RICH INTERVIEWS: Dee Fish Creator/Artist/Writer “Finding Dee”
First Comics News: Why did you decide you wanted to create comic books?
Dee Fish: I honestly can’t remember a time where I didn’t want to make comic books. I’ve been doing this in some form or another since I stopped eating my crayons. I’ve always loved comics and have wanted to do this my entire life.
1st: What is “Finding Dee” your webcomic about and what is the url for anyone who wants to see it?
Dee: “Finding Dee” is a weekly webcomic that is semi-autobiographical. It’s an examination of what it’s like being a 40 plus, struggling cartoonist and illustrator who has also come out as transgender in her 40’s. So it’s a hopefully humorous look behind the scenes as I try and navigate my life and career while dealing with the mountains on nonsense that comes with just tying to LIVE as a transgender woman in a culture that would very much prefer that I not exist. Finding Dee can be read online every Saturday at www.findingdee.com
1st: This comic deals with you being a transgender woman for those who do not know what is a transgender woman?
Dee: The short and simple answer is that all of us are born as remarkably complicated beings with bodies and brains that are far, far more elaborate then the simplistic “Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina” binary ideas we’re taught as kids. But when we’re born, a doctor looks between our legs and decides what we are based on the shape of our genitals and little else. For a significant portion of the human population, that decision is just wrong. I could fill an interview with all the various scientific reasons and information that’s out there on being transgender, but to cut to the point it simply means that your gender does not line up with the gender you were assigned at birth from the doctor based on the shape of your genitals.
1st: Are all the “Finding Dee” strips done for humor?
Dee: More often then not, I’m striving to approach this subject from a humorous point of view. I don’t want my strip to get preachy or morose. I want to express that in spite of what some people might think, my day to day life ISN’T all that different from anyone else’s. I get up and work. I go to the movies and eat too much food that’s not good for me. I love to go out and sing karaoke and goof around. I’m in a long term loving relationship with a cisgender woman who met me years before I came out and we have a pretty normal life.
1st: Will people get to learn more about you personally by reading “Finding Dee”?
Dee: That I’m a neurotic mess. That I’m dealing with lots of anxiety and stress regardless of being transgender. And that I really DO just want to go to the bathroom without drama when I leave the house.
1st: How did you come up with the idea for “Dandy & Company”?
Dee: Honestly, it’s hard to say exactly where the ideas all came from because I created the main characters and the comic strip when I was EIGHT years old, in 1982. I just wanted to make my own comic that was like Peanuts, Garfield and Bugs Bunny. I based the structure on my own home life at the time and Dandy was based on a terrier I had named Toto, but with a very snarky personality.
1st: Who is Bernard and what is his dog Dandy like?
Dee: Bernard and Dandy are very much two sides of the coin that is me. Bernard is the part of me that’s optimistic and naïve and Dandy is sarcastic and pessimistic. Dandy is in many respects the kind of character I WISHED I could be like who always had a good comeback and never got rattled by bullies. Reality is somewhere in the middle, where I’m really a naïve pessimist. lol. Dandy & Company can be read every Wednesday at www.dandyandcompany.com
1st: What are the main differences between a webcomic and a printed one?
Dee: The differences are what you, as the creator, make them. For me, my webcomics are all drawn with print in mind to comic book proportions, I just distribute them online for free first before collecting them in actual printed books. The webcomic route is a good degree CHEAPER to get started with, though. You can build up a catalog of material AND a fan base before ever having to pay for printing.
1st: Why should someone try the “Wellkeeper”?
Dee: You should try the Wellkeeper if you love good, exciting comics with lots of fantastical creatures, magic and adventure. The Wellkeeper is a 12 issue maxi series about a young woman named Zoe who inherits a power passed from mother to daughter generationally that connects her to the life energy of the planet. This gift enables her to communicate and control natural forces, plant life and even animals. But this power skipped a generation, so Zoe has inherited these gifts without knowing what they are or why any of this is happening to her all while being hunted by a dark being called the Withering Man that seeks to destroy her and end the lineage of Wellkeepers forever. The entire series is collected as a single omnibus collection and can be ordered online at http://www.indyplanet.us/product/148453/
1st: What would you like to see happen with “Majorie of the Weirdlings”?
Dee: Well, the project was pitched as a new series last year, but I never really got much of a reaction out of anyone for the idea. I published a 12 page preview of the story but it failed to generate enough interest for me to invest the time needed to bring it to life. I’d love to go back to it at some point and complete the initial story at least.
1st: How do you grow as both a writer and artist?
Dee: The simplest answer is that you grow as a writer and artist by writing and drawing. Just do it. Put in the time and tell your stories. If you’re not as good as you need to be today, do it anyway and you’ll be a little better tomorrow.
1st: Are you a fan of Marvel comics, do you have any favorite characters from them?
Dee: Sure. I grew up with Marvel moreso then DC, but I’m a fan of both. Spider-Man is probably my favorite Marvel hero. But I also have a lot of love for Power Pack, Quasar, Adam Warlock, Darkhawk and a lot of other great books with smaller fan bases.
1st: If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
Dee: Well, I’d LOVE to be able to fly in a generic way. But I would kick BUTT if I had Jamie Madrox’s “Multiple Man” duping powers. I could get SOOOO much work done that way. lol
1st: Any words for those who support you?
Dee: It is amazingly appreciated, and I hope you continue to enjoy the comics! Thanks for reading.