Comic Book Yeti contributor Ty Whitton sits down and chats with Natasha Alterici regarding a comic book about dealing with love, grief, and when to move on. Haunted, Beloved hits comic book store shelves on July 20th. Ty chats with Natasha for an in-depth understanding of the story, how/why the book is unique, and what comic book readers can expect from Natasha going forward.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Greetings, Natasha! Thank you for taking the time out to join the Comic Book Yeti to talk about your new one-shot story called Haunted, Beloved. How has your year been so far?
NATASHA ALTERICI: Not bad at all. Working on a number of projects, both professional and personal, that have been very fulfilling, so that's nice.
CBY: Staying busy is a great thing! For anyone who was unaware, you've been dealing with a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome in 2021, where you had surgery to correct it. I can't imagine how much that issue had an impact on your life as a creator. How has life been post-surgery?
NA: Even longer than that, I think my symptoms started to become severe around 2017? I know I was working on the second volume of Heathen at the time. But yes, thankfully I had the release surgery and it’s been such a life-changer. I took about a month off after to focus on healing and then slowly began to build back up my strength and skills. It felt a lot like I had to re-learn how to draw, but just being able to practice my craft again, pain-free, has been incredible. Feels good.
CBY: The fact that you're past your ailment and back to doing what you love is fantastic! You’ve been a freelance artist for at least the past 10 years. To fill in the gaps for the fans, what do you like to do to stay busy and/or relax when you're not working on projects? I heard you're a huge fan of cooking shows! Which cooking shows do you find yourself frequenting? Do you have a favorite chef you love to watch?
NA: I like poking around in the garden, growing things, and playing video games. Really into Ark right now, which is a survival crafting game where you tame and ride dinosaurs. And yes, I still like watching cooking shows. Fav at the moment might be a youtube channel called You Suck at Cooking, which is very funny and the recipes are easy to follow. They taught me to make blueberry scones!
CBY: My wife and I absolutely adore the You Suck at Cooking YouTube channel! We cannot get enough of the hilarity! I honestly love to watch anything Gordon Ramsay hosts, as he has a very honest and up-front attitude about cooking that is incredibly fun to watch. If it weren't for Gordon, my scrambled eggs would still be lumpy and dry! Haunted, Beloved is a fantastic work of art! The one-shot was easily able to convey, what seemed like, all of the feelings that come with losing a loved one or someone close to you. It was really easy to find myself in the main character's shoes in dealing with grief. Knowing that, where did you get your inspiration for such a piece?
NA: For me, this story is less about a death, and more about a dysfunctional relationship. These are two people who can't connect anymore, literally because one is now incorporeal, but metaphorically because they are now in different places. With every attempt to reach out to their widow, the ghost only ends up causing her more pain, and they have to learn to let go so that they each can find happiness again.
CBY: Those details tend to really draw readers in too. Haunted, Beloved was the first story or one-shot that I've read which didn't have any spoken dialogue. You did a superb job with the art as well! What made you decide to create Haunted, Beloved as a piece that's full of art with no conversation at all?
NA: Silent comics are always an interesting challenge, and I’ve done a couple of them. I think for me it comes from my background, which is more fine arts focused, so I still in some ways think of myself as an artist first. There’s just so much flexibility in the medium, that you can write a book with no words in it at all? I love that.
CBY: When it comes to working on a project by yourself, what do you enjoy about that type of creative atmosphere in comparison to projects you've worked on where you've collaborated with other creators?
NA: Well, the problem is that I strongly prefer to do it all myself. I’m a stubborn greedy fool like that. But I have more books inside me than I could ever hope to write/draw on my own, so my plan going forward is to always have a couple books working at the same time, one I can solo on, and one to write for another artist to draw. I think that'll satisfy my needs to do it all and also my need to do more overall.
CBY: That strategy really worked for this comic book! What comic books, tv shows, and/or movies are you currently enjoying?
NA: I just checked out every volume of Snot Girl from the library over the weekend and devoured them all in one sitting. Honestly mad at myself for sleeping on it so long, it was amazing. Leslie Hung sure can draw the hell out of some ladies.
CBY: Leslie Hung is certainly one artist I'd love to have a commission from! If you were in charge of creating a comic book-based Mount Rushmore, which creators would be placed on your monument and why?
NA: This is the hardest question ever. Let's see… Tillie Walden, Allison Bechdel, Mariko Tamaki, and maybe Alan Moore, although he’d probably hate that.
CBY: I'm sorry you were put on the spot, but these artists really reflect you as a creator and what you also enjoy yourself. What can you tell CBY readers about what's to come from you in the future?
NA: I am actually working on a new graphic novel to be published with Literati Press as well. It’s called Wild Flowers, it’s a queer romance set on a defunct farm in rural Oklahoma. I'm calling it my "be gay, do crimes, grow a garden" book. Look for it in like 2024.
CBY: That is exciting and I will definitely be looking out for Wild Flowers! Where can CBY readers find you online?
NA: Twitter: @alterici
Instagram: @alterici_art and @alterici_garden
CBY: I just want to thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! Haunted, Beloved has found a place in my heart without a doubt! I look forward to ordering a few copies of your book on July 20th, when it hit stores! Good luck with your future projects as well!
NA: Thanks for the fun questions, Tyler!