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SDCC: Interview with Becky Cloonan

Written by Angela Jones & Jeremy Shane on Tuesday, July 23 2013 and posted in Features

SDCC: Interview with Becky Cloonan

We had the opportunity to sit down with Becky Cloonan and talk about Killjoys and more at San Diego Comic-Con.

The Outhouse: How did you become involved in True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys?

Becky Cloonan: I think it was about three or four years ago and Gerard gave me a call with this crazy idea.  This was before the album, when it was just a comic idea he thought up with Shaun Simon and we just started bouncing ideas back and forth and I did some sketches... At this point it was only a comic and then kind of went on hold as they recorded their album which turned into Danger Days, the My Chemical Romance Album and videos, which become the comic again.

But at this point, the comic has become totally different than when it started.  You've had so many incarnations of the story, the comic actually kicks off where the music videos leave off, so it's really evolved along with the music and vocals.


OH: Has anything changed that you wish you could have kept?

BC: I kept a lot of the visuals actually.  There is a design for a bunch of the characters, with different incarnations, but after drawing them for so long, I think the designs have just gotten better.


OH: What is it like working with Gerard?

BC: It's very easy, he's very open to collaboration - him and Shaun both.  If I ever think of a different way to do a scene, they are always open to it.  Every time I get a script, I do thumbnails based on it, and send them notes back telling them why I changed something and we trade ideas back and forth.  I get a lot of design ideas from them as well, they send me pictures of cars and magazine covers that inspire them, it's really cool.  It's been a very back-and-forth collaborative process.


OH: Is there anything you've put your foot down about?

BC: Not really, it's been really easy with them.  Each issue just gets better and better.


OH: There has been a lot of discussion recently about the lack of female creators working on superhero comics.  Why have you chosen to work largely on non-superhero comics and have you considered working more for the big two?

BC:  I've done a few superhero gigs, like the issue I did of Batman last year, which was a lot of fun.  The story was very tailored to my style and storytelling sensibilities, but overall, I wouldn't be great on a book like Batman.  But telling the story of the people around Batman and the people in his life, that's more my speed. 

I love doing the character stuff.  It's like if someone asks you if you want to replace the singer in your favorite band: "Hey Becky, Do you want to replace Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden for a Night?" "Hell, no. I'd mess it up so bad."  I'd get on stage with them, but to try and take a role I'm not suited for, no.  I love X-Men, and I love Batman, but I've always known those aren't the types of books I'd be good on.

I think a lot more women are getting involved in comics now though. The manga boom that happened in the early 2000's got a lot more girls reading comics and you'll see more and more diversity in stories.  The great thing about Killjoys is a girl is the main character and Red and Blue are two very strong female characters.  It's nice to have a main character that I can relate to.


OH: Back to your approach to mini-comics versus how you make comics now, has your approach changed?

BC: I started doing mini-comics kind of out of desperation and insecurity.  It came from a good place, because I really wanted to tell these stories, but it also came out of me feeling really insecure about my writing and not being sure if I could even tell a good story.  I've worked with amazing writers, but to be able to sit down and tell something personal that I really want to tell and having people really enjoy it was very encouraging.  I try to tweak it and get better, improve upon the faults I see on my old books.  The goal isn't really to do more mini-comics, but maybe to take this and do a longer series.  Maybe write and draw my own graphic novel.


OH: Any ideas about that yet?

BC: (laughs) Actually, yes.  It's going to be with First Second and I can't really say much about it yet.  After Killjoys ends, I'll be jumping into it.



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About the Author - Angela Jones

Angela Jones, aka Alima, is a longtime fan of the comic book world and the magnificent minds behind the creations. Always an admirer and full of questions, Angela uses her natural gift of gab and inquisitive nature to speak with the CB community. She dares you to try and catch her interviewing creators at Cons, but you’ll have a better chance reading about it here. You can also follow Angela’s questionably valuable Con knowledge, random rants, cello talk, and occasional belly dance tweets @AlimaDusana.


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