Monday, February 9, 2015

SRPS Shout-Out: Alex Heberling - author and artist of The Hues

Last week I raved about The Hues in my Kickstart This post. I'm totally in love with this project and managed to get in touch with Alex Heberling, the fantastic author and artist responsible for my latest and newest comic obsession and talk with her about her love of magical girls and the importance of supporting diversity in comics.

What is it about magical girls that attracts you? Why create your own?

Sailor Moon was my introduction to magical girls, so it's really my biggest influence in that regard. SM was like an even awesomer Power Rangers that was ALL girls! So I was smitten from the very beginning. That, and color-coded characters are a particular weakness of mine.

I've seen a couple of quotes by you about your choice in characters and your reasons for making them so diverse (body size, color, gender expression, etc.). Would you care to elaborate on that a bit?

I've learned a lot about representation, and the ridiculous lack thereof, over the last several years, and when I decided to resurrect The Hues, which was something I first concieved nearly two decades ago, I knew that more diversity was one way to make this magical girl story fresh-- tell a story with the kinds of girls that mainstream media never gives the time of day. I'll admit that The Hues spent a long part of its' existence as a pretty boring and derivative story, full of white people with a sprinkling of token non-white characters that weren't really given any thought or care. So the first thing I did was "recast" my main lineup of girls, and put in a mix of ethnicities, backgrounds, body types, and so on.

Are these characters based on people you know? Friends or a composite of people? Or are they mean to represent a wider range of character than we typically get?

Yes and no, and all of the above! I think a lot of writers draw from the people around them when writing characters, and there are specific traits that I pull from myself and the people around me. Lauren, for instance, is the type of brash, badass gothy girl that I might've idolized in high school. It's all part of the fun of getting to explore characters. And part of the challenge is writing the things that are NOT like me, as well, and putting myself in someone else's shoes.

What makes these young women especially "kick ass?"

They are perfect and beautiful cinnamon rolls. But then, I'm rather biased in their favor. ;) I think they kick ass because they don't back down from challenges, they support and help each other and everyone around them, and they never give up.

If you haven't already done so, please go check out her blog, and then her Kickstarter page and consider backing her! We desperately need more of these kinds of stories about diverse and kick ass young women!

If you like the work I do here on SRPS, please support me!


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