As feminists and allies, it’s absolutely important that we listen to the voices of trans people and support the works they create. This article marks the first in a new bi-monthly column here at Women Write About Comics called Trans Voices. This column is for trans and non-binary creators to showcase their works through interviews. It’s with great hope that these interviews will inspire more trans people to create and let their voices be heard.
When you imagine the underworld, what comes to mind? Snake men? Vampires? How about a sapphic investigator? Freddie Freakie is about the thrilling adventures of Freddie Freakie, a spunky gay ghost girl who battles evil organizations and solves mysteries, all while trying to figure out the clues to locate her missing girlfriend. This queer, spunky comic was written by Kaycee Cosmos, a trans lesbian cartoonist.
Hello Kaycee, mind telling us about yourself?
Sure! My name is Kaycee Cosmos, but I mostly go by KC☆ when making art and comics. I’m a trans cartoonist living in North Carolina. While also attending school, I do freelance character work as well as draw my own webcomic to help support myself. My favorite story subjects are the supernatural and girls, which is why I’m making a comic about both!
Haha, that’s wonderful Kaycee! What are some of your inspirations when drawing, and what got you started in your art career?
Cartoons! Mostly stuff that you could catch on Cartoon Network in the 2000s—Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Lab, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Those colorful and bubbly interpretations of life are what got me drawing in the first place, and I still turn to them when I find myself having art block. Cartoons and cartoonists today keep me motivated to—people like KC Green and Noelle Stevenson who render things so uniquely and have pushed their work so far just by continuing to do it. Honestly, anyone who posts their art online is an inspiration, I always think “if they can do it, there’s an audience for me out there too!”
The Golden Age of cartoons! Now, as a trans woman I’m sure you notice the clear lack of proper representation for trans people, as a cartoonist/artist do you wish to put a change in this?
Oh yes, the media that represents trans people is incredibly limited. Luckily we’re seeing more characters that are okay with presenting different ranges of masculinity and femininity (or the lack of either), but we’ve really yet to see characters that come out and say “I’m trans!”
I myself had a recent page where Freddie, the main character of my comic Freddie Freakie, openly talked about her dysphoria and being trans. I’m very thankful that as an independent writer I don’t have anyone standing in my way when I want to make characters gay or trans, because it was so easy to do! The response was great too, none of my readers seemed to bat an eye at it. So now that I’ve done it I’m addicted to it! I keep thinking “oh what if a trans narrative makes sense for this character too?” I just want to normalize an audience to the idea that anyone could be trans and they’re still the same person you always knew.
Freddy is a very enjoyable character-speaks her mind, spunky, and humorous—certainly a character that anyone could relate to. Will we be meeting anymore trans characters soon?
I’m so glad you think so! I definitely wrote her with her humor and loudness in mind. She says what she’s thinking! We’re currently on Chapter 4 where Freddie is sort of opening up about her transness for the first time. She’s got more to say about it and this sort of duality the fantasy elements of the story are imposing on her. But she won’t get to the end of that puzzle quite yet.
Chapter 5 is going to expand on those elements, and there is going to be a new trans character! They will be a gender neutral, non binary person who is searching for the same person Freddie and her friend Philly are. Their name will be a mystery until the end of the chapter, but they’ll be very central to the events from the beginning of it!
Chapter 5 seems to have a lot packed into it! Now, as a writer and artist, what’s challenges have you had to overcome when working?
Like any artist, I come into blocks a lot. Time management is also rough especially since the art I do is rarely for any monetary benefit. But as I’ve slowly transitioned into trying to make my art my living I’ve run into a lot of issues with self-pressure. There’s a lot of “you’re not good enough” and “you’re not working hard enough” that runs through my brain, especially when something I was working on falls through but even when I’ve done something I know is good I have a lot of trouble allowing myself to feel good about it. I’ve yet to find the perfect middle ground between pushing myself constantly and enjoying my work, but I think I need to accept more that those things aren’t mutually exclusive.
Do you have anything else in the works?
Currently, Freddie Freakie is the only comic I’m working on. I have a short animated film premiering in the middle of April called “W” that I’m taking working on in between Freddie pages. It’s a little autobiographical thing about being a trans artist that I think is going to turn out pretty neat!
Right now there are hazy plans for publishing Freddie Freakie. It’s very mobile-oriented! I got the inspiration from watching a TED Talk by Scott McCloud about the nature of webcomics and conforming to how the media is consumed. At the last minute, just days before I was releasing the first few pages of FF, I changed it all and made it mobile-oriented! It’s got big text and even bigger panels to fit a screen. I like to think that makes it accessible but it’s kind of just an experiment!
I have a couple ideas about how I might make a physical version of the comic, and I’m preparing a few mockups to see if someone might be interested in publishing it—but for now, it’s internet only! The way of the future I guess!!