Margaret Atwood draws cartoon strip for ‘geek girl’ anthology | Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is taking a short break from writing acclaimed and award-winning literary novels to contribute a series of cartoons to a crowd-funded, all-female anthology aimed at the “geek girl” looking for “stories on dating and love”.
Racing towards its goal of C$37,000 (£19,000) on Kickstarter – launched earlier this week, it is already at over C$27,000 – The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is the brainchild of Hope Nicholson, a Canadian comic-book publisher and editor, who called it “a celebration of the stories we tell each other but never make public – until now”. Atwood is the most high-profile of a host of women, both creators and fans, contributing a mix of prose stories and comics to the anthology.
The Booker prize-winning Canadian writer is shown on the cover of The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, along with other contributors: “I’m white-hair w. cat; pleased I have long legs at last,” she tweeted of her image. She will be drawing her own cartoons detailing her “personal experiences as a young woman” for the anthology, says Nicholson; other pieces from more than 40 contributors range from a comic about “lovers who meet, interact, and learn some truths about themselves through an MMORPG” from Irene Koh, one on a childhood obsession with Final Fantasy VII from Jenn Woodall, JM Frey’s story entitled “How Fanfiction Made Me Gay” and a comic on how writer Meags Fitzgerald’s “pre-teen love of Sailor Moon intersected with her new curiosity about the mechanics of sex”.
Atwood is also offering Kickstarter investors a four-panel comic strip created especially for one reader, costing C$1,500, which has already been snapped up. Fans have also pounced on a C$750 deal for the original art behind one of the strips she is creating for the collection.
Nicholson, who has already successfully funded and published two comic collections via Kickstarter, says that her new project was inspired by reading dating advice online. “I find myself very optimistic whenever I see an article on advice or information on geeks and dating. But soon this excitement turns to disappointment; the articles are almost always written with only the male geeks in mind,” she writes on Kickstarter.
“There is a desert of information geared towards the women in fandom. Yet when I get together with my friends at events or over drinks, one of our major topics is how we handle relationships and crushes, rejections, unwanted advances, and general romantic and sexual entanglements.”
She told her local site the Torontoist that when she was younger, she read teenage magazines aimed at girls such as Seventeen, but found “there was always that strange part in the magazines where they’d say something like, ‘What to do when your boyfriend likes video games more than he likes you’, and I’d think: ‘Well it’s hardly possible he likes them more than I like the games.’ So it was always this feeling of being told, ‘You can have romance stories and advice, or you can be nerdy, but there is no crossover.’ Which, as I’ve gotten older and I’ve built and found these communities of amazing, nerdy women, I realize is absolutely ridiculous. We are so starved in some ways to talk about our own experiences, and we don’t get that anywhere.”
Written by both fans and professional writers, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, she said, “collects successes as well as embarrassments … and reassures us that no matter what we’re going through or have gone through, we are never alone”.
Atwood was landed as a contributor, she added, after making contact on Twitter. “A year later we went out for vodka and sausages and talked about comic books,” she writes on the Kickstarter. “Girl stuff.”