Nonbinary Creators Project · Queer comics

Nonbinary Creators Project: E Jackson

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My name is E, I’m a 23 yr old queer/nb comic maker (they/them pronouns). I have an ongoing webcomic abt a trans magical girl you can read at prettyheartbouquet.com and a short webcomic abt gender identity you can read at flux.eshiel.com. Myportfolio is at eshiel.com. šŸ™‚ Find me on twitter.

What do you do?
How did you get started doing that?
I self publish my own comics, do freelance art and color. I do write too but more infrequently. I also have an interest in publishing/editing and would love to pursue it at some point!
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What was your first comic to create? Why that one? First to read?
I think it was in high school, I did this one page painted comic abt these flea creatures that were basically square shaped men with six limbs wearing button up shirts. They spoke Italian. I couldn’t possibly tell you what it was about but I thought it was very funny and clever at the time. The first comic I ever read was Watchmen – the Watchmen movie is what first got me interested in comics, actually. The first comic that spoke to me on a really deep level – that really impacted me, I think – was I Kill Giants.
Any current or upcoming projects we can find you on?
The webcomic is ongoing of course! I’m also working on a short new comic for MICE [Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo] this year and I’ll be participating in My First Game Jam Summer Edition this month.
Favorite inspiration, collaborators, other professionals you’ve worked with if any?
My pals Blakely Inberg and Mar Julia (who I’ve know since I was in middle/high school!). I’m inspired by a lot of my peers – Cathy G Johnson, Annie Mok, Aatmaja Pandya, Aliza Layne, Solomon Fletcher, Mildred Louis, Mia Schwartz, Kevin Czap to name a few – really, there are so many amazing people working, I’m always so inspired by everyone. I also read a lot – books, fanfic, lectures, articles, essays, whatever comes across my TL.
Anyone you’d like to collaborate with some day? Why?
Haha I’m too shy to answer this.. any of the people previously mentioned, people working in other sequential mediums – essayists, video game/game makers.. I keep a list of small press companys I’d love to pitch to/work for too – Czap Books, One Percent Press, Youth in Decline, etc.
Favorite genre to read? To work in? Are there any you won’t work in?
I like historical drama but I wouldn’t wanna do it. I like every genre, honestly, usually my deal breakers are more trope based than genre based. Most of what I do is like – magical realism/soft autobio couched in fiction.
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Have you ever faced adversity/discouragement for being nonbinary in your field? How did you overcome it?
I don’t think I’ve faced adversity specifically for being nb – I’ve had issues with folx not respecting my pronouns/misgendering me, of course, and I’ve had to fight in some cases to get that rectified. Most of the discouragement is a lack of resources for NB people as a whole and attempting to navigate marginalized gender in general.. like, there’s very few spaces for nb people specifically, but I wouldn’t belong in a women’s space necessarily. Nor would I want to take up space in a resource that isn’t for me? So it can be hard.
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Coolest moment you’ve had as a creator?Ā 
There was a day where there’s been a tragedy in the news, I can’t remember what precisely, but a lot of folx were upset and mad, and it happened to be the day my webcomic updated. A friend of mine who is a person I really respect as a creator/organizer replied to the update thanking me and saying that she needed something that positive [that day]. That was a really big moment, not just because it was validating bc of my respect for her, but because it reaffirmed what I wanted to do with my comics – provide sth gentle, a solace. I think the best kind of activism I can do at this moment is make stuff thats gentle and positive and uplifting that hopefully connects with people and can maybe even give them a moment of respite.
How do you think the current comics industry is toward those outside the gender binary, and to the concept of gender in general? What can we do to improve it further and create a safe space?
I talked about this a little – the main issue is lack of resources for nonmen&nonwomen. It can put you in a situation of feeling like you have to compromise your identity to obtain visibility or be able to survive, while juggling wanting to be responsible & not take space away from marginalized women in the industry who need women-specific support. I think there’s plenty of room for all these conversations and spaces to be had, but we gotta make it happen, yknow? (And bless people like Taneka Stotts, Melanie Gillman, and Spike Trotman for doing so much work on that front, honestly!!)
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Who are some of your favorite/most inspirational characters to read? What about in other media (novels, TV, movies, pop culture)? Why?
Venus from WKTD, Remus J Lupin from HP (Coeur de Loup was a formulative fanfiction for 13 year old E).. I have a hard time personally identifying with characters, although I read and watch plenty of things that make me say, “oh,” softly to myself. I love the character writing in the Ancillary Justice trilogy, I love everybody in Persona like a child, Utena — Utena, man. Wait, add Juri to my original list. I have a soft spot for people who are quietly suffering but trying to cope.
What do comics mean to you?
They’re limitless.
Advice to other nonbinary creators in the field?
Find other nb creators, follow their work, network with them! Read what other nb people are doing – read what trans people are doing in general – support each other, be kind to each other. Respect what other marginalized people are talking about, too. Take care of yourself.
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What are you currently reading?
At the moment nothing but I have gone through 5 seasons of the West Wing in about 10 days.
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