Interview with Comic Writer Kara Barrett

It’s not every day that I stumble upon a comic that 1. has a strong female lead 2. has awesome art 3. involves fighting, superpowers, and other such kick-ass elements. Kara Barrett’s The End Is Totally Nigh gets a little checkmark for each of my qualifications for a throughly enjoyable comic book read. And there’s a lot to learn from Ms. Barrett, who made her dream comic happen through the help of Kickstarter, hired artists, and a ton of hard work. In this interview, she shares her experiences and advice for those looking to get their comics out into the world. (Oh, and check out a preview of the comic here.)

Convince us, in one sentence, that your comics are awesome.

The End Is Totally Nigh is one BIG burrito-wrapped apocalypse of awesome filled with hellfire, horseheads, heroes and demons! How’s that?

What is your favorite comic or graphic novel?

My favorite comics right now are Rachel Rising and Saga. But I’m always looking for new titles. You have any recommendations for me? I’ve also backed a few on Kickstarter that I can’t wait to read.

What (or who) inspired you to begin creating comics? Why did you begin writing and creating comics?

I read comics when I was a kid and then stopped. When Buffy went to comics, I picked up a few copies and fell back in love with them. A few years ago I started writing this story in a loose format. I looked at different mediums for my story, and ultimately decided that comics were the way to go. I think they are a great way to put your story into people’s hands.

Tell me about  The End Is Totally Nigh.

The End Is Totally Nigh is a story about a girl with mysterious abilities who is trying to stop the impending apocalypse. She suddenly has the ability to exorcise demons, but it isn’t sure how or why she is able to do this. All she does know is that the demon army is about to rise and Lucifer is going to walk the Earth. It’s up to her and a group of ragtag demon hunters to try make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s a supernatural story filled demon bad guys and plenty of apocalyptic drama. I think readers will really enjoy it.

If your comics had a soundtrack, what songs/artists would it include?

The End Is Totally Nigh playlist? Yes, I’ve got to create that!  I think there’s some country music on that playlist. T-R-O-U-B-L-E and Amarillo by Morning for the main character Jane. And Thunderstruck. That’s a must. I’ll have to ponder on the rest.

Why did you decide to write a comic with a strong female lead? When I began work on my own graphic novel, Fusion, I purposely wanted to break gender stereotypes so prevalent in superhero comics. Were you motivated at all by a similar “feminist” objective?

I definitely wanted strong women in this comic. The End Is Totally Nigh is filled with great female characters who take charge. They are also drawn in a more realistic manner than a lot of what you see in today’s comics. I hope that is a refreshing change for some readers.

You used Kickstarter to fund The End Is Totally Nigh. Would you use Kickstarter again to fund another project? Why did you choose to use Kickstarter in the first place?

I heard about Kickstarter and decided to try it as a last attempt to make this series happen. It was a lot of work but totally worth the effort. I think crowdsourced funding is helping a lot of indie writers get their stories to public. I think that means we can expect a lot more variety in comics and graphic novels. I would definitely try it again and may do so very soon. The End Is Totally Nigh is funded from my own pocket, so I will be in need of an influx of cash soon to keep the series going. 

What was most intimidating about breaking into comics, and what tips would you give others who are hoping to break in as well?

I think I read something recently where someone said, there is no such thing as ‘breaking’ into comics anymore because of sites like Kickstarter. If you have the gumption, you can just go out there and MAKE a comic. I think that’s true. Write a story you believe in, find an artist and get your funding. Anything is possible!

What advice would you give other aspiring comic artists and writers in regards to getting their stuff published? What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?

Self publishing is a lot of work, especially if you are new to the business and no one has ever heard of you. But the upside is that if you self-publish you can keep all of the profit. If you have the time and money to devote to self-publishing, then go for it. Personally, I am juggling full time work, freelance work and writing and promoting this series. My plate is pretty full. I have recently found a small indie publisher willing to help distribute the title. I hope to be able to announce who that is very soon. Once I have more experience I may pitch a new book to a big publisher and see if gets picked up. Ultimately, I think it’s really just a matter of what you have the time and money to accomplish.

How do you think the experience of comic creating and publishing differs for men and women (if it does at all)?

I really don’t know. This does seem to be a male dominated industry, but that is changing. Kickstarter and sites like that are giving a lot of female writers a chance to create and publish their own projects. That is really exciting. I’m glad to be a part of that.

What is your next project?

I have two in the pipeline. One is a mini series and the other is a one issue horror story. I hope to get the funds to do one or both of them later this year. Right now I’m devoting my energy to getting my series off of the ground and hopefully hitting some cons this year.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

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Dress Like a (Female) Superhero: Mystique

By Sarah Spoto, Contributing Writer

If you’ve only watched the earlier X-Men movies, Mystique may not seem like a hero, but in First Class she proves that villainy (and heroism) are not black and white.  Plus, I absolutely adore her style in the movie. Retro has been quite popular lately in the fashion world, and Mystique’s (aka Raven’s) contemporary spin on a 1960s look is perfectly relevant and charming.  Be warned, this post is strictly First Class Mystique inspired.  If you are looking for the blue Mystique-inspired look, check back in a few weeks!

Anthropologie Precious Metals Cardigan, $78

This sweet, delicate cardigan more or less portrays the feeling of Raven’s part good girl, part sexy, confident hero look.

Anthropologie Easton Garden Scarf, $58

This scarf is a fresh spin on Raven’s silk scarves from the movie.

Ralph Lauren Traveler Bag, $295

A sophisticated and utterly practical bag. I could picture Raven strolling through London with this one.

Lands’ End Canvas Softest Turtle Neck Sweater in Oatmeal Heather, $19.99

I actually own this sweater, and it is ridiculously soft. Plus, a turtleneck is mandatory if you are going for a late 1960s look. The Oatmeal Heather color gives it a nice contemporary spin (not all turtlenecks need to be black!).

Talbots Ama Patent Leather Almond Toe Pump in Peacock Green, $139

Patent leather pumps are a no-brainer staple for any professional woman, but I particularly like the color of these pumps. It does harken a bit to Mystique’s natural color, doesn’t it?

Lands’ End Luxe Wool Insulated Pea Coat in Garnet, $169.50

I couldn’t get Raven’s adorable grey pea coat out of my head (remember when she’s walking arm-and-arm with Charles through the rain?). This Lands’ End version is an affordable option. Unfortunately, unlike Raven, we can’t get James McAvoy for an accessory.

Etsy  Rozzie Long Turquoise Pendant Necklace

Pendant necklaces are certainly in style right now, and I love how this particular necklace harkens back to Raven’s gold pendant. Raven sports relatively low-key accessories in the movie,  and of the few, her pendant necklace is probably the best.

Urban Outfitters Wink  Metallic Open-Back Sweater Dress,  $99.99

The high neck on this sweater is reminiscent of Raven’s turtleneck dresses, and the back gives it a sexy touch.

Selection of sweater dresses:

There were so many Urban Outfitters sweater dresses I could have chosen from for this look. If you want Raven’s style, chose the best dress for your shape from this selection.

Leighton’s Doorman Umbrella, $31.95

So we can all pretend we are in London when it’s raining.

J.Crew Lilabeth Dress is Silk Taffeta in Caspian Blue, $295.00

How could I not help but put a blue dress in the mix? This may be the best way to get Mystique’s look…without paining yourself blue.

Whose look do you want to see next?

Sarah is an art and business student who enjoys the occasional graphic novel and the more than occasional Marvel hero movie. She is pursuing a career in the fashion and apparel industry.

Dress Like a (Female) Super Hero: Peggy Carter

Sarah Spoto, Contributing writer

Captain America was certainly a lot to look at in the recent film, but let’s be honest, his ass-kicking love interest gave him a run for his money.  Peggy looked hot and strong in both her military uniforms and flowing silk tops. Her red-hot nails and lips were the finishing touches for this strong-willed hero.

Peggy Carter’s style is one not to be overlooked, and so it kicks off the “Dress Like a (Female) Super Hero” series.  I’ve scoured the web to collect some of the most Peggy-inspired looks I could find. They are presented here at a variety of price points, so no matter who you are, you can get your Peggy fix with one of the items below.

Jcrew  Blythe Blouse in Silk, Alabaster $98

A neutral silk blouse is a stunning and effortless way to add a touch of Peggy-inspired look to your wardrobe…without actually looking like you’re trying to dress like a Marvel character

Ralph Lauren Astrid Leather Moto Jacket $1298

Obviously, this is a bit of a splurge, but if you are looking for an almost perfect match to Peggy’s jacket in the movie, then this is the choice for you.

Zappos Nikxon Alexa Moto Jacket $140

To even the price points out a bit, I’ve found a much more affordable, vintage-inspired leather jacket that is not a perfect match to Peggy but still evokes her 1940s, ass-kicking attitude.

Zappos Nix+Zoe Military Knit Jacket $93

Peggy’s look wouldn’t be complete without a military-inspired jacket. Military-inspired style has been in vogue for the last few months, so this jacket is a perfect fit to a modern wardrobe, Peggy or not.

Ulta Full Finish Lipstick in Espionage $18

Peggy’s look wouldn’t be complete without her stunning red lips. This dark red color from Ulta goes by the name “Espionage” and was a perfect fit to this Peggy collection.

Ulta Union Jack Pack Trio Nailpolish $36

Red nails are Peggy’s choice color, but I’ve chosen this trio pack in the red, black, and tan for a more everyday wearable selection.

Etsy 1950s Green Wool Skirt by ManicVintage $36

Since I was looking for 1940’s inspired pieces, I had to check out Etsy.com for a real vintage look. I found this wool tweed skirt that nearly matched Peggy’s in the film.

Etsy 1960s Burgundy Pumps by wildfellhalvintage $30

For a set of Peggy-inspired heels, I found a pair of 1960s vintage burgundy pumps. Etsy.com has a wide selection of great vintage heels in lots of different colors and styles. Wildfelhalvintage on Etsy also has a beautiful selection of vintage clothes worth perusing.

Etsy Vintage Military Pins by HALLAMHOUSE $9.50

Add a touch of military to your outfit with vintage military pins. I found these on Etsy for a pretty good deal.

That’s it for my Peggy inspired looks. Check back soon for more tips on how to dress like your favorite female hero.

If you have a suggestion for what hero should be next, leave a comment below.

Sarah is an art and business student who enjoys the occasional graphic novel and the more than occasional Marvel hero movie. She is pursuing a career in the fashion and apparel industry.