It’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.