HFZF Interview – Kat Verhoeven

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Kat Verhoeven loves the hard reality of black ink and the flexibility of digital colours. Based in Toronto, she works as an illustrator and cartoonist, author of TOWERKIND (Conundrum Press) and currently working on the web comic Meat&Bone.

Tell us a little about yourself and your zines.

kw 4While I predominantly publish my own works, and work solo as writer/artist, I’m also part of a collective of cartoonists and illustrators called Friendship Edition. Jenn Woodall of the collective will also be at the fair!

My works focus on city stories,sometimes with a flair of supernatural, always with women leads. These are womens stories and struggles. I have one published book called “Towerkind” about a group of diverse kids in Toronto’s underprivileged St. Jamestown community, and an ongoing webcomic about eating disorders, poly dating and self confidence at meatandbonecomic.com Most of my work can be found at verwho.com!

How did you start making zines? Who/what influenced you?

My first zine fair was OCAD’s winter student fair, which I think was in 2011? Some school people I knew remotely had been talking about it online, and I wanted to get into comics more seriously, it was a passion I’d been told was frivolous in university, but I missed making them.

Various twitter friends have been really encouraging, but at the time, following Emmett Phan, Sab Meynert and Marta Ryczko really influenced and inspired me. Though my comics are very narrative, I still feel most drawn to and passionate about experimental art comics.

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What does it mean to make feminist zines?

My feminism is very much about activism through representation. There’s many creators whose work is more direct, radical, and loud than mine, and I really appreciate those works, but I’ve never felt comfortable making them, myself.

The more I work to make inclusive stories (books I’m planning now have majority POC characters, many nb/trans characters, and predominantly queer casts), the more I think about this ideal Kevin Czap presents in his Futchi Perf, about a kind of utopianism. I’d like to show people a little bit more of what things could be if we were all better at playing along! At the same time, I don’t want to gloss over real and current problems. It’s always going to be a balancing act in my work.

In the act of publishing my own books myself, I’ve take a nice punch at the patriarchy. There are some stories I’ve put out that wouldn’t have a home with publishers, but I can present my ideas any way I want, on my own terms by putting them out into the world myself. I don’t think many publishers would be interested in a slice-of-life comic about dealing with anorexia.

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Tell us about a feminist who inspires you to keep working on your zines/projects.

My friend Jenn Woodall has opened my eyes in a lot of ways, especially to how feminism is needed in geek culture. She’s extremely passionate and well read on the subject, more than me. I try to keep up.

A lot of people I’ve met and gotten to know/know of online have influenced me immensely. Especially inspiring are women who’ve been told ‘no’ so many times, and then gone on to do what they wants better and harder and more over the top than they ever would have been able to under anyones steam but their own. Spike Trotman, Gail Simone, Mey Rude, Aevee Bee, Kate Leth. It could be a long ass list!

What excites you about Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair or the idea of feminist zine fairs in general?

This will actually be my first feminist zine fair, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect; I’m hoping it will be a really safe and friendly space. I’m looking forward to picking up a few zines that will help me expand my knowledge and practice of feminism, especially intersectional and witch-based (ok ok, that last one is for comic research). I think it will be an excellent place for learning.

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