I still haven't recovered from having the opportunity to hang out with Lumberjanes creative team Shannon Watters and Brooke Allen during NYCC, and I assume I won't for a while because it was so much fun! After confessing how honored I was to be in their presence, I managed to ask some questions…
Christine Marie: How did you break into the industry?
Shannon Watters: I was a copy editor at Tokyo Pop many years ago and we all got laid off after 8 months. This was right before the recession hit really hard. That was my first job in comics, and I wanted that job more than anything. I even wanted it more than I wanted my first girlfriend. That first job was everything. After we were laid off, I was worried I was never going to work in comics again, but an editor at BOOM! Studios recommended me and the rest is history.
Brooke Allen: I went to school down in Savannah, GA for comics, and during my junior year I ended up pitching a graphic novel to NBM and they picked it up to my surprise. All of sudden I had to make a graphic novel, and so that was my first step into the industry. From there I was classmates with Whitney Leopard who's our editor and she got me work at BOOM! doing shorts and covers. So when Lumberjanes was happening I got to take first crack at designing.
CA: What has been the most meaningful moment of your comic book careers?
SW: There's been a lot …there's things that are meaningful for different things. I'm the editor of Adventure Time and when that won an Eisner Award, that was pretty intense. It was also intense when Lumberjanes won. There's been a lot of interactions with young fans, young queer fans in particular, that have been so incredible and profound. They are the reason why we still do this incredibly labor intensive book.
BA: I don't have a lot to piggy back on that answer, but any time we have young fans or anyone also interested in being an artist. When they you show you their work it's amazing and all of a sudden you flash back to being in their shoes. It's surreal.
CA: Lumberjanes has racked up 2 Eisner awards, a Harvey award, and was nominated for a Glaad award. When you started working on the book, did you have any inkling that it was going to appeal to fans the way it has?
SW: I will admit when Adventure Time was about to come out I had a feeling. One of those bullshit witchy feelings that told me that I've got something special in my hands. So, when I read the first issue of Lumberjanes I had that feeling.
BA: Whenever you get a project that speaks to you, it's great. All of a sudden I felt like I wish I had this when I was a kid. It was super surprising that it blew up like it did, but I agree with the bullshit witchy feeling. When I read the overall synopsis, I thought, 'Man, I hope this get's made.'
SW: This is the first con where it's really hitting us that Lumberjanes might be a big deal. Most of the time you're back stage, you're doing all of this work, and you're thinking 'yeah I'm just a little piece of the puzzle.' But yesterday at that panel…it was insane.
BA: It's really crazy. We had a crowd waiting for us when we came back from the panel. This convention feels really profound.
CM: You have two trade paperbacks out now. Lumberjanes to the Max Edition Vol. 1 HC is releasing in November, which will combine both trades, issues 1-8. Is there anything special about the collection that fans can look forward to?
SW: It has the initial pitch in it, original, which took about four days. Grace and I had the idea for a magic five story for a while and Grace Ellis was like "okay you do kind of the series synopsis thing and I'll do the characters. Four days and the bones were there. Also, the mix tapes are in it and a the short story that was in the BOOM! Box Mix Tape.
CM: If you could describe Lumberjanes in three words, what would they be and why?
BA: Banana boat, yes.
(*Disclaimer: On Friday night during the Camp out with Lumberjanes panel, during a lightning round, camping food was brought up, specifically Banana boats. It turns out, Brooke had never had one, so Shannon explained the banana peanut butter chocolate goodness.)
SW: Joyful, honest, kind.
This was obviously a huge highlight of my NYCC '15 experience. A big thank you to Shannon and Brooke for taking the time to chat. Be sure to say hello to them while you're at NYCC. They're super cool. If you haven't checked out Lumberjanes yet, you absolutely should. It's a brilliant comic that we are going to be talking about for a long time!
Christine Marie is a Staff Writer at Bleeding Cool, and bibliomaniac with a love for all things creative. She hopes to one day be a Superhero/Disney Princess/Novelist. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AWritersWay or on her blog writerchristinemarie.wordpress.com.