A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing Liz Prince's graphic memoir, Tomboy. You can read that here, dear reader.
Well - I'm here to revisit that fantastic book again with an interview from Liz Prince! She took the time to answer some questions of mine *swoon*
Interview Questions – Liz Prince, author of Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir
- Tomboy is such a great memoir concerning experiences many girls have, but that readers don’t hear too much of – why do you think that is?
I don’t know why that would be, but I specifically wrote Tomboy BECAUSE I didn’t see any other graphic novels discussing gender on this level, and in this way. Since the book has come out, I have heard from many women who had a very similar experience to mine growing up, so I don’t know why it took so long for this story to be told, but I’m really glad to have been the one to tell it.
- Zine culture is introduced late in this book. How has the culture or the experience of writing for a zine influenced you?
Zines are one of the purest printed forms of self expression, largely because they are almost always self published, and that means that you are allowed to SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT. I never had anyone tell me that my comics weren’t “marketable” because of the way I draw, or because I’m a woman writing about myself, or because they aren’t about superheroes, and so I was able to keep telling the stories that I wanted to tell, in the way that I wanted to tell them. I was able to gain confidence, and try out different ways of storytelling/publishing. Sometimes I failed, but I learned from that too, and seeing other people doing the same thing with their own work, it continues to be inspiring.
- In the late 1990s and early 2000s, books, movies and television often introduced tomboy-ish characters in their stories only to give them a makeover. Do you believe the view of the tomboy has changed in recent years?
I think we have a larger vocabulary to deal with gender nonconformity in more positive way now, but there are still a lot of stereotypes that get thrown around within that world. I’m not sure how the view of tomboys has changed, because as I’ve gotten older myself, I am dreadfully out of touch with youth culture.
- How do you decide what to write about?
Tomboy is a story that I’ve always wanted to tell, and the time just seemed right.
- What do you need to write? Paper and a pen, a laptop? Music? Etc.
I’m a paper, pen and pencil kind of person: my least favorite part of comics process is when I have scan my artwork and clean it up in photoshop. I like to listen to music when I write, but if it’s something that is too new to me, I sometimes have a hard time concentrating on writing, so a lot of Tomboy was written all alone, in silence (it’s not as sad as it sounds, I have 2 cats to keep me company).
- Do you still love the Ghostbusters? And, if so, do you still have your toys and figures? (I had to ask this question!)
I do still love Ghostbusters; I used to have a ghostbusters tattoo, but I had it covered up several years ago, just because I became more interested in having artwork as tattoos, instead of logos. I have a Ghostbusters trap, but it was one that was given to me a few in my adult life, because most of my toys really were destroyed by my younger brother (that wasn’t just a funny part of the book).
- While I was reading Tomboy, the word FEMINISM was always forefront in my mind, but I don’t remember the word being mentioned or mentioned much in the book. What is your opinion of both the word and how your work relates to it?
I specifically didn’t talk about feminism in Tomboy because it wasn’t a concept that I got involved in until I was in my mid-20s, and I wanted the book to be a very truthful account of what my evolution was. I would like to write a comic that explores what feminism means to me in great detail at some point, because it obviously has informed my work quite a bit!
- Has the view or idea of being a woman/girl changed since your experiences in the book?
Yes. The end of Tomboy is really the beginning of another story, about the part of my life where I figure out the ways in which I both further and set back the feminist cause (I think a lot of people unwittingly do).
- What inspired you to write about your experiences?
I’ve always been the most drawn to autobiographical stories and comics, both as reading material and as the work that I want to make. I almost don’t know how to make any other work! I like the connection that I feel when I read a true story about someone else, and I hope that my readers feel the same type of connection to me when they read my comics.
- Do you have any advice for the girls and women who prefer t-shirts, jeans and Converse shoes to dresses and heels?