I first spotted Dirty Diamonds when it was mentioned on one of my favorite local sites, Geekadelphia. It hooked me in because it was created by two ladies from Philadelphia (Philly pride!), who wanted to have a creative outlet for women to share their comics or love of comics. I couldn’t stop myself from learning more about this project so I contacted the lovely duo, Kelly Phillips and Claire Folkman, behind this all-girl comic anthology to learn more.
All Geek to Me: First of all, congrats on getting to your fifth issue! But how did this all-girl comic anthology first come about?
Claire: Thanks so much! We’re really excited about this issue and all the attention it has been getting; it’s going to be a good one, that’s for sure! Kelly and I have been side by side comic creators since 7th grade cartooning club, so it seemed natural that we would start working together on one more elaborate comic projects.
Kelly: I remember us sitting around one summer when a bunch of anthologies were coming out, wondering why there wasn’t a dedicated place for women making comics to publish their work. Then we decided we should just do it ourselves! It started with four of us in Philly (Claire and I, plus our friends Carey Pietch and Dre Grigoropol), and it’s grown from there.
All Geek to Me: Each issue has it’s own theme, how do you go about choosing that theme?
Kelly: We want the themes to be really easy to relate to, and broad enough to encourage all kinds of interpretations. We’ve always gotten so many fantastic stories from such simple themes.
Claire: I know I like to make sure our themes are specific to what’s going on in the here-and-now but general enough that the girls have room to come up with a wide variety of stories.
Kelly: I like when contributors try to bend the meaning of the theme and break the rules a little bit! The themes help shape a reader’s perspective of each comic as soon as they open the book, so when a comic isn’t an obvious interpretation of the theme, readers already have an idea of where that particular comic is coming from.
All Geek to Me: What made you decide to make the latest theme, Comics? Does it have to do in part with a growing surge of people shinning a light on the fact that there needs to be more women in the comics industry? Or that there is still some weird stigma that women don’t like comics?
Kelly: This issue is a milestone for us, so we wanted it to have a little more punch. I think delving into the reasons why we’re all making comics in the first place, rather than some other art form, is really interesting.
Claire: Personally, I love talking about comics, so I thought it would be interesting to read about other people’s connections with a genre that means so much to me and my work. I know I wasn’t thinking about the press and stigmas associated with women in comics when we developed the theme, but I think it’s stellar that everyone is using this issue as a catalyst to talk about it. If the problem is how to get more women in comics, then women writing comics about comics seems like a good place to start!
Kelly: As someone who’s read and drawn comics my whole life, I don’t always personally feel the stigma around women and comics, but it’s something that definitely exists. It’ll be great to see how the women who submit to this issue found themselves in comics and what thoughts they have about creating and enjoying them.
All Geek to Me: What does the future hold for Dirty Diamonds?
Claire: We’re doing a lot of traveling this year to a variety of comic events (check out dirtydiamonds.net to see where we’ll be heading!), which is my favorite part of the comics world.
Kelly: It’s great to meet fellow comic artists and expose new people to our anthology and the diverse group of ladies whose work we get to publish. We’re also doing our first Kickstarter soon to fund this issue, so the book itself will be bigger and better than ever! And of course, another issue will be right around the corner once this one is finished…
Claire: With every issue, things get bigger and bigger. It’s so thrilling to be involved in a project that people really gravitate towards and are excited about getting involved with.
If you want to be involved with this project, you still have time! Submissions are due by March 10th at midnight. All the details are on their site, dirtydiamonds.net.
Thank you ladies for taking the time to talk about this all-girl comic anthology and for even creating it in the first place! I can’t wait to get my hands on this issue!