In honor of Women in Comics this March, PREVIEWSworld talks with writer Nancy Collins!
PREVIEWSworld: Tell us a little bit about yourself! What are you currently working on?
Nancy Collins: I just finished the final issue of ARMY OF DARKNESS: FURIOUS ROAD for Dynamite Entertainment. While waiting for the high sign from Dynamite to start work on another horror-themed mini-series, I am preparing proposals for a couple of creator-owned properties, including a sequel to my Sunglasses After Dark graphic novel.
PREVIEWSworld: How long have you been working with sequential art? What titles, companies, and creators have you worked with over your time in comics?
Nancy Collins: I’ve been working in comics for twenty-five years. I started out writing Swamp Thing for DC. I also wrote Jason vs. Leatherface for Topps Comics, Sunglasses After Dark for Glenn Danzig’s Verotik Publications, and Predator: Hell Come A’Walkin’ for Dark Horse. Lately I’ve been working for Dynamite Entertainment, writing the monthly Vampirella title, as well as related mini-series involving the character, and Red Sonja: Vulture’s Circle. Artists I’ve worked with over the years include Scott Eaton, Kim DeMulder, Tom Mandrake, Charles Vess, Martin Emond, Simon Bisley, Matt Howarth, Jeff Butler, Stan Shaw, Esteban Maroto, Paul Lee, Ted Naifeh, Dean Ormston, Don Perlin, Stephen R. Bissette, Tatjana Wood, Patrick Berkenkotter, Fritz Casas, Dave Acosta, Jack Jadson, Francesco Francavilla, and Kewber Baal.
PREVIEWSworld: Did you have a mentor or hero in the industry that inspired you to pursue a career in comics?
Nancy Collins: Not really, but there were a few creators I met after I became established who were supportive and made me feel genuinely welcome—Will Eisner, Archie Goodwin, Stephen Bissette, and Neil Gaiman.
PREVIEWSworld: In your opinion, how has the comic book industry evolved in terms of gender?
Nancy Collins: It’s still an issue, especially with certain segments of the fan-base, but it’s nowhere near the stumbling block it used to be, even 20 years ago. Hopefully, within the next 10 years questions like this one will be moot.
PREVIEWSworld: What stereotypes do you see surrounding women in comics? How could people of all genders go about breaking those stereotypes?
Nancy Collins: If you mean women as they are depicted in comics, I would say the biggest stereotype involves that whole ‘male gaze’ thing. Breaking that stereotype is going to be difficult, especially in superhero comics. The second biggest stereotype is 1) all comics are superhero comics, and 2) women are incapable of writing superheroes. Luckily , that second part is being quickly refuted, with comics like G. Willow Wilson on Ms. Marvel, Becky Cloonan on Gotham Academy, and Amanda Conner on Harley Quinn, so maybe there’s hope, after all.
PREVIEWSworld: How do you want to see women represented in comic books 10 years from now?
Nancy Collins: I’d like to see them represented as diversely the male characters—meaning that they’re depicted as heroines, villains, fools, wise women, party girls, sticks-in-the-mud, straight, gay, vanilla, kinky, quirky, competent, romantics, cynics, parents, life partners, single—Ya know. Equal.
PREVIEWSworld: If you could give advice to any aspiring editors, executives, writers, or artists, what would you tell them?
Nancy Collins: Pick up a trade or related skill set to tide you over during the lean times. Because there will definitely be dry spells when you freelance.
PREVIEWSworld: And lastly, are there any up-and-coming women creators who you would recommend readers check out?
Nancy Collins: Tess Fowler is doing a bang up job on RAT QUEENS over at Image.