Laura Lee Gulledge
Comics | Reporter Henry Hanks asks three experts about the increasing tendency toward “headline-grabbing plot twists” in comics, such as the death of Damian Wayne, and which ones they think have been the most successful. “I strongly believe that The New 52′s Batgirl can be seen as a great example of a major plot shift or re-imagining of a story that required readers to let go of a long-loved character (Oracle) and begin to believe in Batgirl as a new character, one who’s recovered from a life-threatening attack,” says Dr. Andrea Letamendi, a clinical psychologist and convention speaker. “The character essentially presented the determination, resilience and psychological strength that she needed to put the cape back on after a severe injury, just as readers were challenging her ability to represent a strong rebooted character. It’s as if we could relate to the weight on her shoulders, because we were a part of that process. [CNN]
Laura Lee Gulledge has an interesting double life: She’s the creator of the graphic novel Page by Paige, which was published by Abrams earlier this year, but like many others in the field, she also has a day job. It’s a very unusual day job though: Gulledge is a scene painter for store window displays, and she worked on the holiday displays for several big New York department stores. She has posted some fascinatingly surreal videos and photos of the windows she worked on at her blog, It Needs More Glitter, and she told me that she painted all of the Saks windows herself, rather than working with a group, adding, “so you can recognize my inking style in the finished work.” Gulledge is working on a children’s picture book concept that is inspired by her Christmas-window work—a book that she would love to see as the starting point for a real store window, thus bringing the whole thing full circle. I was curious how she mingles her two careers in real life, so I e-mailed her a couple questions.
Robot 6: How do you integrate your graphic novel work with your store windows–do you have to set everything else aside when the holidays draw near?
Laura Lee Gulledge: Anyone in comics can tell you that there isn’t a lot of money in it, especially when you’re a new author building an audience. So working as a “holiday elf” for 4 months of the year has been a good way to supplement my income over the past couple years while working on my comic projects. Unfortunately, taking away time from a book when you already have a deadline (just so you can pay the bills) can be hard. With Page by Paige I gave myself only 7 months to draw it all out because I worked a season on Christmas windows, which was insane. For my next book I’m giving myself more time to draw it, so I might not be able to fit in another season of windows. It’s been a great learning opportunity to be a scenic artist, but ultimately I’d like to be drawing full time.