Women in Comics Month: Amanda Conner

PREVIEWSworld: Please introduce yourself! Tell us where you currently work and what you do in the industry?

Amanda Conner: My name is Amanda Conner, and I’m a freelance creator. I do the bulk of my work for DC Comics, along with some creator-owned projects. I started out as an artist, which I hopefully still am, but lately I’ve expanded to writing.

PREVIEWSworld: How long have you been working with sequential art? What titles, companies, and creators have you worked with over your time in comics?

Amanda Conner: Professionally? 25 years.  Non-professionally? Since approximately the second grade. I’ve worked for many companies, including DC, Marvel, Aspen, Crusade, IDW, Claypool, Chaos!, Archie, Harris, Dynamite, Image, PaperFilms, and more. I’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to work with Grant Morrison and Mark Millar on Vampirella for Harris, Warren Ellis on Vampi, and also Two-Step for Wildstorm. I’ve worked with Garth Ennis on Painkiller Jane for Event Comics, and our creator-owned book, The Pro. Also Geoff Johns on JSA Classified, and Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti on Power Girl, both for DC. Oh yes, and I can’t forget Darwyn Cooke on the Silk Spectre.

Right now I’m working with Jimmy and Chad Hardin on Harley Quinn, which makes me incredibly happy. I’ve also been fortunate to have incredibly talented colorists to work with, such as Paul Mounts and Laura Martin. I'm sure I’m neglecting to list a lot of amazing people, but it’s late and I keep fantasizing about bed. I’m probably gonna hear about it later.

PREVIEWSworld: How did you get interested in comics? How did you find your way into working with larger companies?

Amanda Conner: Comics were a big deal for me when I was very young. When I would get sick and have to stay home from school, my Mom would always bring me a stack of comics. That was a pretty good way to encourage me to read, and to keep me off off too much television. I’ve been hooked ever since.
As far as working for larger companies, when I was starting out and looking for work, I would go to Marvel and DC repeatedly to show them my portfolio. I think I just wore them down until they gave up and threw some work my way.

PREVIEWSworld: What's your current project? What are you reading right now?

Amanda Conner: My current project is Harley Quinn, which I write with my husband Jimmy Palmiotti, and do the art for the covers. I pretty much read whatever Jimmy leaves in the bathroom. And Rachel Rising when I can remember to tell Jimmy to bring it home from his weekly comic shop excursions. I loves me some Terry Moore!

PREVIEWSworld: In your opinion, how has the comic book industry evolved in terms of gender?

Amanda Conner: When I first started out, there weren’t that many women drawing and writing comics. A few, but not a lot. A few years after starting in comics, I co-owned a comic book store, and it was rare to have girls come in. There were some steadfast female customers, and slowly, over time, more girls became interested. It occurred to me that if girls got hooked on comics, some would eventually want to work in comics professionally. Now we see many more female comic professionals than there were years ago.

PREVIEWSworld: What stereotypes do you see surrounding women in comics? How could people of all genders go about breaking those stereotypes?

Amanda Conner: I am unsure if you mean comic professionals, or comic characters. Many comic characters (female and male) will always be physically over-the-top, but I think if you look beyond that, a great story, and great characterization are what makes for a great read. Power Girl is always going to be physically outrageous, but given an endearing personality, and an interesting story line, she’ll captivate both sexes. Happily, I’ve also noticed a bigger variety of the types of stories and genres and art styles, which I think appeal to women, and to an extent, a larger audience.

PREVIEWSworld: Have you noticed a trend in the type of comic books women buy? How do you want to see women represented in comic books 10 years from now?

Amanda Conner: I believe women, whether it's superheroes, thrillers, slice-of-life stories, and everything in between, love an engaging story with well-written characters. More of that in ten years!

PREVIEWSworld: What do you feel the benefits are for the larger industry by having a better mix of genders at all levels of comics production? Did you have a mentor or a hero in industry?

Amanda Conner: There's always a benefit to having a big mix of everyone in comics, because you'll get interesting and different points of view and fresh stories. One of my all time favorites, and a big hero for me is (and always will be) Wendy Pini. If you haven't before, go and grab yourself some ElfQuest!

PREVIEWSworld: If you could give advice to any aspiring editors, executives, writers, or artist, what two thing would you tell them?

Amanda Conner: Editors, encourage and guide without smothering. Writers should write from experience and emotions. Artists try not to overthink too much, just jump in with both feet. Hmm. Sounds like sometimes I should take my own advice!

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