Friday, October 12, 2018

"I have seen Olivia Jaimes, the cartoonist behind the new Nancy"

RJ:

This past April, the group who owns the rights to Nancy approached a cartoonist behind her own popular webcomic and asked her to take over the strip. Who is she? What was that webcomic? Few people know for sure, and they aren’t talking. The artist currently known as Olivia Jaimes seemed to arrive on the scene fully formed and immediately began toying with the medium in a way decidedly similar to Bushmiller, but with modern sensibilities that don’t feel forced.

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Olivia Jaimes’ identity is secret seemingly at least partially out of a sense of whimsy and the fact that mystery is marketable, but it’s impossible for us to pretend that concerns for her security aren’t likely to enter into the picture with what we all know about the state of things today, especially in the comics scene. That’s why it was a real surprise when it was announced that she would be making an appearance at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, a deliberately small and curated event with an emphasis on independent and alternative comics.

The environment was carefully controlled. She would be appearing in a small room, one that would hold no more than 40 people. Cellphones and any other recording devices would need to be checked at the door. There would be no Q&A with the audience.

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The moderator of the discussion was a woman named Shena Wolf, the editor of Nancy on behalf of Andrews McMeel Syndication, whom, as we learned, was the one who personally hired Ms.James. Shena was drawn once in one of the strips, and she looked about exactly as Olivia had depicted her. Shena did say something like “Why did you draw me so sweaty?”

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Olivia appeared dressed in a sort of “Unabomber-chic” outfit consisting of a hoodie with a scarf, hat, and those slanted sunglasses that Kanye West used to wear. Only the lower half of her face was visible

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Here’s some details and impressions
And speaking of the value of a secret identity:
I was fired from Marvel — from two Star Wars projects.

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To rewind a little bit, when SW: AFTERMATH came out, I assume most know but maybe you don’t, I put some ahh, elements in there (LGBT characters) that were not received well by a certain subset of fandom. That resulted in both a negative review campaign, found across various FB groups and other Worst Places on the Internet, that began mounting the very minute the book dropped online. I was literally at a midnight release of the book, and when I got done, there were already a pile of one-star reviews piling up – which seemed strange, obviously. And scary, too. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time. (And as a caveat, obviously I recognize that yes, some people just don’t like the book for the Usual Reasons, and people who hold those reasons are not to be lumped in with the more septic side of fandom. Tl;dr see also TLJ reviews.)

I also started receiving TONS of harassment – harassment that has gone on for years, harassment that has required me to contact local police and warn them of SWATting attempts, harassment across all corners of the Internet, here, FB, Reddit, YouTube. Some of it was bot stuff, obviously, or sock puppets, but some of it was pretty creepy, and very personal. I didn’t call a lot of it out or even highlight, but it was there, a sort of… constant background noise. (Christ, for an extra special treat go search for my name and check out the YouTube videos if you want an eye-opening glimpse.)