Have you seen Handknit Heroes yet? It’s the first graphic novel for knitters, and it’s pretty awesome. Not only did the first issue feature twins with superhuman powers and a mom who is secretly working to invent bullet proof fibers, it also included a pattern for the POW! Hooded Scarf, designed by Erssie Major.
Stephanie Bryant, the comic’s author, took a few minutes to answer some of our nagging questions about what it’s like to write a graphic novel for fiber enthusiasts.
Q. What inspired you to create a graphic novel for knitters?
A. Like all great inspiration, I came up with the idea at a SnB knitting night at my local yarn shop. We were talking about how much fun the comic-inspired knits like Wonder Woman wristlets are, and I had this idea that you could do an entire knitted superhero costume pattern, with various colorways for the different characters.
Q. How long did it take to produce the first issue and what was the process like for you?
A. It was almost exactly a year from that initial lightning bolt to the first issue, but there was a lot of dawdling and development going on. I had to learn a lot, including how to write a comic book, and how to hire people to do important things like write a knitting pattern. I was extremely lucky to have found Marc (my artist) and Erssie (the designer for Issue #1’s pattern), who were both wonderful and highly professional.
Q. Who did you base your characters on?
A. Well, okay, this is a tough one. Alex and Ana are based on a basic idea of “we’re NOT the Wonder Twins!” Sue is based on nobody in specific, but the relationship she has with Ana is based on my own experience growing up with my best friend. Jen (the mom) is based rather transparently on my sister, who is a single mom raising two kids and therefore a hero in my book.
Q. Do you see craft-comics as a new emerging genre of graphic novels? What do you think the future holds for craft-comics?
A. You know, I don’t know too many other craft-oriented comics, so I would say the future is wide open. It could die a quiet death, or it could become huge– I’m leaning towards huge, of course.
Q. How long have you been knitting?
A. I’ve only been knitting for 4 years, but I was a spinner before that, and I’ve crocheted since I was about 5 years old.
Q. What is the process like for deciding what patterns to include in the comic?
A. Difficult, especially because we only take one pattern per issue. I had pattern proposals coming in starting in November, and it was easy to pick the first one simply because I liked how the designer and I interacted. But now I’m selecting from a range of good patterns, and it’s very, very hard. I can only imagine how much worse it will get when we develop a track record and start getting the kinds of patterns you just can’t turn down. I want to publish them all! Instead, I look for how well it fits into what we’re doing, and whether or not our superheroes would like to knit it. If I don’t think a teen superhero would be interested in it, then I don’t think our readers would, either.
Speaking of the pattern… Stephanie was not only gracious enough to answer our questions about the comic, she also sent us 3 copies to give away. To sweeten the pot, we’re throwing in 7 skeins of Wool of the Andes for one grand prize winner. Personally, I’d recommend Daffodil or Gold Kettle Dye to recreate the original POW! Hooded Scarf in Handknit Heroes, but our grand prize winner will get to pick what color they’d like. Two runners up will get copies of the graphic novel.
To enter to win, post a comment below telling us what your superhero power would be (if you got to pick just one) and why.
Winners will be picked randomly on April 22nd and contacted by private message. The winners will also be announced on the staff blog, so check back! <