Tag Archives: comic books

Robin Childs: A to Z Challenge

The interviewee for this post was recommended by fellow comic book artist, Dawn Griffin. I sincerely hope that you visit her sites. Her work is thoughtful with a blend of mythology and storytelling. If you love a good story, then you will enjoy Child’s comic books.

What are you working on now?

Currently I have two big comic projects. The first is my ongoing fantasy epic, LeyLines (http://leylinescomic.com), about an irresponsible prince, his dream-weaving sister, and their adopted brother, who are given a mission by a voiceless goddess of dreams that will force them to choose between their future and their family. The second comic project is called Wavemen, which is a collaborative, team effort. Cory, my husband, is the head-writer, I’m co-writer, and we’re working with a team of five phenomenal artists to illustrate the story. Wavemen is set in Heian Japan, where the Emperor has gathered a team of legendary heroes to solve supernatural mysteries. It’s like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but pulling from ancient Japanese history and myths. We’re running an IndieGoGo for the project right now! If history, mythology, and strong storytelling interest you, please take a look!

Wavemen

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

My influences are all over the map, so I’d be hard-pressed to pick any one creator. For print comics, the works of Carla Speed McNeil (Finder), Christopher Hicks (Mister Blank), and Wendy and Richard Pini (ElfQuest) had a big impact on me as a kid. As an adult, Vertigo’s Lucifer has become a definitive comic series in my collection. Online comics showed me new ways of creating, and I was very inspired by the work of Scott Kurtz (PVP, Table Titans), Joe England (Zebra Girl), Faith Erin Hicks (Demonology 101, Friends with Boys, The Adventures of Superhero Girl, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, etc) and Tracy Butler (Lackadaisy).

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?
I confess that I’m struggling to answer this question. I often don’t feel like the female characters I see in comics are ones I can relate to very well. I enjoy Val from Table Titans (http://www.tabletitans.com/), Delilah Dirk (http://www.delilahdirk.com/) and the whole team from Agents of the Realm (http://www.agentsoftherealm.com/) but I have yet to read a female character that really jumps out at me as a favorite. I do think that we’re starting to see more female characters on the page (especially online) and I’m encouraged to see what the future brings. Perhaps in a few years, I’ll have so many favorites that I’ll be unable to name them all!
Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
It’s less that people expect a certain type of art, than a certain type of role. I write and illustrate my own comics. My husband is my editor. Yet, time and again at a show, people will look at the two of us at the table and say, “So…he’s the writer, and you’re the illustrator?” Sometimes folks have trouble imagining that I’m involved at all. “YOU? A GIRL? Made THESE?” However, for every comment like that, we’ll have twice as many over-joyed parents introducing me to their daughters and saying to their little girls, “Look! This wonderful lady did ALL OF THESE COMICS!! She did these! Isn’t that amazing? YOU CAN TOO!!” Those are the moments I try to focus on. If I can encourage and inspire those creative children to pursue their own stories and art, maybe someday we will all be so prolific and visible that nobody will find a woman making comics strange.
How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
 
We go to about 8-12 shows a year. Whether I enjoy a convention depends largely on the event itself. I get energized when people are positive. Excited about the show, interested in discovering new things, moved by my story, or just tickled to be at a big event, surrounded by folks of like-mind. If I can have valuable conversations and connect with a positive community, then I’m almost guaranteed to enjoy the show.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Introvert. Which often surprises people, because at shows I come across as very extroverted. I think people often confuse social skills for extroversion. Engaging with people is a skill that anyone can learn. We introverts just need to balance it with some high-quality alone time afterwards to recharge our batteries.
Where do you find your inspiration?
History, myths, life, washing the dishes, listening to music, going on walks, interacting with people, devouring books.
What do you do if you have writer’s block?
It depends on what the source of the block is. I’ve learned that writer’s block can be induced by a variety of factors, and the same symptoms may require different cures. It could be that I’m burned out, which means I need to rest. It could be that there’s something wrong with my script, which means I need to dig into it and try to find the source of the problem. It could be that I’ve been stuck too long in output mode and need to switch to input mode, which means I need to search out new books, movies, music, and experiences. I wrote a three-part series on motivation and creative lulls, which you can find as follows:
Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
 
One of the trends I’ve found interesting about choosing to pursue a creative career is how people have reacted to it over time. When I first started my own business, every person I spoke to tried to talk me out of it. Complete strangers, knowing less than five minutes of information about comics, me, and my projects, would immediately try to convince me it was a lost cause and I should quit while I was ahead. Now that I’ve had my business for a few years, have published three books, and started offering editing and coaching services, the response has completely changed. Now people will say that what I’m doing is okay, but if I REALLY want to be successful, I should try out THEIR idea. Again, these recommendations usually come from complete strangers who know absolutely nothing about what I do or the industry I work in. I’ve had people tell me to pursue everything from movie deals to reality TV shows. It makes me really curious about how the response will change in another few years. And why people have responded differently over time. Am I presenting it differently as I’ve gotten more confident in my work? Does the amount of time, or the quantity of books published, change a person’s perception? Most importantly, it’s taught me to filter the advice I get from people and consider its source. It’s far more valuable to listen to the perspective of an expert or peer that I trust and respect, than to worry over the discouraging remarks of an uninformed stranger.
Beverage of choice?
Tea! Jasmine green is a favorite, but I love a variety of hot (or cold) leaf juice options. My tea cabinet is constantly overflowing.
When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
Last Halloween. Cory & I went as Gomez and Morticia Addams. We feel that their relationship is the most representative media portrayal of our own marriage.
What do you want people to know about you?
One thing I try to be very open about is that I have chronic depression. I share my experiences in my blog in the hopes that others who also struggle with similar feelings know that they’re not alone. Depression is such an isolating state of mind, and so heavily stigmatized culturally, that it is easy for people to believe that there is Something Wrong With Them and Nobody Else Feels This Way. I share my thoughts, struggles, and lessons learned on my blog, intermixed with the book reviews, silly stories, heavy life questions, and fanciful musings. In many ways, my blog is just as important to me as my comic work. I’ve had people write to me sharing their own survival stories with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and assault. It is a humbling experience to be trusted with such personal stories, but also powerful and affirming to become part of someone’s community in such a meaningful way. Many people have told me they got through a challenging period with their own mental health because they’d seen their own behaviors reflected in my writings, and found a new perspective to get out of a negative spiral. Being a part of that growth is so powerful. It’s often terrifying for me to share those kinds of personal things, but knowing that it’s helping others grow keeps me opening those doors and shining lights on the things that are hidden in those dark spaces. It’s scary, but it’s worth it.
What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?
Pride is an emotion I usually don’t feel until I look back at something years later. It’s a feeling that fits best in retrospection, I think. I’m proud that I never gave up on my stories. No project has ever been perfect, and it never will be, but I’m glad that I’ve always tried to improve, expand, and challenge myself. I’m proud of the journey thus far. I’ll do my best to keep pushing forward to even better things.
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Jules Rivera: A to Z Challenge

It’s too late to be someone else when I grow up but I still dream about becoming Jules Rivera or at least more like her. She’s an extremely talented artist. Plus, her tattoos are the coolest. Everything about her is the coolest. I think she fits the bill of being one of the coolest chicks ever.

 

What are you working on now?

Let’s see…I just wrapped an art test for a major toy IP and next up I’ve got colors for a children’s book, colors for a graphic novel, logo design, RPG spot illustrations, and that’s just the pay stuff. Then I have to set up my Patreon and get back to my personal work.

Who has influenced you as an artist?

The underserved audiences. When I first started making comics and art, I mainly did it for myself. However, there came a time when I started to look around me and see the major companies ignoring entire swaths of people. Women, girls, boys, ethnic people, whatever. My people. My work became about giving my people a voice, and when your work becomes about something bigger than you, it changes everything.

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character

Female hero: Storm. Female villain: The Misfits. Female character: Sailor Mars.

Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?

I have been brought onto projects because I’m a woman, but nobody has ever given me the note: “Draw this to look more girly.” I think people expect a certain type of art from me because of the brand I’ve built which isn’t quite the same as “because I are a female.” I may draw colorful, expressive characters, but I can draw out a hell of an action sequence too.

How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

Living in Southern California, I have two of the biggest conventions in the country within a stone’s throw of me. It’s also great to travel to shows like New York Comic Con and Awesome Con. Every convention offers me the chance to see the creators I talk to online so each one is like a little family reunion. They’re great!

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Extrovert. Rare for an artist. Even more rare: I’m good at math.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Um…everywhere. There are life and inspiration in the people, places and living things all around us. The beautiful mountains around me, a weird plant on the street, a curious character I’ve seen on my travels. All of it can be inspiration for new material. If I’m out and I have eyeballs, I’m collecting inspiration.

What do you do if you have writer’s block?

Take a walk. It helps to clear my head and, again, find more inspiration.

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

I’m always blown away when people tell me they’ve been inspired by me or my work. It feels like such a huge responsibility. Like “OH MY GOSH, YOU LIKED THE THING I DREW THAT MUCH?! IT MADE YOU WANT TO DO A THING?” It’s so huge. Words can’t quite capture the feeling.

Beverage of choice?

Tea.

When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

Just last year, I was Carmen San Diego. My Instagram can confirm this.

What do you want people to know about you?

I’m very, very loud, but I’m otherwise each to talk to. Try not to say anything mean or I’ll have to eat your face.

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?

I’ve been proud of many things only to cringe at seeing them six months later. I’d say one thing I’ve done that has any real staying power with me is Misfortune High. I’m really happy with how it came out.

 

Jules Rivera website

Corinna Bechko: A to Z Challenge

Corinna Bechko is a really fascinating individual. I mean, look at that picture of her with the bird – not everyone can be so brave. Besides being an animal lover, she writes comic books. Plus, she loves coffee.

If I was having coffee with Corinna, I think our conversation would be something like this . . .

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing?

CSB: Sadly, I can barely draw a box. Working in comics would be much easier if I could draw as well as write, but I’m stuck with language as my only means of expression.

What are you working on now?

CSB: I’ve got a few projects going: Co-writing INVISIBLE REPUBLIC with Gabriel Hardman for Image Comics, writing LORDS OF THE JUNGLE for Dynamite, writing COURT OF THE DEAD – RISE for Sideshow/Heavy Metal, and a couple of other things that haven’t been announced yet.

Who has influenced you the most as a writer?

CSB: That’s a tough one to answer. A lot of stuff inspires me, but I’m not sure who influences me the most. I think that in the unlikely event that I’m ever famous enough to have a biography written about me I’ll leave that to the biographer to figure out. I’m sure it’s someone who I wouldn’t even think of since so much influence is unintentional.

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?

CSB: I don’t follow too many superhero books regularly, tending to follow creators more than characters, so I guess my answer will have to be a little more ambiguous than someone falling neatly into superhero/super villain. I fell in love with Zan Jensen, the troubled protagonist of Sebela and Moustafa’s HIGH CRIMES, and I also have a soft spot for Forever Carlyle of Rucka and Lark’s LAZARUS. There are many, many more, including pretty much everyone I’ve written, but those ladies don’t seem fair to list since of course I love all of them.

Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?

CSB: Not really, but I think that’s because it’s always been pretty apparent that my favorite things to write are horror and sci-fi. My first published comic, HEATHENTOWN (with Gabriel Hardman, from Image/Shadowline) was atmospheric horror, so people knew what they were getting. I do tend to be offered female characters to write, but they are usually horror or action, like Vampirella or Lara Croft. I’ve never made a secret of my love for these types of stories, and it’s paid off in being offered characters and arcs I’m suited to writing.

How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

CSB: It depends, really. I usually attend at least four a year, but sometimes more and sometimes less. It has to do with my workload, mostly. I do enjoy them, but they are incredibly exhausting. I work from home so it’s nice to get out and meet new people and reconnect with old friends, but the extra work before and after can be a killer. Conventions themselves are hard work too, especially since most of the rest of my job is so quiet and focused and cons can be the opposite of that.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

CSB: Definitely an introvert

Where do you find your inspiration?

CSB: I read a lot, as much as I possibly can. I read comics, prose, fiction, nonfiction… Whatever catches my interest. I also try to travel as much as I can. Getting out in nature is important too. And so are music and film.

What do you do if you have writer’s block?

CSB: It’s a funny thing, but I’ve found that you can’t make a living as a writer and also deal with writers block. So I just ignore it. If I can’t write, I STILL write. That’s what rewriting is for: if you’ve written a bunch of garbage, well, you can always improve it. If I’m seriously burned out I give myself tiny goals and rewards, like a cup of tea if the page gets finished, or an M&M after a certain number of words. The promise of a fancy cocktail waiting at the end of a script is a great motivator.

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

CSB: Oh, sure. People have weird ideas about the life of a writer. But previous to this job I worked as a zookeeper, so I’m no stranger to fielding weird questions. The most consistently awkward thing that happens now is when I meet new people and tell them I write comics for a living. Often they will “correct me” with “oh, I’m sure YOU write GRAPHIC NOVELS, not comics.” And then I have to tell them that I’m not ashamed to write comics, I think comics are great! Graphic novels are just a format, not a genre, just as comics are a medium, not a genre. That can be kind of difficult.

Beverage of choice?

CSB: Coffee, tea, more coffee.

When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

CSB: Hmm, it’s been a while since I wore a costume, but last year I dressed up fancy to see a live orchestra preform THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS at the Hollywood Bowl. And I dressed up my dog as a dinosaur, and one of my cats as a raven. I love Halloween, it’s my favorite holiday.

What do you want people to know about you?

CSB: That I co-write INVISIBLE REPUBLIC with Gabriel Hardman for Image Comics and that the second volume will be out this summer. I also write MISS FURY and LORDS OF THE JUNGLE for DYNAMITE, In addition, I’ve been doing quite a bit of work on the COURT OF THE DEAD line for Sideshow/Heavy Metal. I’d also like people to know that you can find me on Twitter and Facebook. I’m Corinna Bechko in both places. If you look me up on social media you’ll see a lot of animal and conservation related content. I’m very passionate about rhino and tapir conservation.

The Frog Bag

Corinna Bechko on Twitter

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Meredith Finch: A to Z Challenge

When Meredith Finch agreed to do this interview, I may have turned into a complete and total fangirl. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Meredith Finch, she is the writer for Wonder Woman. She is listed in the DC Comics talent directory.

Do you think she’d wear a Wonder Woman crown made by a random fan not associated with this blog? Maybe she’d put it on the shelf with all of the other crowns. Maybe she would wear it to comic book conventions.

So I’m really excited to present this interview.

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing or writing?

I would have to say that I am proud of the very first comic book I ever wrote, Tales from Oz:  The Cowardly Lion because it was a huge step for me to write for someone other than myself.  Equally I’ve very proud of Wonder Woman Issue 51, because I feel like it shows how much I’ve grown over the last few years as a writer. 

What are you working on now?

I’ve just turned in script for Wonder Woman #52 which I had a great time working on.  It is the finale of the arc I have most recently been working on.  It’s been a lot of fun exploring Wonder Woman’s relationships with her family of Olympic Gods. 

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

I love fantasy fiction and the works of CS Lewis, Robert Jordon, David Eddings and Melanie Rawn .  Scott Synder has recently had a huge influence on my work and I really credit his mentorship for what I feel I was able to accomplish with Wonder Woman #51.

 Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?

I don’t think that there is any answer here but Wonder Woman.

 Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?

I think that we often limit ourselves in that aspect, even more than other people might.  Prior to writing the Grimmes Fairy Tales: Tales of Terror #3 and 5, I would have never told you that I could write horror.  I made my 11 year old sit through The Others with me and tell me when the scary parts were over.  You never know what you can do until you do it.

 How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

I absolutely love going to conventions.  I think that it is a great way to immerse your self in the culture and interact with like-minded people and fans.  I would say that I probably get to 4-6 conventions per year.

 Are you an introvert or extrovert?

If you had asked me that question 5 years ago I would have definitely said that I was an extrovert.  Working at home and being in my own head so much has definitely pushed me in the other direction.

 Where do you find your inspiration?

 I think you have to find inspiration in your own life.  Comic book readers are very sophisticated and they can absolutely tell if the feelings and experiences you are writing about are not authentic.

 What do you do if you have writer’s block?

Sometimes it can take a few days to work through a case of writer’s block, but ultimately for me, I find sitting down and forcing myself to at least put something on the page is the only thing that works.  Going back to pencil and paper makes the experience feel more intimate and helps me get more into the mindset of the character I’m writing.

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

I really haven’t.  I have been so blessed to meet so many amazing writers and artists in this industry, and ultimately at the end of the day we are all coming from the same place, a love for comics and a desire to give our work and our fans our very best effort. 

 Beverage of choice?

In the morning… tea.  At night when I’m cooking dinner… red wine.

 When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

It’s been a very long time.  The last time I dressed up, I was a single mom and I took my two boys, Hayden and Everett out.  I was the Cat in the Hat and they were Things One and Two.

What do you want people to know about you?

That’s probably the hardest question to answer.  I’m a very private person and it’s very difficult for me to open up, even with my close friends, about how I’m feeling.  I think that’s why I’ve been so drawn to writing.  It’s an opportunity for me to express myself without feeling too vulnerable.

 

Meredith Finch on Twitter

 

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Eve Greenwood: A to Z Challenge

Eve Greenwood is exquisite, ethereal and exceptional. (There are so many words for awesome that start with E and most of them can apply to Eve. Maybe not eternal but everything else.)

It was so lovely of her to answer my questions, even though she is busy with her freelance work . Her home is in Scotland; however, you can find her in various places on the internet.

What are you working on now?

At the moment my main project is my webcomic, Inhibit. It’s a story about British teenagers with superpowers who weren’t good enough to become proper, government-approved superheroes. I started it in January 2015 and update it every Wednesday!

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

There are so many amazing online artists who inspired me when I started to draw that it’s impossible to name them all, but Heather Campbell (Makani) was definitely one of the first!

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?

I love Nimona (from the comic of the same name by Noelle Stevenson) and Leona (from the webcomic Prague Race by Petra Nordlund)! I love characters with questionable moral values.

Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are not male?

I don’t think so. I don’t think certain genres of art belong to any gender in particular, as is evidenced by the huge range in art styles and themes by any number of comic artists.

How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

I’ve only been going to conventions for the past couple of years but I really enjoy them! I love the atmosphere and how enthusiastic everyone is about everyone else’s costumes. So far I’ve only been two four but I’d definitely like to attend more as a visitor, and if my first tabling gig this May goes well then I’d definitely want to attend more as an exhibitor!

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Probably a little of both. I love being around people but definitely need time to recharge.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Scrolling through Twitter or Tumblr and seeing other people getting excited about their work and their stories. It’s infectious! It always gets me keen to work on my own projects.

What do you do if you have writer’s block?

I’m one of those people who forces their way through it. Even if I know I’ll never use any of it, I always try to get SOMETHING down on paper until inspiration returns.

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

I haven’t really had any awkward experiences, only lots of lovely ones. Occasionally people will contact me to tell me they’re enjoying my comic and that’s always so exciting to hear.

Beverage of choice?

Irn bru, and chances are hardly anyone who reads this will have heard of it.

When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

A couple of years ago – I went as Loki.

What do you want people to know about you?

That I’m very excited about my comic all the time always.

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?

When I was twelve, I finished a story that ended up being a good hundred pages long. It was awful and rambling but I was so excited about having finished it that I printed it off and gave it to my English teacher to correct. She was so kind and encouraging, she read the entire thing. I still have the folder with all her feedback! That’s definitely something that pushed me to keep writing.

Eve Greenwood’s website

Eve on Twitter

*All artwork belongs to the artist.

Enkaru: A to Z Challenge

enkaru

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While searching for a person for the letter E, I stumbled across Enkaru on Tumblr. Luckily, she agreed to do the interview. Now we follow each other on Tumblr. Next week, we’ll be BFF’s. I would encourage you all to follow her and check out her art work.

 

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?

I suppose it was when I saw my first comic titled “Trisquel” published. This day I felt really excited and proud to see that my dream came true.

 

What are you working on now?

Now I’m working on Sparkshooter, a webcomic written by the comic book writer Troy Brownfield. I’m also doing illustrations for games and books and creating my own comic online about epic fantasy adventures. It will be published on my site enkaru.com. It’s under construction now, but it will be ready very soon.

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

I don’t know exactly because I have a lot of influences. In the beginning I had a strong influence from manga, especially from Rumiko Takahashi. But now I’m inspired by artists like Ludo Lullabi, Cory Loftis, Humberto Ramos and many more. I think my current style of drawing is a mix of all these influences along the time.

 

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?

I like Princess Mononoke, Nausicaä and practically all the female characters created by Hayao Miyazaki, because they’re physically and emotionally strong. Maybe they need a partner or a friend who go with them, but not somebody to save them.

Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?

I’m not sure, but sometimes people think I’m a man because I like drawing fantasy characters like orcs, goblins, dragons or beautiful female elves. And my nickname doesn’t help either, ha, ha.

How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

A few years ago I used to go a lot of comic conventions to sign my books and so. But now I’m only going to a pair of conventions at year. It depends on the free time I have. And I really enjoy them because I can meet another artists from all over the world.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Extrovert. I like to meet with my friends and get to know new people.

Where do you find  your inspiration?

I find my inspiration playing videogames, reading books, watching films, listening to music or just beholding an illustration. But sometimes I find it playing sports because I’m thinking about new ideas while I’m going running, for example.

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

I think the most interesting experience for me is to give several drawing courses in different cities from Spain. I like to teach what I learned to other people and talk about my experience working for a publishing house.

Beverage of choice?

Fennel tea with cinnamon, allspice and ginger. But beer is good too, ha, ha.

When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

Last year. I dressed up as a dark wizard.

What do you want people to know about you?

I’m a charming person and a really beautiful woman, haha… just kidding. I like to be happy and I laugh a lot, and I think it is reflected on my work. I love drawing comics about adventures with a good dose of humour, but I also want to send a positive message through them.
I’m trying to do my best every day, but sometimes I feel blocked and I think I can’t improve anymore. Hopefully I have amazing people around me who give me the strength I need to go ahead, and I think this is really important to be succeed. So, always support the people you love even you think what they do is worthless, because it’s the only way they can reach their dreams. And surround yourself with friends or relatives who support you as well.

Enkaru on Tumblr

Enkaru on Twitter

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Dawn Griffin : A to Z Challenge

D is for Dawn Griffin, an independent kid-friendly illustrator. She is from Cleveland, Ohio, which is almost in my backyard.
When I first asked her to participate in this project, she asked me several questions about myself like “Who are you?” and “Why are you camping on my lawn?”
Just kidding. I suppose there are creepers out there. So after she decided that I wasn’t a creeper, she answered my questions. Also, she didn’t yell at me when I lost the questions. I blame Google. It’s possible that the internet can make your stuff vanish, right?!
Anyway . . . check out her response and all of her websites.
Also, if your kids “borrow” all of your inappropriate comic books and leave them under the couch without the plastic covering or cardboard, Griffin’s comics could be a good starting point for their own comic book collection. Just do it. Comic book artists need love and support too.
1. What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing?

When I was 5 or 6, I wrote/illustrated my first book. I still have it. It’s made out of construction paper, stapled, glued, and paper-clipped. The title is “My Silly Day with Sally and Sue”. Alliteration at the age of 6. Not much else was spelled correctly.

2. What are you working on now?
I am actually in between projects. I just ended my 9-year run with “Zorphbert & Fred”, an all-ages comic strip series about 2 aliens, disguised as dogs, here on earth to study (make fun of) humankind. I specialize in all-ages, or kid-friendly, comics. My artistic style is cute but quirky, and I tend to be humorous but insightful in my writing approach. My next project will be much in the same vein, but a graphic novel format geared towards preteens. It will have a supernatural element to it as well, but still retain some humor and social commentary. The details are being ironed out, but essentially it’s a coming-of-age tale about a new tomboyish girl in middle school, who discovers a mirror that allows her to better understand her peers whom she doesn’t get along with well. The message of uniting rather than dividing, and general empathy for our peers is an important one to me.
3. Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
Whew, that’s like asking a musician which single band influenced them the most. The most diverse creative people open themselves up to a wide landscape of other artists. But for this purpose, I’ll name a few. My first memory is of Peanuts curtains in my nursery. Comic strips became a huge influence, stating with Schulz’s “Peanuts”, and trickling down to Watterson’s “Calvin & Hobbes”, Amend’s “Fox Trot”, and Johnston’s “For Better or for Worse”. As I got older, I branched out to underground comic like Pekar’s “American Splendor”, and the art of Robert Crumb had a role in my own style. But it also extends to animation of all sorts, some fine artists, and today I gather more and more fellow cartoonists thanks to the internet, that are groundbreaking and inspirational in their own ways.
4. Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?
I’m really into Ms. Marvel right now. The re-imagining of her as a young Muslim girl, trying to fit in as a teenager while remaining dedicated to her family and culture, AND dealing with these crazy superpowers…. it’s a recipe for a complex and topical story. Highly recommended reading.
On the more indie side of the pond, I also love the Rat Queens. Talk about powerful women, kicking butt, taking names, all wrapped up with witty writing and suburb art to boot.
5. Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
I do think cute art is expected. Thing is, my work is pretty “cute”, but has enough quirky sophistication to it, that it surprises adults who at first glance wrote off my books as “kids stuff”. I figure– if adults can fully enjoy a Pixar movie that is also kid-friendly, why not comics? I write with adults in mind, I just happen to make the content appropriate for kids too.. which, coincidentally, is what kids like about my comics. They don’t pander. Calvin & Hobbes is one of the last great comic strips for just that reason.
But just in general, women are a severe minority in this field. At conventions, I’ve had people wander up to my table and ask “When will HE be back?”, assuming I’m just watching the table for the male artist. Awkward! So really, just the fact that I’m a woman who creates ANY kind of comics is still somewhat shocking. The good news is I’ve seen more and more women join me in tabling at comic cons now, so that ratio is going up.
6. How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
I hit maybe 15 shows a year, in all varied sizes. Almost every major city or media market has one nowadays. And living in Philly, I’m quite lucky, as between here, DC, Baltimore, NYC, and Boston… I can drive to all these different shows. My biggest “problem” is conflicts! But yes, I do love working these shows. I like meeting online readers, introducing kids to comics, interacting with fellow geeks, and networking with other cartoonists/artists. It’s a place where I feel more at ease, being “among my people!”
Plus, there is no high better than finding out you have inspired others, your work has spoken to them in some fashion. It’s what I live for!
7. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Slightly more introverted. I think comic cons have brought me out of my shell, and I can “turn it on” to sell books at a show, but otherwise I need my space and quiet time (drawing!) to find my zen-happy place. Throw me in a party of people I don’t know, and I’ll just go hang with the dog. For those like me who are into the Myers-Briggs personality test, I’m definitely an INTJ. That makes me about the most left-brained artist you’ll meet.
8. Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. Comics, obviously. Children’s books. Animated movies. Regular movies. TV shows. My overflowing coffee cup.
9. What do you do if you have writer’s block?
Good question! I step away. Which can be hard, as I’m extremely focused and hate pushing off deadlines, even if self-imposed. Take a walk, chat with a friend, read, watch TV. But much like finding love, it comes when you least expect it. And usually when you can’t find a pen OR something to write on.
10. Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
Hmm. In being kid-friendly, I am terrified of accidentally drawing something phallic or suggestive, or having a punchline that could mean something else entirely. Last thing I want is angry parents with pitchforks at my door. So, when I ran a kickstarter to have plush versions of my characters made…. and added a level where the plush had a working zipper with a tentacle inside…. and made a animated GIF showing the zipper coming down and a tentacle popping out…..
uh, yeah. Hindsight. Although NO ONE said anything. People are too nice.
11. Beverage of choice?
Daytime: COFFEE.
Nightime: whiskey cocktail, Old Fashioneds are my current obsession. Is that hipster irony?
12. When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
Gawd, years ago. My husband and I went as the couple from Office Space, as he looks a bit like Ron Livingston. I look NOTHING like Jennifer Aniston. But I had my flair.
13. What do you want people to know about you?
See questions 1-12?
Or maybe this is where I shamelessly promote? Was that the cue? I’m oblivious. Smack me next time.

You can find my portfolio at http://dawngriffinstudios.com, read my comics at http://zfcomics.com, buy my kids book series athttp://abbysfanclub.com, and get some useful free tips, articles & a podcast at http://webcomicalliance.com. You can also bribe me with ice cream. Just an FYI. Use the power for good, at least.

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Amber Love: A to Z Challenge

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Amber Love

Amber Love is not necessarily a comic book artist per se but she has been involved with writing webcomics as a guest writer. Love also has a podcast called Vodka O’Clock. She also interviews people from the arts and entertainment world, which is pretty cool.

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Is it just me or does this look like me? Kindred spirits maybe? 🙂

What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?

My first comic Holyoak was the first time I had more pride in accomplishing something up to that point. It was part of a collaboration and part of a larger class project anthology so it felt like people were really interested in supporting each other. Opening the box and seeing it in print was fantastic! In prose work, it was getting into impressive anthologies like Protectors volume 2 edited by Thomas Pluck was an unreal experience; my name is in a book with Harlan Ellison and Joyce Carol Oates along with a lot of my dear friends in the creative world.

What are you working on now?

The only comic project I have at the moment is a story that’s gone through so many revisions, it’s been several years in the making of a one-shot. It’s a historical fiction that became a supernatural historical fiction script. I honestly haven’t worked on scripts in quite some time in order to focus on my novels.

Who has influenced you the most as an artist?

What’s been emotional for me as a new novelist is that several advanced readers and even an agent, who I consider a friend, told me that female characters shouldn’t use foul language in my genre of choice (mysteries); the readers at large would be off-put by it and it’s “just not done” that way. So, I look to comics, in particular Bitch Planet, and my response is maintaining the status quo is not a valid work process for me. I’m not taking away from the demure female protagonists out there; Jessica Fletcher is my favorite character of all time! All I want is to add some realism to the book shelf — and sorrynotsorry, but I curse up a storm in real life. I’m a big ol’ proponent for understanding rules but knowing it’s fine to break them when it doesn’t do any harm. Bitch Planet’s team shows non-compliants like myself that we’re okay to exist regardless of genre and medium.

Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?

In contemporary works, it’s Penny Rolle from Bitch Planet. Athena Voltaire is always on my list of favorites too and I even got to write her which was unbelievable. Classically, I always loved Rogue and Firestar.

Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?

Absolutely! It’s 2016 and women are still disguising their identities with gender neutral names. As I said, if a male creator writes a female character that swears, she’s called badass and strong; as a woman, I was told “that’s just not done” and it’s total bullshit.

How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?

I usually go to at least two comic conventions a year and then try to hit some other subculture ones like Steampunk World’s Fair. I used to enjoy it a lot more a few years ago, but things have changed drastically for me in my personal life and with my health, so as much as there’s a longing for me to want to go to cons, I’m usually better off not considering them, especially giant cons. I love small shows so much more.

Introvert or Extrovert?

I’ve always had issues with these labels because I don’t think they’re accurate and come off limited. I was called an extrovert most of my adult life even though all those tests you can take would say I’m in an introvert. Based on what seems to be the accepted definitions of them, I’d say I’m an introvert. I do love my chance in the spotlight, but I need serenity more and more to prepare and recover from even basic daily functions.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I love podcasts and memoirs on audio book. People who have listened to my show Vodka O’Clock know that I’m not a regular Stephen King reader, but I love his writing advice. He’s motivational and honest. I also love the real stories of women who found their true calling and success defeating the odds like Malala Yousafzai and Jennie Lawson — two extremely different women that have made huge impacts on other people.

What do you do if you have writer’s block?

I don’t believe writers need to write every day. That only works for some people. I can’t do it. There are days when all I can manage are showering and putting on clean clothes. On a bad writer’s block day, as long as I’m up and about, I’ll put on interviews with authors or audio memoirs. If that doesn’t work (and it often isn’t enough), I’ve learned to forgive myself for not having a productive writing day. Sometimes my brain needs to tune out and marathon Netflix or take on a different kind of task like sewing or cleaning. If I get stuck on the plot, I usually ask friends or even throw questions out on Twitter in the #amwriting #help tags.

Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?

I think rejection is an awkward experience! However, it’s something you have to learn to live with as a creator. More awkward was when my mother read my novel that’s now available, Cardiac Arrest, and she said she couldn’t read any more of my stuff because there’s too much “me” in it. She’s one of only two people that read the previous manuscript that I tossed out years ago and eventually pulled pieces from to make Cardiac Arrest and she said the same thing back then. I see her point. There are all these characters and each one is so blatantly exposing something about myself. She’s a great proofreader so I hoped that she would be my first round editor, but I guess that’s not going to happen.

Beverage of choice?

Melitta Enchanted Evening coffee, Cosmos, and Sidecars. Otherwise, filtered water.

When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?

Halloween is sacred for me so half the time I’m either in ceremonial garb or fancier dress regular clothes. I haven’t donned a real costume for Halloween in several years. It used to be a big deal in my house, especially as someone who cosplays, but I’ve scaled back and want to stick with wearing anything that’s self expressive as opposed to being a character (at least for the time being).

What do you want people to know about you?

I’m never going to be the kind of author that only posts about where to buy my books. My feeds are brutally honest and genuine accounts of what my life is like and that includes living with mental health issues and personal problems. My Patreon (amberunmasked) is there to help me make a living because I’ve even stepped back from most of my modeling jobs that required me to drive far and were tough physically. The best thing anyone can do is support me at Patreon directly or share links and write reviews. Even a review that meets the minimum word count on Good Reads or Amazon can help. Amazon is programmed to pay more attention to titles with reviews.

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Who is ready for Female Superhero Action Figures?

It's time to buy some female superhero merch.
It’s time to buy some female superhero merch.

On any given day, there are Batmans, Supermans, Spidermans and several other comic book action figures in the boys aisle of the toy section. Do you know how many female action figures I found a few weeks ago at Wal-Mart? None.

Why aren’t the female superheroes represented at department stores? There are millions of parents who spend billions of dollars at stores like Wal-Mart and Target. With the comic books and movies coming out with female superheroes, you would think that there would be more toys for girls at stores, like Wal-Mart or Target.

My kids, who happen to be girls, love superheroes and villains from comic books. They love to go see movies like “Thor” and “Captain America.” When the “Suicide Squad” comes out next year, I’m going to have a struggle to keep my youngest one from seeing it until she’s older.

So why aren’t there figures of Wonder Woman, Black Widow or Harley Quinn in the store? I looked in every toy aisle.  Even the baby aisle had a fair amount of male superheroes and villains.  I did not find one female action figure – hero or villain.

Do you know who is really easy to find at Wal-Mart? Elsa – that chick is dominating the toy aisle. Kudos to the Disney promotion department.  They have put the “Frozen” characters on just about everything. My personal favorite is the Elsa cape. It’s very superhero-like.

One of my kids has a small obsession with Batman, while the middle daughter loves Thor. Picking out birthday and Christmas presents for them is very easy. Every time I turn around, I see another Batman object that my kid wants.

On the other hand, my youngest daughter is fascinated by Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. She has also been trying to “borrow” my Wonder Woman print to put on her wall. She would like to trade Elsa for Wonder Woman. I didn’t even have to pay her to choose Wonder Woman over Elsa. It just happened.

FYI:  The dates of the creation of a few comic book characters

Wonder Woman – 1941. Superman- 1933. Batman- 1939. Joker-1940.

Elsa has been around since 2013.