Today on the site, Rob Kirby interviews Jennifer Camper.
Rob Kirby: Jen, as long as we’ve been friends and as long as I’ve followed your work prior to that, I still don’t really know your cartoonist origin story. That seems as good a place to start as any, so how about it?
Jennifer Camper: I never decided to become a cartoonist. I sort of fell into it and just continued. From early childhood I played with all kinds of art forms, including comics and illustrated stories. In school, I made comics and illustrated stories as class assignments, or for the school paper, and sometimes just to entertain my friends and myself. My family encouraged this. I was reading underground comics in my teens, and discovered Mary Wings and Roberta Gregory’s dyke comics. After that, I found Wimmen’s Comix, Tits & Clits, Lee Marrs’ Pudge, Girl Blimp, and Gay Comix. I never doubted that there was room for my own voice in comics.
Next, I drew comics and illustrations for Gay Community News in Boston. Following that, I submitted comics to Gay Comix, and met Howard Cruse, who generously tutored so many of us in the craft and business of comics. I also published comics and illustrations in Wimmen’s Comix, Young Lust, Real Girl,Sojourner (Boston feminist paper), and On Our Backs (lesbian erotica magazine).
After a while, I created a self-syndicated, bi-weekly comic, Camper, that ran in a number of queer and feminist newspapers and magazines in the US and Canada. Those comics were eventually collected in my first book, Rude Girls and Dangerous Women (Laugh Lines Press, 1994).
Having these outlets gave me deadlines and assignments, and an audience. Of course, there was little money paid for these comics, but the queer press and alternative comics had a vocal readership. I was thrilled to get feedback for my work – both pro and con. Most of these publications were printed on cheap paper, so I developed my high-contrast, black and white drawing style, which reproduces well, even with low-quality printing production.
Aidan Koch is interviewed over at Bomb magazine on the occasion of her new book, After Nothing Comes.
The Guardian pays tribute to Love and Rockets.
Leslie Stein has a supremely good new comic online this week.
Forbes discusses the SDCC guest lineup.
And hey, good news, a Garbage Pail Kids documentary is coming up!