Interview With Cartoonists Whit Taylor & Kazimir Lee

Whit Taylor is an Ignatz Award-winning cartoonist, editor, and writer from New Jersey. She has authored many comics, including the graphic novel Ghost Stories, and is a regular contributor to the Nib.

Kazimir Lee is an animator, cartoonist, and illustrator, who has lived for almost equal amounts of time in Malaysia, the UK, and the US, now residing in Brooklyn, New York.

About the Book Harriet Tubman:Towards Freedom Harriet Tubman did something exceptionally courageous: She escaped slavery. Then she did something impossible: She went back. She underwent some thirteen missions to rescue around seventy enslaved people, using and expanding a network of abolitionists that became known as the Underground Railroad. She spent her life as an activist, speaking out for Black people and women’s suffrage. 

This modern account of her trip to save her brothers is detailed and authentic. Illustrated with care for the historical record, it offers insight into the life and mind of Tubman, displaying her as a woman with an unshakable desire to break the chains of an unjust society. It is a perfect anti-racist narrative for our times and deepens an understanding of just what freedom means to those who must fight for it.

How did you come to find yourself working in comics? What would you say attracted you to the medium in the first place?

Whit: I’ve been a comics reader and drawer since I was little, but didn’t start seriously making comics until my mid/late 20s. I started self-publishing, attending comics shows, and found a community in the indie comics world. In recent years, I’ve also become a freelance comics editor and contributing editor at The Nib.  I’ve always been attracted to the versatility of comics storytelling and enjoy both making my own comics and collaborating with others, such as Kaz. I like to make all sorts of comics: memoir, non-fiction (comics journalism/historical/educational), and some fiction. 

K: I was attracted by the freedom of this medium! I loved working in animation, but it was so time consuming that I found myself becoming too deeply focused on producing marketable, profitable content rather than work that spoke to me. CCS (The Center for Cartoon Studies) really shook up my expectations and pointed me in the right direction. There has always been something deeply DIY about cartooning, and I consider that one of its greatest strengths. Also Batman.

Whit Taylor

Who would you say are some of your favorite artistic influences? 

Whit: It’s hard to narrow it down because there are plenty, but off the top of my head, Lynda Barry and MariNaomi come to mind.

K: Jereme Sorese, Kevin Czap, Blue Delliquanti, Liz Suburbia, Marika and Jillian Tamaki and Joe Sacco are all giants. I would be blessed to be half the artist any of them are.

What advice would you give to other aspiring creators?

Whit: Make the work that’s in line with your values and interests.  Invest in your creative community. Realize that everyone has a different career path and that building it can take time. Don’t be ashamed to have a day job or other source of income…in this industry it’s not the exception, but the norm.

K: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Collaboration is fertile. Find time to experiment. Try your best to learn from your peers. Be accountable to your community, and to yourself.

What’s a question you haven’t been asked yet, but wish you were asked?

Whit: What changes in the comics industry would you most like to see? Right now, my top answers would be more publishing opportunities for adult graphic novels (which I think is starting to happen, thankfully), more support for new parents in the industry (as a new mom, making art can be particularly challenging), and some sort of viable path towards a cartoonist/comics industry union.

K: What TV shows are consuming your free time right now and why?

Are there any other projects you are currently working on and at liberty to speak about?

Whit: I’m currently working on The Greater Good, a public health policy/history graphic novel which will be drawn by Joyce Rice and published by First Second in 2023. I have a public health degree, and having worked in health education before moving to comics, this is a dream project. I’m also drawing the fourth issue of my minicomic series Fizzle, published by Radiator Comics. 

K: I’m working on a YA graphic novel for Iron Circus, and it will be the first large work I’ve ever written and drawn on my own! Scary. I’m also producing a comic about healthcare reform in collaboration with James Sturm for CCS- it’s done in the format of an animal-filled children’s picture book (even though it’s for kids and adults alike) and it was a fun departure from my regular style!

Kazimir Lee

In regard to queer media, what LGBTQ+ media would you say you’ve been drawn to in the past, especially that in regards to your own specific experiences and identities?

K: It’s embarrassing since I feel like I’m too old for this, but Steven Universe has been really formative in what I think queer media (especially in the Young Adult side of things) is capable of. Kim Petras and Remy Boydell are always pushing boundaries. There’s this queerpunk band, Shh! Diam that always blows my mind. The poetry of Zefyr Lisowki and the comics by Bisakh Som are a huge inspiration. We’re sort of living in a queer creator golden age, although I wish everyone was paid more.

As someone who has lived within Malaysia, the UK, and the US, would you say you’ve experienced or seen certain variations in terms of queer culture and expression? If so, would you describe them?

K: I didn’t really get to grow up in Malaysia, but whenever I go back it’s amazing to see queer culture bloom in what can be a really hostile environment. It reminds me of the importance of queer survival, and how that’s tied up with solidarity and accountability. Kuala Lumpur’s scene is smaller and more intimate than New York’s (where I live now.). It’s not as if there’s no drama, but I feel like we have to watch out for each other. It reminds me that we don’t have the privilege to treat others as disposable.

As someone who has illustrated comics about sex positivity, immigration rights, etc., what would you say inspires your inspirations? Has activism through art always been something you’ve been drawn to (no pun intended)? 

K: I am much less of an activist now, since I’m working for my green card. That makes breaking the law much more theoretical, and much less actual. I miss marching, but I feel like I am experiencing activism vicariously through my friends, family and community. Writing about it from the sidelines can be amazing, but also sort of frustrating at times. I call it Anarcho-FOMO.

Do you have any comics/books to recommend for the readers of Geeks OUT?

Whit: These recent reads come to mind: Dog Biscuits by Alex Graham (self-published), Guantanamo Voices by Sarah Mirk (Abrams), and I Never Promised you a Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy (Fantagraphics).

K: This One Summer is a brilliant read. Anything by Tillie Walden or Robyn Brooke Smith, they’re both geniuses. Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia is one of my fave comics ever, it’s deeply haunting and very “punk”. Jeremy Sorese has a book coming out called ‘The Short While‘, it’s a queer sci-fi thriller, and while I haven’t read it yet, I’m sure it will be brilliant!

Interview with Cartoonist Jarad Greene

Jarad Greene is a cartoonist originally from Lutz, Florida, who now lives in the curious village of White River Junction, Vermont. In addition to his own comics, Jarad works on staff at the Center for Cartoon Studies and has helped color many graphic novels for younger readers. He is the author and illustrator of the graphic novels Scullion: A Dishwasher’s Guide to Mistaken Identity and A-Okay.

I had the opportunity to interview Jarad, which you can read below.

First of all, welcome to Geeks OUT!. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Sure – thank you for having me! I’m Jarad Greene, a cartoonist living up in the mountains of Vermont. I’ve been working as a cartoonist since I was a teenager, originally doing gag cartoons and comic strips for the newspaper, but currently my focus is on longer form work. I like to make fantasy, adventure, and contemporary autobiographical works for kids and young adults. Moving to New England unlocked a latent athletic affinity, so I’m still getting used to the fact that I now do CrossFit and feel compelled to go running. During the summer I try to spend as much time outside as possible, swimming, hiking, and looking for new ice cream spots. As for winter… that’s a work in progress.

How did you find yourself getting into comics? What drew you to the medium?

I was an avid comics reader as a kid, reading comics in the newspaper and picking up monthly titles whenever I could. I was also an on-again, off-again journal-er and I took a sketchbook with me everywhere, so making comics came pretty intuitively. I created illustrated book reports for Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, and The High King while in middle school and I think those were my first foray into putting words and pictures together with panels and dialogue balloons. I started working on a deadline when I joined my high school newspaper staff as a cartoonist and I haven’t really stopped since.

Your forthcoming book, A-OKAY, is described as a semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel centered around an asexual boy. Could you talk about where the impetus for this story came from?

It began as a reaction to my first book, Scullion, a fantasy adventure, and wanting to do something very different from that while I waited on responses to my queries to editors and agents. I ended up writing a comics essay called Memories of a Former Porcelain Doll, which was a memoir comic about my two times going through Accutane treatment, ages 18-25. I had so much built-up energy and feelings about the years I spent trying to clear up my skin, that I felt compelled to write about it to organize my thoughts and get it out of my head. My draft of the comic received a publishing grant from the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) in Boston, where I debuted it as a 32-page mini comic a few months later. People’s response to it was unlike anything I had experienced with my other work. Readers kept circling back to my table to tell me how much it meant to them or how much it helped them understand what someone in their life who had acne went through. I planned to follow the essay up with a part two, but I had subsequently sold Scullion and it was almost 2 years later when I sat down to write again. The full-length memoir version I conceived felt pretty dark and miserable and in talking with my agent, she asked me who the book was for, and who I was hoping to reach. It reminded me of the reaction at MICE and that almost every person who spoke to me related the acne experience to their younger self or a young person in their life. I immediately knew how I could reconceive the story and age it down to a time when most kids experience acne troubles, while also making a less miserable, much happier story, which aligns better with who I am as a person. The asexuality aspect was in the new version from the start, a bit to my own surprise, since it wasn’t something I had ever planned to write about. Middle school is a time when questions of sexuality begin to arise, but back then I didn’t have the words I needed or any representations that could’ve been helpful. I hope A-OKAY can be that rep for a kid who doesn’t even know that they need it.

In addition to exploring asexual and aromantic identities, the book also explores something else that’s often rare in narratives with a male lead, specifically body insecurities. Would you mind talking about this a little in detail?

When I experienced my acne troubles, I didn’t know how to talk about it with other people, even my friends and family. I only wanted my skin to clear up to the way it was previously, but looking back on that time, I can see that a big part of talking about it meant accepting a level of vanity that I didn’t want to be revealed to other people, so I mostly kept my feelings to myself.

I couldn’t have asked my clear-skinned friends about their skincare regime, that would’ve been WAY too embarrassing! As time goes on, I’ve found that most of my friends are dealing with all kinds of insecurities. Maybe it’s getting older, maybe it’s that I went through my acne troubles and came out the other side, but I feel much more comfortable sharing my struggles and feelings with friends and knowing that I’m not alone. That’s one thing I wanted to put into A-Okay, that once Jay opens up, he realizes that his real friends aren’t making fun of him for going on acne medication or wanting to take care of his skin, they just want to know that he’s okay.

As a person who identifies on the Aromantic-Asexual spectrum, would you say you’ve seen any media that you felt you related to or represented by in this way? If not, was A-OKAY a response to that?

Certainly not when I was growing up; I can’t recall a single book I read or was assigned to read with any queer characters. TV was a little better or maybe just more accessible? I first heard a character refer to themselves as ‘asexual’ in the TV show “The Killing,” but that wasn’t until I was 24 years old. It was absolutely a factor in having it represented in A-OKAY. It was the only request I had of my agent when pitching it, that I didn’t want to work with an editor who would ask me to remove it or turn it into a love triangle. She found it an amazing home at HarperAlley. It has been extremely validating to be supported by so many in making this book.

As an artist, who or what would you say are some of your greatest creative influences and/or sources of inspiration?

Oh boy, where do I begin! Obviously with this book I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from my own life. But more broadly, I’m a huge fan of the author-artists: Atelier Sento, Faith Erin Hicks, Hope Larson, Raina Telgemeier, Vera Brosgol, Liniers, Gene Yang, Alexis Deacon, Tove Jansson, and Becky Cloonan to name a handful. There are also SO MANY amazing cartoonists and illustrators on Instagram whose work gives me little jolts of inspiration when they pop up on my feed… but I could be here all day listing them.

Another big source of inspiration for me comes from my free time: hanging out with friends, cooking, baking, going on adventures, visiting my family, wandering around a new store or city, etc. It all fills my well of experiences. If I want to write about the lives of characters, I have to have a life myself.

What’s something you hope readers take away from A-OKAY?

I hope readers can get a better sense of what it’s like to privately struggle with something, and that they may have people in their life going through an issue they don’t know about. And even if it’s something like acne, which isn’t life-threatening and may not seem like a huge deal, they’ll understand that it may feel big to the person experiencing it.

Besides A-OKAY, are you currently working on any projects that you are at liberty to speak about?

I am contracted for a second book with HarperAlley, but as for the title and plot, I am not at liberty to say. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to shout about it from the rooftops! I post random things from my desk, like paintings and sketchbook doodles on my Instagram, so that may tie people over until then.

What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives?

Sincerity is the secret ingredient to any good story. Focus on the work that really matters to you, no matter how strange, goofy, personal, or specific the stories you want to tell are. As long as you love it and are excited to tell it, it will reach the people it’s meant to find.

Finally, what LGBTQ books/comics would you recommend to the readers of GeeksOUT?

Oh, there are so many great queer books and comics out there now! I recently devoured three volumes of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, The Montague Twins by Drew Shannon and Nathan Page, The Contradictions by Sophie Yanow, Alone in Space by Tillie Walden, Flamer by Mike Curato, The Magic Fish by Trung le Nguyen, and Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston.

Interview With Writer and Editor Stephanie Cooke

Stephanie Cooke is an award-winning writer and editor based out of Toronto. She’s a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher and lover of puns. She is a purveyor of too many projects and thrives in chaos. Her writing work is featured in Mark Millar’s “Millarworld Annual,” “Wayward Sisters,” “The Secret Loves of Geek Girls,” “Toronto Comics Anthology” and more. Her debut graphic novel, “Oh My Gods!” released in January 2021 from HMH Kids, and a sequel will follow in fall 2021. She’s also a crazy cat lady who happens to be terribly allergic to cats. As such, she settles for having just the one cat and takes a lot of allergy medication. I had the opportunity to interview Stephanie, which you can read below.

First of all, welcome to Geeks OUT! Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Sure thing! I’m a writer and editor that primarily works on comics and graphic novels. I’m based out of the Great White North (or sometimes partially south of some folks in the U.S.) in Toronto, Canada. Oh My Gods! is my debut graphic novel with Insha Fitzpatrick, Juliana Moon, and Whitney Cogar. And my second graphic novel ParaNorthern just came out! They’re both middle grade stories that I firmly believe anyone can enjoy.

What inspired you to create comics? Were there any comics or artists you believe who inspired you and/or influenced your style?

I’ve been reading comics for most of my life, so it’s a medium that I’ve always loved and been drawn to. I’ve also written in some capacity or another for as long as I can remember. As to what inspired me to write comics specifically, I’d been podcasting, reviewing comics, writing articles, etc. for entertainment websites, and during a convention I was attending (after having been in the industry already for five to six years), someone asked me why I didn’t write comics. I knew other creators, publishers, the ins and outs, etc. and I didn’t have a good answer for that. Why didn’t I write comics? It changed something in me and pushed me to start. It turned out to be a perfect medium to channel my creativity into and I love it.

I think there are a lot of things that inspire me, not necessarily always comics. Some of the things that I think I aspire to are things I’m just generally a big fan of like Lumberjanes and Nimona. I also love Cucumber Quest by Gigi D.G., The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks, and Hark, A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton. Plus, I’m absolutely in awe of everything Raina Telegemeier is doing. And outside comics, I think a lot of animated shows have inspired me, too, like Gravity Falls and Star vs. the Forces of Evil.

I don’t think any one of those directly influenced my style or voice, but rather they helped me figure out the things I wanted to include in creating my own unique voice.

Where did the inspiration for ParaNorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-hop-calypse come from?

I think it’s a mish-mash of things but definitely one of the big bits of inspiration was Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog was a big reason why I wanted to incorporate mischievous rabbits into the story here and have them be part of the overall mayhem. I really loved the idea of something innocent and sweet seeming to be a thing that causes so much damage and destruction! But then more generally, I love supernatural stories and was a big fan of the TGIF programming on ABC when I was growing up. Sabrina the Teenage Witch was something I watched at just the right time of my life to really stick with me and heavily influence my humor and brand.

ParaNorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-hop-calypse looks perfect for those who are fantasy/Halloween fans of Scary Godmother (Jill Thompson) and Moonstruck (Grace Ellis/ Shae Beagle). Would you say there are any stories that inspired these comics or speak in conversation with it?

ParaNorthern has been in my head for a really long time and it’s definitely influenced by a lot of different things, again not necessarily all comics (despite how much I adore comics). As I mentioned, Monty Python is a big one as well as (probably obviously) a love for Halloween. Sabrina the Teenage Witch has stuck with me over the years, too; both the sitcom show as well as her stories from the Archie digests. I’ve always been really interested in the idea of magic in our own world and then in other supernatural parallel worlds, too. So, I guess in that regard, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Golden Compass, and Tamora Pierce’s epic series are all things that helped influence me too.

A lot of stuff has come out since I originally sold ParaNorthern though, and I think graphic novels like Snapdragon by Kat Leyh and The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner and Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner are all titles that are a few of its wonderful kindred spirits.

What would you say are some of your favorite craft elements to work on?

Creative procrastination. As in working for two minutes and then going on Twitter for 20. Okay, but seriously, I love practicing short stories and testing my boundaries for what I can do and what I enjoy (or don’t enjoy) working on. Short stories are such a fun challenge and flexing those muscles where I play around with different voices, styles, and genres are really rewarding and help to keep me growing as a creator. I especially love a good silent comic where you try to write a story without any dialogue or narration and just provide the best art direction possible to let that tell the story. Someday I want to take that over to a long-form project.

For those curious about the process behind a graphic novel, how would you describe the process? What goes into creating a script and collaborating with an artist to translate that into panels?

It varies from creator to creator, but I think the big thing to always remember is it’s a collaborative medium. It’s really important that you think of your entire team throughout the process and how everyone can shine. For me, I always start with really extensive outlines that break down the story into point form beats. This helps me work out plot holes, further develop characters, and answer questions that will help make the story more satisfying to the reader in the long run. Figuring that out as much as possible in advance of scripting helps to solidify the story in my mind, give me a guideline to work off, and helps narrow down the number of script drafts I’ll ultimately have to do.

I’ve been really into art for most of my life, and I draw for fun and have always been a pretty visual person. For  me, when I do go to the scripting phase, I’m able to really see the page and panel layouts as I write. With middle grade stories, it’s important to keep the panel count low to 4-5 panels per page to help keep the attention span of young readers. You go in with that in mind and how many panels and pages it’ll take you to convey certain beats. The important thing is to make sure you’re not writing multiple actions in one panel. If you’re writing “and” in your panel description, you have to check yourself to make sure it’s not describing something else the characters are doing. 

In a more general way, I try to give as much description as needed without over directing. I want the artist to be able to interpret the page and add their own spin on it or feel that they can change things up to an angle or shot that might be better suited. Typically though, the artist doesn’t see the script until the final draft is done. You just have to do everything in your power to be a good collaborator in advance of that.

What advice would you give to aspiring creatives who would want to create their own comics, whether as artists, writers, or both?

Practice, practice, practice. If you keep putting off starting, you’ll never find the time for it. If you’re a writer who doesn’t draw, you don’t need an artist to practice writing scripts and telling stories. Work on short stories, pitch to anthologies, join a writer’s group to connect with other creators and get inspired (this bit all applies to artists, too!).

It can be a hard industry to break into, but the good news is that these days, you’re not beholden to publishers to find your way in. You can make zines, webcomics, or you can self-publish or crowdfund a project. Don’t wait for someone to discover you; take your creative dreams into your own hands!

Are there any project ideas you have that you are at liberty to discuss?

GOSH, I WISH I COULD TALK ABOUT NEW THINGS! But hopefully soon. That being said, something that is announced is my first YA graphic novel called Pillow Talk with art by Mel Valentine. It’s about an underground pillow fighting league and how a self-conscious young woman finds it, falls in love with it, and uses it to come out of her shell. I’m so proud of it and it’s not out for a little while still (fall 2023) but I really hope people will check it out when it gets here. It’s full of beautiful diverse characters, body types, sexualities, and more! Mel is a master at that, and I can’t wait for people to see their amazing work.

Finally, what queer books/comics would you recommend to the readers of Geeks OUT?

YES! Okay, here we go: 

THERE ARE SO MANY THAT I LOVE, I could honestly go on forever! But those are a few more recent ones that I thoroughly enjoyed and wholeheartedly recommend.

Interview with Writer & Editor Kiara Valdez

Kiara Valdez is an Afro-Dominican writer and associate editor at First Second. She was born and raised in New York City (shout out to Washington Heights) and has been an avid comics reader all her life. She graduated from Williams College with a double major in English Literature and Japanese, and spends her free time reading, writing, and enjoying a long list of other hobbies she can’t keep up with. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kiara, which you can read below.

First of all, welcome to Geeks OUT! Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Hiya, I’m Kiara Valdez. I am a proud Afro-Dominican born and raised in Washington Heights, NYC. I have a serious affinity to the color lilac and am a mom to a precious black cat named Ruthie and a pink corn snake named Posey. 

How would you describe your literary/ geeky tastes and preferences?

I have been an avid fan of manga and anime since I was young, and since becoming a graphic novel editor, I’ve become very invested in the American comics scene. I watch a wide variety of animated shows ranging from anime like my beloved Haikyuu!! to shows like Trollhunters, and I also enjoy a wide assortment of teen fantasy shows of the non-animated variety (even the ones of questionable quality). The one common thread in most of the media I enjoy is that they don’t make me TOO sad and even if they do, that they usually have reasonably happy endings.

As an editor, how would you describe your journey into publishing, specifically toward First Second Books?

I find that my journey has been quite straight forward. I knew I wanted to be an editor since the age of 16, so I did a bunch of internships throughout college, and then my senior year I applied for a position at First Second. I’ve been with them ever since.

Is there anything you wish you had known when you first entered the field?

I wish I would have known how much of editorial is balancing different personalities and knowing how to deal with other humans. If I had known that I would have started learning how to meditate back in college and maybe I would have a disciplined routine by now. (This is only a half joke). 

As someone who has had their hand in a number of acclaimed titles, among which include Check Please!, Snapdragon, Bloom, and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, what usually catches your eye professionally and creatively?

That’s so hard to answer because SO many things catch my eye—more than I can acquire for the sake of my sanity. I think if someone goes through the list of books I have acquired so far they’d be able to tell that my taste in artstyle tends to lean towards what I personally call “eye candy”—something polished, usually leaning closer to the realistic, whose lines give you a sense of either warmth or melancholy, and with (usually) one or more lush colors. And there are times where something completely opposite of this attracts me. All and all I am attracted to projects and creatives that have a strong vision and direction. And professionally, I am attracted to honesty and clear communication.

As someone who is involved in projects from acquisition to publication, what would you share are of the hardest/weirdest/ and coolest parts of the development process?

-The hardest part is definitely the acquisition phase—whether it be participating in an auction, or even just presenting it at Acquisitions Meeting—it’s always a time of high tension and nerves. 

-The weirdest part…that must be thumbnails. Man, I have seen SUCH a range of ‘I honestly can’t read these” to “wow these are practically finished pencils” and it makes me laugh so much. Of course, I adjust how I work depending on the artist and their needs, and the variability is part of the reason my job is so interesting.

-The coolest part is that first moment of holding that book we worked on for 3+ years in my hands. It feels like Christmas every time.

As a queer woman of color, you’ve probably noticed quite a bit about the successes and failings of the publishing industry when it comes to promoting diversity. Could you share some of your thoughts on this?

I kind of feel like I am stuck in a wave pool. Like, I can see the efforts trying to be made by people around me—and so much of it truly comes from a good place in their hearts—but I of course also see the missteps. I think at least from when I first joined the industry 5 years ago, we have made some progress. It’s been slow, and it often doesn’t show up in obvious ways, but there is a slow current moving us forward. And I hope it soon speeds up. 

Aside from reading and developing books, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

I have more hobbies and interests than I can keep up with. As said before I love watching anime and reading manga, I write, dance when I can, really love fashion, am on and off trying to learn how to rollerblade, and recently bought an electric guitar I’d love to be able to properly play one day.

What advice would you have to give to aspiring creatives, both who wish to enter the publishing field and those who wish to get publishing?

Have a lot of patience and hustle. No matter if you’re trying to break in or are just trying to survive after you “made it”, you’ll need those two things daily.

What’s a question you haven’t been asked yet but that you wish you were asked (as well as the answer to that question)?

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten asked if I love my job. And I do, I absolutely love my job and the comics community even with the many hardships and flaws. 

Are there any projects you are currently working on (professional or personal) that you feel free to speak about?

Yes! A book that I have poured half my soul into editing, Himawari House by Harmony Becker, is coming out this Fall. It’s a multilingual slice-of-lifey YA graphic novel following three girls who live in a sharehouse in Tokyo. The book is truly fantastic, and Harmony is so extremely talented and has been a total joy to work with. Everyone please go preorder it!

What LGBTQIA+ books would you recommend to the readers of Geeks OUT?

Oh my god, I have so many comics recommendations:

Classmates by Nakamura Asumiko

-Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Our Dreams at Dusk by Yuhki Kamatani

-Given by Natsuki Kizu

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu

Seven Days by Venio Tachibana and Rihito Takarai

-Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganuheau

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen A.F. Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw-Shadow Life by Hiromi Goto and Ann Xu