“I’m Bugbyte or just Bug! I’m from Buffalo, New York, and I’ve been making comics since 2004. My best known comics are Messenger and Follower, which are two long-form science fiction comics that take place in the same universe, but I also make lots of other little comics. I’ve contributed comics to anthologies like Blank Party, Gamera vs. Zine-ra, and the Morphin Grid Zine. Most of my work is available on radiochio.com.”
What do you do? (Write, draw, edit, publish, promote etc.)
How did you get started doing that?
I do a little of everything when it comes to making comics! Sometimes I work with my husband, Delade, who writes a lot. He scripts all of Follower, and edits a lot of my writing for Messenger. I do most of the writing alone on the other comics I make. We’ve known each other since elementary school, and we’ve both loved writing for at least that long, so we tend to think alike on a lot of projects. We have a lot of “get out of my head!” moments. I started making comics not too long after we met, which consisted mostly of a notebook full of weird little comics about stick figures and kitchen utensils having adventures.
I started making “real” comics around the time I graduated high school, and got more serious about it during college. When you make your own comics, you end up doing a lot of stuff like promotion and prepress on your own, so I’m of course very involved with all that as well. I have a background in graphic design, so it’s fun to get to use my skills in other parts of my own projects. It’s neat to have a hand in all aspects of a final project, and I’ve also learned a lot by doing so much on my own.
What was your first comic to create? Why that one? First to read?
Although I created a lot of little experimental comics during school, the first comic I can talk about that anyone might recognize is my webcomic, Messenger. It’s based on a story I wrote while I was in high school, and I remember trying to make a point of using very clear imagery while I was writing. Around the same time, I wanted to experiment with creating a long-form comic, and it seemed to make sense to use the story as the basis for it
The first comic I remember going out of my way to read was Calvin and Hobbes, and this was back when it was still in the newspaper every Sunday. Eventually my younger brother got one of the books, and I was hooked on it.
Any current or upcoming projects we can find you on?
My current big project of the moment is Follower.
Favorite inspiration, collaborators, other professionals you’ve worked with if any?
It’s a lame answer, but I find the entire webcomics community really inspiring. When I see so many other people pouring so much energy and passion into personal projects, it motivates me even more to keep making comics.
Anyone you’d like to collaborate with some day? Why?
I haven’t done a lot of collaborative work outside of what I do with Messenger and Follower, but it’s something I’d like to explore. I’m not sure who I’d want to work with, honestly, but I hope I have the opportunity to work with a lot of different kinds of people eventually. I want to try a lot of different kinds of stories and ideas.
Favorite genre to read? To work in? Are there any you won’t work in?
Science fiction and fantasy stories will always be my favorite to read, because in a way it’s like making these amazing technologies and magical things real. I also really like drawing these sorts of stories, but I’ve recently gotten into making autobio comics, too. It’s fun to try and cut something from real life into a little strip, and make it into a story. I’d probably try working in any genre at least once.
Have you ever faced adversity/discouragement for being a woman in your field? How did you overcome it?
At a con once a man asked Delade if he was the artist of our comics, and when I piped up and said I was, he just stopped talking and walked away. It was so bizarre! All I could do was laugh and post about it on Twitter. Your loss, buddy!
Coolest moment you’ve had as a creator?
I’ll never get over going to conventions and interacting with readers. It remains the coolest thing ever when someone buys a book from me and then immediately asks me to sign it. It makes me feel more legitimate about what I’m doing than almost any other part of the job.
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 don’t think it’s perfect, but I do think it’s improving a little bit all the time. It makes me happy to see pockets of supportive groups of women working in comics, as well as readers of all genders. Webcomics is a really fantastic venue for connecting readers and creators, and the support for women creators is everywhere. We all need to work together and support each other, and it’s happening!
Who are some of your favorite/most inspirational female characters to read? What about in other media (novels, TV, movies, pop culture)? Why?
Most of the comics I’m currently into have pretty great female characters – I’ve been reading a lot of The Wicked + The Divine and Saga lately, and there are just so many between the two. In other media, I really love both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I got super excited so many times while we were watching through DS9 because there are so many wonderful, competent, fully-realized female characters throughout the entire series – regardless of species, or whether they’re a “good” or “evil” character.
What do comics mean to you?
To me, comics are the perfect blend of visual and written storytelling. Words and pictures, used together, do things that neither can do on their own.
Advice to other female creators in the field?
If you love making comics, make comics: whether it’s a photocopied half-fold comic, or a webcomic, just make it and put it somewhere where people can see it. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, there is someone out there who’s been dying to read exactly what you’ve made. Keep doing it.
What are you currently reading?
I’m catching up on The Wicked + The Divine, and I just read through most of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel run. I picked up Space Battle Lunchtime recently and I’m really looking forward to the second issue! I’ve been trying to jam more “real” books into my reading time, but it’s just not happening.
Want to join the project yourself? Hit me on twitter @Beebidon!