The debut of BOOM! Studios’ “Lumberjanes” by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen saw a great deal of acclaim from fans and critics alike. The series is the latest development in the success of Noelle Stevenson’s career in comics. While the cartoonist may be best known for her fan art on Tumblr, she also self-publishes the long-running fantasy/adventure webcomic “Nimona” (getting collected by Harper Collins in 2015) and is currently breaking in to animation on the west coast.
Stevenson stopped by the CBR Tiki Room at WonderCon 2014 to talk about her quick rise in the comics world with CBR executive producer Jonah Weiland, as well as making the most of her opportunities, interning at BOOM! Studios, and the role social media has played in her career.
On the critical and fan reaction to “Lumberjanes”: I think there really has been a demand for a book like this. There’s been a huge rise in female fans of comic book properties that you can see, where 40% of “The Avengers” audience is female, 40% of the attendees of New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic Con are female, and they’re not necessarily going into comic book shops just yet, but the audience is definitely there. I think having a comic that is about girls, by girls, is really important. It’s definitely a good comic, it’s not just for girls, it’s for everybody — it just happens to have women as creators and women as characters.
On making the most of opportunities: I interned with BOOM! in 2012 and that was the start of my career with comics. That was the summer I started “Nimona” as a webcomic and since then, things just kept happening and I just tried to go with them as much as possible. BOOM! would email me and be like, “Do you want to do this backup comic for ‘Fionna and Cake?'” and I’m like, “Yes. I don’t know if I can do that. I’ve never done that before, but I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to see if I can.” That kind of thing just kept happening. “Oh, we’re doing this series ‘Lumberjanes’ –” “Yes! I don’t know what you’re going to ask, but I want to do it.” Lumberjanes, that’s all I have to hear, really.
On the role social media has played in her career: Social media definitely is where I started out. I started on Tumblr doing fan art, because I wanted to and I wanted to connect with other fans, but it wasn’t calculated at all. My first fan art experiment that went viral was the Bro-ship of the Rings, which was a “Lord of the Rings” parody in modern day and everyone was bros and hipsters and stuff. That one got a lot of press. Ever since then, I’ve just kept going and just built up a really big Tumblr following. Fan art wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life forever, so I just said, “Hey, I started a webcomic, how about some of you guys come and read it?” Some of them did, some of them didn’t, which is fine, but definitely helped me get an audience much faster than I would have if I just started a webcomic to start with. … I really enjoy interacting in that way, enjoying something with a lot of other people like that.