Female Creators Project

Female Creators Project: Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein

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I’m Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein, @charibdys on Twitter. I’m an author, illustrator, and print consultant; more about me and my works can be found at my website.

What do you do?
I’m an author, illustrator, prepress technician, and print consultant right now; I’ve also done editing, lettering, flatting, hand-pulled printmaking, and published a few anthologies as a small press. So, like… everything, apparently.

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How did you get started doing that?
Honestly, I just … did it. I’ve drawn since forever, and I’ve always had enough ego to assume that other people wanted to see what I did– even if it was just my friends, fan fiction, shared worlds made up for fun as a kid, whatever– and since I grew up in the 90s, with the explosion of the webcomic and fiction worlds, it seemed natural to reach out to likeminded people, discuss what I liked, and post online. The small press I started because my friends and collaborators couldn’t figure out how to get that first resume credit, and I was like, hell, I’ll just make an anthology. Unfortunately that was right before Kickstarter, so we never managed to get much reach, but in some way it worked– and my friends have all moved into the professional world now!

What was your first comic to create? Why that one? First to read?
First to create? Oh I don’t know, some stuff about vampires and werewolves in middle school, I think. First to read was probably Astrix, Tintin and the Donald Duck comics, not always in English. I loved reading them even in other languages because I could follow the plot just by the pictures. Amazing!

Any current or upcoming projects we can find you on?
I have a story coming out in Creepy #24 (June 22nd, 2016) that’s an adaptation of my prose story “The Hymn of Ordeal, No. 24”. The art is by Ricardo Cabral, and it’s incredibly gorgeous and I’m crazy proud of it. I also just ran a successful Kickstarter for a comic with Ainsley Yeager called The Mystery of La Luna, which is a fun and campy romp following two women trying to get to space.

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(Art by Ainsley Yeager.)

Anyone you’d like to collaborate with some day? Why?
Oh no, there’s way too many insanely talented people I want to work with to possibly list here.

Favorite genre to read? To work in? Are there any you won’t work in?
To read? I’ve been really into literary and experimental fiction right now, the way it digs into emotion and format to bring an immediacy to the reader; I appreciate that. Reading a lot of historical– as in, written in the past, not the genre– to get a wider breadth and depth of experience. I wouldn’t say there’s a genre I won’t work in. Everything has strengths and weaknesses.

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(Read How I Met Your Mother here.)

Coolest moment you’ve had as a creator?
Every time I talk to an artist who tells me that they like my writing and want to work with me. That’s so awesome, every time! I’m like, but you’re so amazing, it’s fantastic that you see something valuable in my work as well. That sense of mutual appreciation and collaboration. That’s my favorite part.

How do you think the current comics industry is toward women? What can we do to improve it further and create a safe space?
I think it’s less that the comics industry is actively hostile towards women and more that it (and fandom) are passively hostile; women are ignored, passed over, disbelieved. We need to watch out for and support each other, and most importantly believe and be kind to each other.

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Who are some of your favorite/most inspirational female characters to read? What about in other media (novels, TV, movies, pop culture)? Why?
I don’t particularly find fictional characters inspirational, but I do take a lot of inspiration and motivation from my friends and peers in comics and other creative fields, and from the women and non binary people who did a ton of groundbreaking work in the past. I think it’s more important to look at the real people around us and appreciate them than to hold up fictional people as aspirational. Giant shout-out to Spike Trotman and Taneka Stotts here, two women who are pioneering amazing things in comics right now, both representation and content-wise.

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(See more of the Fashion Post Mortem project here.)

What do comics mean to you?
A storytelling medium with amazing communication potential and cross-cultural reach.

Advice to other female creators in the field?
It’s okay to make mistakes. Keep going. Don’t be afraid to turn down bad offers, don’t be afraid to say no, don’t be afraid to walk away from bad deals or work you don’t want to do.

What are you currently reading?
Oh boy, I’m ready to sound like a giant hipster here. Comics-wise, I recently bought a whole bunch of Youth in Decline zines, Peow!’s Wrecked Hearts by Mathilde Kitteh & Luca Oliveri, which is super cute and stylish… Knights of Sidonia, a space opera manga that I love… I really enjoyed GG Digi’s Lady of the Shard, which is available online for free. In prose I’ve been reading Court of Fives by Kate Elliott, Hassan Blasim’s short story collection The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq, which is brutal, along with some Yukio Mishima I missed in university. Oh, and I’m finally finishing up the last two books of Cao Xueqin’s The Dream of the Red Chamber, which I put off because they are so different from the first four. On my endless to-read list that I plan to tackle soon is some Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love, and fantasy YA novel The Abyss Surrounds Us. Whew!

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(Read Snow Bird here.)

Want to join the project yourself? Email ab188302@reddies.hsu.edu or hit me up on twitter @Beebidon!

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