Kristen Gudsnuk is a rising young talent in the comics industry, making waves in the press with her breakout hit Henchgirl. We grabbed Ms. Gudsnuk for a quick interview at Baltimore Comic Con this weekend to learn more about her book and upcoming projects.
PCU: You’re one of the up-and-coming new indie creators in the comics industry. Why don’t you tell us about Henchgirl for those of us who aren’t familiar with it.
KG: Henchgirl is about a girl, she works for a supervillain. But it’s just her day job, because she can’t get a grown-up person job. So, she just needs to pay her rent. But it’s kind of about being underemployed in your twenties, it has a lot of superhero satire, and just a lot of stuff drawn from personal life. It’s kind of my baby.
What’s your target demographic? Is this for kids, or…not for kids?
No, it’s not for kids. Kids, I’m sure, have read it, but…I would say it’s for grownups.
What’s your inspiration? What made you decide to create Henchgirl?
I was watching a lot of TV. Like, I was watching Batman: The Animated Series, and Justice League and stuff. And New Girl, the sitcom, with Zooey Deschanel, and I really liked both of those, and I was also…I did not like my old job. So, I kind of poured my angst into that format of, like, Batman and New Girl combined. So that kind of just morphed into Henchgirl in a way.
Are comics your full time job now? What’s that like?
Yes it is! You can’t beat the commute from bed to couch. So that’s great. It’s really cool because, I used to have a day job, and it was hard coming home, being like: I just worked eight hours, now it’s time to do more work for free, for the enjoyment of five people on the internet. But it’s really great. I definitely can’t complain.
I guess I can, in that you are…it’s very isolating. You kind of forget…the nice thing about having a “real” job–a.k.a. “not working in comics”–is that you talk to people, you go out and stuff. But it’s a worthwhile sacrifice for your art.
So Henchgirl is about to wrap up at issue #11. What made you want to make it a limited-issue run as opposed to an ongoing?
I always had envisioned it having the ending that it has. I was always working towards that. But it’s kind of funny, because as soon as I was like, OK, it’s over, I started having all these ideas like what could happen next. But I just wanted to move on to another thing. It’s really nice to have finished a comic. In my own experiences, I’ve done comics before, like webcomics. I had one, I got like 250 pages. It was called Misfit Assassins, and I never finished it. The story never made sense, because everything was leading up to something, and I just gave up. It’s really nice to be like: yeah, it’s done.
After Henchgirl, what comes next for you?
I have a project that’s…unannounced, currently, but it’s with a really cool publisher. We’re doing a middle-grade series that I’m writing and drawing.
So we should be watching for an announcement how soon?
The book is coming out in 2018. I have to draw it still. I just got the OK from the editor on the script. I’ve got to do some revisions. It’s really nice working with an editor, by the way, because you know, with Henchgirl, for better or worse I just used my first…well, no, I revised things, but it was very much like my first draft.
So you were being your own editor?
Yeah. So this is nice, having a sounding board, someone who really gets comics.
Any tips for any young creators your age who want to get their foot in the door?
Yeah, just do your comic! That’s all you have to do now. You just make a comic, you put it out there, you put it on the internet, you bring it to conventions, and hopefully it works out. If not, then…finish it and do another one! And just keep doing it until you’ve made it.
Kristen, thanks for talking with us.