Abby Denson on Cartoons, Rocking Out and Her Sweet Tooth!
LG: Your music and stories in Dolltopia and Tough love have a very cinematic like feel to them. What are some of the similar processes you have in producing music and comics?
I do like movies a lot, mostly cult and camp movies, so that’s not too surprising. Writing comic scripts is very similar to writing a screenplay in fact and you have to work with pacing like one would in storyboards too. Sometimes with music you’re telling stories with lyrics, but they’re more abstract then the type of full length comics I normally do.
LG: What inspired you to do Tough Love?
I was exposed to some shounen-ai and yaoi manga and anime in the mid-nineties and thought I’d like to do a comic in that vein but a bit more realistic, dealing with gay teen issues, and in an American setting.
LG: What are your musical influences? What did you listen to growing up?
Punk and new wave pretty much as well as glam rock. I like bubble gum a lot now too. Anything catchy and fast for the most part. I started listening to punky music in high school, before that metal, and before that The Beatles. My Mom had lots of cool records like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin around the house when I was a kid. Her boyfriend worked at a record station and I got to see all kinds of rock shows over my life. So thanks Mom and Jim!
LG: How long have you been playing? What instruments do you play?
I’ve been in bands since I was 16 years old. Mainly I’ve played bass but can also play a little guitar and drums as well as sing. I’ve taken a break from bass since I got tendonitis in my left arm.
LG: Are you going to turn any of your stories into a movie?
I would love for that to happen. Tim Burton (for Dolltopia) or Gus Van Sant (for Tough Love), call me!
LG: What is the hardest thing about making music and comics?
It’s a huge investment of time and energy with little monetary reward generally. But it’s all about passion and the passion will drive you through the hard work.
LG: Tough Love and Dolltopia both have similar themes in where they “don’t belong” do you receive alot of insight and stories from kids who relate to your stories?
Definitely, I get a lot of feedback from GLBT teens especially on Tough Love, how it’s helped them through hard times in their lives. Also, I’m getting a good response from lesbians and feminists in general about Dolltopia. It has been used to teach kids Gender Studies too!
LG: What is your favorite dessert?
I love Molten Chocolate Cakes and Brownies.
LG: What music would your characters Brian, Chris and Julie listen to? What about Kitty and Soccer Scotty?
Brian, Chris, and Julie like indie rock and classic punk. I have The Go-Go’s, Sebadoh, and The Buzzcocks referenced in Tough Love. Kitty and Soccer Scotty like Blondie, Joan Jett, David Bowie, Dolltopia has a slightly more glam rock sensibility.
LG: What would be on the soundtrack to Dolltopia the movie?
The music I just mentioned (Blondie, Bowie, and Joan Jett) also The Cars, New York Dolls, Velvet Underground, Gary Numan, Klaus Nomi, and The Damned are a few bands I can think of.
LG: What do you listen to when you are working?
WFMU, it’s the best radio station and you can listen to it online too (at wfmu.org). I like a lot of the different shows that play punk and garage.
LG: What’s next for you?
The next big thing I’m hoping to do is the City Sweet Tooth book. I’m also going to be an aunt soon, so I want to do some cartoons about being an aunt and with stories about my cool aunts as well.
Check out more on Abby here!