Earlier today, The Beat posted a review of Snotgirl #1, the latest book written by Seconds and Scott Pilgrim writer Bryan Lee O’Malley. Illustrated by Leslie Hung, the series focuses on Lottie Person, a prolific fashion blogger who is plagued by inner demons. When she realizes that her public life is a glamour that hides the allergy-ridden, friendless person Lottie actually is, she decides to embark on a quest to change herself. However, during that journey, she makes a decision that could have disastrous consequences for her in the future…
Recently, The Beat had a unique opportunity to talk about Snotgirl #1 with O’Malley. We discussed how he met Leslie, what inspired Snotgirl, and even get a hint as to unannounced projects on the horizon…
Alex Lu: Bryan, Snotgirl #1 will mark the release of your first periodical comic. After becoming known for your work on graphic novels such as Seconds and the Scott Pilgrim story, what led you to decide to structure your latest book as a monthly serial?
Bryan Lee O’Malley: I guess I’ve never done it before and I’ve always been enticed by the idea. I mean, doing a whole graphic novel means years of silent toil; it seemed so appealing to just do 24 pages a month and have an ongoing dialogue with the audience. I was playing with the idea of serializing my next project somehow, but then Seconds came out and I remembered how much I love releasing a book. I love toiling in the dark and then springing a major work on people! It’s fun! So I set my sights on another huge book, and then Snotgirl came along to scratch my serial itch.
Lu: Another major element that separates Snotgirl from your earlier work is the fact that you’re not drawing it! The book features Leslie Hung on art. Was Snotgirl always intended as a collaboration between the two of you?
O’Malley: Leslie and I were friends first. I’m always trying to pressure my artist friends to do comics instead of whatever else they could be doing with their lives, so at some point I brought up the idea of working on a series together. We didn’t know what that would entail, but then we found ourselves easily bouncing ideas back and forth. We’re on the same wavelength. The whole book is tailored to her strengths as an artist and to our overlapping interests — fashion, pop culture, young people, romance, dumb comedy. I specifically remember that we came up with a bunch of character stuff and plot beats while I was in a hotel room in Portland during my Seconds tour, so that was about two years ago.
Lu: Leslie is a relative newcomer to comics– this will mark her first published ongoing series. How did the two of you meet?
O’Malley: I think we first met at TCAF in Toronto, which is ironic because we both live in Southern California. I had been following her art for a few years before that. She has a massive following online, and I really wanted her to be making a living from it! I pressured her to quit her day job and everything. I’m a bad friend. Hopefully it’s all going to work out.
Lu: Many creative teams have unique working rhythms. You’ve been open about your creative process on your blog at times– how does your process working with Leslie differ from working by yourself or with your assistants?
O’Malley: It’s been really interesting. Even just the standard comic book page is a new horizon for me, since all my books have been smaller sizes. I keep Leslie involved at every step of the story process, because I love her outlook on things; she always has a new twist on a joke or an emotional beat. When the pages are drawn I get another pass on the text, smoothing things out and punching things up. It’s similar to how I work on my books, but it’s nice to be able to let go of a significant part of the process and leave it up to the team.
Lu: Fashion has always been a major element of your works, but Snotgirl brings it to the fore. What sorts of fashion movements or designers inspired this book? What inspires your own look?
O’Malley: Snotgirl isn’t really about the fashion world per se. It’s very specifically about the fashion blogosphere. It’s about people who are adjacent to the fashion industry but may never really become “insiders”. Leslie and I were both following various bloggers and fascinated with this new industry that’s cropped up around the blogs. It reminds me of the fandom world, the way fandom is becoming increasingly corporatized. There are a lot of parallels. That said, Snotgirl is obviously a heightened, cartoonish soap opera, and not meant to represent any real-life blogger’s experience.
Lu: Not to take the spotlight off of Snotgirl herself, but I believe you were working on a new graphic novel project prior to the series’ announcement. Can you provide our readers with an update on that title?
O’Malley: This book may still be a few years out, but I’m hoping to announce it soon.
Lu: What does the future of Snotgirl look like? Do you have an idea of how long the series will run for?
O’Malley: Years, hopefully! I’d like to fully explore these characters and themes. The joy of doing a comic book is that we can let it grow organically, month by month.
Snotgirl #1‘s final order cut-off date for stores is Monday, June 27th, so if you want a copy, tell your local retailer now! The first issue will hit stands on July 20th.