As another in a a special series of in-house interviews rolls around, Comixpedia Editor-in-Chief Damonk has his way with Leah Fitzgerald, the Interviews Editor, while her snuggle-pookie and Art Director, Bill Duncan, watches helplessly from the stands. Fitzgerald, an ex-journalism student who now works full time for (*GASP!*) a Canadian newspaper, has been with the Comixpedia since its earliest planning stages, and probably wonders why she hangs around with the rest of us freaks. She speaks here about herself, her life, the universe, and poutine.
Some serious and silly situations abound.
Who are you? Gimme the full background!
I was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, which for those uninitiated in Canadian Geography, is very near Maine. Like, ‘we sometimes drove there for the day’ near. My parents are… well, my mom’s a pharmacist. My dad… he’s the manager at an athletics facility, which is the easiest job to explain he’s had while I’ve been alive. He’s been the swim team coach, worked for the municipal recreation department, and had a business making movie databases, among other things.
I spent a good chunk of my childhood either at the pool or at the rink. I dabbled in dancing, too. I was a smartass at school, which didn’t help me. I was also one of those smart depressed loners for almost my entire scholastic career.
Eventually, I escaped the deathtrap that was high school and went to the University of King’s College for journalism school, where I discovered sex, drugs and philosophy. I lived in residence for four years because I didn’t want a roommate and I could have a single there. Depressed loner thing, you know? Plus, someone always cooked for me.
Now, I live in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, which for those of you unfamiliar with geography, is North (that’s “above” on a map) of Vermont, and near Montreal, where all those strippers are. I work as a reporter at a small daily paper that might or might not be owned by Sir Conrad Black.
Why am I who I am? Or why is the paper owned by Conrad Black? What? Who taught you to interview people, anyway? Yeah, I credit good parenting, a bad school system and some wacky coincidences for who I am today.
What do you do around here? Give us the nitty gritty… (naughty anecdotes always encouraged)
Naughty anecdotes about Comixpedia? Huh?
Anyway, I am the interviews editor, which means I pull interviews out of my ass when no one offers up, or coughs up assignments.
And I sometimes do some editing, though not often, and I assign things to staff members.
Oh, and I write emails to the editor’s list that make no sense. I am often two steps behind. 🙂
How did you get started in journalism, anyway?
See, there’s the clean version: I was at a university presentation and it happened to be for King’s, which I knew nothing about, and the girl was very nice and talked journalism, and so I chose my path.
Or then there’s the other version, where I was mad (in the traditional sense of crazy) and was going to kill someone, or possibly myself, if I didn’t get the internship at the local paper. I did get one, in Sports (my resume had things like lifeguarding and curling), and I didn’t kill me. Or my main competitor, who now goes to Oxford.
Depressed loners often go into journalism so they can write bitter laments about the downfall of society and get paid. And drink lots of coffee. And eat snacks at press conferences.
How did you discover comics and/or webcomics?
My uncle owned a pharmacy and had a comic rack. When we went to the store to visit, we always got a comic. Plus, my cousins all read comics, too. My first coveted series was Amethyst, Gem Princess…. or something like that, anyway. I was a huge Archie fan anyway, and used to get the digests at the grocery store and the single issues at the Irving (That’s a gas station, for all you non-Maritimers and non-New Englanders).
As for webcomics, I was going through what can only be termed a “phase” in my third year of university where I was declared the Queen of Darkness. I even had my own league of minions! One of my minions, Diana the Dreadful, sent me that very first Sluggy strip: “Spam Satan!”
I was hooked. And then, of course, I met Bill, the art director, and his brother and his roommate were working on Man-Man together.
How the heck did our art editor end up with a great girl like you?
Uh… it’s a long, long story. Really. I got a summer internship at a small paper by a total fluke (I had posted a resume on a government site a year before, and the editor saw it and interviewed me). My aunt and uncle happened to live sort of near-by (like 56 km, or something), and because I was in the ass-end of nowhere and totally on my own, I got invited to stuff, like mountain climbing. Seriously. Anyway, I went to my cousin’s birthday party, and there was Bill, showing off his fresh tattoo.
On the way home, my aunt told me all kinds of stuff about Bill… including that he wrote to Isaac Asimov (which was wrong – it was Ray Bradbury), and was divorced.
Of course, that didn’t exactly stop me.
So Bill took the initiative and got a job at the paper where I’m working. Really! And then, he asked me to go to North Hatley, this little resort town nearby, and I was like, “No. Must do laundry!”
Yep, I rejected him.
Then I saw him again at a literacy festival and we spent the day together. Then the next week, we spent the entire night sitting on swing sets at the local school talking. By then, I was hooked. Of course, I had to go finish university, and it helped that I was the girl with the most mail in residence because of him.
Would you like to buy a monkey?
I already have a cat, and I don’t think he’d like the monkey. Plus, my apartment is really too small.
Describe your usual interviews approach here for the Comixpedia.
Usually, I figure out what the topic is, realize I have no ideas and send out a plea to the editors list for suggestions.
Sometimes that even works!
Who’s been your fave interviewee to date?
Uh… I dunno. Probably the guy who draws Sheldon. It was one of the first, and it turned out well.
Who’d be your ideal dream interviewee for the future?
You know, I’ve already interviewed most of the people I’m fans of for Comixpedia, and the rest I did for my website project in journalism school, which was about comics. I guess someone new will come up at some point and it will be keen.
Where were you on the night of the 27th?
My lawyer advises me not to answer that question.
What do you think of the rest of the Comixpedia crew?
Well, Bill, you can reread that thing up there.
You, you’re a crazy Acadian. I mean, I think you love the trips to Zak’s and Sugar Mountain more than Bill and I.
Matt, I can say, since I know him “for real,” too, that he’s a cool guy. A bit manic about his many projects, but a good guy overall.
I don’t really know Kelly and Xerexes, which is weird, but true. But they seem like good people, you know?
What are you going to be when you grow up?
I like to pretend I already am grown up.
Seriously, though, I’ll likely stick to journalism and newspapers. I like writing, and I don’t even mind going to press conferences and “news events.” And I love knowing about all the car accidents, dead bodies and frozen body parts (it’s been cold here).
What do you think we need in the webcomics community to *really* get everyone to join hand in hand in peace and brotherly/sistery love, singing “Kumbaya” or some other cultish friendship-y song?
I don’t think singing Kumbaya is good for anyone. Conflict can help a community grow. It’s not the steadiest way, or the easiest one, but it sure is the most interesting. I think the conflicts in the community make it what it is, and I’d hate to see the gamers stop hating the artsy-fartsy people. The world would collapse!
If a train goes East towards Pismo Beach travelling at 49 nautical miles an hour, and two birds tunnel North using only wooden spoons, how many poutines do you think the average French-Canadian eats in a year, if the Dow Jones drops fifty-seven points between noon and three? (Remember to factor in the wind chill)
Well, they eat one fuck load of poutine, you know? I prefer mine from the Roy Jucep in Drummondville, with a giant glass of foamy orange juice.
Do you think your EiC should be locked up in a nuthouse?
*Shrugs* No more than any of the rest of us.
Will you bring him poutine?
Of course. Though I can’t guarantee how hot it’ll be.
Any final words of wisdom, shock value, or all-around silliness to share?
Matt has a neurotic cat on drugs! Bill sometimes enjoys making children cry! I am allergic to milk!
Damonk is the Editor-in-Chief and the Executive Editor for Reviews and Columns.