The creator of Henchgirl explains how this year's NYCC is much different from last year's NYCC, from her artist perspective.
Kristen Gudsnuk, behind the Dark Horse Comics logo
The creator of Henchgirl, Kristen Gudsnuk

At New York Comic Con, a ton of talented people walk around or hang out at the 4 day event. Kristen Gudsnuk is one of those talents. The creator of Henchgirl, which tells the story of Mary Posa and her “super villainy” in Crepe City, will have her work collected thanks to Dark Horse Comics next year. Read on to find out how this opportunity came about.

TheOASG: Hi, how’s NYCC been for you this weekend?

Kristen Gudsnuk: Oh it’s been really really fun, super busy, and just really great to meet fans and catch up with fellow artists.

Especially in the Artist Alley right?

Oh yeah, it’s pretty swamped down there.

Meeting all the fans down there, that’s gotta be a pretty cool experience huh?

Yeah there was like a, I think a 15 year old girl who was just like, freaking out at me, and I was just super flattered because a couple years ago I was down there. Nobody had any idea who I was, and now it’s pretty crazy.

Dark Horse is collecting Henchgirl in March. How did the opportunity to work with them come about?

Actually the opportunity came about last year at NYCC. I was tabling and one of the editors came up to me and saw my books and fan art. They were like, “Tell me about Henchgirl!” and I guess I gave ’em a really good pitch *laughs* And now one year later the trade is now coming out through them.

And people say “In the Artist Alley you never know what can happen.” Well, that’s a good example of what can happen!

Especially at NYCC because that’s where all the professionals are! The smaller shows, you go there, you meet fans, but you’re not really gonna meet editors usually. But the big shows are definitely a good place for networking and opportunities.

What turned out to be the biggest challenge in working on Henchgirl?

Well, I started out doing it for fun on the side. Like when I got home from work long ago I would draw on the subway when I was commuting in. So originally the biggest challenge was finding time to work on it.
Then later on I decided to re-draw the first 4 issues entirely because they were terrible! *laughs* I didn’t know what perspective was, like I knew the concept of it but I didn’t understand its application in art. So I had to go back and re-draw a ton of stuff. So that was the biggest challenge, just putting aside like a year’s worth of time to redraw almost 100 pages. It goes to 85 pages.

What do you think attracted you to anime and manga?

Well it’s interesting because I think when I was coming of age in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, western comics I felt were very male oriented. They weren’t pretty to look at versus manga, which is very clean looking, and there’s also a lot more female creators. I started reading comics by — I think I picked up Ranma 1/2 and I fell in love with Rumiko Takahashi’s work. I got super obsessed with Inuyasha. It was hard to come by manga back in the day! So I would get a volume and just read it 30 times. I just devoured all her work.

I’ve heard the horror stories of having to get stuff (like anime or manga) shipped from some random place just to get a certain title.

Oh, I would bid on things on eBay all the time! I would just like, *laughs* my dad would luckily let me use his eBay account and stuff. And yeah, that was my big introduction to comics. And also Sailor Moon, I watched all the cartoons, Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, Escaflowne, Card Captor Sakura…all that! If they had big eyes I was like, “I’m tuning in!” *laughs*

For anime and manga, has anything gotten your attention this year?

Last thing I watched was Erased, where the guy goes back in time to try and save his classmate, then his mom. It was really cool, I really liked how high concept it was. Before that I watched Kill la Kill, which I’m really obsessed with, especially the theme songs. I’ve been watching more Western animation, but oh, also Madoka Magica, that was a few years ago and it was super great. I loved how it took my magical girls of my childhood and made them really dark and depressing.

What Western animation have you been keeping up with?

Recently Venture Bros, which I got super obsessed with. It’s so good, it’s kinda what I’m trying to do with Henchgirl, with the parody of super hero tropes, focusing on villains and just the small mundane moments in life. Rick & Morty is amazing, Steven Universe is the best thing ever, I love Avatar…you know, the ones everyone’s cosplaying are generally the ones that I got super into.

What’s next for you after NYCC?

We’re figuring out a few last details for the Henchgirl trade. I’m working on some new stuff too: a middle grade graphic novel that’s coming out in 2018. So not for a while but I still have to draw it!