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Q&A: Cartoonist Paige Braddock

Paige Braddock is creative director at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. Her comic, Jane’s World, is chock full of “girl-on-girl action, chicks with guns, a vegan menace, vintage Winnebagos, drag queens, and downward career spirals.”

We recently asked Paige, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, to submit a Southern-themed comic exclusively for The OA. She responded with the incredible handiwork and answers to our Q&A below.

paige braddock jane's world

 


 

THE OXFORD AMERICAN: What comics did you read as a kid? Which ones do you read now?

PAIGE BRADDOCK: I read mostly newspaper comics as a kid. Beetle Bailey, Peanuts, Garfield, and, Calvin and Hobbes, to name a few. I was also a huge fan of  Popeye.

Today I read Richard Thompson’s comic Cul de Sac, and then mostly I read comic book titles. I follow specific authors and artists, namely Darwyn Cooke and the Batwoman titles written by Greg Rucka.

THE OA: Who is your all-time favorite cartoonist?

PB: I’m creative director at Charles M. Schulz’s studio in California, so my official answer has to be Charles Schulz. He is my all-time favorite anyway, so that works out.

THE OA: Did you ever consciously decide to be a cartoonist? Or were you always doodling and drawing all your life, and then one day someone paid you for your art? 

PB: I knew when I was seven that I wanted to be a cartoonist and focused on achieving that goal all through high school and college. It didn’t happen right away. For twelve years I worked as an illustrator for various newspapers, Chicago Tribune and The Atlanta Journal Constitution to name a couple.

THE OA: Have you ever had any formal art training?

PB: Yes, I mentored under a professional cartoonist in high school named Dave Graue. He wrote and drew a comic titled “Alley Oop.” And then I got a BFA in illustration from the University of Tennessee.

THE OA: Can you recommend a cool cartoonist/graphic novel/whatever that we’ve never heard of? Bonus points if it's Southern!

PB: There’s a fairly new comic strip called “Scary Gary,” written by Mark Buford who lives in Atlanta. You can find the comic online at GoComics.com. His feature is syndicated by the same group that syndicates my comic, “Jane's World,” and also the same group that syndicates “Calvin and Hobbes.”

THE OA: What’s your stance on superhero comics—love ’em, hate ’em, totally apathetic?

PB: There are a few I like...Batwoman (recent story arcs) and Catwoman. But I don’t read a lot of super hero comics. I prefer graphic novels like Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (who lives in Houston).

THE OA: Do you practice any other forms of visual art? Like graffiti, murals, photography, painting, sculpting, etc.?

PB: Not really. Ink on paper is by far my favorite medium. And as everything goes more digital, I find that there’s still a strong following for this art form.

THE OA: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received about your work?

PB: In high school, a professional artist said I had the most raw talent of anyone he’d ever met. At that point, I was fifteen and had no formal training, because I’d just spent five years in the Mississippi public school system that doesn’t have any art programs. 

THE OA: What’s the most disparaging remark you’ve ever received about your work?

PB: I did a comic in my college paper called “Sadie.” Long before someone could rant about things online, someone bothered to cut the strip out of the paper, light it with a match, and mailed the charred pieces to me in an envelope with a note that read: “This is the only time Sadie will ever be hot.”

It’s actually pretty funny if you think about it.

THE OA: What’s the most inadvertently insulting thing anyone has said about your work?

PB: “You are a very talented cartoonist for a woman.”

THE OA: What non-cartoon art or literature or music inspires your work?

PB: I’m a huge fan of Cormac McCarthy and also of James Agee. 

THE OA: What do you hope to make your readers feel or think about when they see your work? Or is that not something you consider as you draw?

PB: I think my work makes people feel better. I had two different fans (one man, one woman) who both e-mailed me recently to tell me that they keep a copy of the Jane’s World book on their night stand, and when they wake up in the night and are scared or if they just don’t feel good at the end of the day, they read Jane’s World, and it makes them feel better. That’s really all an artist or writer can hope for. That kind of feedback makes me feel like what I’m doing matters.

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