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Airing out Jennie's Undergarments: An Interview with the creator of The Devil's Panties

The Devil's Panties doesn't have the Devil in it, and makes only the occasional reference to panties, but Jennie Breeden never promised anything. A recent art school grad who spent last summer as the arts counsellor at a camp, Breeden recently got a job working at a comic book shop. Her strip revolves around tales of going to bars, to work, as well as the hijinx ensued through three girls not afraid of the world outside.

And it's all (mostly) true.

The Devil's Panties doesn't have the Devil in it, and makes only the occasional reference to panties, but Jennie Breeden never promised anything. A recent art school grad who spent last summer as the arts counsellor at a camp, Breeden recently got a job working at a comic book shop. Her strip revolves around tales of going to bars, to work, as well as the hijinx ensued through three girls not afraid of the world outside.

And it's all (mostly) true.

Why did you start putting your comics online?

Jennie Breeden: My roommate had a comic strip - Striptease - and I wanted to be famous too.

 

When did you first get interested in creating comics?

Breeden: I majored in Sequential Art (comic books) at the Savannah College of Art and Design. That's where I met Marcy who, to me, was a total freak and needed to be documented: Feminist-art-hippie meets Disneyland-valleygirl. Hilarity ensued.

 

Who are your influences?

Breeden: Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise), David Mack (Kabuki), Rodin, and you can't help but be influenced by your first favorite so I'm going to have to admit to Windy Pini (Elf Quest).

 

What comics did you read as a kid?

Breeden: I have two older brothers so I was looking at ElfQuest as a picture book before I could read, and using issue #1 of Conan as a coloring book (for which my brother will never forgive me). In middle school I had the hots for Gambit and Strongbow over New Kids on the Block. But my more worldly friend, Aili got me into Tintin and Astérix and Obélix and Moebius. Strange that she went on to major in psychology.

 

The Devil's Panties has had different "phases" (camp, your time at the theme park, while you were a student, "you know") - how come? The comic also has a lot of autobiographical aspects - is it autobiographical?

Breeden: I have no imagination whatsoever. I take directly from life. In most cases, word for word. I may change a scene or situation to make it more coherent but it’s all scribbled down on a napkin between fits of laughter and edited later on paper. Which sorta screws me over seeing as friends and family read it knowing that it really happens. There are a few cartoons that will never see the light of day because of this understanding. For my or for Marcy's benefit. Mostly mine, because she'd kick my ass.

 

What would you call your art style?

Breeden: My style has been straddling realism and cartoonism for years now. My professors would be like, "pick one!" I doubt any artist thinks of her work as a particular style. They’re just pushing lines around and hoping that it looks good.

 

How do you feel about Keenspace?

Breeden: It's a great starting point. You just plug in a couple weeks' worth (if you're insane enough to have an entire week's worth done already) and let it go. Sorta weird, though. There thousands of artists out there and people are taking the time to look at my stuff. Keenspace is my daily dose of ego-boost in that long struggle of the starving artist. Heh. My ego is fat and happy.

Why do you do Geebas on Parade?

Breeden: My comics are simply documentation of my own life, or rather my own take on the world around me. LARPing has become a part of that life. Besides, it's an endless reservoir of insanity and mayhem. That fantasy world – that escape – is its own reality. Everyone needs somewhere to go to just forget about the world for a little while. And we should never take ourselves too seriously. My two philosophies for life are "everything in moderation and never take yourself too seriously". I'm a LARPing, comic book-reading, chocolate-addicted goofball – and damn proud of it.

 

How do you think that part of your life influences your comics on a whole?

Breeden: When you're gaming or LARPing or whatever, you get to exercise a part of yourself that you don't normally use. Whatever character you're playing, it's an extension of yourself in some way. In The Devil's Panties, I've represented myself in a certain way. The character has now taken on a life of her own. She's one part of me.

Geebas on Parade is exploring a whole different aspect of our culture. It's a world few people experience, mostly because they'd rather not. Geebas on Parade is a fantasy within a fantasy. The character from Devil's Panties now gets to play a character. I love the bending of reality when we get to see a "monster" and then in the next panel step outside of that reality and see the comic character who is playing the monster grumbling about whether or not they get killed. If The Devil's Panties is my playground, then Geebas on Parade is the playground for the cartoons.

 

What comics do you read online?

Breeden: Sinfest, Wapsi Square, Something Positive – there are so many revolutionary strips out there. Some good stuff that is taking online comics into the printed world and getting some recognition. The market is HUGE. Anybody with a computer can put whatever they want out there. Forget the censors or marketing or public opinion. There's some insightful, twisted, revolutionary, messed up, mind-boggling stuff out there. It makes my head hurt.

 

What plans do you have for your comics?

Breeden: To take over the world – shit, I'm doing that talking out loud thing again. Theoretically they were just a way of keeping me drawing every day while I pretend to get comic book work done but I'm having too much fun with the squeals and costumes to sit down to more vampire pages (check out the comic book link on the website).

Plans. . . my brother says that I have to say something with my work. Right now I'm saying "This is reality. This is normal. It's the rest of the world that has the problem". I think that there are too many people out there who think that they have to conform. That the only way to be happy is to be what society has told us to be. Buy the SUV, wear the suit, confine yourself to the walls of a cubicle for the rest of your life and run up your credit card bill at the mall. That's the freak show.

That doesn't have to be the real world. Dance to the song in your head while grocery shopping. Paint your car with swirlies and Lenore quotes. I don't care that you have a mortgage, your fuzzy bunny slippers like jazz and they want to dance, God damn it! Khakis are evil, the devil says so. You're allowed to giggle, cackle and glower and if they're looking at you funny then you're doing it right. Hmm, yeah, that's my plan.

Re: Airing out Jennie's Undergarments: An Interview with the cre

They've sent out some very good updates on Devils panties over the past while.  I love their layout of their website, it's great.  Good old funny comics are great as well.

Kim

Re: Airing out Jennie's undergarments -- an interview with the c

Nice interview!

Wow, Jennie's famous. And... wow... I'm now famous too. Funny that I'm the "worldly" friend, given that I a) work in a cubicle and b) am wearing khakis right frikkin' now. Oh well, I guess it's the brain inside that counts. I would be extremely boring without Jennie and her crazy artist ways. I blame^D^D^D I mean... credit - her for everything.

J, you rock!

-Aili

Re: Airing out Jennie's undergarments -- an interview with the c

"Golf clap?"

"Golf clap."

*clap clap clap*

I'd like to point out that Jennie is "the normal one" in her family.

-Raphael

Re: Airing out Jennie's undergarments -- an interview with the c

Wow, I suppose I should comment, too. That'll just leave Morgan out. :)

No last-summer wedding hillarity? Or am I just too boring for that? But, yeah, cool interview.

And, dammit, I'm in a cubicle right now, will have a mortgage as of tomorrow, and decided to buck the trend and wear jeans today (instead of khakis). Yeah, I'm a rebel.

-jdm