I'm incredibly honored to have been selected for a third year in a row for Emerald City Comicon's 2017 Monsters and Dames charity book for Seattle Children's Hospital! Just like the years before, there are 1,000 copies that will be printed and available at the convention's merch booth (not my own booth, however you can definitely stop by mine [Booth 307] and have me sign a copy if you get one).
One thing I really like about the concept of this book is that each year I've challenged myself to try new things, different angles, more colors, creative types of creatures and most importantly diversifying the actual women in my art. I see these books as an opportunity for me to empower different types of women each time and want to use it as a platform as best as I can.
For years I pretty much only drew my characters from L.A.W.L.S. (Cadence and Autumn) and Anhedonia Blue (Eydis and Valdis), who without much consideration as to why, ended up being stereotypical white women. With each Monsters & Dames submission so far I've been pushing myself to create stronger female characters that have more diverse influences. For instance, in my 2016 Monsters and Dames piece I chose to draw inspiration from different aspects of African culture. My challenge that year was coming up with a strong black woman, which hopefully accurately and tastefully represented aspects of African beauty without falling into any racial stereotypes. It may be because, as a white male, I've conditioned myself to be sensitive about respecting cultural diversity. So much so that I worry quite a bit about offending anyone or any particular culture. However, I think it's important for all of us, White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc to celebrate one another through art. In making pieces like this I hope if even in the smallest ways, I can inspire more people to think about others as equals. Which leads me to why I'm particularly excited about this piece.
Post the 2016 Presidential Election, with a rising hateful rhetoric (particularly against our Muslim American brothers and sisters) I felt it was important to show a badass but beautiful, strong Middle Eastern woman. She wears a nazar (evil eye), an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil (a common symbol in my work), a golden bracelet of the triple moon that represents new beginnings, new life, and rejuvenation, and other meaningful jewelry. The presence of the ghosts that come to life as an extension of her hair have a number of metaphors as well. With the ghosts of our past, and a hope for new life and stronger future, I hope that America can step away from our demons and move forward together; no matter what race, gender, political or economical backgrounds we may have.
All that being said, I hope you guys like this piece as much as I do. You can get it this year in the 2017 edition of the Monsters & Dames book at the convention itself. If you liked last year's submission, I will be selling it as a limited edition metallic printing (only 15) at the con. Like always, if any are left at the end of the show, I will make them available at Corvink.com. Which, if you didn't know there are still a few of the first years Monsters & Dames available now, in my new "Limited Editions" section of my site.