While attending New York Comic Con 2017, PopCultHQ had the fortunate opportunity to chat with comic creator Kristen Gudsnuk. The writer/artist was on-hand repping Dark Horse and promoting the collected volume of her series HENCHGIRL. Originally released by Scout Comics, Gudsnuk has compiled all eleven issues into a new trade (and hardcover!).
Check out what Kristen has to say about HENCHGIRL’s lead character Mary Posa having some of Kristen in her, how she came to connect with Dark Horse, and how laughter makes this creator shine in her work.
PopCultHQ Spotlight Interview:
PopCultHQ: You’ve taken the first eleven issues of HENCHGIRL, brought them over to Dark Horse, and collected them into one volume. Tell us about how that came about to compile it into one mammoth collection. You’d figure perhaps two or three volumes but all eleven issues at once!
Kristen Gudsnuk: For me, personally as a reader, regarding the structure and having all issues in one book, I don’t like having to remember to buy book two and book three. So I was like, “Let’s do it as one book. That’ll be easier on everyone.” <laughs> It’s also easier for me when I go to conventions. I can just bring the one book. That was part of it. I think I just like there being a complete graphic novel of it.
I intended it to end [after eleven issues]. I may pick it up again someday. With the open-ended ending, it’s sort of how I always imagined it ending. The possibilities? You can imagine in your head what happens next.
PopCultHQ: So leaving it up to the readers to decide?
Kristen: Exactly. Kind of like, “The adventure continues…”
PopCultHQ: And something that could certainly be revisited?
Kristen: I could pick it up easily, yeah. That’s kind of the idea.
PopCultHQ: That was where I was going with this, whether Dark Horse had optioned a new volume of the series.
Kristen: I’ve got that on the backburner. Right now, I’m working on a bunch of new projects.
PopCultHQ: So how did you find yourself at Dark Horse Comics?
Kristen: I met Dark Horse at New York Comic Con just by random chance a couple of years ago. It’s funny, really. I didn’t get a table; I got rejected and so did my friend. At first, I was really annoyed because I live in New York and can’t go to my con. And then Adam Hughes got the flu, so we got Adam’s table. So now I’m like, “Oh my God! I AM going to NYCC.” It was such a huge con for me. I mean it’s really funny [how it came about], sort of a twist of chance.
That’s how I met Dark Horse, it was at a convention. They seemed really interested, and of course I love Dark Horse as a reader, and I said, “I would die to have my book published by you. Just FYI.” And they agreed. They didn’t even kill me. <laughs>
PopCultHQ: How is HENCHGIRL currently available? I know it’s collected into the [softcover] trade. Is there a hardcover as well?
PopCultHQ: I got a review copy [of the HENCHGIRL TPB] and I got two issues in. I love the humor! I wanted to ask about that…how important is it for you to have humor infused into the series? Also, where does that humor originate? Is there some of Mary Posa in you? Like her wit.
Kristen: I think it’s interesting you bring that up. I think she is, in a way, sort of similar to me. A lot of HENCHGIRL is pointing out the shortcomings of Mary and people in general, and I think that comes from introspection of my own character. As far as the humor, I don’t think I can write something that doesn’t have jokes in it. I just think of jokes when I’m writing and I want to put them in there. Partially because I feel it’s fun to feel two feelings at once. So if something is sad but also funny, to me, it hits me harder than when it’s just sad. Also it might seem like a defense mechanism as a writer, “I’m not taking it seriously either, look!” Hopefully it’s not coming across like that. <laughs>
PopCultHQ: No, no, not at all! I think what I like about it is it’s relatable. Situations she has with her friends. Made me curious how much of that was experiences you had.
Kristen: It’s kinda like my life, in a way. Mary’s vaguely like my life, filtered through the pop culture I’ve consumed and my perspective on the world. I try to make the humor come from the characters, how I think about things. That’s usually the kind of jokes I think of.
PopCultHQ: Is there anything you want people to be on the watch for that you have coming up?
Kristen: Yeah, next year I’m going to be having two books coming out. I’m going to have a project I’m working on with Dark Horse, which will be really cool.
PopCultHQ: “To be named later…”?
Kristen: <laughs? Yeah. And I have another thing, a graphic novel that I wrote and drew. That’ll be next summer.
Special thanks to Kristen for making time to speak with PopCultHQ and for Dark Horse setting up our interview. Be sure to follow Kristen online for all the latest from the talented creator! And check out all of what Dark Horse Comics is doing too!
Here’s a preview of Kristen’s book. Be sure to snag a copy today!
Mary Posa hates her job. She works long hours for little pay, no insurance, and worst of all, no respect. Her coworkers are jerks, and her boss doesnt appreciate her. Hes also a supervillain. Cursed with a conscience, Mary would give anything to be something other than a henchgirl.
From the illustrator of Little, Brown Books VIP: Im With the Band.Collects issues #1-#11 from Scout Comics.
“Its a terribly fun read.” -io9
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