Oni Editor Ari Yarwood On Pitching and Princesses

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This year at San Diego Comic Con, Women Write About Comics had the chance to speak with Oni Press Associate Editor Ari Yarwood. Emily Willis sat down to talk with Ari about open submissions, new projects, and supporting creator-owned work.

It was big news when Oni made the announcement about open submissions. Now that they’re closed and you’ve released some of the statistics this weekend, how are you feeling?

I don’t want people to be discouraged! I feel like the statistics seemed a little harsh, but to be quite honest, that’s pretty typical for a lot of publishing, even magazine publishing—which I’ve been in—prose publishing, or literary journals. And the truth is, not included in those statistics are the artists that we’ve found, because we only did statistics for story pitches. We’ve actually found a good handful of artists from artist portfolios, so that’s been really fruitful!

What kind of advice would you give to a woman wanting to break into the comics industry?

Well, the way that I got into the industry was just meeting other people who work in it—mostly women. Seek out other people on twitter! Say hi! Keep practicing your work—comics is a passion!

Some great advice! I know Oni was really making waves when you guys announced that you were specifically looking for female creators and diverse characters. How did you guys to come to the great conclusion that audiences needed to see more diversity in comics?

Oni has always prioritized craft and storytelling, but when we were looking at our slate for upcoming projects, we found we were lacking a little bit and we wanted to change that. Most importantly, we wanted to be more reflective of the world around us and the people who live in it, including myself!

Oni announced three new titles this weekend. Can you tell me a little bit about the one you’re editing?AC_issue1_cover_color

Yes! I am unbelievably excited about Another Castle, which is written by Andrew Wheeler of ComicsAlliance, and illustrated and colored by Paulina Ganucheau, who you might recognize from her other new book, Zodiac Starforce. They’re a powerhouse team, and a pure delight to work with.

The book is about Misty, a princess who chafes at the restrictions that come with her royal life. She longs for adventure, until one day she’s captured by Badlug, the tyrannical ruler of a neighboring kingdom. She figures out pretty quickly that she’s able to escape, but she also realizes that Badlug would punish his citizens for it. So she decides to stay and foment a rebellion with the people under Badlug’s regime. It’s an all-ages book about friendship, bravery, and finding your place in life.

Any final words for the readers of Women Write About Comics?

If you want to support original, creator-owned books, make sure to preorder! I know it’s tempting to wait for the trade (heavens knows that I only ever used to read trades), but especially when a book is first launching, your support on the single issues can make a world of difference in whether or not the book continues.

Emily Willis

Emily Willis

Emily Willis is the writer of Grave Impressions, If The Shoe Fits, and Cassius. She’s been traveling the USA for three years with her fiancée, Ann, attending numerous comic and anime conventions and selling their work. You can find her work at http://www.arbitrarymuse.com or talk to her on twitter at @gicomic