Friday, May 25, 2018

Kickstart the Week(end) with Neither Here Nor Hair Anthology

By: Nicole D’Andria

Kickstart your weekend with this Kickstarter anthology about every kind of hair you can imagine. With 14 Australian creators, this anthology draws from creators’ personal experiences.

This anthology explores everyday experiences with hair—whether it’s on your head, face, legs or elsewhere! Creators include Sarah Catherine Firth, Ele Jenkins, Emma Jean, Leonie Brialey, Alex E Clark, Claire Murray, Michel Gerencir, Alyce Sarich, Natalia Zajaz, Soolagna Majumdar, Danikah Harrison, Sarah W Searle and Alisha Jade.

The goal of the project is to reach $3,772 by May 27, 2018 at 10:18 PM EDT. The money made from the Kickstarter will go toward creator bonuses for their hard work on the anthology. Rewards include digital (AU $7-about $5) and softcover (AU $15-about $11) copies of the anthology as well as a Kickstarter limited edition numbered print of the cover (AU $50-about $37). The rest of the rewards can be seen on the Neither Here Nor Hair Anthology Kickstarter page.

I spoke with the person who helmed the anthology, Alisha Jade, who also wrote one of the stories.

Alisha Jade

Me: Your anthology grew out of your minicomic Disgusting! - what initially inspired this minicomic and why did you feel it was important to expand it?

Jade: I was initially inspired to create Disgusting! after months of altercations with my family about not shaving my legs - I'd always disliked doing it but over the past few years I decided to stop entirely and my family (especially my mother) were very vocal about how disgusting I was. So it was my rage comic! I decided to expand when the minicomic got such a response from readers. So many of them connected with the story on a personal level. It became clear that this was a bigger thing than I had anticipated and there was so little published about it I thought it would be silly not to try.

Me: How did you go about getting the various women to become part of this anthology and could you tell us a bit about each of them?

Jade: I already have a pretty good network of people I've worked with before or who have expressed an interest, so I just opened it up a little on social media and soon had more than enough people who were keen to get involved. Initially I had just planned a little zine but it quickly got to a point that it was clear this would be a full book. Also, I pay people, which really helps.

There are fourteen people involved so I'll just highlight a few - we have three creators living in Perth, which is the opposite side of Australia to most of us. This is really big, as in previous years the east and west have really been operating in separate circles but we're bridging that gap a little. They are Soolagna Marjumdar, who made the Marge Anime comics, Alyce Sarich, who makes the webcomic Daemon, and Sarah Winifred Searle, who has published a number of comics and just had a new book announced through publisher First Second. It's really exciting to have them in the book!

Dwelf Princess Goals by Sarah W Searle
Me: The various creators in this anthology are all from Australia. Do you feel there are any cultural differences between how hair is viewed in Australia versus other countries?

Jade: I'm sure there are - I find that Australia is reasonably conservative when it comes to its approach to personal grooming of almost any kind so you don't see a whole lot of people sporting creative looks. This is true for any gender - men included. It might be related to Tall Poppy Syndrome in a way, which is a shame because there are so many people out there who would love to change things up but feel pressured to confirm to a tight set of norms.

Me: Are there any plans to further expand this concept in another anthology or minicomic?

Jade: I'll have to see how this book goes. Cultural norms and how weird they are have a special place in my heart though so if everything goes well I'm sure there'll be more comics to come. It's a shame that for something that we get bombarded with so many messages about there are so few opportunities for people to tell their own stories. But we can change that!

Trichophily by Michel Gerencir
Me: How would you describe you story in this anthology and why you felt it was important to share?

Jade: My own story in the anthology is about the relationship between hair and family, specifically how even though I was actively forced to have long hair growing up all of the important women in my life had short hair. I learned a lot about this in making the comic - it is very different from the story I thought I would initially tell. I felt that it was important because we don't give enough thought to how our environments and upbringing shapes us in ways that seem small but have such an impact on our lives. And it's okay to acknowledge these things.

Me: What is the number one reason you think people should pledge your Kickstarter?

Jade: Because they're great comics! And there's something really cool and subversive around being able to read really grassroots personal stories in a way that fiction can't match. We're not taught to be expressive about ourselves and I like that we can shake that off to really connect with other people on things that affect us all.

The Hardest Part by Soolagna Majumdar
Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers/artists?

Jade: Just start! The only person holding you back from making a comic is you.

Me: Thanks for letting us know all about your anthology and the importance of hair! If you’re reading this and interested in backing the Kickstarter project or finding out even more about it, check it out here.

Do you have a Kickstarter? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on "Kickstart the Week?" Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website.

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