By Ashish Thomas and Sheila O’Neill
We here at the Geeked Gods got the opportunity to interview Hope Nicholson whose new anthology project The Secret Loves of Geek Girls which is set to feature cartoons by Margaret Atwood surpassed its Kickstarter goals. We wanted to learn about her project and about restoring and republishing out of print comics. We are so thankful that she gave us the time to answer these questions. If you would like to learn more about the project check out the Bedside Press Facebook page here and if you would like to learn more about Hope Nicholson follow her on twitter at @HopeLNicholson.
GG-As a comic book historian, what are some of the most interesting ways comic books have
changed over the years?
HN-Comic books have changed in a lot of ways over the years, but I think definitely their
method of storytelling and structure has changed the most. I nearly days they were
more like illustrated stories than a full merging of art and text. Now writers are more
comfortable with thinking visually and letting the artists lead the way in storytelling
through their visuals
GG-What is the process like republishing out of print comics? Is it easy to get the creators to
allow you to reprint their work?
HN-Not easy, no. The hardest part is finding the estate, there’s no one that has really kept
track of everyone so it involved a lot of digging and phone calls. Once I have done this,
people are pretty comfortable with having me work on the project.
GG-What do you think of the recent explosion of comic book movies?
HN-I don’t really watch them myself, but I’ve been interested in the increase in television
shows. Comic books are much more similar to tv in their formatting, so I think it’s an
easier media conversion.
GG-In your opinion, does being more in the mainstream help or hurt the comic culture?
HN-The more people who read comics after seeing the films the better!
GG-How is the film industry different from the comic book industry?
HN-Well, there are a lot of different ways. I suppose one of the ways is that comic books is
a lot more insular and connected than the film industry which is much more vast.
GG-Is there anything that one industry could learn from the other?
HN-Both could learn to pay people what they deserve to earn! I will say that I see less
unpaid interns in the comic industry than the film industry though, so that’s good. But
I also see a lot of professionals being asked to contribute unpaid work under the
promise that it might pay off later. So they both could stand to improve on that.
GG-What would you say to a young girl who thinks comic books are for boys?
HN-Well, I’d say she can read whatever she wants to read.
GG-Are you optimistic about the future of women in your field?
HN-It’s a constant process. It will always be hard I imagine, but I think as long as we build
communities together, that’s the best way to make sure we’re encouraging new talent
GG-How are Canadian Comic books different from the rest of the world?
HN-We only very briefly had our own substantial comic book industry, in the 1940s. These
comics had a lot of nationalism, so a great deal of Canadian symbols and ideology that
would be unknown in other parts. At the time, our culture was heavily British influenced,
so you see a lot of that in these comics
GG-There has been a call for more diversity in comics what do you think needs to happen to
have more diversity in comics?
HN-Encourage more diverse creators, and the content will follow.
GG-You are producing an untitled queer comic documentary, do you feel that the LGBT community is represented in
mainstream comics and what do you feel would have to change to have more awareness of the LGBT community in mainstream comics?
HN-It’s getting better, but there are still slip-ups where queer identity is treated like a joke.
There’s also a huge aversion it seems to have any LGBT characters in the film/tv universe
which is surprising (LGBT representation on tv is getting fairly common and understood)
and very disappointing as well.
GG-What superpower would you LEAST want to have, and why?
HN-Reading people’s thoughts would be the worst, I imagine that most of us can’t control the
dumb things that come through our heads, and being privy to that around the world?
GG-What is your favorite comic of all time?
HN-My first comic obsession was definitely ElfQuest by Wendy and Richard Pini. I still think
the epic, mythic type of storytelling in the main series of these books is superior to most
comics. It didn’t seem like issues were being created just to kill time, but that they really
knew where their plot was going.
Secret loves of Geek Girls
GG-How did this project come together?
HN-I had been working on a docuseries about geek women, and when it didn’t get picked up,
it slowly transformed into this project over a few years.
GG-How were the women chosen for this anthology?
HN-Many were women that I had met in person at events around Toronto, others I had known
from social media, and still more came forward when I had open calls for submissions
GG-Were you surprised at the reception that the Kickstarter got for the project?
HN-No, not really. Having a big name like Margaret Atwood attached I knew would spur
attention, and it did.
GG-What are your feelings on Kickstarter in promoting Creator owned content and why do so
many creators use Kickstarter to get their projects off the ground? Do you feel that there is a
shift where creators are putting out their projects themselves rather than going to a
mainstream publisher like a DC or Marvel?
HN-There are creator-owned publishers, but it can be hard to break into that. And for a lot of
creators who have great success in webcomics, Kickstarter is a logical choice to help their
audience receive print versions of their works, or new created works. But you have to be a
marketer in addition to a creator, and that’s unfortunately where a lot of creators fail and
have Kickstarter’s that don’t succeed. It’s a rare combination of skills, so Kickstarter still
isn’t for everyone.
GG-When is the estimated release date for the Secret Loves of Geek Girls?
HN-December 2015. If you want to be updated on the project check out the Bed Side Press
Facebook page here
GG-So you are known for your selfies, How do you take such good selfies.
HN-I’m not sure if I’m known for them! I enjoy them though, I think it’s important that we
feel comfortable in our own skins. Selfies are a way that we can do so because we control
our own output. Anyone who dismisses teenagers as being vain for doing so really isn’t
getting the point. I like to use selfies as visual storytelling actually, haha. My friends will
tell you that in lieu of text I often just send photos. It’s better than emojis in conveying my
thoughts on the subject.
GG-Any New projects that you want the readers to be aware of?
HN-None that I can formally announce yet!
Thanks Again Hope Again if you want to know more