When I walked up to Jennie’s booth at A-Kon22, I was struck by her cuteness. She was about an inch taller than me, adorned in a pink Batman shirt and jeans and her trademark flaming boots. I expected a thick Southern drawl from a Georgia girl but she had no discernable accent and was open as can be.
She is writer and creator of the popular web comic, The Devil’s Panties, a semi-autobiographical strip about her life and the insane situations life can throw at you. I’ve read her strip semi-regularly and it’s pretty funny and to quote Jennie: “You can’t make this shit up!”
I recorded our conversation with my handy dandy Blackberry since we were conducting the interview while at her booth and I thought it’d be easier. This is a transcript of our interview because I’m not tech savvy and have no idea how to edit some of the background noise (we’re at a convention!!) so I felt this was the best way!
L: Hey this is Leia from IHOG, I’m sitting with Jennie at her booth where she has decks of playing cards, magnets, shirts, and 300 page books for sale!
JB: Yup, all of it’s for sale on my website as well! I’m coming up on my 10 year anniversary for the comic and I’m coming up on 3000 comics online. I’ve done one every single day for 10 years.
L: You have time to do one every single day!?
JB: Yeah! On Saturday and Sunday I cheat a little. I do one black panel with a word bubble with stuff like “Uh, oh.” Or “I like your mom” and Sundays I do goofy things. Lately, I’ve been painting octopus doing various things. Like this one’s taking a bath and this one’s a pirate. (picture of the octopus if I can find it)
L: Do you have a day job and you do this on the side, or…?
JB: I was able to quit my day job in 2006!
L: That is amazing.
JB: The thing is, I don’t make a living wage per se, I just got used to being poor.
Jennie laughs and pauses our conversation to answer a customer question if she does everything for her comic. She does write it, draw it, ink it, publishes it, and everything else herself. It takes her about 3 hours per day to do this. She elaborates that The Devil’s Panties are about the animals in her life, the chaos of moving over and over again, friends of hers shopping together, basically each panel is a slice of her life.
JB: I once drew a comic about how I ended up in a hot tub with a bunch of satyrs. Ya can’t make this stuff up! Only at conventions, ha.
I laugh, cause well, what the fuck!
L: How did you even start this?
JB: Well, I was working in comics at the time and to me, the biggest draw was fan mail. I’d see people getting it and just decided, hey, I want fan mail. I also started realizing that after college, everyone seems to forget to do something fun. Comics were a way to live for me and I always thought I’d be working a regular job.
L: Did you start off on a regular free site, like angelfire or wordpress?
(picture of her older comic)JB: I was on a page called DSPOT when it was around? Yeah, I was on there until about a year ago while I transferred everything else. By the way, artists should never sell their own stuff. We give stuff away and then worry about what to eat later. People who sell things for us, always say things like, look how well this person draws! If we do it ourselves, we say things like, oh no, don’t get that, it sucks, we draw so badly!
L: This is exactly why I was excited you were gonna be here. No one admits these things! And I truly laugh at something in every single one of your comics. Who knows when you’d come back here again!
L: Yeah, I think one of my favorites is a comic where you’re shaking your butt in front of a mirror and you go up to one of your friends and kind of, lift your butt at her, asking how she gets hers to move a certain way. That’s me to a T. I have no dancing bones in my body.
JB: That was actually really funny. It was so odd being in a strip club with MIRRORS EVERYWHERE! I’m so glad my stuff relates to so many people and what they’re going through.
L: All these buttons you have here, with sayings on them, are these all things you say on a regular basis?
JB: Oh yeah, or I hear a little cousin say it and it’s hilarious. For me, going to conventions and especially with anime shows, it feels like…when did they get so young!? So I put that on a button. A lot of the comics are like that too. It’s all about living and how to have fun while doing the responsibly grown up things. Do them and then go home and eat a tub of ice cream for dinner.
JB: I wrote a comic about it! It was sdcc, I was walking around with a friend of mine and my friend started a webcomic called striptease and someone came up to him and was telling him, ‘oh, I love your comic’ and I was standing there and ‘OMG, you do Devil’s Panties! Can you sign our book?” I was like “what?!”
L: How do you generate interest in your comic when you’re at a convention like this?
JB: I definitely cater to each person. If it’s a kid, I point out a fart joke or something. If it’s a mother or adult, I have a lot of adult situations in it. If it’s a cosplayer, hey look, I’m running around with people in body paint in this comic!!
L: So, does each book here have about a year’s worth of stuff or…?
JB: There’s roughly one year of work in each book. There’s one or two with two years in them and that’s because it took so long to publish and I’m kicking myself for not designing a comic that takes up a whole page. I have a four panel comic and it takes 3 of them to fill up a page so to fill up a 300 page book, that’s a lot of comics!
L: Thank you so much, Jennie! I truly enjoy reading The Devil’s Panties and I hope this will bring in some more fans for you. If you don’t mind reading the random, amazing thoughts and experiences Jennie and her friends go through, read her comic. It’s fucking funny.
Please check out Jennie Breeden’s webcomic at www.thedevilspanties.com!