In honor of Women’s History Month, we here at ComicsVerse are talking with some talented women in the comic book industry! Recently we had the opportunity to speak with cartoonist and illustrator Leslie Hung. Currently, Hung is the artist for SNOTGIRL, a series from Image Comics that exposes the not so glamorous life behind a popular fashion blogger’s posts and Instagram filters. Hung’s eye for fashion and social media prowess helps portray a motley crew of fashionable characters living in the digital age. Not only did we get to talk about Hung’s experiences in the industry but also about the changes she’d like to see for female creators and the pressures that women can face online and off.

ComicsVerse: Tell us a bit about yourself. What got you interested in drawing comics?

Leslie Hung: I’ve always been interested in visual storytelling, and comics have always been a dream of mine. By the time I started art school, I had dismissed the idea of ever making my own comic, even though I had always wanted to. So, even though it was always something I thought about pursuing, I just never went through with drawing my own comics until a few years ago, and I’m really glad I did.

CV: What are some of the greatest challenges that women in the comic book industry face today?

LH: Personally, I feel like one of the things that grinds my gears the most is that people seem to value the diversity of fictional characters over the diversity of creators. I want nothing more than to see more women creating more stories and being more visible in general. The history of women in comics continues to be erased, whether people realize it or not, and it’s so important for people to realize that women actually like comics and want to read them and make them.

READ: Itching to read about some kick-ass female comic book characters? Take a look at some of our top feminist comics from 2016!

CV: With more female creators publishing their own works now, what kind of changes do you hope to see for the industry in the future?

LH: I love seeing self-published work. I just hope that in the future more publishers will want to take the risk of hiring more women. I don’t think that hiring women should be considered a risk at all.

CV: What has been your experience so far?

LH: I wouldn’t say I’ve had major difficulties so far, but it’s also because I started making and self-publishing comics while also working at a part-time job that had nothing to do with comics. Once I started to work in comics full-time, it’s been more about the work itself than anything else.

 

CV: In what ways do you think the inclusion of more women in the industry, both creators and characters, will affect comics and the fanbase?

LH: I definitely think that more women will start to see comics as a pool they can dip their toes into.

CV: Your most recent work has been on SNOTGIRL from Image Comics. Can you tell us a little bit about the series and your role in it?

LH: SNOTGIRL is kind of about the work that goes into making someone seem perfect and beautiful; the work that goes unseen. Lottie, the main character, is an introvert who feels lost in her self-made, false image. Bryan and I work very closely on each issue, and we go back and forth on everything from character motivations to the actual plot points.

READ: Curious about the good, the bad and the ugly of social media? Read our analysis of SNOTGIRL and the age of the Instagram model! 

CV: SNOTGIRL exposes the fantasy life that many of us typically see on social media. What sort of challenges/pressures do you think women face online?

LH: I guess it has to do with my own anxiety about posting on social media, and how we end up curating our own lives as a way to protect ourselves or keep from looking a certain way, whether we realize it or not. It definitely seems more prominent with women on the internet, because it’s clear that they are most scrutinized for the things that they say or from the pictures they post.

CV: As a series with a female protagonist and a mostly female cast, in what ways do you believe these characters represent how women feel they must present themselves to each other online and off?

LH: I think a lot of women can probably relate to feeling like you have to act or be a certain way, whether it’s online or just in life. Lottie’s inner monolog about how she feels about certain things happening has a lot to do with her own introversion and her fear of being who she really is, even if who she really is is pretty normal. The spiraling she does throughout the comic is pretty much unseen to most of the people she interacts with on a regular basis.

CV: Who are some female comic book characters and creators you admire and why?

LH: Some of my favorites are Jane Mai and Kyoko Okazaki. Jane Mai just has this raw and unfiltered style of writing and drawing that is simple, yet effective. Her work has multitudes. I would definitely say the same about Okazaki, who tackles a lot of tough issues while having art that had such lightness and air. I feel like I can really relate to work about difficult women.

CV: Before we go, would you like to share any projects that you have planned for the future?

LH: I’m currently spending all my time on the new arc of SNOTGIRL, but I’m also slowly developing and researching another comic project, which is still in its very early planning stages.

Be sure to check out SNOTGIRL from Image Comics and to see more of Leslie’s amazing art, follow her on Instagram, @dairyfree, and Twitter, @lesliehung!

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