Interview: Sarah Oleksyk

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saraholeksy

A woman working at an all-night copy shop becomes emotionally involved with one of her customers and discovers he’s a heroin addict. Graveyard is Sarah Oleksyk’s comics narrative that made it into the hands of Lynda Barry. “It was very difficult for me to write,” she says. Sarah Oleksyk draws her stories into highly-structured pages that she meticulously renders with brush and ink. “And I wasn’t proud of the artwork,” Oleksyk confides. “But it’s the story that has gone the farthest, so I just have to learn to love it.”

Lynda Barry is a fan of the hard-to-love misfits, and Oleksyk loves her work. “She writes about the emotional realm.” Oleksyk agrees that her own work also centers on a character’s reaction to situations. “The books I get attached to are always character driven. I have to care about the character.”

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Ivy #1-3 by Sarah Oleksyk

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Ivy #1-3
by Sarah Oleksyk
Self-Published

Sarah Oleksyk can be proud of herself. Through three chapters of Ivy, she continues to build strong characters, awful tensions, incredible realities, and consistently beautiful, full panels. Nothing gets skimped. It’s just a wholly good comic and I’m sure it will wrap up someday as a very satisfying graphic novel.

Ivy tells the story of its title’s namesake, Ivy Stenova, an only child to a single mom living in a Boston suburb. She is a bratty, selfish sort of girl who’s just trying to figure out her own life. She’s just like any other kid who wants to be an adult, but so far her ride to the end of senior year is kicking up all the evil possibilities of high school and isn’t handing her much slack. Friends, boys, family, school, rivals, and drugs all conspire to make her life more difficult than it’s ever been before. She feels criticized and judged by the people who used to make her feel safe. As her supports fall away, she behaves like an utter child, stubbornly shouting and stomping off at every opportunity.

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