Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of interviews with some guests who will be appearing at this weekend's STAPLE! Convention at the Marchesa Hall and Theatre. The Page will have a table there, with all your favorite artists here at DT Comics. Comment on this article to enter in a drawing for one of five Weekend Passes we're giving away.
Liz Prince is a cartoonist from Boston whose 2005 book, "Will You Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed," was published by Top Shelf and won her an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Debut. Liz draws short, autobiographical comics that give their readers a very relatable glimpse into the most personal aspects of Liz's life. I had a chance to ask Liz a few questions.
DT Comics: For your book Would You Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed, is any importance placed on the order of your strips? Would you prefer the reader to look at the content of the book as a whole or to look at it as a collection of individual comics?
Liz Prince: I view Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? as a collection of individual comics, that as a whole paint a larger picture of a relationship, but I prefer that the reader put their own experience into it. Since it's so personal, but also relatable, I get a lot of mail from people accusing me of spying on their relationship, and exclaiming that they thought they were the only ones who were so silly and gross. I feel like it acts as collection, like Garfield or Calvin & Hobbes collections: the strips can be read individually, but when read together you become immersed in their world.
DTC: What are the strengths of the style of your art, which as I see it, is a more improvisatory, spur of the moment sort of thing, to telling the types of stories you want to tell?
LP: Again, I'd say that my art style makes my comics more relatable to my audience: you really nailed it when you called it "improvisatory". Definitely the comics that make up the Will You Still Love Me and Delayed Replays books are strictly improvisational: those were drawn in a sketchbook, straight pen on paper, with no planning or laying out. To me those are very bare-bone diary comics: things that I just wanted to get out onto the page. With my more recent online comics, and the pages I draw for Razorcake, If You Make It, and assorted anthologies, those are more traditionally laid out beforehand, and then penciled and inked. My first foray into actually writing and scripting a story before drawing it has been my series I Swallowed the Key To My Heart. They have a more finished feel, but I believe that the spirit of "spur of the moment" idea still exists.
DTC: You seem to have a fairly close relationship with Jeffery Brown, but I've heard you say you are not involved with the Boston zine scene. Is having a community of other artists important to you?
LP: I don't know that I would say I have a "close relationship" with Jeffrey, we're definitely friends, and he drew me in a recent comic strip for the magazine Devastator, which I was so incredibly honored by. He was a big supporter of my work when I first started showing the comics that would eventually become Will You Still Love Me... to people. Having a community of artists is incredibly important to me, and I have many close friends who draw comics, and who I collaborate with from time to time, most notably my downstairs neighbors Maris Wicks and Joe Quinones, who are both working comics artist for First Second and DC/Marvel/Dark Horse respectively. I think you might be referring to when I said that I wasn't active in things like the Boston Comics Roundtable, which is a group of artists and writers that get together and share their projects to get feedback. I'm a little precious when it comes to my work, especially the I Swallowed the Key To My Heart books, because they're all autobio stories, and I'm less comfortable with having people making story suggestions (not that I couldn't benefit from some guidance that way).
DTC: Do you ever see yourself straying from these more autobiographical comics? Are there any other forms of narrative that interest you?
LP: I think that my main workflow will always be autobio, although more recently with things like the Alone Forever comics I've been drawing, they're becoming more and more peppered with parody. I have always dreamed of doing a story for the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror issues that come out every year for Halloween, and I want to get my foot in the door to draw Adventure Time comics. I don't know that other forms of narrative interest me in a storytelling way, but I am working on illustrations for a children's book and doing a lot of design work for punk bands, which are both big interests of mine.
Liz Prince will be appearing at the independent media expo STAPLE! March 3rd and 4th at the Marchesa Hall and Theatre in Austin, TX.