I don’t remember the year this story starts. 2006, maybe? Whatever the date, this is how I remember it:
I had to miss Heroes Con for some reason. It was probably baby-related. Fraction came home with a copy of 30 DAYS OF NIGHT: EBEN & STELLA #1 that a man named Kenneth had given him and asked me to sign for his daughter. Her name was Autumn.
I thought it was a funny choice — E&S is a pretty gory comic, not really intended for kids, but Fraction explained that she was a gothy preteen with an interest in manga and a notion that she might like to work in comics one day. Her dad was trying to encourage her in that direction. I loved that. I signed the book and sent it off.
The next year at Heroes, baby Henry in tow, I got to meet Autumn and her dad. She and I chatted and as a former gothy-teen myself, I liked her immediately. We exchanged email addresses and corresponded on and off for the next few years. Autumn wasn’t a big letter-writer, but she sent me the occasional character design or thought on a story idea and every year at Heroes she and her dad (and her mom, once or twice) would come by our table and hang out for a bit. (Her dad eventually got published–as both a comic writer and a short story writer too!)
Autumn’s graduated from high school now and I think her interest in comics has waned as sometimes these things do (I put them down for a while at her age too). I still hear from her occasionally on Facebook, but she’s changed her name to Georgie and she’s moved on to different interests for the most part. She seems happy, so I am happy for her.
Still this year at Heroes I kept an eye out for a sassy redhead with raccoon eyeliner and striped arm warmers–a girl I knew wasn’t coming because she only existed in the past. The real Autumn is a grown up now and at that age where a road trip with dad is a hard thing to prioritize. It’s all right and good, but it still breaks my heart a little because even at the age of 42, I want everyone to accept and embrace my evolution, but the evolution of others is a thing that stubbornly defies my understanding.
Don’t you feel sorry for my children?
Where were we? Ah yes. This year at Heroes.
So while I was scanning the crowds for my ghost of teenagers past, a tiny little elfin child slipped in under my view. She was dressed as Fiona from ADVENTURE TIME and she had her father in tow. She leaned in over our table and announced in a voice awfully big for such a small child, “I LIKE TO DRAW NINJAS!”
Well. What would you do? I asked her name. ”Winter,” her father volunteered.
Sometimes, the universe is not subtle.
Next, Winter declared that she and I should make a book together. That I would write and she would draw and it would be about NINJAS. And also zombies. And cheerleaders.
Now… I am a very busy lady right now. I have 3 monthly ongoings, am still wrapping up a graphic novel, I’ve got a creator-owned book slated to start soon, plus a family and oh, we just moved and at some point, I have to get my clothes out of boxes.
But… come on.
“Yes!” I told Winter. “This is a thing we must do.”
Over the next couple of days, Winter’s daddy, Neil, and I conferred on how to make this happen in a way that wouldn’t add any additional stress to my schedule and we settled on this:
- I asked Winter to make me a list of 10 things she wants to draw. I got this reply:
The main story idea from Winter is that of a Ninja Princess and her
Cheerleader Friends joining forces with vampire ninjas to fight zombie
ninjas from invading her kingdom.
The princess also has a superhero friend named Rock, a female rock
star with pink and blonde hair who uses guitars, drum kits, flutes,
clarinets and an amp in battle.
Her other favorite things to draw include:
Kittens especially ninja kittens
Good & Evil witches
- Over the next 10 months as we lead up to Heroes Con, I will occasionally tweet a panel description with the hashtag #winterstale. I will endeavor to work in Winter’s 10 favorite things to draw, and thus, 1 panel at a time, we will put together our Ninja Princess Zombie Rockstar mini-comic, which we will then run off punkzine style and sell at Heroes, with all proceeds going to Winter’s college fund.
- BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE.
- Winter and I would like to invite you to play along.
- If you or your children (Ages 1-100) would also like to draw our Winter’s Tale, all you need is a Twitter account. Respond to any #winterstale panel description with a twitpic or a link to your drawing and we’ll repost them to WintersTales.tumblr.com.
- If all goes well, you can make your own Ninja Princess Zombie Rockstar minicomics and we’ll swap at the end of this.
Okay, now go tell your friends and organize your art supplies. The first panel description goes up in a week.
EDITED TO ADD A COUPLE OF THINGS:
- I tweet from @kellysue.com
- If you want to play, but don’t want to join Twitter, don’t sweat it. I’ll cross post panel descriptions here and on our Tumblr page. (NOTE: The page address is WintersTales.tumblr.com — taleS, plural — the singular was taken.) Get me a link to your art and I’ll put it up. No big deal. Just help me out by using the tag #winterstale wherever you can, okay?
- All right. I’ve got a bunch of work to do today and a big meeting tomorrow, so this is all you’ll likely hear on the subject until next week.
- Should should probably start practicing drawing ninja princesses now.