Tag Archives: female comic book writers

A to Z Challenge 2016: Reflection

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

So it was not a perfect challenge. . . it was a little dyslexic and two letters were forgotten. Sorry X and Z. Maybe I’ll get to you next year.

However, I was mostly pleased with this challenge. There were 24 talented, funny, amazing ladies that agreed to do interviews and actually replied. Soon, I will add them to my interview page.

Hopefully, next year I will have more time for blogging. My time was consumed by being a soccer mom, work and sleep.

No regrets.

P.S.  I honestly do not know what I’m going to do next with the blog. Suggestions welcome.

 

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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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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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.

holyoak_cover.jpg
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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