I Am Hexed is an exciting new four-part comic book series about queer witches who live in the heart of Washington, D.C. The story is written by Kirsten Thompson and illustrated by Christianne Gillenardo-Goudreau, with the fresh lettering of Taylor Esposito. The first issue will be brought to readers through the Kickstarter, which is fully funded and has reached the stretch goal that will launch the second issue into existence.
The relevant and timely phrase in I Am Hexed is “Equality is Magic.” In 2018, the year of the #MeToo movement and the damaging legislation against women’s and LGBTQ+ civil rights that has thrown the United States into chaos, this message is more important than ever. It will be exciting to see how that is executed in I AM HEXED. Women Write About Comics sat down with Thompson to talk about where the project started, and how it came to fruition.
How long did it take for the story of I Am Hexed to come together? Was it something that inspired you long ago, or a newer project?
I’ve been working on I Am Hexed since last year, and it was an idea that came out of the political events in the United States, particularly the claims from prominent conservatives that any form of accountability on their parts was tantamount to being subjected to a ‘witch hunt.’
Have you always loved witches and the witch as a symbol of a woman independent from the expectations of society?
Yes, I’ve always been interested in various forms of magic and witches especially given their historical treatment and how these women were often occupying spaces that they were pushed out of due to the expectations of society and their refusal to conform to standards of behavior and so on.
Do you feel that same witch symbolism is inherently political in nature?
I feel that at its core, witchcraft, like being queer is resistance – simply by existing, refusing to conform and being outspoken, we are acting politically, and that is frightening to many people even today – think of how often ‘witch’ is used as an insult.
What inspired you to choose to include Washington, DC, and these political themes?
Given what’s happening in America, and indeed all over the world the past few years, I chose Washington, DC., as a hub of potential for change as well as corruption. Charlie, who becomes the ‘most wanted witch’ came to D.C. to help change things for the better, but eventually realizes that it takes creating new paths rather than simply abiding by the ‘correct’ modes of behavior.
How did you end up working with Christianne Gillenardo-Goudreau and Taylor Esposito?
I’ve known Taylor for a while, and he and I have worked on other projects together. I showed him drafts of the story as I put it together and he was kind enough to lend his lettering talents to the book — and he does an incredible job. Christianne’s work has been on my radar for a bit and we were connected with the help of my editor, James Emmett.
What is the key message you’d like readers to get out of enjoying this four-part series?
I hope readers take something hopeful and empowering from this story. It’s about these three women who aren’t the most powerful – they’re ordinary witches, but they get caught up in a bigger problem and rather than get out of the way or keep their heads down, continue questioning the status quo and facing obstacles, even when it’s complicated. I think that’s something we can all benefit from — a dose of positivity, that, and having queer ladies kicking butt together is a lot of fun to write and one hopes – read.
Many times sci-fi and fantasy stories grapple with real-world discrimination through allegory — discrimination against robots, etc. — but gloss over existing discrimination. Since your story seems set in the modern era, will these other issues be touched on?
There are definitely parallels in the treatment witches are receiving in this world when compared to minorities and women – and this calls attention to them as well as shows the ways that we can change things if we’re supporting one another en masse — showing up for everyone who needs it, not just when it’s someone who has your issues. That’s what’s key to the success of such movements both in I Am Hexed and today.
Thanks to Kirsten for talking with us about I Am Hexed. Check out the Kickstarter to read some sample pages, look at the beautiful art reward tiers for backers, and be sure to get the first issue before it ends.