Interview: Women of BOOM! – Hae Mi Jang
It’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 28th “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.
Hae Mi Jang is a Korean artist who has worked on BOOM!’s Hellraiser: The Road Below and Clive Barker’s Next Testament.
Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?
Hae Mi Jang: I was in a group of six artists who wanted to start work in US comic book industry. We were supported by Korean governmental agency named ‘Korea Manhwa Contents Agency'(KOMACON) which put together a six month project for introducing our work and seeking for comic book publishers.
GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?
HMJ: Yes, I read a lot of comic books and and watched animation. I usually read Korean and Japanese comics as a teenager, but now I’m into various books and media, like novels, photographs, paintings and movies. It all helps a lot for drawing many things in comics.
GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?
HMJ: The six artist made a portfolio about our work and KOMACON connected us to the publisher’s actively to introduce us. They got the portfolio and the style of my work, which was black and white, inky and dark. It was good for drawing Clive Barker’s comic.
GP: How would you describe your job for people?
HMJ: Creating a new world on a piece of paper with a pen is amazing. I feel so gratified when the flow of the story I draw can touch people emotions.
GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?
HMJ: It’s not always fun, you need to study hard about the flow of the story, panel, perspective and characters movement. You need to observe everything in the world. Because drawing comics it’s not only creating a new world but also copying the real world in the paper.
GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself?
HMJ: Korean comic artist Hyun Sae Lee was the leader of KOMACON who supported us. He is an icon of the Korean comic history. Also he is the professor of the University I was in. He always gives good advice for younger comic artist in Korea.
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?
HMJ: I think there is no difficult thing to break in and make it in the comic industry because you’re a woman. People read and watch my drawings, not me. Comic book is the communication between readers and artist (also writers). It doesn’t matter what your gender is or how you look.
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?
HMJ: Well, I draw horror comics. I think it’s just a taste of what people like. and it’s not just concerning women, some men doesn’t like horrors. so many men, so many minds. And also personally I’m not a big fan of horror or violent things but I like to draw a dark side of the world and people and it doesn’t harassed me at all. :)
GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?
HMJ: Don’t care about the fact you’re a woman or not. What you draw and how can you draw/write a good story is the important part. Readers know what is good or not.