HipChick Comics is an ongoing series of graphic novels developed from my diaries and liberal arts papers. The characters are derived from friends and mentors who are fused with the archetypes that inhabit my life and mind. The goddess are reflections my mentors and the humans, my friends. Every creator has a childhood project that has followed them from their first spark of creativity to until their deaths and Superficial and it’s imprints are mine.
Superficial is strange. Most personal work of an artist is strange. Conceptual art of the post-modernist era is personal art. In this day and age, we celebrate the soul of the artist not the story she commissioned to convey, So, therein lies the permission of Superficial’s existence. Superficial is not a fluffy story. It depicts the problems women go though in life on visceral level. Fairytales tell a pitch marriage as this marvelous goal every woman should vie for, and it is in many cases. However, there are women who experience the happily ever as Cinderella’s who spend the rest of their lives with their heads between the prince’s legs.
Acerbic as Superficial is, there are plenty of room for mirth. Women enjoying the company of themselves is the first impression many get upon reading the comic. Billy Wilder’s stories urged the friendship between men—which is extremely important. Superficial depicts women who not in competition one another (unless Hera is around). Like Wilder, I think it’s important to show deep friendship without any sexual tension between them. Love is also valiance and we need this aspect of love in our friendships to make life bearable. So no matter how mad Sakura is with her friends and family, she’s going to drop the acrimony the instant she sees them in need.
This is not to say friend crushes don’t exist. Klashka thinks Nami is the bees knees and Sakura loves the beauty or women and the charm of men. Beauty and art is what’s worth fighting for in times of conflict, so the principle characters of Superficial are always in search of beauty to preserve.
Each imprint of HipChick Comics adhere’s to an appeal:
Superficial is Self-Acutalization
In Between Days: Love and Belonging
In Between Days: KlashkaTse: Esteem
Superficial Jasian Genetic: Esteem
The 15 Basic Appeals and Corresponding Character
Giermo, Loki, Ares and Appollo: The need for sex
Soleil Smile and Klashka: The need for affliation
Mikka: The need to nurture
Soleil Smile: The need for guidance
Klashka and Sakura: The need to aggress
Soleil Smile: The need to achieve
Hera: The need to dominate
Mikka: The need for prominence
Tabby: The need for attention
Sakura: The need for autonomy
Sakura: The need for escape
Sigrid: The need to feel safe
All Characters: The need for aesthetic sensations
Mikka: The need to satisfy curiosity
All Characters: Physiological needs: food, drink, sleep. etc..
I don’t delve to much in the lower tiers of Maslowe’s appeals, which reaches the most people, but I don’t care to pursue it. Artists have create using the lower appeals as their bread and butter. Superficial is a personal work and therefore a respite from that grind. Safety isn’t a concern of immortals and artists are happy so long as their work is immortal. This isn’t an Abrahamic comic, so there is not fear of having only one life, but make the best with the time you have in your present form. You may be human artist now, but you may be playing a form of cosmic harm with single foot and twenty-four tentacles on Neptune in the next life. As for the biological needs, women are this comic’s main target market, therefore there is plenty of wine and chocolate consumed in a sumptuous variety of restaurants, cafes and wine bars as a motif in the stories. So that’s well and out of the way.
Stories that use the higher appeals are usually not popular with mass audiences. How I wished this was explained to me by my story teacher my freshman year at Cal Arts. To his credit, he probably though we had already taken English 120 which teaches Maslowe’s Hierarchy of Needs though Jib Fowles’ 15 Appeals of Advertising, but the school didn’t. Or at least I didn’t because my creative writing skills kept placing me in English 150. I am very grateful for the English teacher who pinpointed that there was something missing in my writing style in English 151 and insisted that Take English 120 taking the further steps to finding a teacher who’s lesson plan would resonate with me. Thank you, sir thank you. Once again, a late bloomer event proved timely in advancing my skills in ways that suit my life trajectory best.
As a result, I revisited all of the papers of the classes I found interesting to audit, but failed and turned them into the stories for Superficial. Term papers are easier to write when you can cast characters in them. Using the story development skills I learned at Cal Arts from Kahn Kalyon, Brenda Chapman, Jim Capobianco and Jim Hull and College of Marin’s Donald Sutherland and the sardonic English 151 teacher who was brave and tactful enough to put me in my place, I can mix academia and industry and make the art that is my comic Superficial.
In addition to keeping my story structure skills in check Superficial provides a creative outlet for “fine art me”. I never get to color anything as an animation trench artist and Sakura’s marvelous hair and Mikka’s jewelry is my excuse to play with paint. I also compensate for my unrequited goal of working as a visual development artist for Walt Disney Feature Animation. The sting of that lost opportunity doesn’t hurt anymore. The projects I wanted to work on did not turn out the way I envisioned them. The Firebird was not dramatized as the ballet in Disney form and the Snow Queen cemented Disney’s direction being the opposite of my vision, so there’s little love lost there.The ballets and operas Sakura and Mikka perform in are my vision. I only wish that I had the professional training of the feature division to improve them. No matter. Wendy Pini is self taught and has succeeded and so shall I with tandem training from my animation schooling.
I can’t promise that Superficial will be as successful as Elf Quest, but I do appreciate the grateful letters of the readers it does reach. I certainly appreciated Roberta Gregory’s Bitchy Bitch, Rumiko Takahashi’s Ranma 1/2, Robotech, The Transformers, Jem, Galaxy High School, The Cartoon History of the Universe, Batman’s Arkham Asylum and all of the other graphic novels and cartoons that were so out there that they dared me to tell my weird tale and find my audience. If the Chobits can exist, so can Superficial. Be weird. It’s good for the industry. It’s crucial for every creator to have a personal projects that allows her imagination to be let out of its cage.