Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the vital role many women have had in history so in order to kick off the month in the best way possible, Comic Watch had the chance to interview Erin Bried. Erin is the founder and Editor in Chief of Kazoo Magazine– an award winning publication that is taking the comics industry by storm! Take a few minutes out of your day and look at the future of comics with us!
Comic Watch: It’s officially Women’s History Month [ed note this will run in March]. Erin, you have been making waves in the comics industry with Kazoo Magazine, a quarterly comics magazine targeted at a 5-12 year old female audience. The magazine has won multiple awards already since launching in 2016, so I’m sure readers want to know what to expect out of 2020 and beyond for this bold new project?
Erin Bried: Kazoo magazine—which is a new kind of quarterly print magazine for girls, 5 to 12—runs one, six-page True Tale comic in every issue, so comics are definitely a part of what we do but they’re not all we do. In our 64, ad-free pages, we also feature a ton of fun activities and games (like secret codes and search-and-finds), a short story by a major author (like Joyce Carol Oates and Angela Flournoy) and stories about science, art, engineering, critical thinking and more. And because representation matters so much, we develop all of our stories with top women in their fields, and we’ve worked with all sorts of amazing role models, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jane Goodall, Misty Copeland, Elizabeth Warren, Dolores Huerta, Ellen DeGeneres, the US Women’s National Soccer team and so many others. There’s no other girls magazine like Kazoo!
We have big plans in 2020. In addition to just releasing our first book Noisemakers, we’re working on some exciting issues for our young readers, who now span the globe. We ship Kazoo to subscribers in 44 countries worldwide now, and we hope to keep growing!
CW: You recently published your first graphic collection, Noisemakers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices and Changed the World to great critical success. Are there any other mass-distribution collections like this planned for the future?
EB: Thank you! Well, we’ve got a two-book deal with Knopf, so we definitely have another exciting book in the works. And I have so many ideas beyond that, I just wish there were more hours in the day.
CW: The comics industry has long been a boys club. While there have always been influential women in comics—Trina Robbins, Louise Simonson, Marie Severin, etc.—it hasn’t been until recently that women working in the industry have had the sort growing exposure as we’re seeing today. Kazoo has already worked with so many prominent female artists but who is still out there on your wish list to bring into the fold?
EB: It’s such an exciting time to be working in comics, and I’m so grateful to have had the chance to work with so many greats already: Lucy Knisley, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Alitha E. Martinez, Emil Ferris. Every single one of our contributors has knocked me flat with their talent and vision. And there are certainly other artists who I dream of working with some day. Alison Bechdel has already contributed a comic and a spot-the-difference to Kazoo, and I’d love to work with her again in a bigger way. She’s a goddess. Also on my dream list: Jillian Tamaki, Tillie Walden, Julia Wertz, Roz Chast, Natacha Bustos, Afua Richardson, Amy Reeder, Elsa Charretier. I could go on and on!
CW: Amy Reeder (Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Amethyst) once told me the next step for women in comics is to break the barrier and be referred to as “legendary” or “geniuses”. Until she said that, I had not noticed how those labels are almost exclusively heaped on male creators. What are your thoughts on the topic?
EB: She’s right! I think that if women (in any field) wait to be deemed worthy or legitimate by those in power, then we could be waiting for a very long time. Words have power, and if we want that power, then we’ve got to start claiming it for ourselves.
CW: If you could go back in time and talk to yourself as girl/young woman, what advice would you give yourself?
EB: Don’t be afraid to be different. It may feel scary, but what makes each of us unique is our greatest strength. That’s what I tell my daughters too, and I hope they take it to heart.
CW: Any parting thoughts/words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?
EB: If you like our book, please consider also subscribing to the magazine for any kids in your life or for your local library at www.kazoomagazine.com. As an ad-free indie, we’re 100% subscriber funded, and we count on the support of good folks out there who want to give their kids not only something powerful to read but also a better, more hopeful world to live in.
Making History: An Interview with Erin Bried