In the week leading up to the 2017 Will Eisner Awards voting deadline this Friday, the Comics Beat will feature a series of “For Your Consideration” posts highlighting a number of the nominees as a celebration of their well-deserved acknowledgement. We’ll feature some never-before-seen behind the scenes content and some of the books’ gorgeous interiors. We encourage all of our readers to check these titles out and all of the eligible comics industry members to vote for the titles they think best exemplify what make comics great.
The word “auteur” gets thrown around on occasion in the creative industries, but among the minds that actually deserve it, Jessica Abel is up there. A cartoonist since 1992, Abel’s body of work plays with a wide range of forms and conceits. Her stories discuss growing up, cultural diasphora, and even what it’s like to make a radio show. Her narrative styles range from straightforward fiction to autobiographical comics. In 2015, Comics Beat contributor Alex Dueben interviewed Abel about her book Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio.
Recently, Papercutz released Trish Trash: Roller Girl of Mars Vol #1 through their Super Genius imprint. The book is stewarded by Abel with, as her website explains, “extensive assistance on layouts, design, and backgrounds from Lydia Roberts, and color by Walter.” The story follows fifteen-(Earth)-year-old Trish “Trash Nupindju, who dreams of becoming a roller derby star because “when you come from a multiracial family of poor moisture farmers on Mars, making the local hover derby team seems like the only way out. But when Trish finally gets (AKA sneaks into) a tryout, will this “fresh meat” have what it takes to make the cut?”
Trish Trash Vol. 1 is up for the Eisner for Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17). Abel is up for the award for Best Writer/Artist.
When asked for a quote about what Trish Trash means to her development as a cartoonist and as a person, Abel said:
Living with Trish Trash for the last ten years has changed my life. I’ve become a roller derby fan, a Mars-colonization aficionado, and a lot better at drawing nonwhite characters. Collaborating closely with a talented cartoonist like Lydia Roberts caused me to rethink how I approach panel layouts, perspective, and pacing. Building an entire world, instead of the smaller job of “only” figuring out the web of relationships among a group of people (though I had to do that too…) stretched my writing abilities and my perspective. Thinking about, and depicting how political awareness grows sneakily, and is then sometimes thrust upon us, is maybe entirely too a propos at the current moment.Trish’s Mars is boiling under the surface, poised on the verge of breaking the Terran colonial grip. And Trish is just a kid; what could she possible do that could have an effect on the outcome of her unstable moment? I’ve also got kids. They’re also living in a time of incredible upheaval that could turn out fine, or turn into bloody disaster. I’m grateful to Trish for helping me imagine a way out.
Check out this gorgeous excerpt from Trish Trash:
Check out of all of our 2017 Eisner coverage.