My name is Anna Archie Bongiovanni. I’m a queer and genderqueer cartoonist and teacher based in Minneapolis. My work has been published online, in anthologies, in mini-comics, and graphic novels. I currently create a monthly webcomic called Grease Bats for Autostraddle.com about two queer bffs tackling homophobia, transphobia, and issues facing (and within) the queer community.
Having self-published over thirty zines and mini-comics, I love to share the joy and occasional heartbreak that comes from self-publishing. I’ve taught workshops on creating comics, honesty in art, and amplifying your voice through zine-making. I don’t shy away from being tough, honest, and self-reflective in my work and strive to be radically open about all things.
What do you do? (Write, draw, edit, publish, promote etc.)
How did you get started doing that?
I write and draw all my own work, most of it ending up online on various websites or self-published as mini-comics and zines. I went to school at the Minneapolis College Of Art and Design and after graduating I realized I really enjoyed the freedom that self-publishing gave to me. I started drawing for Autostraddle after I went to my very first A-Camp (a queer women’s camp experience) and met some of the editors there.
What was your first comic to create? Why that one? First to read?
My first official comic was called Out Of Hollow Water, published and available by indie comic publishers 2D Cloud. It’s a tough comic, about body horror, trauma, and cathartic release. It’s still a very important comic to me, even though it takes on such hard subjects.
Anyone you’d like to collaborate with some day? Why?
TBH any publisher or agent that wants to take me on! Otherwise, I’d love to start writing comics for Boom, or get my Autostraddle comics published into a graphic novel.
Have you ever faced adversity/discouragement for being nonbinary in your field? How did you overcome it?
Not really, most likely it’s just some people who don’t know how to act around me or get my pronouns right. I’m careful to go to small-press focused conventions for this reason, because more often than not there’s already representation and steps in place to keep queer/nonbinary creators and attendees safe.
Coolest moment you’ve had as a creator?
I LOVE knowing that people read the Grease Bats and love it! It means so much to me to receive emails or fan letters or (even better) meet people in person who’ve had a connection to that comic. Many people have told me that Grease Bats is the first comic they’ve ever read, or the only comic where they see themselves in. Drawing Grease Bats lets me explore so many questions/concerns/issues/complications/joys about the queer community and I really relish the fact that there are others who are also experiencing the same things I am.
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’m only in spaces that are friendly, if I get a weird vibe or I go to a space and it’s All Dudes, then I just leave. I think the more conventions have nonbinary and women helping organize the convention, the better and safer it’s going to be (and this goes along with any oppressed group, not just women and queer folks). The same rule applies to publishers.
A typical self-portrait! pic.twitter.com/PSt8RDZ938
— Anna Bongiovanni (@grease_bat) July 17, 2016