Aha Moment: "Love and Rockets"
Comic book author-illustrator Jessica Abel has a gift for depicting paralyzing awkwardness -- she works from experience.
A punk-rock teenager, Abel went to college in a midwestern town and found herself an outsider in a sea of blue jeans and sweatshirts.Then she went to the local comic book store, and discovered, among other comics, one titled "Love and Rockets."
"'Love and Rockets' is a comic book series by a pair of brothers, by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez, and it tells the story of this tragic, attractive gangster character, Speedy. Maggie, who is the main character throughout this entire series, has a giant crush on him.
"I could identify so strongly with the main character. Maggie was a punk-rock kid, but never so sure of herself there in a Mexican town outside of L.A., a very poor neighborhood. Even though it is not my environment, Jaime is so good at telling us about that world, that it feels like you can know it. It is a world you want to enter into, even at its grubbiest, even at its meanest."
From this moment on, Abel could take on the task of creating comics in a largely male-dominated world.
"It didn't bother me that it was a boy's world. Being female, and wanting to do this was my opportunity to be 'punker' than I was before. I would have been thrilled if there had been more women involved in it, but it was a cool challenge that there weren't."
Support PRI when you purchase Jessica Abel's comics from Amazon.com.