Inside the Outside
I love comic strips. I started reading comic books when I was about eight, spending my first summer away from home at my grandparents’ house. I had Archie comics, and Spider-Man, and Superman. I kept up with the X-Men comics through junior high, and then started reading Elf Quest in high school. No, I never would have told you this back then. But I also wouldn’t have told you about my crush on Mr. Spock.
The funnies in the newspaper were always mine. I would grab the paper and divest it of section C before my parents could, and spend the morning finding out what Opus, Calvin, and Ophelia were doing. In college, I subscribed to the paper solely to get the comics, and when they came out, I would stock up on my favorite artists’ books.
As a grown-up, who gets her news via the internet, I miss dirtying my hands on the funny pages, but I have found a wealth of entertainment in webcomics. I have three favorites, and I admit to feeling a little stressed when I miss an update: Sinfest, Multiplex, and Girls With Slingshots.
Danielle Corsetto is the artist behind Hazel and Jamie, the girls with slingshots, who are my two favorite characters on the web right now. Along with enjoying the art and the wit of Danielle’s comic, I truly appreciate the storytelling and the rounded-outness of the characters. Girls With Slingshots reads more like a sitcom than a comic, and it’s one of the only strips that doesn’t bore me with side-stories about the B and C list cast–I look forward to every character’s appearance.
Another thing I enjoy is that while Danielle writes about all sorts of adult issues, she writes about them like we live them. Sexuality is never an anvil. Health is never a city bus. Paying the Bills is never a piano falling out of the sky. Things just are. She writes about life as we know it, and does it with a very real fondness for her characters and her audience. Danielle is that rare kind of wit, who is very, very funny without being mean-spirited. She brings out the best in her characters, even when they are at their worst.
All that led me to believe she would be an awesome Women Worth Knowing. I contacted her a couple of weeks ago, and was very excited when she responded with a yes. Then, I got her Q&A back, and now I want to be her best friend, but I have promised myself that I won’t stalk her. See, her answer to how she wanted to be remembered made me want to cheer. I love her attitude! I have great taste, people. I have excellent taste.
If you aren’t already reading Girls With Slingshots, get cracking. And you can follow Danielle on Twitter (like I do–the one with the great taste.) But before you go catching up on the adventures of Hazel, Jamie, McPedro, and the Ghost Cat of Doom, you should read the Q&A.
Who are you?
I can’t decide if that’s supposed to be a deep question or not, so I’ll give you the official “I am Danielle Corsetto of Girls With Slingshots” for now.
How much of Danielle ends up in the characters you create?
A LOT! It’s far from being autobiographical, but my personal agendas and musings are shamelessly featured in the strip. Hazel’s basic personality (aside from her occasional dabbling in homophobia) is often similar to mine when I’m sober and alone: grumpy, contrary, and introverted. But when I’m around others (and often when I drink), my inner Jamie pops out: tickled, friendly, flirty, and goofy. Even the other characters sometimes adopt my voice (which makes me a hypocrite, as I often advise young writers not to turn all of their characters into sounding boards for themselves).
You seem to have a real fondness for your GWS characters. If you had to have one for a roommate, which one would it be and why?
Oooh, that’s tough! Like I said, I’m a bit of a bore to be around when I’m alone, and I tend to be very antisocial when I’m at home (especially after talking to fans and fellow creators for several days at conventions), so I’m not much fun as a roommate! That said, I think Jamie would be the most understanding of my drab at-home lifestyle, seeing as she understands Hazel’s so well.
What do you enjoy most about conventions?
Meeting the fans, and hanging out with fellow cartoonists! Oooo, also hotel rooms. I love staying in hotels, particularly alone. I know I’m turning thirty in just a few weeks, but staying in a hotel room alone makes me feel like a grown-up.
Describe your family:
Wonderful. I didn’t get along with my parents when I was younger, and I never thought I’d be the type of person who boasted about their parents, but I am now. And anyone who’s heard me talk about my brother knows that I hit the Sibling Lotto; he’s like my twin, except two years younger and, uh, not identical.
My dad and my brother and I have very a similar sense of humor. I only noticed it recently, but our family dinners are driven by constant joke construction between the three of us. My mom’s funny in a way that the rest of us aren’t, and when she throws in a comment, it often floors us. There’s a lot of laughter in my family.
What does the first hour of your day look like?
My alarm goes off, I hit snooze for about half an hour, and then spend another half-hour in bed with my two cats, Smudge and Ellie, as I look over my e-mails and Twitter feed on my iPhone. Then I move downstairs to the kitchen, start up a pot of tea, and find something to read or write while I bask in the afternoon sunlight (the term “morning” is subjective in this house).
I used to rush my mornings, but I feel that your day is shaped by what happens when you first wake up, so I’ve resolved to spend at least two hours slowly waking up and enjoying myself. I don’t start moving until my tea is finished.
The last hour?
Rushed and crazy! Ha! My daily schedule is sort of flipped from most people’s; I spend my mornings relaxing, and then work until I fall asleep. My last hour (on work days) is spent moving my inked strip from the drawing board to the computer, scanning, coloring in Photoshop, uploading to the website, answering a few last tweets, and falling into bed by 3 am.
There’s really no such thing as a non-work day for me (I generally work every day), but on nights when I don’t have to update, you’ll find me closing all the bars in town with local friends.
What makes you feel successful?
Seeing a lineup at my table when I go to conventions. It’s heartwarming and extremely humbling! Also, I suppose, being able to afford gifts for my family at Christmas. That’s something I was never able to do before.
What brings you joy?
Sunny weather and a pot of tea, and a cat in my lap. I’m pretty easy to please.
What women do you admire?
Hmm… I’m sure I’ll come up with many more after I’ve sent this to you, but I’ve been inspired by Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts) and Zora Neale Hurston (early African-American author).
What do you like best about your closest friend?
She’s just as gross and bizarre as I am. (I have a tiny collection of very close friends, but this one in particular is like a sister to me.)
What do you like best about yourself?
I’m constantly trying to improve myself.
What advice would you give boys about girls?
If you’re desperate, she’ll smell it on you. Don’t seek to make one woman the sole source of happiness in your life; it’s a very stressful burden to place on her. Find happiness elsewhere, THEN search the singles ads.
How do you overcome adversity?
I could be dead, or I could have been given a shitty childhood. I’m not, and I wasn’t. Anything bad that happens to me could always be worse. I laugh things off, most of the time.
How do you want to be remembered?
As the girl who shared everything about herself. I don’t like taboos and I don’t like secrets, and I especially don’t like pretending that I contribute to social norms. The greatest gift I can give to people, I feel, is the confidence to accept themselves as they are.
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