HERoes: Mikki Kendall

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

They are our HERoes.

Mikki Kendall is a famous across Twitter for her work in the science fiction community. Now she’s turning her talents to comics, with her first book Swords of Sorrow: Miss Fury & Lady Rawhide. I got a chance to find out what inspires her.


Mikki Kendall poses with her comic at a signing last week. Image from her Twitter @Karnythia

Jessica Boyd: What is your favorite aspect of comics?

Mikki Kendall: I love the escape that they provide. When you want step completely outside of yourself, comics are a great mechanism for that. There’s something about the visual aspect of this form of storytelling that really grabs me.

JB: What is your favorite part of creating comics?

MK: There are no limits to what you can put into these worlds. Vampires, superheroes, time travel, you name it and there’s a comic book for it. In fact you can put all of that into the same comic book, and no one will bat an eye. It’s wonderful.

JB: What issue or series has had the biggest influence on your work? Who is your favorite protagonist/antagonist?

MK: So this is where I swing wildly away from common canon. My favorite comic series of all time is probably The Crow. But I also love Mr. Fixit, Storm, Static Shock, She-Hulk, the X-men, Batman, Superman, She-ra…it’s possible my taste = a grab bag of influences. I can’t say I have a favorite protagonist (I do have a dream roster, but that’s a whole other post), and while I really enjoy certain types of antagonists more than others I don’t just have one fave there either. In my mind Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Emma Frost should be able to team up on Tuesday and fight the Jabberwocky with Alice, then turn around and stage a heist the next day.

JB: What is a typical creative working day for you?

MK: I usually get up early and putter around until my kids are out the door. Then I wrangle any emails or calls and then I settle in and write for a couple of hours, but that’s usually non fiction. My real creative writing time tends to be late at night after everyone is asleep. For some reason I come up with the best things at 2 am.

imageJB: Musical inspirations? Or do you need quiet to create?

MK: It depends on what I’m writing. I often listen to music (current fave is Hozier), but sometimes I put on old movies and write while I listen to them. Total silence is never desired, but quiet noise is welcome.

JB: What is your favorite representation of women in comics (floppies, webcomics, any medium?)

MK: Do I have to pick just one? I have favorite villains and heroes and complicated women going through some things. Storm is probably my favorite here, Harley Quinn is one of my favorite villains, and I love Persephone in the 100 Days of Night webcomic.

JB: What is one of your favorite story or cover you have ever been part of creating?

MK: In comics? Swords of Sorrow of course (we will all ignore that it is the first one I’ve ever been part of creating), but I hope to have more options some day.

JB: What do you think is the biggest impact of female voices in the creation process?

MK: We’re getting more complex female characters with internal lives that we get to see play out on the page. All too often the backstory for female characters goes undeveloped or underdeveloped because the writers don’t have that personal experience.

JB: What role do you think social media plays in comics or the comics industry? How has that changed since you began?

MK: Well for me social media is how I got into comics. I first met Gail through Tumblr and Twitter, and because I promised to bring her cupcakes we met in person when she was in Chicago for C2E2. That led to a conversation about me writing fiction & Gail asking to see it. She really liked my story “If God Is Watching” which led to me getting the chance to do this project. I’m…a fan of social media’s impact on comics. You can see why.

JB: What do you feel is the biggest impact of the growing number of female fans or the acknowledgement of female fans in comics?

MK: I don’t think there are necessarily more female fans (I grew up on comics and in my family everyone read at least one or two series), but I will say that I think we’re being acknowledged more now. I think the biggest impact has been seeing more women in public enjoying fannish spaces and those spaces being explicitly welcoming to women.

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

MK: I would have loved a “This is what these terms mean, and this is how you do X, Y & Z” speech. Only because it would have kept me from asking the million and one questions that I asked the She-vengers (the writers on the Swords of Sorrow crossover.) Because I was such the clueless newbie. Fortunately they were all very patient!

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

MK: I hope they get the idea that heroes come in a wide variety of bodies and so do villains. There’s always room for another perspective in fiction.

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

MK: All I want is to be able to write really great adventures for all of my favorite characters and see at least some of those stories told on screen.

If you’d like to find our more about Mikki’s other literary work you can check out If God Is Watching at http://revelatormagazine.com/fiction/if-god-is-watching/

You can also find her on Twitter @Karnythia


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