Violet, the super-sleuthin’ pet detective from our Bitch Media series Don’t Be a Dick, graces the cover of the current Comics Workbook Magazine. (Check the crews’ Tumblr here.) She’s only one of many amazing inventions from the mind of Melissa Mendes, who’s interviewed alongside Anne Elizabeth Moore by Zach Mason.
Here’s a clip, on HATERZ:
AEM: As far as pushback, we’ve had, and have, a ton of haters. … What I think people don’t realize, or they would stop expressing any venom toward us at all, is that all that stuff is fuel. The dude who left the comment about stats being the last refuge of people who have nothing to say? Used that in a strip. GT66, who used to troll us with long and nonsensical arguments about … well, it was sort of unclear. Women, or something? That guy was *the best.* I miss him a little bit, because when you hit that wall of hate, the stakes get really clear. You absolutely for sure know that you are on the right path, and then, best part: the angriest people start telling you where not to tread next. Then you go there.
All that stuff has died down some now, and we’re getting to some kind of critical mass, at least about gender and comics (or maybe more accurately, women and comics). There’s clearly a ton more to do: I haven’t seen anything yet that makes me believe the current conversation, which we obviously helped start, will result in permanent change. In the early days—just a few years ago!—it was sort of amazing. All the other folks in the crew had, like, no qualms about any of it. Nicole Boyett, Rachel Swanson—they would stay up all night reading hateful comments about us to each other and laughing. We even did a puppet show of them. Esther Pearl Watson designed most of the puppets from stuff she found on the ground in a field.
MM: I personally I haven’t had any haters (that I know of) on this front—just people being generally confused about when other characters are boys or girls, and one kid being genuinely mind blown by the fact that one of my characters, usually depicted in black and white, had “brown skin”. Usually it’s kids that are the most honest. They’re like “Is that a girl or a boy?” And just the fact that they are genuinely, and not hatefully, asking that question about a book they enjoyed makes me feel good.