Representation has been a sticking point among marginalized groups of people inside the comic book industry for nearly ten years now. Even at the most recent New York Comic Con, one could still hear creatives and marketers with mainstream sensibilities decry these rather recent developments.
Recently, I spoke with comic book writer Tee Franklin on her recent string of success in creating and putting out graphic novels that highlight characters and works from individuals representing historically disenfranchised groups.
The Shadow League: Tell me about the premise for the Bingo Love graphic novel?
Tee Franklin: Bingo Love is a book where I was inspired by a commercial with these two older black women walking down the street. They saw this older gentleman, they were flirting, and they were smiling. I decided to make my own thing about what if there was another woman involved? That was literally how it came across. The grandma is sexy. Grandmas are sexy, too!
I did some writing and came up with the concept, wrote a script and ended up taking it to kickstarter. I found an amazing artist, her name is Jenn St-Onge,, and I found a colorist, Joy San, and I have my amazing editor Erica Schultz. We put this kickass concept on kickstarter and made a boatload of money. We got some interest from Image Comics and a couple other publishers. I decided to go with Image.
TSL: What has the experience been like at Image thus far?
Tee: Image was the best publisher for what I wanted to do.
I dont want to be pigeonholed as a romance writer or a horror writer. I have other ideas in my brain and whatever speaks to me at the time is something that Im going to write. I cant speak for anybody else, but I have tons of ideas and Im gonna make it do what it do. Right now its queer grandmas, a horror book with an Asian woman with the head of a white man. Thats another project that Im doing. Im all over the place with my stories and I just hope that people enjoy them all and continue to support the books that I put out.
TSL: What has been the most surprising part about this endeavor thus far?
Tee: That Image actually wanted a book about queer black grandmothers. If Im not mistaken, I am the first black woman with a series or an OGN at Image. Im not 100 percent certain, but Im pretty sure. I know Im definitely the first black queer disabled woman. So, yeah. Its a beautiful thing. It sucks that it took so long, but Im just here to put out amazing books and have marginalized creatives to write alongside of me. Thats the most important part to me. Representation is important to me in everything that I do. Everything that I put out has tons of representation in it.
Bingo Love with be out on February 14th, 2018 and can be preordered here.