I’m Megan Rose Gedris, AKA Rosalarian. I live in Chicago. My work includes YU+ME: dream, Meaty Yogurt, I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space, as well as contributions to Filthy Figments, Smut Peddler, and various other publications. My website is rosalarian.com.
What do you do? (Write, draw, edit, publish, promote etc.)
How did you get started doing that?
I write, draw, and often self publish comics.
What was your first comic? Why that one?
I drew my first comic when I was 10, a 60-page ripoff of The Tick called Fly Guy. I think everyone’s early work is just ripoffs of things we like. I mainly read newspaper comics back then, but could occasionally steal X-Men comics from my brother. My mom thought it was inappropriate for me to read X-Men as a 10 year old girl, but it was okay to get them for my 5 year old brother. I didn’t really love X-Men, but I just wanted to read any comics I could get ahold of. When Sailor Moon came along, it was love at first sight and I never looked back. That was when I realized comics could be for girls, and I could be part of it.
Any current or upcoming projects we can find you on?
I’m currently working on a few anthologies, including Oath, a collection of queer superhero stories that I collaborated on with Rachel Dukes, and Enough Space for Everyone, a collection of sci-fi stories that don’t involve war or colonialism. I’ve been regularly contributing to Filthy Figments for its entire six year existence and I intend to keep going with that. And I have Meaty Yogurt, my webcomic about trying to break free from small town life.
Favorite inspiration, collaborators, other professionals you’ve worked with if any?
I’m inspired by all kinds of artists from Aubrey Beardsley to Junko Mizuno. I loved studying art history in school, so I often get caught up in different eras of art styles. One day I’ll be stuck on art deco, the next I’m into psychedelia. Keeps me from getting bored.
Anyone you’d like to collaborate with some day? Why?
I don’t collaborate much, but I’m trying to rectify that. Working with Rachel on the story for Oath was so fantastic. The story turned out exactly how I pictured it. I am completely amazed. I want to do this more. I’ve written far more than I could ever hope to draw. I keep a list of friends whose work I love, and I hope to someday pay each and every one of them to illustrate some of my work.
Favorite genre to read? To work in? Are there any you won’t work in?
My girlfriend likes to tease me for how much I like Japanese horror comics, but I can’t get enough of them. They’re creepy in all the best ways. I try to seek out comics that have female characters or some kind of female involvement. I’m not even so much offended by a lack of female characters. I just get bored with only seeing women as mothers or girlfriends. When I write, my stories almost always feature women and/or LGBT people as the main characters. I like adventure stories with sci-fi and fantasy elements, since world building is so fun.
The genres I avoid are anything about kids or animals. I’m terrible at drawing kids and animals. I thought becoming so renowned for drawing erotica would mean people stopped asking me to draw children’s books, but they keep asking. I never take those jobs.
Have you ever faced adversity/discouragement for being a woman in your field? How did you overcome it?
Years ago, I was getting so much abuse from MRAs over my comic I was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space. They actually had no problem with the queer content (pretty lesbians were okay with them) but were absolutely appalled by the “lack of male role models.” They couldn’t stand that all the important lines went to women, all the powerful characters were women, all the cool characters were women.
They’d send me constant abuse over it. I would very often cry, and be thankful I wasn’t more well known, since that would mean I’d be vulnerable for even more abuse. Then it made me angry. Here I was trying to avoid getting further in my career to protect myself from these guys. I had to harden my heart a lot, toughen up my skin. I realized I didn’t have to leave those comments on my site, I didn’t need to read those emails. They could cry censorship all they wanted, but they weren’t leaving constructive feedback. They were trying to abuse me enough that I quit, which was far more silencing than me deleting their terrible comments.
Coolest moment you’ve had as a creator?
I don’t think I have just one cool moment as a creator. It’s meeting people again and again who say my work was there for them when they were younger and feeling alone. Which is great, since that was absolutely my intention. I had one person say they had every intention of killing themself one day, but started reading one of my comics instead, and by the time they finished it, they wanted to live. That was really heavy to hear, and made me realize what a responsibility creators have in the world.
How do you think the current comics industry is toward women? What can we do to improve it further and create a safe space?
I mainly do webcomics, which is a pretty awesome place for women. There are no gatekeepers, no people in suits deciding that women have to be this way or that way. So many prominent webcomickers are women, and it’s great. So loving, so encouraging, so warm. I often forget what it’s like elsewhere in the comics world. Abuse and harassment within the companies, at conventions, at comic book stores.
One thing that alienated me from comics when I was young was the dungeon-style comic book stores that were the only option back then. Run by men who smelled like old bologna, who would flat out refuse to sell me books they didn’t think I “deserved,” who talked down to me while looking down my shirt. When more and more bookstores started carrying graphic novels, it reinvigorated my passion. Webcomics and ebooks can be read at home or anywhere, cutting out all the gatekeepers from all ends. I’m seeing more and more women-friendly comic shops, though. In my hometown, the dungeon closed down shortly after a fantastic lady-run shop opened up. People of all genders felt more welcome there, and voted with their dollars. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s profitable to be inclusive to women.
Who are some of your favorite/most inspirational female characters to read? What about in other media (novels, TV, movies, pop culture)? Why?
Right now, all my favorite comics are about women. Bitch Planet, Lumberjanes, Zodiac Starforce, Help Us Great Warrior. I didn’t intend to do that, but those were the ones that interested me. Not only were the main characters women, most of the other important characters were women, too.
See, when you have more than one female character, you can make those characters interesting. They don’t have to represent the entire gender. They can have flaws without it being a statement about all women, and flaws are what make characters interesting. They can be vulnerable without saying all women are weak. They can be mean without saying all women are mean. I love Furiosa, Jessica Jones, every single woman on Parks and Rec, every single woman on Brooklyn-99. Such diversity. They’re all so interesting!
What do comics mean to you?
Comics are just like any other form of media. They’re a way of telling stories. They are like a cross between books and movies. You gotta read, but you get pretty things to look at.
Advice to other female creators in the field?
I think we gals need, to a certain extent, to protect each other, or at least not make things more hostile for each other. We don’t have to all like each other. We just can’t stand back when we see other women getting attacked. We need to stop concerning ourselves so much with what men think of our work. There is enough of an audience that is interested in women as people that you can make a living from just them.
What are you currently reading?
Currently, I’m reading Paper Girls, Lumberjanes, Bitch Planet, and not enough books.
Want to join the project yourself? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me on twitter @Beebidon!