Boom!’s new young adult, creator-owned series, Lumberjanes, about a scrappy gang of girls fighting monsters that lurk in the woods behind their summer camp, has been generating a lot of positive buzz and some early reports of solid sales as well. Boom! Confirmed that pre-orders for the first issue topped out at a respectable 16,000 and one comics retailer told The Beat that they’ve already sold 68% of the copies their store ordered, adding that they’ll probably need to order more #1’s when the 2nd issue comes out. The series features an all female creative team, including Boom! Editor, Shannon Watters (who also conceived the story with Grace Ellis), artist, Brooke Allen, and writer, Noellle Stevenson (who co-writes the story with Ellis). Stevenson’s popular web comic, Nimona, is being released by Harper Collins in 2015 as a full length graphic novel. She took time out of a busy signing schedule at Boom! to answer some questions for Beat readers:
SO: what’s it like working on a team with all female creators?
NS: it’s awesome obviously! Everyone is so cool. This is my first time working on a team to make a comic. I’m used to doing my web comic so I (usually) draw everything I write. Brooke, who’s our artist – were on the same wavelength – so every time she draws something I write, she draws exactly what’s in my head. I am thrilled with it. Everyone I work with is great and were all best friends!
SO: Was Lumberjanes your idea or did you all come up with the concept together?
NS: It was originally Shannon Watters and Grace Ellis’s concept and they brought me into it early in development. I did character designs and then I started developing the direction of the comic to go in but it was originally Shannon and Grace’s idea.
SO: With all the discussion in the comics industry around sexual harassment lately, I wanted to ask you about the comic you posted on your tumblr about what it’s like to be a woman in a comic book store. Would you consider that sexual harassment?
NS: I would not consider it sexual harassment. Maybe technically it is, because it’s based on gender and sex but I think sexual harassment should have a little more gravity. I never felt physically in danger. I never was propositioned or groped or anything like that. So, really, I’ve gotten it a lot better than a lot of other people have in comic book shops. Having made that comic and seeing it get passed around, a lot of people added their stories to it. I (saw) stories of what I definitely would consider sexual harassment. One (woman) said she went into a comic book store in a Batman t-shirt only to have a male shopper get very angry at her and demand that she take the shirt off, then try to take (it) off of her.
SO: What I got out of reading that comic is that you would like for comics shops to be more welcoming to women. Is that what you were trying to get across?
NS: Well really what I want is to walk into a shop and be treated like a valuable customer who’s willing and able to spend their money, just like I would in any other shop. If you walk into a shop and you’re not treated like a valued customer, you’re not really going to want to spend your money there. When I walk into a shop and my choices are disparage(ment) or someone condescending to me or they’re like, “oh, are you here for your boyfriend?” that makes me not want to spend my money there. I’m really not asking anyone to roll out a red carpet … But it would be nice that if you have any kind of question about a comic that it be answered without condescension. I think it’s a pretty low bar honestly! Just treat everyone that comes in as basically a source of money for your shop. It just seems like good business to me, really.
SO: when is Nimona with Harper Collins coming out?
NS: That is due out in Spring, 2015. It’s a young adult graphic novel. It’s going to be basically what’s online but there will be some extra pages, some of the earlier pages are going to be redone. there’s going to be some extra content too to kind of encourage the people who’ve already read it online to pick up the paper version.
SO: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me! I really enjoyed reading the comic and I’m looking forward to reading more of your stuff.