Interview: Amy T. Falcone on Clique Refresh

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Amy T. Falcone is a freelance illustrator and comic creator. Like many denizens of the internet, I was introduced to Falcone when she was a contestant on the Penny Arcade reality webseries Strip Search. After the series concluded, Falcone relocated to Seattle, WA to pursue a career in comics; it has been a pleasure to follow her endeavors, in particular, her webcomic Clique Refresh.

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Thanks for joining us here at Women Write About Comics for Webcomics Week. Would you mind letting our readers know a little bit about yourself?

Hello Readers! I’m Amy T. Falcone, author and artist of the comic Clique Refresh. I’m a full time freelance Illustrator and Designer based in Seattle, Washington. I’ve been drawing comics for about ten years and posting them online since 2008. My work has been published in Northwest Press’ Anything That Loves anthology and I appeared on Penny Arcade’s webcomic reality show Strip Search. My work is my life and I’m lucky enough to have made that a reality in my early 20’s.

What is Clique Refresh about, and what can we expect of it in the future?

Clique Refresh is a ballad to friendship and a love letter to the Internet. The comic tells the story of Ellie Cleary’s intense desire to grow up despite her inability to establish herself as an independent adult. She relies on the support of her friends who she has never met in person. Through video chat, texts, e-mail, and time spent playing a game called Ether Ruin, Ellie experiences friendship in a way unique to our generation. I am excited to show off just what makes internet friends so special as the audience learns more about the characters and the game.

Like Clique Refresh protagonist Ellie, you recently relocated to Seattle, WA. How much does the comic draw from your own experiences?

I can say the first 10 pages of Clique Refresh are absolutely based on my experiences. I had a really rough time integrating into the city and I was too headstrong to let people know I needed help. I have lived in a lot of different states (and countries!) but I had yet to live in a city. I wanted to show a real experience, because I knew someone else who just moved might see these strips and have it resonate with them. Moving your home and your life is so tumultuous; it’s nice just to feel like you aren’t alone in it.

cliquerefresh_404guildSo far readers are getting a good sense of Ellie; can you tell us a little more about the rest of the 404 Guild?

I don’t want to give away too much, but I can’t resist talking about these characters. Jeremy is somewhat of a brat and an intelligent guy who doesn’t apply himself in his professional life, but pretends not to be career-minded. Lia is an energetic college student who somehow balances studies, sports, video games, and a robust social life. Rose is the youngest and lives at home with her parents. Her age doesn’t stop her from being the logical voice of reason for the rest of the gang, even if she isn’t always calm and collected. I want to say more but I want my readers to get to know these people over time like they would a new friend.

You write and draw Clique Refresh, and it’s colored by Mary Cagle. Have you worked with a colorist on any of your previous comics, or is this a new facet of comic making that you’re exploring with this project?

Mary is one of my closest friends and also happens to be an Internet friend. Much of my friendship with her has made its way into Clique Refresh. It seemed only right that I bring her on to color this project, as I’d been such a huge fan of her work on other comics. She really makes my line work come alive. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way our two styles fit together. I feels like the perfect homage to our friendship!

Why did you decide to Kickstart Clique Refresh?

I knew I wanted to make this comic at some point, I just wanted to know if fans of my work wanted to see Clique Refresh now. I could have waited to save up the money for the website and the time off of work to build up a buffer, but I decided to take a chance. It was amazing to see the response I had and I couldn’t be more grateful of all the support the project and I received.

The Kickstarter was originally to fund Volume 1 of the comic. Do you have additional volumes planned? Will those be Kickstarted as well?

I can’t say that I’d do another Kickstarter again. It was a really amazing experience but I’d like to try new things next time. I’d be more interested in putting that enthusiasm towards preorders on the book and bonus content than towards fulfilling orders myself. No matter what I do with the book, there won’t be just one volume. This story has at least 3 major arcs to cover!

What webcomics are you reading?

I love this question: Oh Joy Sex Toy by Erika Moen, Kiwi Blitz by Mary Cagle, The Last Halloween by Abby Howard, Broodhollow by Kris Straub, and Cucumber Quest by Gigidigi.

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You can follow Amy T. Falcone’s work on her tumblr. Clique Refresh updates every Tuesday and Friday. Her previous comics include Cardigan Weather, a journal comic loosely based on her own life, and Citation Needed.

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About Author

LB Royal is a project manager that spends a lot of time thinking about gender representation and intersectionality in geek media. She holds an MBA and an MA, and tries to use her powers for good (mostly). You can find her on twitter @laurabeastly

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