Autumn Ivy is well-known for her intricate cosplays, but her most recent accomplishment is as co-creator (along with Raven Gregory) of the comic book series “Widow’s Web.” A writer from a very young age, Autumn has a wealth of experiences to draw from as she writes, and her personal experiences sometimes bleed through into her art. Autumn recently attended Phoenix Comicon, where I had the pleasure of speaking with her regarding her writing and “Widow’s Web.”
I read that you were discovered by some of your poetry and short stories that you had posted online. What were some of the themes and genres that you wrote about?
“I was an angsty high schooler, so there was that. (laughs). A couple of my posts—I really like to write about metaphors and the touch and feel of a person in a relationship and feeling what it feels like to be lonely and have them not by your side but imagining that they’re there with you. Oh my gosh, it’s so angsty looking back on it now. But yeah, so I had a lot of that. I would write about landscapes that turned out to be people by the end of the poetry, so just kind of a mix and mash of a mess of words.”
What’s your favorite genre to write in?
“(laughs) Horror. I won’t even hesitate. Horror is my genre. Period, end of story.”
How is writing for comics different from writing a short story?
“You know what’s funny, the first thing I would say is the layout. When you’re writing a short story you have this rhythm you can hear in your head. It sings when you’re putting it on paper in paragraphs. Writing a comic book is like writing a movie script in its own right, because you have to figure out: ‘What do I want this panel to look like? What am I trying to convey? Do I want the character to look far away? What are they saying here and does it matter?’ Because you want, for example, if you’re writing a horror story and you want to give this sense of uneasiness, your words are going to be—the lettering and the wording is going to be off-center. You’re going to want it skewed from an aerial, that kind of thing where you’re imagining this scene happening as a still shot while you’re writing it. I think that’s what makes it a lot different, because the flow of a short story has that rhythmic dance, whereas you have to actually stop and think about ‘What would this look like when you’re writing a script?’”
Tell us about “Widow’s Web.”
“’Widow’s Web’ is a story of boy meets girl except in this case the girl might actually eat the boy. (laughs). It takes place in Tcesni City. If you think about that backwards there’s a little bit of a trick to it. I won’t give it away, just look at the word. It’s kind of about a down-on-his-luck, boy-next-door type of person who winds up in a terrible breakup situation and runs into this very sweet, kind of cute girl named Dahlia who has a secret. And this secret could wind up really messing with Peter later on, who is our main male. It’s a story of how relationships could go southbound down the ninety-nine to Nope Town, but collectively it’s so much more than that. I’m so excited for people to read it.”
What other game or comic has inspired you in your works?
“I just played a game recently that made it in my list of my top three. It’s tied for my number one/number two slot. It’s a game called Fran Bow. I had these horrible nightmares when I was younger and still sometimes have them. But it was so impactful because the story, as you’re playing it you’re seeing this young girl and you’re like okay, you know, this is fine. Well she has this horrible thing happen to her: she sees her parents get killed. It’s tragic because it’s her story about how she’s dealing with it, but she deals with it in such a fantastic, imaginary way. I kind of took bits and pieces of that and have worked with it since playing that game recently since it’s so close to me.”
And you also love cosplay…
What’s your favorite character to cosplay?
“Revy from Black Lagoon. She’s my spirit animal. I actually have her tattoo. It’s very near and dear to my heart, that character.”
Do you have any advice for writers who are interested in writing comics?
“Don’t stop. And I almost sang ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’ (laughs). Seriously though, you’re going to get beat down. You’re going to have horrible things happen. You’re going to have instances in life where you’re like ‘I can’t—I don’t have time for this. I gotta give up. I can’t do this.’ Or you’re going to take your work to somebody and you’re going to get a rejection letter and they’re going to tell you ‘You need to change XYZ.’ You may have to make changes for a major publisher, but if you want to stay true to your craft and your art and the story that you’re writing just remember that at the end of the day you’re doing it because you needed to put that on paper, and that is the most powerful thing.”