Women In Comics Month: Interview with Kathryn Immonen
Mar 09, 2015
In honor of Women in Comics this March, PREVIEWSworld talks with writer Kathryn Immonen!
PREVIEWSworld: Tell us a little bit about yourself! What are you currently working on?
Kathryn Immonen: I’m a compulsive fidgeter, I make excellent maple syrup, and I’m not sure what I get out of my relationship with my dog. I’ve finished up work on the Peggy Carter mini-series, Operation S.I.N. with Rich Ellis and Stuart [Immonen], and I have just shoved Russian Olive to Red King (DEC148016), from AdHouse books, out the door.
PREVIEWSworld: How long have you been working with sequential art? What titles, companies, and creators have you worked with over your time in comics?
Kathryn Immonen: Stuart and I started self-publishing, and by ‘self-publishing’ I mean breaking photocopiers, in the late 80s. Since then, it’s been a pretty even split between creator-owned work like MIR, Criminal Insects, Snipe, Never as Bad as You Think, and Moving Pictures (MAR101136), and work for hire with Marvel, mainly, where I’ve had the privilege of contributing to the lives of characters like Hellcat (JUL100671), the Runaways (JAN100677), Jubilee (APR110691), Sif (FEB130626 & AUG130877) and Agent Carter (MAR110759).
PREVIEWSworld: Did you have a mentor or hero in the industry that inspired you to pursue a career in comics?
Kathryn Immonen: I had the good fortune to fall into comics at a moment when the black and white boom was going strong, when there were distributors that we could access locally and everything seemed available and it was all to play for. There were creators in Toronto, people that you could see walking around, breathing the same air you were, and it made comics appear possible. And then I fell in love with Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil.
PREVIEWSworld: In your opinion, how has the comic book industry evolved in terms of gender?
Kathryn Immonen: I have no idea. Some things change, some things stay the same. There are more books out now than ever before; you’d hope it would indicate greater diversity in all areas. At the same time, just because you weren’t paying attention to a particular issue before or it wasn’t deemed relevant to your interests, or you weren’t being specifically marketed to, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t already happening. I think one of the best things we can do, as fans of the medium and just generally, really, is be curious.
PREVIEWSworld: What stereotypes do you see surrounding women in comics? How could people of all genders go about breaking those stereotypes?
Kathryn Immonen: I really wish people would stop insisting that smoking-hot chick creators are some kind of anomaly.
PREVIEWSworld: How do you want to see women represented in comic books 10 years from now?
Kathryn Immonen: The way I want to see anyone. Characters that are awake and active in their own narratives and not as devices to advance the plot. For anybody that has the vaguest inclination to pick up a comic, there should be a multitude of books available in which they see themselves reflected, a story they can fall into and not come out at the end of it with even the vaguest notion of feeling less validated than when they started.
PREVIEWSworld: If you could give advice to any aspiring editors, executives, writers, or artists, what would you tell them?
Kathryn Immonen: I would just say to writers, don’t edit yourself before you’ve even begun. Also, stop writing panel descriptions that include, “HAVE FUN!” Or “GO CRAZY!” You know who you are.
PREVIEWSworld: And lastly, are there any up-and-coming women creators who you would recommend readers check out?
Kathryn Immonen: Up-and-coming? Geez. Some days I feel like we’ve all been at this forever. However! I am truly crazy about what Sarah Winifred Searle www.swinsea.com is creating. She’s an excellent human doing work that crosses all kinds of interdisciplinary boundaries, and she’s got such great story-telling executed with a truly lush line.
Check out more Women In Comics Month interviews in our special section on PREVIEWSworld!