Right before the New Year, G4TV aired a special called Women of the Web 2.0. One of those women was Andrea Grant, a phenomenally beautiful and diversely talented young lady who has successfully transcended geekdom with her work ethic. Ms. Grant was kind enough to take time out of her extremely busy schedule to sit down with Omnicomic and talk about MINX, her new webcomic, fasting and juggling multiple interests. Quick warning. Some of the images and links may be slightly NSFW-ish, so if you're in a strict work environment you may want to hold off on reading until you get home.
Omnicomic: Where did the nomenclature "Pin-Up Poet" come from? Was that self-ascribed, or did someone else casually call you that and you just ran with it?
Andrea Grant: It evolved from the initial idea for my book, which was meant to come apart, so that people could pin up the pages on the wall. That became too complicated to design and print, but the nickname stuck.
Omnicomic: What was your inspiration for starting Copious Amounts Press?
Grant: I wanted to have my own company. I didn’t want to start out my career as an editor by having to suffer through some bleak entry-level position. Copious Magazine was the first product to come from Copious Amounts Press, in 2001. It went crazy in the underground because I mixed art, photography, poetry, interviews, pin-up girls, and the original MINX strip…no one else was doing anything like that then.
I still publish it intermittently on the web at www.copiousmagazine.com because I meet a lot of great artists and I like doing interviews.
Omnicomic: Where did you come up with the idea for Minx?
Grant: I’ve always been obsessed with the lines between fantasy, reality, and dreams. The creation of MINX was cathartic; it happened right after I emerged from a very dark period in my life. MINX began as an alter ego that I felt safe working with creatively as I sought to find my voice as an artist. Minx is an archetype of the empowered, modern woman that challenges tradition while embracing sexuality and femininity. She is wild enough to run with her pack of wolves, which are her Native animal spirits.
MINX is a very personal project - both a conceptual self-portrait, and a response to the way that the celebrity-obsessed media often corrupts the truth and distorts the boundaries of fantasy and actuality. The world of Minx is real to me, albeit a hyper-reality. I cast my friends as characters because they are diverse and colorful, and they inspire my imagination.
Omnicomic: Anyone that's reasonably aware can look at Minx and then look at you and draw (no pun intended) some parallels between the two. How much of yourself did you put into Minx? Does the character have a cathartic effect on you at all?
Grant: All artists need a model, so it’s easier for them if I wear the costume up and shoot reference photos. I also think all writers secretly want to live out their own stories. Minx represents the warrior aspect of my nature…the way I protect the people I love. I’ve always had an alternate universe in my head, and to see it come alive in comic book format is exciting.
Omnicomic: How did you get hooked up with Rey Arzeno for the art?
Grant: I met Rey at the New York Comicon, thanks to my friend Rich Bernatovech. I love my comic book boys like nothing else! They always look out for me, and I had mentioned to Rich that I was looking for an artist who could really capture the Dreamtime aesthetic, who could draw women so they looked sexy and strong, and who could capture likenesses….and he introduced me to Rey, who is so talented and intuitive. He’s the perfect artist for MINX.
Omnicomic: How many issues of Minx have you published?
Grant: I’ve published hree issues of what was originally meant to be a six-part series, a spin-off called V-Train that ran in Bombin’ magazine (graffiti culture), a short story in a Comic Book Artists’ Guild anthology, and the MINX strips that ran in Copious Magazine. I have an agent now, and he advised me to re-launch the story as a four-part series. Everything is timing…thanks to Twilight and True Blood, the supernatural nature of MINX is more marketable now.
Omnicomic: What exactly do you have in mind for the relaunch of Minx? Will it be a "reboot" (the word that so many people are fond of these days) or something else?
Grant: It’s more than that. This version of the MINX story is different than the initial intention. The things I think are great, such as the Empress speaking via mixed media collages in the intro to each issue, are somewhat complicated, and therefore not as marketable to the masses. Does that break my heart? Of course…but every artist has to make a choice. If the work is too obscure, you won’t hit the mainstream.
Omnicomic: Looking at your website, you've got “The Pin-Up Poet" art books, MINX, ‘Grimm Recollections,’ a young adult series, a memoir and various television and film projects. An outsider would look at that slate and think you're crazy. Is there a certain thrill you find in diversifying your creative attention? Out of that portfolio, what would you say you enjoy the most?
Grant: You never know which projects will pan out, so I believe in diversifying. I am very disciplined, I love to work, and I produce quickly. So there’s MINX, the Pin-Up Poet art book, the Grimm Recollections collaboration with Justin Hampton, the memoir that I am going to wait until later in my career to publish, and a TV show concept, along with some other comic book projects.
Omnicomic: Can you tell me anything about the web comic you have in the works?
Grant: My newest project is a weekly web comic called Ready to Where? The protagonist is Athena Park (another alter-ego), who is the editor of a major online fashion magazine in New York City. She gets invited to the most covetable parties, events, and fashion shows, and interacts with the most elite, interesting characters…and sometimes, the visage of Karl Lagerfeld shows up to give her advice. Athena constantly struggles to balance her work, friendships, and the quest for Mr. Right in a city where there are a lot of Mr. Wrongs. In the ever-changing world of fashion, the only thing Athena can really trust is her own instincts.
I am the editor of www.thefashionspot.com, and they are supporting the project, which goes live in Febraury. The fashion world is hilarious, and this is a fun project that will appeal to the fashion demographic as well as the comic book community. Christian Beranek is helping me produce, and Liza Biggers is the artist.
Omnicomic: Do you have a convention schedule lined up for this year?
Grant: I am planning on the NYCC in Fall 2010, although it coincides with Fashion Week, so my attendance will be limited. I notice on Twitter you've embarked on a 10-day fast.
Omnicomic: Any particular reason for the food deprivation?
Grant: I do it every January. My Native American father has always fasted yearly, so I get that from him. Imagine not being able to meet friends for dinner or drinks. Tea and water are lame to have in a social situation, so for 10 days I work, read, rest. It’s difficult and emotional – intense things happen to my mind.
Omnicomic: Anything you want to plug while you have the floor?
Grant: www.copiousamounts.com. You can buy limited edition MINX comics, artwork, and the Pin-Up Poet art book. The MINX fan page is at: www.facebook.com/MINXcomic.