Jen Blake Interview

Ripper: What was your first comic related experience in any medium?

Jenn: My first comic book experience goes back to some of my earliest memories, My dad was a huge comic book reader since he was very young back in the golden age of comics. As for me, I was exposed to them through bedtime stories; no Dr. Seuss for this girl, nope! I was read Justice League, Ghost Rider, you name it from DC and Marvel. Comics have been a part of my life since I can remember and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Ripper: How long would you say it took you as a My Little Pony artist to accept the Brony community as a good thing?

Jenn: The male fan base for My Little Pony was a pretty big shock for me at first. I was first informed of it before I even watched MLP: Friendship is Magic. I was selling some collector edition Star Wars LEGO sets to a father and son who have a really great vintage toy store. The son was telling me about this new version of MLP and how great it is. As somepony who grew up with the original Gen 1 MLP, it was very strange to hear this guy rave about ponies cause there was not a boy in my neighborhood that would have been caught dead watching MLP in the 80's. Once I started actively pursuing working on this franchise, I started to get more familiar with the male briny fandom. It can be a bit off putting at first, but I will say its nice to see how far we have come as a society. Growing up I was a huge fan of what most would consider "boys" cartoons like Transformers and Voltron and rarely did that ever make anyone go "what's wrong with this girl?". It's wonderful to see a show that is "girls only" resonate so strongly with both genders and all ages. Lauren Faust did an amazing job creating a new world that can bring us all together.

Ripper: Which comic character from any genre do you most identify with?

Jenn: Comic character I most identify with...that is a very tough one. I would say there is probably a lil more She-Hulk in me than I care to admit at times: there seems to be that struggle to control a giant green rage monster lol. More then not though, I seem to relate to more to "villain" characters like Catwoman who if I ever was to don a costume, I think I'd end up being Catwoman. That Inner struggle of doing the right thing and being "good"...plus her and I share a great love of kitties.

Ripper: What do you think should be done to fight sexist views in the pop culture community?

Jenn: Fighting sexist views, I will say we have come a long way as far as battling a lot of those issues. Sadly though, It will always be part of any fandom out there.
 I think the more publishers take chances on female writers, artists, even inkers, colorists and letterers, the better the fans will come to see us as equals in these fields. In genre films, we can see a trend thanks to Hunger Games of a strong female character that can make a film work. I think it would go a long way for DC and WB to really get a Wonder Woman film out, even if its not a billion dollar grossing film. Just what it could do for young girls would, I think, be a great thing. The only thing that can really ever fight sexist views is strong women getting out there and not giving up on their dreams. I can recall many times when I first started this journey to work in comics, the less than kind reception I would get from some male artists and writers at cons. There were days I thought "Why bother? I'll never be taken seriously and it will always be 'are you here with your boyfriend' stereotype". Happily, now that I've gotten some published work out there and am on the other side of the table, I have met so many amazing creators and fans that just see my art and not that I'm a girl. I think in a few more years we will see even better progress on the issue of sexism.  

Ripper: What do you hope for when dealing with an editor you haven't worked with before?

Jenn: I've so far only have dealt with a few, but I always hope to work with an editor or a writer that is very keen on collaboration: really letting the artist put their thoughts and ideas into the mix. Comics is one of those few mediums where a comic has to tell a story in pictures so that if no words were to be there, you could still tell what is happening from page to page. I think the biggest thing I'd hope for in any editor is a very good line of communication so when questions arise or when art is sent in, you would get a timely response so as to be able to get the work off to the inkers or writers ASAP. I will say, so far, I have nothing but good things to say about the IDW Limited team. They are some of the most amazing and helpful people I've worked with and they are definitely doing it right.



Jenn Blake's webpage is ponygoddess.deviantart.com

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