Artist Alley – Kickstarter, Women in Comics and Independent Work

Artist Alley – Kickstarter, Women in Comics and Independent Work

January 23, 2015 1 By Laura Cerrone

Back in December, I attended the inaugural NY WinterCon and got to chat with a couple of wonderful comic creators about the roles of females in comics and independent work. Searching around Artist Alley at the con I met some wonderful people and managed to interview them. Comic book creators Amy Reeder, Kristen Gudsnek, and Brennan Lee Mulligan were nice enough to lend their thoughts about the changing landscape of the comic book industry.

Amy Reeder currently illustrates Rocket Girl for Image Comics and has also worked on Fool’s Gold, Madame Xanadu, and Batwoman. Reeder shared with me insight on the industry from her side of the table. According to Reeder there is more flexibility in creating independent work then in previous years.

“The industry is stable and it’s easier to do independent work. It allows us to do what we wanted to do in the first place,” Reeder said.

Reeder entered the industry in 2004 by winning a rising stars in manga contest. She worked with a book deal for two years and worked with DC Vertigo as well. Reeder pointed out another positive difference in the industry in the ten years she’s been in it.

“There are definitely a lot more females in the business,” she noted on another big change.

And speaking of females, Reeder says other than wanting to create her own original content, a dream comic to illustrate would be the iconic Wonder Woman.

Comic book artist Amy Reeder

Comic book artist Amy Reeder

Kristen Gudsnuk is another creator I got an opportunity to chat with on the floor. Gudsnuk is the writer and artist for her web and print comic Henchgirl. Henchgirl is a story of a girl who works for a villain but has a conscious and wants to leave the position. Gudsnuk independently publishes the comic and has since reached out to the internet to help fund her next venture. Gudsnuk is preparing a Kickstarter for her foray into the space western genre. Gudsnuk is a prime example of what Reeder noted about the industry opening up for more independent work.

Comic book artist Kristen Gudsnek.

Comic book artist and writer Kristen Gudsnek

The last artist I chatted with on Artist Alley was Brennan Lee Mulligan, the writer behind tour de force Strong Female Protagonist. The story, which follows a 20 year-old ex-superhero college student muses the ‘what-if’ scenario of there being no more villains in the world. The student, Alison Green, realizes there is still a multitude of poor conditions in the world without the villains to muck it up and she wonders on how she can help these problems now.

Mulligan says he began a Kickstarter in June 2014 to continue the series and bring it in full color. Their Kickstarter was so successful that Mulligan, and his partner Molly Ostetag, raised over 750% of what they originally asked. But that isn’t the only success they obtained from their Kickstarter, the fundraiser garnered the attention of publishing company Top Shelf. Top Shelf has since been able to distribute the first book to retailers like Barnes and Noble.

The Kickstarter also determined what direction the team is heading in. Mulligan and Ostertag connected with their fan base by asking the fans what they would like to see come out of their next creative adventure.

“We asked our readers what country they would like to see superheroes interact in and our backers voted for India,” Mulligan said.

Comic book artist Brennan Lee Mulligan.

Comic book artist Brennan Lee Mulligan