For Asexuality Awareness Week, an interview with the creator of Heartless


Elizabeth and Clara from chapter 3 of Heartless. Copyright Emily Griggs.

This week is Asexuality Awareness Week — if you’re unfamiliar, please check out Asexuality 101 or this awesome comic dubunking 5 myths about asexuality.

I spoke with Emily Griggs, a Canadian writer and artist who identifies as ace (asexual) and who is behind the web comic Heartless, which she describes as:

Heartless is an action/adventure comic set in early Victorian London. It’s about vampires, self-discovery, more vampires, the struggle against oppression, and very pretty dresses. The entire main cast is LGBTQIA+, with an explicitly asexual protagonist.

Our conversation below is lightly edited for clarity.

How did the idea of Heartless, with an ace protagonist, come about?

One of the reasons that Heartless ended up being the story that turned into a project that’s going to take 3+ years of my life was because I thought it was a story that was not just something I wanted to tell, but I thought some other people would enjoy being able to read.

I kind of figured out I was asexual while I was drafting the first few chapters of Heartless. It wasn’t the very first cue; I sort of had been thinking about it a little bit. But I was kind of in this place where I was like, “Oh, asexuality is something that exists, but I couldn’t be that because that’t kind of weird or that would make me broken and I’d be missing out on this big part of life.” But then writing a really positive asexual character who’s got chunks of me in her — she’s certainly not a version of me, but a lot of the characters you write end up being little bits of you — really helped me come to terms with the idea that asexuality was just something I could be.

I never really felt that it was wrong for other people to be asexual. I have quite a few asexual friends. But I still had enough internalized prejudice against the idea that I’d never considered applying the label to myself. So it was very much as I was putting my mind into the head space of this character I was writing. She herself goes through a journey of coming to accept that she’s asexual and this is OK — in a more fantastical way with a lot more vampires than I went through. It kind of gave me that space to approach the idea for myself a little bit sideways, which just made it a lot easier to go through that self-introspection to get to that point in your life when you accept yourself that way.

Why did you decide to make the entire cast LGBTQIA+?

The entire cast being LGBTQIA+ was a complete accident. I never set out for it. I kind of came at the story a little bit roundabout through myself. I usually start with characters and then develop a world around them. But for Heartless, I had some ideas for characters, but they ended up changing pretty drastically. And then I developed a lot of parts of the setting, which — spoiler for chapter 4 — involves vampires having a mind control psychic power ability that’s directly very related to being able to be sexually appealing to people. There’s this kind of joke in my house that vampires are synonymous with sex. So I was developing the rules around how vampires worked and realized I had this cool way to codify that would make for an interesting set of stories because there would be specific things they could or couldn’t do. And I was developing a whole culture around that, and that ended up being where the other main characters came from.

Clara was a wonderful happy accident. Because I knew the story I wanted to tell, which was exploring this world, I needed a protagonist figure. And I needed her to be new enough to the setting that she could be kind of explaining things to the reader, so people would be discovering the setting as she was discovering the setting.

Clara from chapter 3 of Heartless. Copyright Emily Griggs.

Clara from chapter 3 of Heartless. Copyright Emily Griggs.

I also wanted her special in some way — the kind of “chosen one” — because you need that to get her continuously involved in plot, so she’s not just a tag along. I can distinctly remember exactly where I was in the world when it dawned on me that she was asexual — and that was effectively a minor superpower in this universe because it made her immune to this vampire magic.

You don’t get that many stories with asexual protagonists, so it solved three problems for me all in one go. And I remember walking the way home absolutely thrilled with myself.

The rest of the characters just kind of ended up falling into place. I knew from my rules to work, there was this evil vampire hierarchy in the background, so I wanted my characters to fall into it in various places. I can’t remember exactly when I decided to make everyone whatever orientations they were — again, it just sort of felt like something that was natural for all the characters and what ended up fitting best for the story. I definitely feel like they’re all shaped by who they’re attracted to, especially given the society they live in; it has shaped their stories. But I also feel like every background I picked for them was the most effective for particular story I want to tell — at least I hope it is.

Do you have any favorite or pet characters?


Clara and Genevieve from chapter 2 of Heartless. Copyright Emiliy Griggs.

I love my entire main cast, but in really different ways.

Clara‘s got a lot of my flaws, and I’d say that in a caring way. She’s got a lot in common with a much younger me, and she’s sort of the positive portrayal of my younger self that I’d wished I’d had when I was a bit younger. She’s got a lot of my flaws, but I still want to bundle her up and protect her.

Elizabeth is in some ways a lot of the person I kind of wish I could be. She’s an archetype of character I’ve written a lot of and I want to see a lot more of in fiction. She’s very confident, she’s very outgoing, she’s massively melodramatic. She’s confidently in charge of things and has a lot of people who follow her orders while still also being morally gray and allowed to be a bit morally gray; she’s not 100% a good person all the time, but still on the side of angels, so to speak. I just love seeing that kind of character, especially when they’re female characters, because I don’t see enough of them in fiction.

Daniel‘s just kind of trying his best, and he’s adorable. He started out as the main character of my original first vague ideas of a plot, so I always feel a little bad about him now being such a side character.

Genevieve kind of developed more for the story, but I really like drawing her. She’s one of the most visually dynamic characters, I think. She’s kind of grown on me slowly as the story’s progressed. [I actually have a] freckling guide. It’s just this little tiny doodle of her head by my computer. There’s, I think, four freckles on her face that are always in the same place, and the rest are just wherever — that’s how I keep that consistent.

Why did you choose Victorian London as the setting?

I studied humanities [at university]. I always say that I spent every single lecture in class drawing. And that really should have been a hint a lot earlier than it was. But it did give me a really great background in the Western history of the world from early antiquity to late last night, which has been really helpful when I’m writing.

I just like Victorian England, not gonna lie. It was a terrible, awful, beautiful time period with a whole lot going on. I’ve been interested in partly from an academic point of view but also a writer’s point of view long before Heartless.


Clara and Elizabeth in chapter 3 of Heartless. Copyright Emily Griggs.

I’d been writing a short story about vampires set in the Victorian times that was dealing with vampires as a metaphor for sex and the repression of time period. And that sort of inspired a few elements of the eventual setting I came up with [for Heartless].

In a lot of ways, [the Victorian setting] magnified a lot of problems we have today — like in terms of the way women were treated, the way minorities were treated, the way people who weren’t straight were being treated. Because I’m setting it back in a time period that’s a fair while away, I can afford to deal with a lot of those issues in not necessarily black and white terms but certainly broader strokes; very few people are going to argue that the way women were treated back in Victorian times is something we should upkeep today.

So I like the setting for exploring issues of how we’re treating people, issues that are personal to me, in a way that is still relevant because we’re dealing with the same kind of problems today, but it’s also distant in a way that makes it a little more fun for me to approach.

Are some of the conflicts or struggles in Heartless inspired by real life?

I like to borrow the feeling of some struggle sometimes. Things like Clara having to come to terms with herself is obviously something I had to go through as well. But the details of how it happened in my life are massively different than the ways in which she has to go through in her life.

In general, when I’m writing fiction I don’t tend to borrow a lot from my own life. I’ll borrow personality quirks, or I’ll borrow a kind of a feeling, but I like doing writing that’s a bit more removed from myself in that kind of way but still about things that are important to me.

Do you know how far the Heartless story will go?

I’d like to write at least 3 books with Clara, all set in same universe and progressing, with chapters 1-6 being the first self-contained story. My plan right now is to get through finishing book one, which works perfectly well from start to finish. And then [I’ll] take time aside and work on a script for a second book and figure out exactly what the second book is going to be looking like. I had book one definitely plotted out from start to finish before I put pen to paper.

What has the fan response been like?

I feel like I’ve got this smallish group of really enthusiastic fans — there’s a few online, I take the book to local conventions because I’m also a print artist, and I have a few people who come back to my booth and recognize the story and ask me when I’m putting the next book out.

It’s not the kind of fan base where everyone knows it, but I was never expecting it to be that way. I feel like I got the kind of readership I was really hoping for, which is maybe not the world’s widest readership but a number of fans who were really enjoying the story because it’s cool and exciting and has vampires and dresses and sword fights, but who are also coming back and telling me in private messages or in their tags or their sharing of it that the story means something to them.

What’s your process like?

I prefer to have an entire script for just about anything I’m writing. I write a lot of prose as well as comics stuff; I’m much faster writing than I am at turning out pages. I am definitely the kind of writer who prefers to have a pretty strict outline. At the same time, for comic work, because I’m also the artist, the actual wording and precise placement of text or precise length of text tends to get switched around quite a bit when I’m actually putting the page together. I kind of treat what I wrote as my first draft and then I’m editing as I go. I’m usually working on 3-4 pages at once because it’s easier for me to do them in batches.

I’ll do a reference shot for every outfit that Clara’s in, which is a lot of outfits. And I’ll do reference shots for the locations if they’re particularly complicated. Because I’m working just for myself, [a reference shot] is just usually a very quick poorly done doodle on paper, with whatever elements of the outfit are going to appear most readily. And if it’s an outfit that I know is going to be lasting for quite a few panels, I’ll usually do a more detailed shot. But if it’s something that’s only going to be showing up for a couple of pages, it’s usually just a very quick pencil drawing. And then I’ll open up previous pages while I’m working on future ones — especially the inking process — to make sure I’ve got the details correct, more or less.

I do my references on paper. I used to do my rough outlines on paper, and then I’d scan it and ink it. I’ve switched to a completely digital process as of mid-chapter 5, just because I’ve got a new computer setup, and it’s a lot easier for me to do that.

I’m a little worried [using the computer is] making me lazier; I think that’s just getting used to it. There’s definitely a temptation with the computer stuff to use and abuse the push/pull tools, the warping tools, the resizing tools. On the one hand, I love those dearly because they save me a bundle of time. But on the other hand, it can be tempting to use those enough that I lose — it sounds really pretentious to say the animacy or something — but to lose the life of the drawing that I’m starting with. So it’s kind of a balance between sticking to actually using all the art practice I was supposed to have and using the computer tools so it becomes a little bit faster to do a page. I definitely think the computer’s a plus. I love my computer, and I will marry my undo button!

What else are you working on?

This is my only comic project right now. I am a freelance writer and an artist — they’re kind of my co-day jobs. I write for tabletop role playing games. I won one year and was a finalist this most recent year in Game Chef. One of the things I’m working on is polishing up that most recent Game Chef thing to turn it something I can post online in a more polished format. I’m doing a little bit of contract work; I’m always drawing things.

I run an etsy shop, which is my most day jobish day job. It’s all geeky cards, nerdy prints, and all that kind of fun stuff. It’s usually a much more cartoonish, simplified style even than Heartless, so it’s good to go back and forth between the two of them; most of my etsy stuff doesn’t need backgrounds, which is great.

I just started a YouTube channel — that’s my new, exciting project. It’s still kind of experimental, so I’m figuring out exactly what works for me, but I’d like to get into a reliable once-a-week posting schedule. I’d like to do art process videos — I’ve actually recorded an entire page of Heartless from start to finish, but I’m waiting to post it until the page actually goes live (I work usually 1-2 months in advance; I do that because I then occasionally go 1-4 weeks without working on Heartless at all).

What is the progress you’ve seen in the comics world in terms of inclusivity? And how do you think it can still grow?

I think the prominence of web comic publishing is a huge boon in terms of getting more stories out there. If you’re just sitting there and you’re thinking to yourself, “I wish there were more stories about X,” it becomes feasible — maybe not for absolutely everyone, but certainly for a larger segment of the population — to say, “Well, we need X in the world, so I’m just going to go do it.” Unlike a lot of other medium that combine visual storytelling with textual storytelling (like anything’s that filmed, e.g. TV or movies), comics are something you can feasibly do as an entirely one person show.

So I think that’s been a huge benefit in terms of being able to get stories out there that can represent absolutely everyone and can more than just represent them, but represent them in stories they’re interested in hearing about. As much as I love having asexual representation, the Archie comic series never appealed to me as a set of stories. I think they’re perfectly lovely for other people, but they’re not my thing. So one of the great things about web comics is it’s not just we have to fit one or two characters into a few stories — if you happen to love Victorian England and asexuality, you could go and look up a comic about it. If you love magical girls and asexuality, you could go find a comic about it. And I think that’s been a huge boost.

But at the same time, web comics as medium still suffer from being very hard to monetize, and I wish that didn’t have to be an issue. I know that if I weren’t in a reasonably privileged position financially, being able to produce this comic and this story that I love might be impossible for me — because it’s 6 hours of my day every week or 4 hours or 8 hours depending on how complicated the pages are. But that’s something I’m able to do because I’m able to support myself through other means and because I come from a place where I’ve got safety nets.

If we really want to get to a point where we can really literally have everyone’s story told and widest possible breadth of stories, we’re going to have to find a way as an industry to promote stories and allow people to live off the stories they’re telling if they are stories we think we have to have in the world. That gets very complicated, and I’m not an economist, so I can’t give you a solution. But I definitely see that as something we’re going to have to figure out to get the maximum number of stories — especially if a lot of LGBTQ comics are going through self-publishing, like web comics, as opposed to a traditional publishing medium with advances, etc.

Anything you want to add that’s central to you as an artist or Heartless as your creative work?

For me at the end of the day even though Heartless is a story that deals with some issues that caused me pain, it addresses problems in world. I first and foremost want it to be really fun; I want it to be just as exciting to pick up and read as going to a superhero movie or picking up your favorite schlocky novel (I love schlock). I certainly don’t think that’s the the only way to write LGBT comics; I think every story should be told a bajillion different ways because people have a bajillion different tastes. Being who we are and just playing with characters who are like us but in really fun ways and are just exciting and enjoyable to read is something that I hope I’m doing and that I just love to see out there in the world.

If you could say anything to the young girls out there struggling with their identity or how to make a space in the world, what would you say?

There’s already a big campaign called It Gets Better, but it really does. I know there are people who really enjoyed their teenage years, but for me it was a time that was pretty difficult, where I was still trying to figure out exactly who I am and what I was going to do with rest of life. And even though things didn’t turn out exactly how I thought they were going to turn out, I really quite happy with where I am in life. I feel like if my young me looked at my older me ,, she’d think she was really cool, and I’m really proud to be there. She might be a little confused about a few directions, but she’d still think she’s pretty cool.

So if you’re young and you’re confused and the world seems like it’s really big and like you’re going to become someone when you’ve never had a blueprint for exactly how you’re supposed to follow along or what your life is supposed to look like tomorrow or when you get older (with regards to orientation and with regards to whatever else is in life), I promise you will figure something out. You can find own path, you can piece together yourself. And then when you get to the end, you can write a really cool stories about vampires that will help other people find the same path as they need to.

LoC Podcast, episode 1: Mildred Louis on magical girls, creating independently, and diversity

Agents of the Realm, copyright Mildred Louis.

This week I’m excited to introduce our first Ladies of Comicazi podcast!

In what I hope will be the first of many, our inaugural podcast is an interview with the incomparable and astoundingly talented Mildred Louis, author and artist of the web comic Agents of the Realm. (Feel free to check out The Red Menace’s review of Mildred’s first collected volume of Agents!)

So join us as we discuss animation, geek out over Sailor Moon, and imagine how hard it must be to have to save the world on a regular basis.

(You can catch Mildred in person at the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, October 29-30, 2016 in Cambridge.)

A special thanks goes out to Aayesha Siddiqui (our newest and most tech savvy Lady) for producing, recording, and mixing this podcast. An additional thanks goes out to Canopy City for once again providing us the space to conduct our latest shenanigans.

Music credits: 80s Quiz Show Loop and Videogame-ish Intro, both by Christopher from Sounds Like An Earful. Both tracks are Creative Commons licensed (CC BY-SA 3.0), as is our podcast.

All Good Things Should Come To An End: The Impending Finale of “Adventure Time”

The end of last month brought news of the coming end of an era. Cartoon Network’s critically acclaimed and much loved series Adventure Time with Finn and Jake will be ending in 2018. I’ve seen a lot of the early stages of mourning for the show around the Internet and I certainly sympathize as a longtime viewer myself. But even though I will miss having new episodes of the groundbreaking show to look forward to, I’m ready to see it reach its conclusion. Because endings aren’t necessarily a bad thing.  Continue reading

October is for Horror II: 3 Netflix Hidden Gems

As the Ladies’ resident expert of movies and shows involving blood splatter, and since I did one of these posts last year, I decided now was a good time to prowl through Netflix for 3 more hidden gems to help get you into the mood for the best, or at least the spookiest (spoopiest?) month of the year.  This time around I am going for a bit more variety, rather than just 3 straight horror movies.  Think of them as choices in the spirit of trick-or-treating.  Not one wants a bag full of just one kind of candy.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

td-tucker-dale-evilI love a good horror comedy, but it’s a tough genre to do really well.  For me it works best when there’s a real love and understanding of what is at the root of some standard horror tropes.  Movies like Shaun of the Dead, Cabin in the Woods, and Zombieland do this particularly well. Enter Tucker and Dale vs. Evil with its flipped around take on the “backwoods murder hillbilly” trope.  Frankly I think it’s more fun to go into the movie with less knowledge of the plot so I’m not going to give you much on purpose. I didn’t read any summaries myself and that made each reveal more fun.   Plus, it stars Allen Tudyk, who is just a delight in  his role. A word to the squeamish: while this movie is surely considered a comedy, it’s also pretty gory.  If that’s not your thing, this isn’t for you.   Note: It’s been reported that a sequel to this 2010 original is in the works.  After enjoying this one so much I’m excited to see where these characters will go next.

4 out of 5 bodies through a woodchipper

Extraordinary Tales

td-extraordinary-talesWait, what?  Tiny Doom is going to write something about an animated thing?  Yeah guys, I am, I’ve got layers.  Well, it’s an animated thing with blood splatter so I guess I’m not really going too far off task here. Curated by veteran Disney animator and Spanish writer-director Raul Garcia,   Extraordinary Tales is an animated anthology of 5 tales by Edgar Allen Poe.  We are talking about some pretty time-honored Halloween fare.  Each tale has its own animation style, and the voice talent (ranging from Christopher Lee  – in one of his last projects before his death, Bela Lugosi, and Julian Sands) makes this an almost hypnotic watch.  It’s not scary so much as it satisfies a craving for the Gothic and the creepy. It’s probably best viewed in the evening or on a dreary afternoon.

3.5 out of 5 red death masques

The Awakening

td-awakeningThey had me at “lady ghost debunker” with this one.  A BBC film, The Awakening is a period piece in which that invokes both horror and mystery tropes.  Florence Cathcart uses science to expose charlatans and debunk claims of haunting.  However, each time she succeeds at her task it’s a bit heartbreaking because she is also hoping for evidence of the supernatural so that she can contact her partner who was lost in the war. Think, the Houdinis.  When she gets called to a case in a boy’s boarding school more is revealed about her past, including some memories she buried regarding her upbringing.  This movie is a slow burn of creepiness, with some big reveals at the end. I found the ending to be sort of ambiguous and sort of not, but I think it leaves things open enough that if you want to believe, you can.  If you liked The Woman in Black, you might like this.

3.5 out of 5 creepy British boarding school kids

Review: Agents of the Realm

LadiesCon 2016 may be over, but we’re still thinking about what made it such a great time. One of the things that I was really excited about was the opportunity to speak directly to so many creators and artists about their original works. One of the creators I was most excited about was Mildred Louis, who writes and draws a comic called Agents of the Realm. I hadn’t heard of her work before the con, but when she contacted us about having a table, I looked at her work and knew I’d be paying her a visit. I had the supreme good fortune (thanks to a huge assist from Smalerie) of snagging the last copy of her book, which collects the first volume of an ambitious work which, luckily for me, continues online.




The premise is a twist on the classic magical girl genre of manga (see Crystal Cadets for a more standard version): five young women discover that they are the protectors of our world, which is being threatened by strange beasts entering our realm from a sister dimension. In the classic magical girl style, Norah, Adele, Kendall, Paige, and Jordan have special brooches that transform them into uniform-wearing warriors, each with her own weapon, powers, and attendant element. Through the magic of the brooches, they find each other and begin to learn about their powers, the other realm, and why and how they were chosen to protect the world.

The twist comes in from the fact that in standard magical girl stories, there is an emphasis on girl – the protagonists are typically tweens or young teenagers, and part of the transformation is that they become an adult version of themselves. They’re all Mary Marvel, if her posse were other girls instead of two boys and talking tiger. The Agents are all adults already – young adults, to be fair, but in college and of legal age. This immediately has different implications about how they make the choice to accept their roles and for how Louis is able to explore the relationships between the characters and the problems that they face. When you’re watching or reading Sailor Moon, you know that while Sailor Moon is presented as an adult, Usagi Tsukino is really still a kid, and her concerns when she isn’t saving the planet are appropriately childish. The Agents, on the other hand, are young adults, and they have concerns that an adult can relate to, in addition to fighting off giant spirit birds.

Another thing that makes the series great is the level of representation of both people of color and of LBGTQ folks. Most of the characters, including 4 of the 5 Agents, are not white. They also have a wide range of body types  – and they keep them after they transform. They do not become “idealized” versions of themselves. This is a powerful message delivered with subtlety – that they are already good enough, already powerful just as they are. They are also beautiful, and feminine, without needing to all fit into the white, western ideal shape.

The team.

The orientations of the various characters are handled with that same grace – we’re shown characters who have loving relationships of all types, completely integrated into the story. It doesn’t feel like anything that’s being called attention to, a lesson we’re meant to learn – these are just people, and people have many different approaches to sex and love and romance.

Norah, Adele, Kendall, Paige, and Jordan feel like real people – they have strengths, but also flaws – and not just “oh, she’s such a klutz.” It’s apparent even in the first issue that Norah struggles with social anxiety. Paige is driven and ambitious to the point of being rude at times. Kendall is a peacemaker. It’s refreshing to see the trope of the “chosen ones” applied to characters who feel like more than a cardboard cutout.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the art. As you can see from the pictures here, it’s gorgeous and dynamic. There’s a clear progression as Louis’ style evolves – I think that she continually improves her panel layout and visual storytelling  – but the technical excellence is on display from the beginning.

Do you read Agents of the Realm? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Kickass Ladies, for sure.

Recommended age: Teen to adult. The content is far from racy, but the website does have a trigger warning that suggests that not all of it might be suitable for younger readers.

You might like it if: You like realistic ladies kicking fantastical butt.

Bonus features: If you’re local, Mildred Louis will be at MICE!  So if you missed getting a physical book at LadiesCon, you might have another shot.


LadiesCon 2016: The Aftermath


I had mixed feelings when I discovered that I would be the one scheduled to post after our inaugural LadiesCon.  There is just so much to say, so many lessons learned, so many wonderful people, and so much magic that organizing my thoughts seems like an almost impossible task.  Do I give a blow-by-blow of the day?  Do I just do the highlights?  How could I possibly thank everyone we want to thank?  Well, if I learned anything this weekend, it’s that you need to move forward and at least try your best if you are going to get anything done.  So in that spirit, let’s give this a shot.

The Con Itself

Those of you who were able to join us this weekend learned exactly what we meant when we kept saying that our con would be “small and intimate.”  The unique space donated by Canopy City was fresh and inviting.  It also provided some exciting and unexpected extras like an additional screen for the Boston Roller Derby ladies to show off their games, a central desk in the middle of the action to use as our own Mission Control center, and a layout that I couldn’t help calling the “Gauntlet of Awesome.”

We wanted to keep the focus on local and unique talent and we were able to do just that.  I know that we have already featured a bunch of our vendors on our Facebook Page, but we have also updated our Con Info page to include a full list of our vendors who participated..  This way if you regret any items left behind, you will have a second chance to get it.

Here’s a little slide show of the calm before the storm:

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The VIP Lunch and After Party

In addition to our Con Floor, we also offered two additional LadiesCon events.  The first was our “Lunch with the Ladies.”  This event got you early access to our vendors and guests (as well as their commission spots), a tasty lunch, and a nice swag bag to carry your goodies around in.  It was a great and relaxed way to start the day.

A quick search on social media regarding the con and you are probably going to see pictures of our after party.  Guys….  THIS. PARTY.  Envisioned as a social experiment to see what would happen if you gathered a bunch of creative people together with a choice of several fun activities, this event went off the rails in the best possible way.  Matt (Co-Founder and Managing Director at Canopy City), not only gave our guests the freedom to cover one of his dry erase walls with art,  but he was so pleased with the results that he told everyone to keep on going!

The result is inspiring and just a gorgeous tribute to the event and the community spirit.  Those of us on the LadiesCon staff have been using the word “magical” a lot to describe this event.  But really, I don’t think there is a better word for it.  Thanks to Bill Imbrogna for the photos below.  If you want to see more, check out his facebook page:

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The Ladies have been trying over and over again to properly thank everyone who made our dream possible.  At this point it’s almost overwhelming to try to express how we feel about our supporters and friends.  Instead, once again, I will say a simple thank you.  Thank you to our hosts, guests, vendors, panelists, and volunteers.  Without you, this simply would not have been possible.  And to all of you who joined us for our first ever LadiesCon, thank you for proving that there’s a place and a desire in the Boston area for a con like this one.  We are a mighty city indeed.

I wanted to end this post answering a question we received several times on Saturday – Will there be a LadiesCon 2017?  YES and we have so much more planned.  So please, stick around and see what we come up with next!


Did you attend LadiesCon 2016?  If so, share your experience below.

Let’s Get Ready for LadiesCon!

The Ladies are still hard at work making sure that our very first LadiesCon is an amazing experience for everyone. But we still wanted to take a little time out to tell you, our devoted readers, how you can prepare for the event and be ready to get the most out of LadiesCon.

Jackalope by Erica Henderson, from Cartoon Sara’s convention sktechbook

Get Your Tickets!

This is the most important step in your pre-LadiesCon preparation. Although general admission to the con is FREE, we are still using tickets to keep track of our attendees and ensure that we don’t let in more people than the building can handle at once. There are not many general admission tickets left, so if you plan to attend, reserve yours now.

We also have two special events that require additional paid tickets. Lunch with the Ladies takes place before the convention and gives attendees the opportunity to get into the con early, chat with the Ladies and our convention guests, and enjoy a tasty catered lunch from Daddy’s Bonetown Burgers. Making Masterpieces: The LadiesCon After Party is a post-con art event where attendees can get a lesson in comics coloring, decorate cookies, draw, craft, or just chat and sample light snacks. Tickets for both events are limited, so be sure to purchase yours now.

Check Out the Panels

The panels at LadiesCon will all be held at Comicazi, a short five minute walk from our main convention space. We have ladies talking about gaming, cosplay, fan fiction, and more. Planning your day is an important part of preparation for any con and that includes deciding which panels to attend. Look over the panels we have to offer and see what note rests you. You can then plan to visit the convention floor beforehand, after the panel, or both.

Investigate the Area

If you’re a Comicazi regular, you probably know what there is to see and do in Davis Square. But if you haven’t visited often or ever, then now is an excellent time to learn what the Square has to offer. Of course you’ll want to check out the convention floor and the panels, but since we’re a small convention, you’ll likely have time to check out the surrounding area. You could just wander around the day of and stop in anyplace that looks interesting. But if you’d prefer to plan your day more, you can do some research online to investigate local shops, places to eat, or simply spots where you can sit and people watch for a bit. We’ll also be offering a program with a map of local restaurants, shops, and even a few PokeStops.

A Fancy Bunny by Ming Doyle

Stuff to Bring

  • Cash – While the miracles of modern phone peripherals mean that more convention vendors can accept credit or debit cards, not all of them do. Get your cash at your local bank ahead of time or stop by one of the ATMs in Davis Square. How much you want to spend is up to you, but having it on hand means you don’t have to worry about whether the vendor can take your cards or not.
  • Books for signing – Our guests will have their work available for sale, but if you already have something they’ve worked on, you can bring single issue comics or collected editions for our guests to sign. Consider bagging and boarding issues to keep them safe. You can bring a bag to carry your items to be signed or purchase a LadiesCon tote bag from us at the front desk. We ask that you respect any policies our guests may have on what they’ll sign, how many items, and anything else related to their time and work.
  • Convention Sketchbook – Artists bring their own supplies to cons, so if you’re looking to get a commission piece, you only need to worry about how to pay for it. But if you’ve got a convention sketchbook or are looking to start one, you’ll want to bring it with you. If you’re starting a new convention sketchbook – and with art from any or all of our special guests, you’ll be off to an amazing start, purchase a wire bound sketchbook with pages that can stand up to inks and watercolors. For more info on starting your own convention sketchbook, check out my post on the subject. Again, we ask that you respect our guests’ policies regarding what they’ll draw, what they’ll draw on, pricing, and anything else related to creating artwork.

Getting Here

We strongly recommend that you take public transportation. The Davis Red Line stop is mere steps away from Comicazi and the convention itself. It also spares you from having to plan you day around feeding parking meters, if you can even find an open spot.

If you are going to drive here, allow yourself plenty of time to find a space. We don’t want anyone missing an exciting panel while searching for parking. Most spaces around Davis can take cards, but having quarters on hand just in case is a good idea. You’ll also want to budget a little walking time, just in case the space you find is farther away than you expected.

A Linda Medley rabbit. All of our guests draw plenty of things that aren’t bunnies, we promise.

Above all, prepare for fun!

Our hope is that LadiesCon will be a wonderful day for all our guests, vendors, and attendees. If anything interferes with your enjoyment of LadiesCon, if you have a question, or if you just want to tell someone what a great time you’re having, feel free to speak to one of us or one of our volunteers in the LadiesCon staff shirts. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends, meeting some new ones, and putting on a great show for all of you!

LadiesCon Guest Spotlight: Linda Medley

Hopefully by now you have heard about LadiesCon and acquainted yourselves with 2 of our special guests, Erica Henderson and Ming Doyle.  Let me help you get acquainted with the third. All the way from the Pacific Northwest we are delighted to bring independent comics creator Linda Medley to LadiesCon!

You likely are familiar with Linda’s work, but if not, let me bring you up to speed.  This lady has done it all, she’s had work published by Golden Books, Grosset and Dunlap, DC Comics, Image Comics and many others.  During her time as a freelance artist she’s been a inker, penciler, colorist, and is the creator of her own independent graphic novel series Castle Waiting.  

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LadiesCon Guest Spotlight: Ming Doyle

As LadiesCon draws ever-closer, we here at the Ladies are working to find ways to make an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. We’ve split up into two locations – vendors and guests at 212 Elm Street, and panels and programs at Comicazi. (They’re  only a 5 minute walk away from each other, never fear!) We’ve added pre-event lunches and after parties. And of course, we’ve been working on these posts to showcase our exceptional inaugural guests! This week we’re featuring multi-talented Ming Doyle.

Menace and magic.

Menace and magic.

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LadiesCon Guest Spotlight: Erica Henderson

The word is out about LadiesCon and the buzz around this little event is deafening.  Happily, we have our amazing guests to thank for a large part of that.  This week, I am not only hoping to keep the momentum going, but to also take the chance to highlight one of guests – The Unbeatable Erica Henderson.


Nowadays Erica’s name is pretty much synonymous with Squirrel Girl.

At first my intention when creating this Spotlight Post was to provide as much information I could find about the woman herself.  I would write about how she grew up in New York, attended RISD, and was pretty much destined for greatness.  The problem is that I kept getting distracted.  I found myself poring through her Tumblr and Twitter posts just taking in her art as much as possible.  You see, I’m not much of an artist myself.  So when I try to explain how incredible it is to have Erica as a guest at LadiesCon, it is not because I can tell you that her style is influenced by this or that artist or that her line work is a marvel.  Instead, I can tell you that I am sitting at my kitchen table, literally surrounded by my own collection of her books, and damn…it has been quite a year for her –  drawing Squirrel Girl and Jughead, attending San Diego Comicon, receiving an Eisner Nomination, curating an astounding collection of squirrel-related collectibles, and even dead lifting over 175 lbs.  Erica Henderson is a star. Continue reading