HERoes: Becky Cloonan

We get a chance to have a pressure free conversation about comics with women in the comics creators community. Their creativity is inspiring to people throughout the fandom who enjoy their work.

They are our HERoes.

creator03722-_ql80_ttd_1Gotham Academy, American Vampire, Batman, Killjoys, Southern Cross… there is an endless list of comics that have had their covers touched, their words expressed or their histories altered in some fashion by Becky Cloonan. The writer and artist has created tour posters for massively popular bands, as well as laced together gothic influences into her own work. Music has had a major impract on her art and comics writing. Comicosity took an opportunity to ask her about this influence.

Jessica Boyd: What is your favorite aspect of comics?

Becky Cloonan: I love the storytelling, I love the syntax and theory, I love drawing, I love starting a new project, and I love the friends I’ve made and going to cons and seeing everyone and meeting new people… But maybe my favorite thing is that you can make a comic 100% on your own. You have total control over every aspect of the book, and the only thing that would hold you back is yourself! However this also contributes to how isolating comics can be sometimes. Even for someone who enjoys spending time alone, it can be a lonely road. The most gratifying, lonely, lovely, satisfying, discouraging, bittersweet, triumphant road.

06e094230ad7e640085f9281b9a8dd3c1JB: As both a comics writer and artist do you approach those creative processes differently? Do you have different “hats” that you have to wear, frames of mind, or is it more mixed?

BC: I’m definitely the type of person who has to separate- I have “writing” days and “drawing” days. Today is an email day. I have planning days, inking days, illustration days, coloring days, brainstorming days, promotion days… Each part for me takes a different frame of mind. If drawing isn’t working out, I’ll switch to writing and maybe have better luck, but I try and delegate depending on what my to-do list demands!

JB: Your work always has winks and nods to classic literature and gothic period pieces. How has being an avid reader affected your work?

BC: I wear my inspirations on my sleeve, and comes out in so many ways, from my drawings, to themes I keep returning to, and feelings I try and leave readers with… Most of my influences are outside the realm of comics, from paintings (pre-raphaelite!) to film (expressionism!) to literature (gothic!) to music (metal!). I joke that everything I’ve ever drawn I’ve stolen from a Fritz Lang film (which is pretty accurate for a joke). It all gets thrown together into a big meat grinder, and applied to whatever story I happen to be working on in appropriate ratios.

JB: You’ve been doing more than comics art and writing, even doing art for concert posters. What role does music play in your art or creative process?

BC: I’ve always loved music, going to shows, and collaborating with musicians on gig posters and album art. It’s been really cool lately to get more involved in it, from working with Roadburn Festival to Black Sabbath, it’s been a surreal, very very exciting year. I’ve gotten to work with bands who’ve inspired my art, bringing it full circle.

cajyyb3ucaadqd61JB: What is your favorite representation of music in comics?

BC: I think the way Brian Lee O’Malley incorporated music into Scott Pilgrim was genius, from the pacing and rhythm of dance and performance,  to the clamor and discord of band practice, to the quiet solitude of sitting alone in a bedroom with an acoustic guitar.

Also JP Ahonen’s Sing No Evil is another that really is able to capture the energy and chaos of a live show, and the fury and imagination of a great metal band. It’s hard to convey music in comics because it’s an inherently silent medium, so books that can give the impression of sound are no less than magic.

JB: What is one of your favorite stories you have ever been part of creating?

BC:    It’s so hard to choose a favorite, but I look back with such fondness on my mini comics that I can’t help but want to make more one day!

JB: What role do you think social media plays in comics or the comics industry?

BC: I started Twitter and Facebook about midway into my career, so I think for me it serves a different purpose than if I had it starting out.

gothamacademy5JB: What is some advice you wish someone had given you before you began working in the comic medium?

BC: When I look back on my life of course there are a few projects I would have tackled differently, but I feel like I’d have benefited more (and wasted less time) if someone had given me solid relationship advice, haha.

JB: What message(s) do you hope people get when experiencing your work?

BC: The stories I create I hope stick with readers after they put the book down. I want to create worlds that you can fall into, worlds that pull you back into them.

JB: When it comes to comics, “all I want is …” 

BC: More time. Comics take too long.

If you would like to learn more about Becky and her work you can follow her on Twitter at @beckycloonan or on Instagram instagram.com/beckycloonan and you can check out her website Beckycloonan.net. If you’d like to purchase any of Becky’s work check it out on ComiXology by clicking here.


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