In this second part of our interview with Molly Crabapple, we talk about the Scarlett Takes Manhattan artist’s entry into the world of full-time illustration, and how the story fictional story of the vaudevillian fire eater echoes her own early struggles in New York City.
Given how instantly recognizable her style has become amongst underground comics fans, it’s hard to believe that Fugu Press’s forthcoming Scarlett Take Manhattan marks Molly Crabapple’s first true graphic novel. The New York-based artist has done plenty to get herself noticed, of course—there’s her illustration work for everyone from The New York Times to Playgirl; her “anti-art school,” Dr. Sketchy’s, which now claims more than 50 franchises across the globe; and 2006’s accompanying volume, The Official Dr. Sketchy’s Rainy Day Colouring Book.
In late-2007, Crabapple, along with her frequent accomplice John Leavitt, first dipped her toes into the world of sequential art, creating Backstage for New York Webcomics collective, Act-I-Vate. The strip was dirty and chaotic and indulgent—a vaudevillian romp that represented the logical extension of her illustrated work up to that point. Scarlett Takes Manhattan, due out later this spring, is a prequel to Backstage, following the rise of New York’s Queen of the Fire Eaters, Scarlett O’Herring.
In honor of the upcoming book, we sat down with Crabapple, to discuss her journey into the unforgiving underworld of indie comics.
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