Interview: Women of BOOM! – Katie Cook
It’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.