I first became aware of I am Hexed through Instagram and I was quickly put under the spell of it’s wonderful artwork and smart writing. I became a donor to their successful Kickstarter campaign, but I felt the need to learn more about this political fantasy about the struggles of modern witches in America. Thankfully the series’ writer Kirsten Thompson was kind enough to answer a few questions.
DE: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be interested in making comics?
KT: I’m a writer and editor based in the PNW and have worked on indie comics projects as well as writing for sites such as The MNT, Teen Vogue, and Women Write About Comics. I’ve been reading comics since I was a kid and always wanted to write my own.
DE: So, witches and witchcraft is a subject matter that’s been tackled dozens of different ways. But your take fits into the realm of political allegory. Where did this idea originate from?
KT: I’ve heard the phrase “witch hunt” a great deal – largely from the sort of people who would never be the victim of one. I then posited what it might be like if witches were active in all walks of life and having an impact on politics in particular.
DE: The phrase “witch hunt” is used a lot by the President. Is it safe to say that it’s a hard pill to swallow when a victimizer paints himself as a victim? If so, does any of that feeling trickle down into the work itself?
KT: Yes, it’s a bit upsetting – to say the least. And, I think that given the protagonists are queer women, that comes through.
DE: This blog is mostly about the horror genre, witches are largely painted as villains in horror and fantasy. I have some friends who practice and they’ve described a complicated relationship with witches in popular culture. Are there any tropes you’re trying to avoid specifically?
KT:The perception of witches in the media has been negative for so long and that’s hugely frustrating to anyone who practices or indeed recognizes the harm of such stereotypes.
Tropes that I wanted to avoid certainly included the old hag, reckless use of curses, and also the secrecy as it can be used to harm. These witches are open about who they are and although they are fighting for equality, they are also very visible.
DE: Did you do any research into real-world witchcraft or is this mostly just rooted in fantasy?
KT: As a witch, I’m familiar with a lot of different traditions and drew inspiration from them. Some details have made it into I AM HEXED, but this is also a world with fantasy elements, and so I didn’t insert spells you could find in spell books into I AM HEXED – rather, this is a new system which has its own rules that readers will learn about as the story progresses.
DE: How did the creative team come together?
KT:I wrote all four issues of I AM HEXED and showed them to Taylor Esposito and he wanted to letter it. After that, I put out a call for artists and in the course of that and other searches, found Christianne Goudreau and Little Corvus.
DE: A lot of best horror and fantasy takes influence from what’s going on in the real world. Any similarly themed works that you feel influences your comic?
KT: This was inspired in part by the current climate and also by my desire to see more stories with women and queer people taking center stage. In regards to specific works that influenced this – not really, genre, certainly, but not any one book or movie.
DE: I first became aware of your comic through Instagram and directly after that, your crowd funding campaign? Any tips for people trying to crowd fund their own projects?
KT: I would say to set realistic goals, be organized, and be ready to go out and talk about it a lot and spread the word yourself, because that will help connect people to work that you’re passionate about.
DE: When is the first issue due out and where can people find it?
KT: The first issue will be sent out to backers in November/December.
DE: Anything in closing?
KT: Only that you can find me on twitter @katannthompson, and stay up to date on all things I AM HEXED at @hexed_comic.