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.

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