Interview with Kristen Gudsnuk, the Girl Behind Henchgirl

Interview with Kristen Gudsnuk, the Girl Behind Henchgirlof gold.  Following the recent print release, we at Comic Crusaders caught up with Kristen to hear her thoughts about amongst other things, inspiration, Injustice Gods and the impact of New Girl on the book.

CC: Checking out your website, it states you live in New York, so I gotta ask, Mets or Yankees?

KG: I’m not big into sports, but I always root for the underdog, so go Mets!!

CC: I really liked the book, is the book new stuff or pages that have been in the website?

KG: The book has some new content, but it’s also on the website! Henchgirl started out as a webcomic, after all, and the print issues are collecting the online content (with some cool extras, of course!).

CC: What challenges do you face in getting a book like Henchgirl out there and how do you overcome them?

KG: The main challenge when you’re a relative unknown is getting people to care about your story and characters. Luckily I have some dedicated readers who really brighten my day with their enthusiasm! And then, of course, when the book is going into print, money and storage space for the physical comics (especially when living in a tiny NYC apartment) are the more pressing dilemmas. But thankfully I’ve got a great publisher, Scout Comics, so I don’t really have to deal with that much anymore.

CC: Who or what is your inspiration for the book?

KG: I was watching all the old Bruce Timm DC Animated Universe shows when I started Henchgirl– from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited. I was also really getting into a few sitcoms, like New Girl, and I really liked the character-driven comedy and relatively low stakes of the latter. So I wanted to poke fun at this rich world of superheroes and villains, but also wanted to make a comic about being aimless and in your twenties. And so, Henchgirl was born! I’m also really inspired by Scott Pilgrim, which has really nice, streamlined art and a really great grip on melding action and comedy.

CC: Looking at issue one, a certain panel caught my eye, are you a fan of Injustice: Gods Among Us?

KG: My boyfriend was playing that game a lot (on PS3) when I was redrawing issue 1, and I’m pretty terrible at drawing impossibly buff men, so I may have used that image as reference for that panel! I’ve got a few other poses that are sort of homages to other things I like, such as Sailor Moon and BTAS. 🙂

CC: How does the current female creators/characters in comic books discussion affect you and the character of Henchgirl?

KG: I think we’re in a really good era of diversity in comics, but I’m pretty much on my own island when it comes to that stuff. I approached my comic writing about characters whose perspectives you wouldn’t really see in other stories. The big hero and the big villain are just ancillary characters. Mary (the titular Henchgirl) isn’t really very notable in her world, which I think makes her more relatable than someone with tons of money, fame, powers, and fancy tech. Women get more of a voice in my comic than a lot of others. I’m just trying to level the playing field a bit.

CC: What’s next for Henchgirl and yourself?

The story is going to end at issue 11, in a hopefully exciting, satisfying conclusion. As for me, I’m working on a bunch of different projects right now, including illustrating a series for Little, Brown called VIP. I’m doing a space western graphic novel with Kyle Gnepper of Unshaven Comics, and working on a few other things too.

Thanks for taking the time out for the interview Kristen.  For more information, check out www.henchgirlcomic.com and don’t forge to read the review of issue 1, found in our reviews section.

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