Yeah remember what happened to cartoonist Mike Diana in Florida. They crucified him. He can’t go within 500 feet of a drawing table or something like that or they’ll haul his ass to jail. Don’t know how they would know though.
Yeah, they cut his nuts off, but Mike was screwing around with religion and that always starts a war.
True that! I understand he had Jesus doing some despicable stuff, and his comic didn’t have any warning labels on it.
Some jaded mother picked it up and bought it for little Johnny, probably thinking that anything about Jesus would be sanctified. She thought someone else had done her due diligence for her and she didn’t bother to edit her purchase.
A mother will know right away what Superbitch is all about. If you even make it to a shelf at eye height!
Right! My stuff ain’t no Disney, happy, snow-white world. It’s not “Frozen”. My stuff is Hot! No mother who is paying attention is going to pick up a copy of a book with a scantily-clad, super-powered, black woman in a sexually suggestive pose with the tagline “Sex, Violence, Action Gore and More” printed on the cover! Let alone turn around and hand it to her little “Johnny”.
Right! Ironically, I understand that when Ira Harmon created you he was barely 15 years old!
That’s true! He drew the first images of me on typing paper and folded up a few sheets and wrote and drew my first adventure in color! He had to finish his homework first but after that he would get his art supplies out of his desk and let his imagination take off. I was waiting for him in a corner of his mind.
Where is that artwork now?
Who knows? The original art for “Superbitch in Outer Space” was stolen too! People would just go into his studio and help themselves to whatever they wanted. He’s a lot more protective of his art now. This new adventure of mine will produce the first original Superbitch production art in Ira’s possession since he returned to Chicago from San Jose, California back in the late 80’s.
Except now the artwork will be a mix of paper and digital. Right? A lot harder to walk away with!
Yup, because back in the day, everything was done on two-ply Bristol board with graphite and India ink. There are tons of Superbitch sketchbook art from over the years though. He never stopped drawing me.
What inspired him to create you in the first place?
Probably puberty! (laughter).
He had already been published in several magazines by the time he was a freshman in high school. His childhood characters that taught him how to draw culminated in being published in color in Chicago Midwest Magazine. That was kind of like the end of that artistic period. He was older then and done with the stuff he did as a little kid.
What was his early stuff about? It certainly couldn’t have been flying superbitches with radio-active pussy and battering ram tits!
No, not at all. Back then he was heavily influenced by the newspaper strips. Charlie Brown was one of his favorites. He needed validation though so he packed up a bunch of his strips and sent them off to Charles Shultz.
What became of that?
Shultz wrote him back. Or as well as it’s been remembered it was a package of information and inspiration with a letter from Shultz. He told Ira to submit his stuff to everywhere he could think of. He said to keep as many irons in the fire as you can because sooner or later one of them will get hot and you’ll be on your way.
So did the young cartoonist take his advice?
Yes he did as best he could with the resources available to him. If there was an internet back then, I guarantee he would have put it to use. Those were the days of gatekeepers, and an uneven playing field.
Yeah, the internet democratized everything so that you could get your stuff out there without being at the mercy of some small group of people and their particular tastes.
Exactly. It was very frustrating. Let me give you an example of some of the bullshit he had to put up with back then. His high school art teacher in his freshman year gave him an “A” first semester. Then she got wind of his recognition for his artwork in magazines and on television and she went ballistic.