My name for my cartooning work is Chu (@sdamned). I’m about 29 years old and live in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m most well-known for my webcomic Slightly Damned . I also make a webcomic called The Junk Hyenas Diner, various minicomics, and submit to anthologies like 1001 Knights and Dirty Diamonds. I am a founding member of the cartooning/gaming group Blank Party!. You can find links to most of my comics, stores, and art sites on my website.
What do you do? (Write, draw, edit, publish, promote etc.)
How did you get started doing that?
I make my comics entirely by myself. I daydream the outline, sometimes write it down, do thumbnails, then draw (and color) the comics from start to finish. I like drawing and telling stories, so it felt like a natural thing for me to do, quality by damned. I always just put my comics online for free for anyone to read. I promoted my work by uploading it to sites like deviantArt, going to conventions, and paying for ads on websites and Project Wonderful. Within the last few years I got turned on to making zines and selling and trading those at conventions. My books are all self-published. This year, Slightly Damned became a part of the Hiveworks network, which should help with promotion in the future.
What was your first comic to create? Why that one? First to read?
I made a bunch of short comics just to make my friends laugh. The first time I ever created a work of significant length was an early version of Slightly Damned for a high school project. I liked it so much that I redid it to start my first webcomic in March 2004, and I never stopped.
Any current or upcoming projects we can find you on?
Blank Party!’s second anthology, Banjo-Partie! (dedicated to the N64 game Banjo-Kazooie) is set for release very soon. I also contributed to the 1001 Knights project in which my designs were made into stickers. I’m also constantly updating Slightly Damned (and related projects) and The Junk Hyenas Diner.
Anyone you’d like to collaborate with some day? Why?
It’d be a dream come true to help Stan Sakai on an Usagi Yojimbo project someday. Like I said, he is one of my role models, and I love Usagi Yojimbo. Also, I love video games and I would love to work on the art for one someday. I’m thinking an Akira Toriyama/Dragon Quest-style relationship. I don’t think that’s a particularly realistic dream of mine, but it’s my dream nonetheless.
Favorite genre to read? To work in? Are there any you won’t work in?
I love comedy and adventure, which is why that’s also my preferred genre to work in. I won’t do horror not because I have anything against it, but because I don’t think I’m capable of making anything that would be genuinely creepy or scary.
Have you ever faced adversity/discouragement for being a woman in your field? How did you overcome it?
To be honest, it hasn’t come up much. The worst thing that’s come up are some ineffectual trolls who’ve said nasty things about me, but they didn’t actually do anything. A stranger asked me this question out of the blue fairly recently at a coffee shop, and that was awkward.
Coolest moment you’ve had as a creator?
Anytime anyone tells me that reading my comic has helped them through a tough part of their lives.
How do you think the current comics industry is toward women? What can we do to improve it further and create a safe space?
The comics industry is, pardon my language, bullshit. Misogyny is rampant in all facets of creation and management. I would like to see critics be more critical of misogynistic writing in stories (not just making fun of “Escher girls”), because I’m surprised with how many critically lauded graphic novels, etc. get away with some heinous shit. It would also be nice if companies would stop covering up for criminals at the expense of their victims.
Who are some of your favorite/most inspirational female characters to read? What about in other media (novels, TV, movies, pop culture)? Why?
I like the women in Usagi Yojimbo, the Discworld novels, Ace Attorney, and Steven Universe. They’re strong characters who are allowed to be funny and flawed.
What do comics mean to you?
They are an inextricable part of my life. They’re what I make for a living, what I read for fun, what I talk about with my peers, and are useful instruction tools.
Advice to other female creators in the field?
Don’t let anyone bring you down.
Want to join the project yourself? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me on twitter @Beebidon!