20 questions with Chelsea Cain, writer of Man-Eaters


An unusual interview with Chelsea Cain, the author of Man-Eaters.

The digital age is amazing. We can look up the cover to every comic ever published, we can tweet at the illustrators of those comics, and we can even read those comics online, with the help of several apps.

People used to have to write letters to each other, and wait weeks or months for a response, but now we can just fire off an email and withing minutes get a response. This author was lucky enough to have the fates align so that Chelsea Cain, writer of Mockingbird and several thrilling novels, and who also pens the fabulous, intriguing Man-Eaters, which has the TPB coming out February 27 and issue 5 coming out January 30,was willing to agree to an interview.

Once again, the digital age is amazing; not being in the same state, she asked for some questions to be sent to her, via email, and here are the results, which might not be what you expected, but are surely what you want.

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Twenty, not ten or thirty, questions about Man-Eaters and totally random stuff

1. What do you hope Man-Eaters communicates to its readers?
THIS is a comic?  This breaks SO MANY RULES and SOCIAL NORMS. Perhaps said rules and social norms are imperfect…also, cats are neat.

2. What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone in a moving vehicle besides a plane?

Space Mountain.  Disney World.  1982.  I still have a headache.

3. What’s the worst part of your “celebrity status”?

The thought of what my daughter might see if she Googles me.

4. What’s your least favorite animal, and why?

Snakes. I know, that’s so typical, right?  I even got a tattoo of a snake, in this grand gesture to take ownership of my fear. It didn’t help.

5. What’s your favorite snack?

Indiana Popcorn Black & White Drizzlecorn.

6. What made you want to write comics?

The same reason I once took an aerial trapeze class.  I wanted to see if I could do it.

7. What, or who, would you go to jail for?

Anything, really.  I think jail sounds nice.  Lots of time to write.

8. What’s your least favorite thing about technology?

It limits humanity’s greatest creative asset: boredom.

9. How many times (ballpark or actual) have you been interviewed in your life?

Between 5,000 and 10,000?  98% of those related to my career as a thriller writer. I try to limit my comic book related interviews.  For A LOT of reasons.

10. What popular thing do all your friends enjoy that you despise?

I don’t like talking about things I despise. On principle.  I prefer promoting the things that I actually enjoy.

11. Did you know which artist you wanted to illustrate Man-Eaters, and why did you want them?

Man-Eaters reunites the entire Mockingbird creative team: writer, artist, colorist, letterer.  We had unfinished business.  And it helps that they are all incredibly talented.

12. Dill pickle or cupcake?

Dill pickle! This is the easiest question, so far.

13. Name a guilty pleasure.

The chardonnay I’m drinking while answering this questionnaire.

14. What’s the one thing you’re always telling everyone, but nobody listens?

We’re each born with 1000 exclamation marks we can use over the coarse of our entire lives.  Use them wisely.

15. Why is your best friend your best friend?

On our first date it came up that he still had all his childhood Hardy Boys books, and I had all of my childhood Nancy Drew books.  I wanted them all on the same bookshelf.  So I married him.

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16. Why do you think comics, as a medium, are and have been so influential?

I think that people who read comics think that comics are a lot more influential than they are, honestly. It’s an insular world, where people have strong opinions and like to share them – and I think it creates something of an echo chamber. Comics – as we know them – have only been around for a century.

Steady yourself – but lots and lots of people go about their day to day life never reading comics books, or seeing a comic book related movie.

STORIES are influential.  Stories have ALWAYS been influential. And storyTELLERS are incredibly influential in shaping how we see ourselves and each other.  That’s an important discussion to have.  But I think it’s a little precious to say that comics are somehow more special – or more influential – than any other kind of art. There are great, provocative TV shows, and great, provocative poems, and great, provocative novels, and so so so much more.

In many ways, comic books – often lauded as populist and accessible – are LESS accessible than most art – because the comic book industry is designed in a way that excludes so many audiences (I’m talking distribution, not content).  Comics just happen to – historically – have reached the boys who grow up to be decision makers.  So they make TV shows and movies, but really they’re still just talking to each other.  Not us.  Not me.  Not yet. I’m used to that.

I grew up reading comic books, and watching TV, and going to movies.  I grew up as a girl and as a geek.  I grew up knowing that that I would always, every single time we played with Star Wars action figures, be Princess Leia.  I was grateful! Because those boys, they finally needed a girl! You know who I was this past Halloween?  Han-f%#&ing-Solo.

17. Assuming you wanted to travel back in time, to when would you go?

November, 2008, was nice.

18. When you think of the sum of all human knowledge at your fingertips, digitally, what do you find yourself constantly looking up?

From my recent bookmark history:

“Vegan meal delivery”

Rahotep first porchstache”*

Atomic Bomb Survival Guide

Writing Cheats

7 Surprising Tax Deductions

Bermuda Triangle

*yeah, I have no idea.

19. What superhero battle were you most excited to see in a comic, or would like to see?

Sue Storm vs. Tony Stark. (Editor’s note: this battle never occurred, but somehow there is zero internet hubbub about it. Hmm.)

20. When you decided to make the female characters in Man-Eaters turn into large felines, was it because of the age-old comparison of women to cats, and men to dogs, or was there a deeper meaning for you?

Two words: Pussy hats.


Next. Man-Eaters No. 4 review: Cat Fight, a boy’s guide to dangerous cats. dark

BONUS QUESTION: What’s your favorite thing to rant about, and would you like to rant about it now?

Why, every time I see a movie, is there someone behind me chewing popcorn with their mouth open? This is statistically improbable.