Comic Book Yeti contributor Alex Breen recently corresponded with Cassandra Jones, editor/writer of the anthology Let Her Be Evil, to discuss what inspired the anthology, her favorite female villains across media, and tips on how to be a better collaborator in comics. Let Her Be Evil is available on Zoop HERE.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Cassandra, thank you for joining me today. To be completely transparent, I was immediately all-in from the title alone, but for those who haven't checked out the campaign yet, how would you describe Let Her Be Evil to readers?
CASSANDRA JONES: Let Her Be Evil is for readers who are tired of their female villains being redeemed in the third act. It features seventeen women being tirelessly, irredeemably evil in all the right ways in a variety of genres including Western, sci-fi, horror, and fantasy.
CBY: What inspired you to launch your own anthology? And why did you choose Zoop over other crowdfunding platforms?
CJ: I was inspired to launch my own anthology to kickstart my career in comics and to learn from other creators in the space. LHBE itself was born from the frustration I felt while watching female characters’ evil be infantilized or explained away by child loss or assault–I wanted to create a space where women were able to be evil because they had innate, rotten desires and habits in the same way male characters do.
I chose Zoop because they have a team of two fantastic, experienced people helping you along the way, and because they handle printing and distribution for creators. This service took a huge weight off my shoulders–I knew they would create a beautiful print (I’ve heard the same from others who have worked with them) and that they would save me from having to worry about shipping hundreds of copies of the anthology from my living room!
"...I wanted to create a space where women were able to be evil because they had innate, rotten desires and habits in the same way male characters do. "
CBY: Not to make you choose a favorite, but was there a particular creator or artist that you were either thrilled to see pitch a story, or were you blown away by a creative team that you weren't familiar with?
CJ: I was blown away by Moe McGonagle and Sarah Navin. Both are incredible talents. Moe has such a distinctive style and an eye for design and fun, while Sarah tells stories that are unlike any I’ve seen before–her work is creepy, thoughtful, and poignantly sharp. I can’t wait for everyone to read their stories: “Good” and “Trapfixer” respectively.
CBY: For your short story, "Deprivation," I can already say the samples you provided of Moe McGonagle's artwork are incredibly eerie. Can you describe what your collaborative process was like with them? And do you have a different approach to writing stories vs. editing them?
CJ: Moe got what I was trying to do right away. I told them that I was interested in conveying the void-like darkness of being in a deprivation tank, and that they could interpret that however they felt inspired to. For Vision (the scary woman you see in the previews), I sent them the infamous shot from the stair scene in Parasite (2019), and the river spirit from Spirited Away (2001). For the main character, whom I just called Lead, I just said that I wanted her to have a realistic female body that was not overly sexualized (this was important, as she is naked for the entirety of the story). We both hardcore agreed on her having body hair (everywhere), too. The coolest thing to see was how Moe took what ostensibly be considered “not real” in Lead’s story, and added extra psychedelic colors to those moments, but kept the “real” scenes in stark blue, black, and gray.
CBY: From your experience running Let Her Be Evil, what are some dos and don'ts for creators when submitting to anthologies?
CJ: When working with a team, whether you are a writer or an artist, be open to how others interpret and add to your work. Give descriptions that get to the essence of a character or scene, but try to leave space for others to come in with their own spark. Comics are collaborative, and bringing that energy to your submissions shows you are willing to work with others.
CBY: Is there anything else you'd like to tease about any of the stories in the anthology?
CJ: Blood, blood, blood, bug guts, sword slices, girls kissing, ninja turtles. That’s all.
CBY: Who are some of your favorite female villains across media?
CJ: Carmilla from Carmilla and Castlevania and Makima from Chainsaw Man are personal favorites. Ma from Judge Dredd is also pretty fun.
CBY: For people who've already backed Let Her Be Evil, are there any other currently running crowdfunding campaigns you'd recommend people check out?
CJ: Yes! Go check out Don’t Push the Red Button and Amelia Sky #1-4, both on Kickstarter. I will also be a contributor in Coiled to Strike–a Western anthology from WildStar Press, funding in April 2024, so keep an eye out for that!
CBY: Where can people find you on Social Media?
CBY: Cassandra, thank you so much for your time!
CJ: No, thank you!