It’s ME, It’s HIM, It’s T-I-M,
While at LBCC I recently met up with one of my favorite people: MARY BELLAMY.
Mary Bellamy is a licensed illustrator working out of her home studio in Los Angeles. She has worked on several large properties like My Little Pony, Marvel, DC Comics, Ghostbusters, Adventure Time, Rick and Morty and more. She has worked as an animation assistant for Acme Filmworks’ Drew Carey Green Screen Show and at Titmouse Inc. Animation Studios. She has illustrated over 4,000 artist trading cards for official sets and has been published in over 150 books, some of which are internationally distributed. Originally pitched as television shows she created two long running series Faux Facts – The Truth Can Be Strange! and Ah Heck!! which feature empowered female leads. For the last decade she has spent her time exhibiting with graphic novels and merchandise based on them at San Diego Comic Con. She also participates on panels at trade shows about women in comics in addition to book signings for Womanthology, Girls Drawin’ Girls and other anthology projects.
When not working in art, she likes to pursue nature hikes, watching movies and gluten free baking.
Besides your work on My Little Pony you have also self-published your own graphic novels, including Faux Facts –The Truth Can Be Strange! and Ah Heck!! – The Angel Chronicles. Can you tell us a little about these series?
Faux Facts –The Truth Can Be Strange! is an all-ages book with female leads. Rosemary and her friends, Sunny, Daisy, Retta, Lilac, and Satellite, who are all sort of social misfits, try to deal with ordinary life while strange things are happening all around them because of a former friend, Tigerlilly, who unleashed a magical entity that likes to toy with our main characters. From junk food nightmares, to cartoon characters come to life at slumber parties, killer starfish, and lizard men invading their town, these girls have their hands full juggling the insane with the mundane.
Ah Heck!! – The Angel Chronicles is a slightly older book with a female protagonist that winds up in the underworld partly because of her actions, coasting through life, and partly because God, a woman, decided to imprison Lucifer and turn hell upside down and create a sort of test for lost souls, trying to provide one last opportunity for them to right their ways. Angel is oblivious at first. She’s being chased by “evil” bunnies and “killer” teddy bears; she can’t really understand why she’s there. She’s not evil, but she’s there. All she knows is that her boring life before was better than this, and she wants to go home. But, what would she do to get there?
Ah Heck!! – The Fallen Ones can be called a prequal/interqual/ and sequel that picks up after Angel’s arc and sheds light into who the other girls in the program were and if the story truly ended beforehand.
What were your inspirations for these stories?
I think the biggest driving force for me was that there was just an absence of girl-driven properties out there. Sure, you have the nostalgia-driven and merchandised shows, but those are still small in number compared to girl-centric shows. You hear so much about “strong female” characters nowadays, and instead I just wanted to write stories with female leads. I wanted some flawed characters that get into problems and out of them by their own wits. I also wanted to create something that I would have watched as a kid, so I created Faux Facts – The Truth Can Be Strange! I had originally intended for it to be an animated series but ended up creating some short stories for an anthology called Mangaphile with Radio Comix. Later, I decided to take the plunge into self-publishing and revised and colored the existing stories and compiled them into my first full-color graphic novel. Once I had completed the art, I found that print on demand could overcome the financial burden of publishing and storing inventory. Each year I sold copies at San Diego Comic-Con, I found that I had an audience that wanted my work, so I kept on going with more volumes and am currently working on my fifth one.
As for Ah Heck!! The Angel Chronicles, it was based on my curiosity about life, death, and the afterlife and our greater purpose in life. And, while there are “evil bunnies” and “killer teddy bears” within it, I wanted to tell a story about what happens to a girl that was not intrinsically evil, but not very good either. Where would she go? What would happen? Was there still a chance that she could be saved? I never really believed in an absolute answer to these questions or that things couldn’t be changed, so I wrote a story that lightly sprinkled some personal experiences throughout it. I would like to think that maybe I helped spark a discussion about it.
You’ve been exhibiting at San Diego Comic Con for many years now going on year 11 next year. Can you tell me a little bit on how things started out and where you think you’ll go in the future with conventions?
The first year I was at SDCC, I shared a corner of a table with someone and only had my one book and a few buttons to sell. I was really nervous. I had no idea if my work would be good enough, or if it would take off. Also, I had a higher price point initially, and I worried that would scare people off, but to my surprise it did not. The following year I was accepted into the small press section of SDCC. I had found a new printer and could lower my prices. My table was still pretty empty with only two books and some buttons and a little bit of art to sell. Each year helped me to gauge what my audience was looking for in stories and art, and I became more confident. I expanded into original artist trading cards and later plush dolls. As each year went on I added more graphic novels, art and merchandise. This year my table has been completely filled with original books, art and more. I’ve even sold over 500 of my own dolls based on my Zorilita Guardians line. As for the future I can honestly hope to compile several of my books into larger volumes through Kickstarter so I can sell more stories to girls and encourage them that they can be more than just a princess. I think talking to people face-to-face lets you form a human connection between your work and the customers. I’m glad that I can make a product that speaks to so many people and I would love to expand my convention tabling to more shows beside SDCC and MLP conventions.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into comics and graphic novels?
Sure, I would say be realistic about what you’re trying to do. Test the waters before investing a lot of money and time into something that might not sell well. As a convention exhibitor your endgame should be to sell your work. You may have an amazingly illustrated story about the history of slippers but the market may not want to see that. See what’s out there and act accordingly. Also, don’t take shortcuts, it’s nice to have inspiration and homages are fun but that’s where it should end. Be you. Be honest with your work. Create the things that you would like to see get made. Pay your collaborators and don’t forget you’ll have to do all the legwork as far as advertising. And if you choose to do it as just a hobby that’s totally cool too.
Where can we find you online?
Ah Heck!! (Webcomic): http://ahhecktheangelchronicles.tumblr.com
Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/Zorilita
Where to buy my books on Amazon!
Ah Heck!! The Fallen Ones https://www.amazon.com/Ah-Heck-Fallen-Ones-Chronicles/dp/1544846185/
Faux Facts Vol 1 (Second Edition) https://www.amazon.com/Faux-Facts-Truth-Can-Strange/dp/1530369118/
Faux Facts Vol 2 https://www.amazon.com/Faux-Facts-Truth-Can-Strange/dp/1451512988/
Faux Facts Vol 3 https://www.amazon.com/Faux-Facts-Truth-Can-Strange/dp/1461128935/
Faux Facts Vol 4 https://www.amazon.com/Faux-Facts-Truth-Can-Strange/dp/1470171147/
Faux Facts Vol 5 https://www.amazon.com/Faux-Facts-Truth-Can-Strange/dp/1496129288/
Faux Facts Vol 6 (Stand alone) https://www.amazon.com/Faux-Facts-Truth-Can-Strange/dp/1508551928/
Faux Facts Vol 7 https://www.amazon.com/Faux-Facts-Truth-Can-Strange/dp/1530366496/
Sugar Bits Sketchbook 1 https://www.amazon.com/Sugar-Bits-Zorilita-Mary-Bellamy-Sketchbook/dp/1456531859/
Sugar Bits Sketchbook 2 https://www.amazon.com/Sugar-Bits-Sassy-Sweet-Sketchbook/dp/1492852899/
DEF CHECK HER ART OUT.
She’s the coolest!!!