Hannah K. Chapman founded our monthly Ladies’ Night at Graham Crackers Comics in early 2012, modeling it after a similar group at Strange Adventures in Halifax. After Hannah went home to England, Megan Byrd, a GCC employee, took over. The group is still mostly focused on being social and hanging out together to talk comics and all sorts of nerdy things, but after a couple months it was a pretty logical next step for the group to start making their own comics,
especially because we started meeting just after Womanthology debuted and the current crop of really successful Kickstarter-funded anthologies was just starting to take off.
The group of editors has a pretty varied background: Megan, who still facilitates the meetings, is no longer an LCS employee, but she is our editor-in-chief and she brings a lot of industry knowledge and experience. Lauren Burke contributed to Womanthology and has also published a slew of her own projects like P.I. Jane and The World Ends With Us. Summer Sparacin came to comics later in life but she contributed to the first two anthologies as a writer, and joined us as an editor on the third volume. and her nerd credentials are huge, especially as one of the organizers of International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club. Caitlin Rosberg is a project manager by instinct and profession, so she manages our inventory and website, as well as our budget. She also reviews comics and writes about the industry for sites like the A.V. Club and Paste Magazine.
As for our contributors, most of them are newcomers to comics and collaborating with others. That’s the whole point of LNA, to be honest. We concentrate on education and helping people learn the ropes of creating their own comic, with the editors there to help every step of the way. We even ask that people come to us without a complete team: by recruiting artists and writers separately, we can expand our group of candidates by a significant amount, and really dig into the teamwork that’s required to make a successful comic together. What’s really gratifying is that we’ve seen a lot of our contributors go on to bigger projects, sometimes even working with the partners they were assigned for LNA. In the past we’ve had talents like Anissa Espinosa (Bee and Puppycat
, Beyond Anthology
), Brittany Peer (TMNT: Casey & April
), Kat Leyh (Supercakes
), Monica Ras (Touching Evil
, The World Ends With Us
), and Shawnee & Shawnelle Gibbs (The Invention of E. J. Whitaker
One of the biggest benefits to drawing from a pool of talented but less experienced creators, all of them women, is that we end up with really unique stories. That’s honestly the best reason anyone could give readers to back the Kickstarter: there are comics in Ladies’ Night Anthology that you won’t find anywhere else. These women really love the medium and they’re really motivated to see themselves reflected in their work, to tell a true and compelling story. You’ll find some superhero stuff, some slice of life stuff, some horror, some romance, and everything feels fresh and new because this is a demographic that is hugely underrepresented in the industry and these women haven’t yet learned the “rules,” so they think outside the box.
It doesn’t hurt that every year we try to find some fun new perks to come with the book. With Eat It Up
, our fourth volume
, we’re making phone charms for the very first time, featuring the beautiful cover art that Jenn St-Onge made. We’re also going to have enamel pins of our logo, which like the patches we made last year are totally required for the comics girl gang we’re forming. We also are compiling a zine of some great artwork and prose pieces that just wouldn’t fit into the anthology itself, which we will print if we hit the $8,500 stretch goal!
We’re trying to raise a lot more money this time around because we’ve completely sold out of our first and third volumes, and the second isn’t that far behind. We need to replenish our inventory and also print more copies for our contributors. Many of them buy the books from us at print cost so they can sell them at cons and comic shops around the world, which is a great way to keep LNA’s audience expanding. We even have a reward level on Kickstarter that gets you all four volumes of our books, and it’s proving to be a really popular option. The money we raise on Kickstarter helps us keep the metaphorical doors open all year long, and we’ve got some HUGE projects in the works for 2017, so we hope to see even more folks coming to support us