One of my favorite parts of GeekGirlCon last year was getting the chance to find new vendors and artists who spoke to my inner fangirl. I’ve been reading the Grayhaven Comics for a little over a year, and it’s amazing to see the process of storytellers breaking into the business. So I was very excited to learn Erica Heflin would be representing Grayhaven at GeekGirlCon.
1. How did you get your start in comics?
I’ve always indulged in the independent scene, though for nearly a decade my interests were focused on indie film. That indulgence was very kind to me, and allowed me the opportunity to write, produce, work on prosthetics, and so forth, at a very basic level. When I realized how much the independent comic industry was growing and how small press was a viable avenue of creation, I knew I had to get involved. I was thrilled when my first pitch was accepted for Grayhaven’s Fairy Tales anthology.
2. What types of opportunities have you had at Grayhaven Comics?
While at first I simply pitched to the themes that appealed to me, I was asked very early on if I had interest in editing the All Women’s issue of The Gathering. The staff was familiar with my previous writing and editing experience, as well as what they’d seen of my comic writing endeavors, and felt I was a good match for the team. When that project went smoothly I was invited onto the staff full-time.
In addition to writing and editing, I’ve managed to finagle my way into the production department, and have learned a great deal about comic production, lettering, and coloring in the process. I’ve also collaborated with some incredibly talented artists, both on my own stories and in an editorial capacity, and I have to say that seeing the teamwork involved in the creation of comics is incredible. There’s a moment when everything comes together and you just know that this writer and this artist have done something that no other pair could match. Having the opportunity to see that happen again and again is my favorite part of the job!
3. What about GeekGirlCon appealed to you and Grayhaven Comics?
When I was unable to make the cross-country trek to attend the first GeekGirlCon, I made a promise to myself that I would make the second. I grew up in a time when the only comic shirts you could find came in men’s XL and everyone was shocked that I played Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. Every year that I’ve attended cons I’ve seen that growing and the number of women and girls actively and confidently expressing their love of their fandoms. GeekGirlCon, to me, is an embodiment of this passion. I never thought that something like this would exist for women like me.
And then when I came onto Grayhaven’s staff, they were excited that I planned to attend. When we discussed working the convention, the only caveat was that I had to make sure my con-buddy would be game for it, as I wanted to be able to sneak off to a few panels!
4. Are there specific comics you’re bringing along that you’re excited to share with geek girls in particular?
Specifically, I’m looking forward to sharing our All Women’s issue – And Nothing Less. The issue says more than that there are women in comics; it says that there are all kinds of women in comics. The art and writing styles vary as greatly as the themes explored, so this issue creates a wonderful cross-section of women who create comics. We don’t fit neatly into any box and neither does this issue.
Beyond that, I’ll go with my personal bias. Fairy Tales is a gorgeous book and features my first piece published by Grayhaven. George Amaru brought the story to life in ways that I couldn’t imagine. The book is one of our first all ages titles, too, which speaks volumes to the mother in me. Being able to share my love of comics with my children is very important. Swinging to the other end of the spectrum, we have two excellent horror volumes. There’re some great psychological and supernatural tales (I have a bit of Junji Ito horror bias) and when the art gets gritty and inky it steals my heart. Finally, our Despair issue features a team-up of two incredibly talented geek girls – Gail Simone and Cassandra James – and the short story they weave cuts straight to your heart.
5. Is there anything in the programming, you’d like to sneak away from the table to see?
There are a lot of panels that I’d love to see, but I’m going to try to see a couple panels dealing with issues that impact my day-to-day life. A Family That Games Together looks like a great approach to bringing something that you enjoy into your children’s life, and building that family time that is so often sorely lacking when we’re all balancing jobs, schooling, and more. Geeks Raising Geeks has a similar appeal. My children are still small, so ensuring that they get introduced to a healthy variety of activities and then supported as they chose what to embrace is of paramount importance to me. My mother was extraordinary in that way and I hope to give my children the same gift that she gave to me.
Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and strong female characters. She also writes about Star Wars for Random House’s science fiction and fantasy blog Suvudu.com. Her interview with X-Wing: Mercy Kill author Aaron Allston can be found in this month’s Star Wars Insider Issue 135. At GeekGirlCon, she is hosting a panel on the female characters of Star Wars.
In her spare time, Tricia puts the finishing touches on her first novel, Wynde. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.