- Posted by Johanna on May 7, 2009 at 8:05 am
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
I spoke recently via email with Gina Biggs, creator of Red String, a teenage love story set in Japan.
Congratulations on reaching your sixth anniversary creating Red String! When you started, did you expect to be going so long?
GB: Thank you so much! Honestly, no, but the more I would write for the planned story, the more the world of these characters opened up to me. I think it’s more that the characters lead me at this point. Late last year, I ended up expanding the planned story by one more volume (seven chapters) in order to flesh out a part of the story that really called for more attention.
How much longer do you plan to work on this story? Your website says 15 chapters to go, but how does that translate to months/years?
GB: Each chapter of the story takes about two months to complete on the site. I believe it works out to approximately two and a half more years of Red String, give or take. There might be a few side stories that pop up at some point, but not much else. I could keep going with the story, but one of the things I really appreciate in any form of literature is a beginning and an ending to a story.
What spurred your choice of this story? This format?
GB: I would have to say it started with my love of mythology. I am always reading up on folklore of other cultures. At the time, I was reading up on Japanese myths and the Red String of Fate caught my attention. It was just about this time that the TokyoPop RSOM contest was going on, so I created a story out of it. When I continued the story, it started to shift from a simple romance to a story about all forms of love.
Why do you think you’ve been able to continue so long? What do readers like about the comic?
GB: I think it’s continued so long for a good many reasons. It’s a story I have remained enthusiastic about after all this time, and I really enjoy writing the characters. Fan support has definitely helped keep me going as well. The thing I hear most from new readers is that they enjoy the realistic touch to the story, and they can really relate to the characters. There are a good handful of coincidences, but considering it’s a work of romantic fiction about fate, there are bound to be some of those. Otherwise, I try to write the story with the constant question of “could that really happen?” or “would that character really react that way?” on my mind. I like to think it helps keep the story grounded.
Your first three collections were published by Dark Horse, but you’re self-publishing the fourth. Why?
GB: First, I want to say that Dark Horse and I parted on excellent terms. The folks there are good people. The first volume’s sales performed on target, which is why they contracted me for the second and third volume. Unfortunately, sales of those volumes being what they were, a fourth volume was unlikely. I had also come to the conclusion that Red String would make enough money for me, but not enough for me AND a big publishing company.
Red String Volume 4 is due out this month, just in time for Animazement in Durham, NC. I will have copies with me at the convention, but you can also pick one up at my website.
Does the comic support you?
GB: I am making at least the same or a little more than when I was working retail, though not all of it comes directly from Red String. I do commissions occasionally and sell a good number of t-shirts and buttons unrelated to Red String at conventions.
Do you have a particular favorite page that you’ve done? Why is it your favorite?
GB: That’s a tough call! There are quite a few pages that stand out to me as favorites either for artists or emotional reasons, but I think it all comes down to love prevailing over everything else. In this instance, I’m not talking about romantic love. Miharu and her cousin have been at odds for quite a while in the series and this scene was something that really struck emotionally for me. Things may never be quite the same for the girls, they have overcome their problems and come together as family.
Did you get started doing Red String?
GB: Red String was not my first comic, but definitely my longest. I put together an anthology series titled Fractured Kisses, though admittedly, the art and writing is so dated at this point. Love of Sausage remains one of my most emotional pieces I have written as it is an autobiographical piece about my mini dachshunds, one who is sadly no longer with me. Aside from Red String, I am also currently working on a series titled Erstwhile. It is comic version of the lesser known fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.
What do you plan to do after Red String concludes?
GB: I am developing a few different story ideas at the moment. One of which is a fantasy tale and another is an American high school romance. I haven’t decided which will be my next webcomic, but I am excited about both ideas.
My thanks to Gina for her time!