Montreal Comiccon 2012 interview with Becky Cloonan

lucstclair's picture

Sept 14-16 was the third annual Montreal Comicon, having been there last year with Stephen and having a complete blast, we decided that this would be a yearly event we would never miss. Representing CTG with our media passes, we met some cool fans, took some awesome snap shots & purchased some specially priced TPBs. But the greatest part of this geek filled weekend was my interviews with Mike Mignola, Jim Starlin & Becky Cloonan. Becky was the sweetest & most charming comic creator I’ve ever met and was kind enough to give me a full 12 minute interview for the purpose of this website. I asked her about her work on Conan for Dark Horse and her views on women in comic books today. Read on and enjoy…


CTG : Welcome to the Montreal Comiccon. First time in Montreal?


BC :    Actually, I just moved here in July, two months ago


CTG : That’s great. Can you tell me how you first got started in comics? Was it a

             childhood fascination?                                  


BC :    Yes, my dad used to read me Silver Surfer & Fantastic Four growing up as a kid

            and I think once I became old enough to go out on my own and look for comics,

            I thought to myself “Oh! I remember reading these when I was really young”

            so when I finally had the opportunity to buy them for myself, it was a no brainer.


CTG : What are your opinions on e-comics, web comics & the future of comics?


BC :    Oh, I could talk about this all day. Sometimes I think about it all day. I’ve done a

            few web comics in the past and admittedly, not my field. I feel a little out of

            place, I don’t really understand it, there is a gap between the print world and the

            online world, so I’m not unaware of that, but at the same time I think I approach

            web comics very similarly to the way I approach print comics and I know that’s

            not right. So I think the future of comics, I’d like to say, is still in print because

            I’m very much an object person, I love collecting, I like having a really nice 

            object, I still have my record player and I buy vinyl and I’m very much a fan of

            the package as a whole. I think in an ideal world we would have printed comics

            going digital, I think a lot of this will depended on the technology that’s available.

            When we can get Ipads and nice big readers down to a hundred dollars so more

            people can afford them, then it becomes something that everybody has,

            everyone’s gonna start reading comics and then we can make it more accessible to

            people, because they won’t have to go to a specialized store in order to get the

            monthlies, the graphic novels & the trades. It’s gonna become an evolutionary

            process and with a quickly changing landscape, we’re gonna need stores, creators,

            publishers, retailers & all the distributors to follow very quickly along with us, if

            we don’t we’re gonna be left behind. The key to evolution is to change quickly, to

            adapt and I’d love to do a web comic more seriously and I have some ideas where

            I can incorporate sound and animation and it’s changing so rapidly and I’m just

            gonna stick with what I’m doing with self publish & print stuff for now. I enjoy a

            web comic (laugh), in short.


CTG : For now, people say they kind of co-exist.


BC : They are co-existing and there’s so many types of comics, you have the one panel

            comic strips, the 3 panel comics strips and then you have the ones that are whole

            pages that will eventually get collected, so there’s so many different types. You

            see so many web comics to print and so many print comics to web comics, so I

            think with this change, people are throwing shit against the wall and seeing what

            sticks, but it’s definitely an exciting time for comics, it’s been an exciting for

            comics for the last 10 years.


CTG : Love your work on Conan The Barbarian for Dark Horse. How did you get

            Involved with that project?


BC : Brian (Wood) just said “You wanna draw Conan?” and I said “Yeah sure, why



CTG : Fantasy seems to be your niche.


BC : I love fantasy, I think a lot of people were surprised about that, I grew up reading    

            fantasy novels and all my comics, when I started drawing them in middle school

            were fantasy and sci-fi. Now that I’ve been able to go back to my mini comics &

            self publishing a lot of people said you don’t wanna do fantasy and I’m looking

            forward to do a lot more of that genre in the near future.


CTG : Brian Wood is one of my favourite writers. What’s he like?


BC : Brian’s awesome, we’ve known each other for a super long time. He got in touch

            with me by an e-mail when I was 18 or 19, “Hey you wanna work on a book with

            me?” I had just got an e-mail address…


CTG : Was this for Demo?


BC : Before Demo, for Jennie One in 1999/2000 that he got in touch with me. I was a bit

            hesitant at first, some guy online wants to work with me? Before Brian, I never

            imagined working with a writer, but we got along really well, we had the same

            interest musically, same movies and so on. We have the same sensibilities, so

            when it came to working together I think it just fell into place naturally. He’s a        

            great guy.


CTG : More and more women are reading, writing or illustrating comics today, but it           

            still seems to be a male dominated area, why do you think that is? Do you think

            that will ever change?                                                                                                          


BC : I definitely think it’s going to change, I think we’re seeing the change, when you          

            look around the convention right now, I mean how many women are walking

            around. Some conventions where there’s more independent & web comics stuff

            and there’s more girls than guys showing up. A lot of this, I think happens when      

            you saw a lot more manga being introduced and a lot more girls I think were able

            to get into Sailor Moon or something and here’s some girlie book. I’m not saying    

            we have to conform to gender rules here, but the are a lot more books that appeal to young girls and hopefully, these girls who started reading these books when

            they were really young start growing up and wondering “what else is out there for

            me?” And seeing it as a legitimate career option and seeing that it’s cool and with

            web comics, they’ll feel more comfortable and we won’t hear things like “Comics              are just for kids” and yes there are comics out there for young adults, but we need

            that, we need comics for kids. We also need comics for a changing audience, a                    growing audience and as creators & publishers, we all have to be aware of that by              accepting new creators and our new audiences. And the more and more people                    that are sensitive to that and aware, I think people will come to that realization.


CTG : Well said. Who is the biggest influence on your work?


BC : That’s a hard one. Jim Lee, when I was growing up, the X-Men #1 cover. When I

            saw that I said “Holy shit, I gotta read this book” I was 13, that was one the first things that got me into comics, reading it, going to the comic shop every month.

           Also Rumiko Takahashi’s Ranma 1/2, when I saw her work, here’s a girl drawing comics and here’s a girl that stylistically I think I can do that, as a young girl                   drawing comics, I knew I couldn’t draw perfectly, then I saw Takahashi’s work and maybe I can draw like that, it’s simpler, it’s little more cartoony, it’s slapstick & it’s  in black & white and she’s a girl and she’s doing comics. In the late 90’s when I started getting into comics as a career, there were no girls, there was a few you could  count them on one hand, there was Wendy Pini & Jill Thompson just to name a few. They were hard to find and the more manga I read, the more I discovered there’s an industry in Japan filled with women creators, so that was a huge influence on me.


CTG : Craziest fan moment?


BC : Oh my god. There was a guy once in New Hampshire at a convention who told me,

            I think at the time I had my hair in a ponytail or a bun or something and he said

            “If you’d let your hair down, you’d look like a dominatrix” and made like that

            whipping sound. I was stunned, I didn’t know what to do. So awkward, but it

            happens when you’re on the other side of the table.


CTG : What is the best & worst part of your job?


BC : I love all of it. If we’re talking about self publishing, I love to open a box and

            smelling it, there’s a nice feeling of satisfaction, a very kingly like moment

            for me when opening a box of comics. I like having a page drawn in front of

            me, I like looking over it and having a stack of pages that are all done (laugh).

            the worst part, I think are the deadlines, with monthly comics they all go to

            print, we need it and then it goes to print the next day and you have month to

            draw it. It’s a little bit different in the books world, you have a year before the

            book’s done and then they go to print. With the comics, it’s kind of the deadlines

            that are the craziest and that’s the worst part.


CTG : What are your passions outside of comics?


BC : Well right now nothing, because I have so much work to do, but I like videogames


CTG : Besides Conan, what are you currently working on? Or in the near future?


BC : Right now I’m working on something, literally, right now, It’s in front of me (pages

            on desk). Swamp Thing Annual with Scott Snyder, so that’s gotta get done and

            I’m also working on True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys with Gerard Way &

            Shawn Simons which was announced, I think, three years ago, we’ve just got

            around to it. I think we’re going to re-announce it at the New York Comiccon and

            hopefully I’ll be able to show some art from that and it’s gonna be awesome.


CTG : Well this has been a real treat for me, thank you for your time & enjoy the rest of



So after that, I asked if I could take her picture, shook her hand & left the table with a huge nerdy smile on my face for the rest of Comiccon (Stephen used a crowbar to remove it from my face later that evening).



loafandjug's picture

I missed seeing her at Fan Expo in Toronto, great interview!