Women in Comics Month: Interview with Mina Elwell
Mar 01, 2018
In honor of Women in Comics Month this March, PREVIEWSworld talks with writer Mina Elwell!
PREVIEWSworld: Who is your current comics employer?
Mina Elwell: Scout Comics and SBI Press, the new publishing wing of Starburns Industries.
PREVIEWSworld: What is your primary job title? In a quick phrase or two, could you define your job’s key responsibility?
Mina Elwell: Writer.
PREVIEWSworld: Could you please explain how your work helps make comics a reality? (Connect the dots for us. Where are you in the flow of getting a book into reader hands?)
Mina Elwell: Generally the concept starts with me staring at something innocuous. A lawn mower. Someone’s shoes. I’ll have an idea for a specific moment, maybe a character, or an action, or just a great image. Then I’ll start thinking in hero’s journey terms.
At the point where it’s enough of an idea that it could make sense to another person, I might start workshopping it with somebody else – sometimes my writing partner AC Medina, sometimes the artist. Eli Powell, artist and co-creator on InferNoct, and I talk about potential storylines all the time.
After the pitch finds a home at a publisher, my time is devoted to writing the scripts and sending them off to the artist, who (with the help of the colorist and letterer) makes it look like something beautiful, instead of a list of descriptions and lines of dialogue.
PREVIEWSworld: What’s the part of your job you enjoy the most?
Mina Elwell: I enjoy the actual writing the most! If I can devote 12 hours to lying on my couch and getting a ton of writing done in one sitting, that’s my ideal day. Though there is something really exciting about opening an email and seeing the art for a new issue. It’s absolutely incredible to see the concept become an actual comic.
PREVIEWSworld: What comic titles have you worked on?
Mina Elwell: InferNoct, with Scout Comics, and Hellicious, coming soon from SBI Press. It follows Cherry, the Devil’s prankster granddaughter and cutest grim reaper in Hell, who’s honestly just trying to have fun and make new friends, but keeps getting derailed by the fact that human beings are flammable.
PREVIEWSworld: Please tell us about the coolest experience you’ve ever had thanks to your job.
Mina Elwell: The first time I tabled at NYCC I was promoting issue 1 of InferNoct with some free preview ashcans. I was joking around with the guys at my table, when one of them gestured that somebody was looking at my display.
I turned around and found a girl, probably 11 or 12, wearing a costume with gory SFX makeup and a bloody dress silently reading an ashcan. I would usually only recommend InferNoct to mature readers, but this was clearly a special case. We talked about the horror games she liked and how nothing is scary enough for her anymore.
I don’t know if she read the comic when it came out or not, but whenever people ask me to visualize my readers, she’s who I think of. Horror or not, if the concept I’m working on wouldn’t be cool enough for her, it’s probably not cool enough.
PREVIEWSworld: If you had one comics-related wish—no limits—what would it be?
Mina Elwell: I have a fun Madeline Joyce Miss America story I’d love to get out there someday!
PREVIEWSworld: Do you have an online presence we can link to and share with our readers?
Mina Elwell: twitter.com/minaelwell