Somewhere In Between

In Europe biographical comic has been one of most expressive sub genres in graphic novel, it has delivered amazing books for decades. And despite of superheroes, in the US we can find some beautiful pieces as well, which is natural in this culture where all kind of artists have been showing the world the core of America through any other discipline.

Megan Levens is a newcomer artist, expressing her life through fiction in her comic/webcomic Somewhere in between, an outgoing series about Molly, a girl living in one of those days… actually one of those years or phases in life, all of us have done or will do, when finding our way into life shows to be more complicated than we usually see on a screen.

Written and illustrated by Levens, the story will get you subtly, because it’s a common story, it could be related to anyone we know, or ourselves, why not? But a common story is not boring, or flat, on the contrary it can be revealing if the drama touches the accurate points of characters. Here you’ll find that and more. Pretty soon you will love/hate Molly, Spencer, Marcelo, etc.

Somewhere in Between is an ongoing series available online, but the first 28 strips were printed as a book already (and thankfully, because no matter how we love webcomics and appreciate the value web has given us, there’s nothing like read any comic in paper). The only thing is that fonts are too small, and it is inevitable to wish it could be edited in color one day. We’ll just have to wait until Levens talent and Molly work it out. Meanwhile visit Somewhere In Between, follow on Facebook and buy the book if you have the chance.

Finally being a little biographical, you may feel curiosity about the author, so I was and fortunately she’s really open to interviews, so here are some words Megan Levens told me about herself and her comic.

  • How much of yourself can we find in the comic?
ML: Quite a bit! When the first few strips started going up, the first comments I received from my closest friends were how strongly the writing resembled the way I speak (and rant) about everyday events. So there’s definitely a lot of my voice in the writing.
  • It’s an autobiographical or auto-reflexive comic?
ML: I think it is best described as a fictional autobiography. The webcomic as it is now evolved out of an idea after I had lost my job to just write weekly comic strips with the flimsy premise of “weird stuff that happens everyday in Los Angeles when you’re unemployed and single”. I came up with a cast of characters based on people in my life, and once I had done that, a narrative started to emerge that made a far more interesting story for a comic than what I originally planned on doing. It’s a fiction in that the comic has a great deal more structure and plot than real life ever will, and some events and characters are very different, but it’s autobiographical in that it is based on a real series of events that happened in a very interesting year of my life.
  • Rio is a city on fire right now, with the anouncement of the Worldcup, the Olimpics, this past weekend we had UFC Río, so many mo have been filmed there or about in the last months/years, etc. Does this has to do something for you, or it is just coincidence?

How many times have you asked yourself "How did I end up here?"

ML: I think it’s a happy coincidence for me and the future success of “SIB” that the whole world is so interested in Rio de Janeiro right now. I actually did visit Rio, and when I sat down to write the comic it became obvious that the story would not work if it were set anywhere else besides LA and Rio. It always had to be Rio. The effects that this city in particular, its music, its landscape, and its people have on the heroine, Molly, are very specific and important in contrast to LA. It’s also very important to me, as a foreigner consciously writing about Rio from the perspective of a gringa tourist, to be faithful and accurate in my depiction of the city and its culture. I love the place and the people too much to just write another story about some American woman who goes off to “find herself” and falls in love with some exotic man on an exotic beach while bossa nova music plays in the background. (Even though that did actually happen!)

  • Any chance to publish the comic in Portuguese?
ML: Sei lá? The Portuguese language is definitely already an important part of the story, and learning it is a part of what draws Molly to Brazil. I’ve always planned to write some parts of the story in Portuguese, and I’d love to have it translated in its entirety at some point to be able to gain a Portuguese-speaking following (although I’m not nearly fluent enough yet to do it myself!).
  • Recently, sexism has been a subject in comics world. A polemic issue. Some authors claim there’s a lot of it inside the stories, and in the industry as well. (Two notes about Grant Morrison about this as example). As an author and a woman how do you feel about this? have you ever suffered from it? You think it’s changing? Your thoughts?
It’s funny, being a female artist I get asked about this subject a lot, and I’m never sure how to answer. I personally have never felt as though I have been treated differently or taken less seriously as an artist simply because I am a woman. If anything I think female artists get extra positive attention because we are still somewhat of a “novelty”. The number of female creators, writers, artists and editors is growing every day and becoming more diverse in their work. That said, we are still in the minority, and the mainstream comics industry is definitely still a big “boys’ club”. In fact, I think they are suffering because of it now…I grew up reading superhero books, and actually the abundance of powerful and diverse (if not always practically-dressed) female characters was one of the things that drew me to comics, but in recent years I think these titles have lost a lot of readership to the up and coming indie comics scene, where one is far more likely to find a greater female presence. Personally I hope that, as they seem to be already doing, the major publishers begin to seek out new female talent, so that the classic superheroes (and heroines) that I grew up on can evolve alongside the newer genres of comics, and go on to continue being relevant to and representative of today’s male and female readers.

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One response to “Somewhere In Between

  1. Pingback: Comic de visión femenina | Noveno Arte | Reseñas | Desautomatas


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