audience new stories with Marceline and the Scream Queens, Fionna and Cake, and recently Candy Capers with very strong female creators at the helm! Even when you look at the different variant covers for their books, they’ve really given artists creative freedom with their take on established characters. It just opens up the titles to all sorts of readers. It’s this fearlessness to open the doors to new storytelling that I think allows BOOM!/Archaia to be so successful in creating diversity in the industry.

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?  

PRG: I don’t think I’ve ever really dealt with a heavy dose of discrimination/harassment from being a woman in the industry. This may have something to do with being in a studio with three guys and we’re always together at comic cons, I can’t say for certain. I think the main form of discrimination I’ve had to deal with have been from people that come up to our tables at artist alley and just assumed that out of the 3-4 people there, I am the one that just collects the money. Always happens to me, not the other guys. I don’t think they do that maliciously, they just see a woman in a table of three other men and they figure I’m somebody’s wife just there to help out. It doesn’t make me angry so much as it’s just a nuisance. I think when that stops happening, I’ll know that women have become a dominant force in comics. I don’t make a big fuss over it, I just tell them I’ll gladly take someone else’s money and smile. I’m very choosy over my battles I guess.

The other form of discrimination I’ve faced, to a lesser degree, is how surprised people are that I drew the pictures that are in front me. It’s no secret that I like drawing sexy pin-up ladies so maybe that’s surprising to some. But again I don’t make a fuss. I just smile and tell them I drew that. Hopefully if enough women just smile confidently when asked if they drew the pictures that are in front of them, people will stop asking and just know.

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?

PRG: Do you! Draw what you like to see, write what you want to read. It’s that unique vision that you have that makes you an asset to the industry. It doesn’t have to be anything like what’s been established, just do you! You’ll be surprised at how many people really appreciate that individuality.

Related:

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Polly Guo

polly guoIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 19th “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Polly Guo is a writer and artist, who has worked on Spera and Marceline and the Scream Queens as well as her own comics Houdini & Holmes and Strongman and Pianist.

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?

Polly Guo: I’ve been doing small comic jobs for people since college while working on my own comic Houdini & Holmes. Right now I’m working in animation on StoryCorps, MAD, and the new Mickey Mouse shorts while working on my own comic Strongman and Pianist.

GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?

PG: Of course! I love comics. I’ve always really loved shounen manga, horror manga, and some fringe genres, too. Reading Giffen/Dematteis/Maguire’s run on Justice League International in particular really made me want to get into comics. These days I’ll read anything with Chris Samnee, Cory Walker, Nate Bellegarde, Mike Mignola, or Guy Davis attached to it. They RULE!

GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?

PG: I was asked.

GP: How would you describe your job for people?

PG: In comics, it’s been a lot of on spec work, test work, work for hire contracts, and some times no contract at all. Essentially, work for little to no pay.

I used to do way more unpaid work in college, but now I mostly work in animation, and during my time off I work on my own comic Strongman and Pianist instead of having a social life. I figured if I wasn’t going to get paid, I might as well not get paid doing whatever I felt like doing!

Spera Vol 2 CoverGP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?

PG: Do something other than comics for your money, and then do comics because you love it. I’ve had to turn down multiple graphic novels because I simply could not financially sustain myself on what they were paying me. The story of the self-made comic artist is a myth. Many of the famous comic artists you know are only able to do what they do because they have a breadwinning spouse with a stable job or they were able to work out of their parents’ house for YEARS without paying rent, with few exceptions.

My friend was just saying to me yesterday: it’s like if someone got to the top of Mt. Everest via helicopter and started telling everyone at the bottom that, hey, if they got there with their bare hands and then everyone else could, too.

GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry?

PG: Nah. Comics has always been something I do for myself.

GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?

PG: Style has a lot to do with it. A lot of women just don’t draw in what people would deem ‘house style.’ There are obviously exceptions, but for the most part women have a pretty different and varied set of influences that might not fall into a ‘house style’, and that shouldn’t be a bad thing, but it prevents a lotta people from giving women artists the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve heard editors say they don’t hire women because women can’t draw backgrounds and perspective. Even if that were true (it isn’t), if this was any other industry, that’s something you could teach someone to do passably well through a little bit of mentorship or training. Most learning is done on the job in ANY industry. And when introducing diversity into a workforce you always have to reach across the aisle and do a fair share of giving people the benefit of the doubt, which, admittedly, when there’s money to be made and bellies to be filled, is hard to do.

On top of that, it’s simply difficult to get women to reach for these opportunities because everything about the comics industry tells them they aren’t wanted in it (sexist imagery, fake geek girl-ism, white male dominated work environments, seasoned professionals declaring that comics are not for women, etc.).

I once spoke to a major tv network executive (white male) who said that since his youth he understood the failings of the lack of diversity in tv, and he’d go out of his way to connect with women and people of color in the company and request that they submit tv pitches. Only a small handful of the employees he reached out to actually came to pitch. He told me he realized then that offering the opportunity to people is only half the battle.

The people he reached out to had spent their entire lives subtly being told their work was not wanted, in a way he had never personally experienced. And if you tell a certain group of people again and again that they won’t succeed, eventually they’ll stop trying.

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?

PG: They go out of their way to reach out to women, which is something that other publishers could learn from. Again, when introducing any diversity into a work force it’s important to reach across the aisle and give people the benefit of the doubt even if they don’t fit the perfect employee profile.

It also shouldn’t be ignored that a big contributor is that the projects are low budget. Low budgets mean more risk taking, and more marginalized groups of people with no other options. Countless of my friends, women and people of color, have taken pay that would be way less than we would normally have taken with hopes of some kind of way to break into the industry because there are no other routes for us. “Hey, this is probably gonna be our only chance to break in, so I should probably give it a shot!”

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?

PG: The horror stories are NOT about the overt sexism. If you’re a woman, you deal with overt sexism in your life every single day. It’s the tiny signals in every corner of your life and in the comics industry that say ‘you don’t belong here’ ‘you don’t draw well enough’  ‘your art isn’t what this company wants’ and ‘your art isn’t worth paying a living wage for’ that really get to you.

That is how discrimination works. It’s not someone telling you your ass looks perky- it’s someone telling you your work is a little too ‘childish’, it’s a seasoned professional telling you that you ‘shouldn’t expect to be paid more than $10-20 a page to start out with’, it’s an editor telling you maybe you could try working for $25 a finished page IF ONLY you worked a little faster or that they can’t offer you a contract because ‘that’s just not how we do it in comics.’ Everything adds up.

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?

Don’t take crap or false words of inspiration. Your work is worth fair pay, and most people out there aren’t even willing to give you a living wage.

Related:

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Yasmin Liang

Yasmin LiangIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 18th “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Yasmin Liang is an artist, who has worked on Steed and Mrs. Peel for BOOM! and Star Trek for IDW.

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?

Yasmin Liang: My first contact with the comic book industry was when I interned for Marvel during my senior year. I was lucky enough to be placed in the Digital Comics department where I received invaluable advice from the editors and my supervisor, Tim Smith III. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be involved with comics after I graduated though, due to the seemingly anti-woman climate until I met Matt Miner at MoCCA in NYC who convinced me otherwise. His dedication and passion for his book LIBERATOR really reminded me of what I wanted to do and my original passion for story-telling. I did some work for him before then doing short stories for anthologies like SHATTERED: THE ASIAN AMERICAN ANTHOLOGY (SECRET IDENTITIES) and BEFORE, AFTER AND IN BETWEEN: A COMIC ANTHOLOGY.

GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?

YL: I’ve been reading comics since I could hold the book up myself. I read Tin Tin, Asterix & Obelix and Calvin & Hobbes for the most part. I vividly remember discovering an issue of 1993 Catwoman for the first time. I read a ton of DC and Marvel up until college when I couldn’t really afford to read/buy as much.

I do read comics now, though. Not as much because of time constraints but I try to pick up books that really interest me. I am very much enjoying Saga and Mara currently.

GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?

YL: Chris Rosa sent me an e-mail one day! I’m not sure what or how my work caught his attention but that was pretty much it. I was lucky enough for Steed and Mrs. Peel to drop in my lap once I had tested for it successfully.

GP: How would you describe your job for people?

YL: There are days when I have no idea when or how I’m going to get the page done but a deadline is a great motivator. It’s tiring and requires the kind of dedication I didn’t think I had in me but it’s an incredibly rewarding endeavor. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?

YL: Practice through creation and get your work out there in any way or form. Ignore the little voice in your head that says you’re not good enough. Surgically removing your social life will also assist your development as an artist.

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?

YL: I feel that BOOM! /Archaia subscribe to a simple theory of openness to the new and unknown. It’s an exciting landscape once you expand beyond what has already been explored. They don’t seem to be afraid to put new people on their books and for that I am eternally grateful.  With the surge of women artists coming into the spotlight on Tumblr and other websites, it seems only logical for publishers to take notice of them and give them the attention they deserve.

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?

YL: I have been fortunate enough to have not personally experienced any discrimination or harassment. The affect of hearing about stories from friends or other creators was enough to discourage me almost entirely from pursuing a career in comics though.

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?

YL: I’m still trying to figure it out for myself but I would suggest the same basic principles for any professional artist: Be polite, meet deadlines and develop your craft.

Related:

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Grace Randolph

Supurbia_01_rev_CVRIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 17th “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Grace Randolph is a writer and the creator of the excellent BOOM! series Supurbia. She’s also written for the comics Muppet Peter Pan, and Fraggle Rock and is also an avid blogger.

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?

GR: I don’t just write comics, I read ‘em! Like many comic book readers, ultimately I had a desire to contribute to the medium I enjoy so much. Thus began my letter and email writing campaign to various editors, and it was DC Comics Dan DiDio who gave me my first gig – writing Justice League Unlimited #41.

GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?

GR: As a kid, I got into comics via Archie and Uncle Scrooge – both of which I read voraciously! Then, when I started to get annoyed that Archie didn’t simply choose between Betty and Veronica, I knew it was time to move over into mainstream adult comics – DC and Marvel.

GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?

GR: I did some work over at Tokyopop and a few of their editors transitioned over to both companies actually, back when they were separate. I was invited to pitch for the Muppet fairytale line over at BOOM! and Fraggle Rock over at Archaia, and luckily they liked my pitches!

GP: How would you describe your job for people?

GR: Comic books are produced by a group of people working together, which is very important to remember. But the writer is the only one who starts at zero. It’s my job to peer into the darkness and pull out the story, creating the skeleton that the rest of the team will layer their work over. And as a creator, I get to weigh in on those layers as well, which results in what I originally had in mind – but even better thanks to the talented people I’m working with!

GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?

GR: Get ready for a long haul. Any kind of career, especially in the arts, takes a long time to establish – not to mention get to a point where you can support yourself financially. Luckily, a career in the arts is usually fueled by passion, and that passion will keep you going during the many, many rough parts.

GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself?

GR: As I mentioned above, Dan DiDio got me my first gig and was the first one to believe in my talent as a writer. His assistant at the time, Jann Jones, is the one who told him my spec script was worth reading, and I owe her a lot as well. Plus those editors from Tokyopop who moved to BOOM! and Archaia who agreed to hear my pitches, Paul Morrissey and Tim Beedle. And of course, I’ve learned an incredible amount from working with Ross Richie, BOOM!’s publisher and founder, on Supurbia.

GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?

GR: Well, there’s a new fad where male comic book readers like to question is women really DO like comics, or if it’s just an act to get attention. It’s true that a small number of women do that, which is unfortunate in and of itself, but even more so because it makes it difficult for true female fans to be involved in the community. And exact same thing goes for female creators. Look, I think it’s amazing that JK Rowling felt – just recently – that she had to initially hide the fact she’s a woman from readers. And even when she published under a pseudonym this year, she picked a man’s name, Robert Galbraith. Women will have more success as creators when consumers are more willing to try their work – who knows when that will happen, or what it will take…

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?

GR: BOOM! is very special in that they have tremendous faith in ideas, and in making sure those ideas are realized in tact and to the best of everyone’s ability. That’s very rare in comics, and in any business sadly. So I think the fact BOOM! values ideas means they don’t particularly care who’s head those ideas come from, and that’s great. Favoritism is just as bad as discrimination.

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?

GR: I was really disappointed to hear that a number of comic book stores didn’t carry Supurbia, and still don’t, because they felt it was too “girly” or perhaps because it had my name on it, a female name. First off, it’s not girly, and such an assumption means they didn’t even give the title an honest look. Second, for a store to make assumptions about what their readers want and don’t want to read is ridiculous, and quite frankly bad business. Every title should be presented to readers and if they don’t buy it, THEN you can stop ordering it.

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?

GR: Hold your head up high, and let your work speak for you.  Good luck!

Related:

Interview: Women of BOOM! – Danielle Corsetto

Danielle CorsettoIt’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 16th “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.

BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.

Danielle Corsetto is a writer who has worked on the Adventure Time OGN Vol. 1: Playing With Fire and Adventure Time OGN Vol. 2: Pixel Princess and the webcomic Girls With Slingshots.

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?

Danielle Corsetto: I’ve been creating comic strips since I was eight, published here and there in little publications throughout college, but the real first step I took to “break in” was attending comic book conventions and getting to know people in the industry (as well as other aspiring creators). I’ve been self-published for years, so I never really “got into the comic book industry” per se, but I’ve been creating comics full-time for six years now. I think personal connections and networking are monstrously helpful in getting the word out about your work, so I always recommend comic book conventions to aspiring creators, even if you’re just there as an attendee!

GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?

DC: I never read comic books, but I read newspaper comic strips all the time. Now that the scene has shifted mostly to the web, I still read some of my old favorite newspaper strips online, as well as a handful of webcomics and graphic novels. I love anything that falls into the “slice-of-life comedy” genre.

Vol1FullGP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?

DC: Lucky for me, it sounds like some of the staff at BOOM! knew my work already, and asked me to work on some of their best properties! I’m currently writing the graphic novels for Adventure Time, which is my favorite show on TV. Even before I got the gig, Adventure Time was the ONLY show I’d subscribed to on my iPad. So it’s a dream come true to play with the characters!

GP: How would you describe your job for people?

DC: I’m best known for my own webcomic, Girls With Slingshots, which is self-published on my website and in book collections. When I meet people who aren’t necessarily familiar with the comics industry, I simply tell them that I’m a cartoonist, and let them ask questions from there. I just got back from visiting a dentist, for instance, and as a fellow small business owner, he wanted to know all about the business model for publishing comics on the web without a subscription model.

I suppose I’m an entrepreneur at heart, but I like the ring of “cartoonist.” It’s always suited me best. :)

GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?

DC: One: go to comic book conventions, and two: DO IT!! Put it up on the web so that other people will keep tabs on you and ask when you’re going to do more. It’ll keep you motivated.

Also, when you’re at a convention and someone asks you what you do, don’t call yourself an artist or a writer unless you’re actively spending most of your time creating comics. I know (and you know) that you’re an artist or a writer at heart, but you also know just as well as I do that when someone (in the States, at least) asks you what you do, they’re asking what you do professionally. Tell them you’re an aspiring artist, or an aspiring writer. If you go around telling people you’re already doing it, you’ll never get off your rump and actually do it!

Which brings us back to my second point: DO IT!! Once you start doing it, THEN you can give yourself that title. :)

GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself?

DC: I did! Funny enough, he’s a very different kind of artist and writer than I am, but I owe artist Michael Lark for pushing me to quit my job and do freelance work full-time back when I was starting out. He’s an incredible storyteller and all-around great, encouraging guy. Naturally, I met him at a comic convention.

Since then I like to think I’ve been a bit of a mentor to many aspiring artists and writers, just here and there. I teach an illustration class at the local college every spring, and a lot of those students are mad talented! I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on them as they grow, and seeing how their styles mature.

GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?

DC: I’ve been protected by this, for the most part, because I work for myself, and primarily on the web. But I did get a bit of advice from someone at the very first convention I ever attended as an exhibitor, and it was simultaneously annoying and humbling and painfully accurate.

At that first convention, I’d dressed myself to look (uncharacteristically) pretty and feminine, and I spent a good amount of the show blushing and being self-deprecating about my artwork. I don’t know where I learned to do this – I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, and I’m pretty bold and confident within my friend circles – but it was definitely a learned behavior.

Someone who’d been working in the industry for a long time talked with me a bit, realized that I’m hardly a shrinking violet, and encouraged me to stop being a caricature of a “woman in comics.” His advice led me me to dress how I usually dress, act how I usually act, be confident in my artwork, and to see myself as a peer to others in the industry, rather than a “woman trying to make it in a man’s world.”

I suppose this could be misconstrued as sexist advice, but it worked for me. I’m very “me” at conventions now, and I feel entirely accepted for it. If you’re a shy female creator who enjoys dressing up, you can still be exactly who you are! (In fact, PLEASE be exactly who you are!) But when people ask you about your work, have confidence in your strengths. Have confidence in the way you’re presented, the way you’re dressed, and in all of your potential. You know you’re just as good as your male peers! And if you honestly think you’re not, then just keep working at it, keep practicing. It’s not like the estrogen in your body is a handicap to your talents, you know that!

GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?

DC: I’m not sure! I mean, I’ve met the staff, and I feel super comfortable with all of them. I never feel like “the girl creator” (in part because so many of their creators ARE girls!). So maybe it’s because of the overall positive, inclusive attitude of the people they hire. I’m glad I’m a part of it!

GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?

DC: I haven’t seen much of it first-hand, or at least, I haven’t seen it coming from other professionals.

I think the worst I’ve ever experienced was at a small comic book show in New York, years ago, before my work and my name were becoming well-known. I was sitting next to my aforementioned mentor, Michael, who’s a seasoned professional and has been in the industry for nearly 20 years. Some kid walked up to his table, said some nice things about his work, looked over my (rather lacking, at that point) portfolio, and asked Michael if he thought men were just inherently better at drawing than women. I was surprised by his bluntness (“I’m right here, kid, I ain’t deaf!”), but I think all I could do was laugh. Michael, on the other hand, was appalled, and told the kid that despite the fact that I was 15 years behind him and just starting out, there were plenty of things I could draw better than him.

I humbly disagree – Michael can draw in just about any style – but the point was made that this kid was comparing apples to apple blossoms. I wasn’t any less talented than Michael, but I was over a decade behind him in experience, and that had nothing to do with my gender!

Since then I’ve had one or two guys walk up to me at shows and make an inappropriate comment – I suspect it’s because I’m very open about sexuality in my comic and on Twitter – and I always handle it by giving them an empowered “WHAAAAAAAAT did you just say?” The moment someone crosses a boundary with me is the moment I feel superior to them, because they’re making it so clear that they’re more socially inept than I am. I rarely blow up at people, but I also rarely let it slide when someone objectifies me, or treats me differently than they’d treat a guy.

GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?

DC: I guess I’ve already shared this, but: go to comic book conventions; be confident in your abilities; if you feel like you’re not good at something, don’t mope about it, WORK on it; and be yourself. We’re kicking the gender imbalance in comics square in the junk; help us kick it further by kicking ass!

Related:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,955 other followers

%d bloggers like this: