The second in our series of posts from feminist or queer guest authors and artists is by artist/author Hannah Smart. Hannah is only sixteen years old, and already has an amazing career going. I fell head over heels in love with Hannah’s comic Icarus (a feminist comic featuring a flawed and awesome superheroine–IT IS SO GOOD, YOU GUYS), and can’t wait to see more from this impressive artist. <3
Salutations, all! To those of you reading this through the screen of your laptop, desk computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone, tablet, or experiencing this on your holodeck (if this survives to the 24th century), I thank you for taking the time to read this. Before I delve into a long stuffy rant, however, I would like to thank the wonderfully talented and generous Sarah and Jennifer Diemer for inviting me to do a guest post on Muse Rising. They have encouraged me a lot, and are fantastic people, but then again, if you’re here, you already know that.
For the majority of you who probably don’t know me, my name is Hannah Smart. I am a sixteen-year-old science fiction, gothic horror, and comic book enthusiast, and I have previously self-published a sci-fi novel, Corona through Amazon. My first and foremost love will always remain writing: novels, short stories, whatever, I like ‘em all! However, I have also grown to relish the thrill of sitting inactive at my desk for hours, meticulously laboring with my laptop and a Wacom tablet over the appearance of a 72 dpi image in Photoshop. Believe it or not, it really is a rush.
Quite recently, I have completed my first full-length graphic novel, entitled Icarus: Creatures of Darkness. The Icarus title follows the dark adventures of Etha Fidalgo, a 20-something superheroine trying to find her way in the dismal city of Damocles and rescue her missing sister. This is intended to be the first volume of a four issue series, and work on the second one (called Icarus: Scar Tissue) is already underway.
Here is the description of Creatures of Darkness:
In a world where death, tragedy, and demons plague the shadows, anything seems possible. And when Etha Fidalgo’s little sister, Elle, disappears, she takes it upon herself to find her. However, along the way, Etha encounters misanthropes and villains who threaten to further disrupt life in the destitute city of Damocles. In order to rescue her sister and save her home, Etha becomes the vigilante Icarus, armed with only a wingpack, her fists, and her mind. But will this be enough for Etha to defeat the Deadly Warpaint, a masked criminal who takes scare tactics to the next level?
So there you go. There’s Icarus in a nutshell. But then again, a nutshell isn’t very big, is it?
What can I say? After spending what seems like an eternity drawing out these pages, learning who these characters are, I cannot help but become attached. Icarus is a very female-power comic, as it only features one definitive male character in the entire 50 pages of the strip (and that isn’t until the very end). Part of it is that I honestly feel that females are easier to draw, and another part of it is that, being a girl, I can connect to female characters more easily. I wanted to create characters that I would want to be, personas that I could channel in times of hardship, and look fondly back upon in times of euphoria. But not only did I want to write a tough, pretty, cool character; I wanted to write one who was flawed.
Creatures of Darkness is only the surface. The in-progress Scar Tissue will give you a bit more of a glance at Etha’s personal life, and her increasing isolation from her friends and family as she becomes more and more Icarus, and less and less Etha Fidalgo. Etha is someone who isn’t afraid to do what is necessary to dish out arse-kicking justice. She doesn’t bend to anyone: the law, men, even her friends at times. Her biggest struggle isn’t with the bad guys; it’s with herself.
As the overall story-arc progresses (while Creatures of Darkness was the test drive, I really do have a grand conclusion and inter-series plot in mind), I hope to eventually show the readers that all heroes have their issues, their dark side, and that the villains can have the capacity for goodness as well. But let us not get hasty; some of these characters are yet to be introduced. That, and this may take a while, as I am working on this during my spare time on weekends when I’m not doing homework or working on a new book idea. Bear with me. :)
I have spent an estimated 250 hours slaving away at this. I will be the first to admit to you, it was a learning experience; the illustrations near the end are definitely better than those in the beginning. While Creatures of Darkness has its fair share of inconsistencies and quirks, it was a labor of love, and I promise you that #2 will be even better (if only I had begun storyboarding before I was halfway done with Creatures of Darkness!). Although writing is my passion, and I feel more comfortable within the realms of a novel, this has been a fun, challenging ride. For those of you who have read this far, I thank you. And once more, a HUUUUGGE thanks to Sarah and Jennifer Diemer for everything!
ICARUS: CREATURES OF DARKNESS can be purchased through Amazon. The collection includes the 50 page comic, and 20 pages of bonus material! So indie comic book enthusiasts, get your copy now!
For more artwork, and to read Creatures of Darkness and the in-progress Scar Tissue for free online, check out my art website: www.majorzerogravity.deviantart.com or my blog at http://hannahsmartauthor.blogspot.com/.
(OH, AND A TIP: Listen to “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John while reading Creatures of Darkness. :) )