In this interview with Wesconnect, Marisa Stotter ’13 and Patrick Meaney ’07 discuss their unexpected collaboration, life after Wesleyan and their Kickstarter project She Makes Comics – a documentary on the often-overlooked history of women involved in comics.
WESCONNECT: This documentary tells the story of women who make comics. How did your interest in this subject begin?
MARISA STOTTER: I’ve been reading comics since I was in high school, and in recent years I’ve become involved in the online community of comics professionals and fans. Sites like Tumblr are home to a really vibrant community of people who love to talk about comics and share their own creations – and women make up a large portion of that community. There are so many intelligent and insightful discussions happening online, but I think they tend to rattle around the echo chamber of the Internet and don’t really receive the mainstream attention they deserve.
She Makes Comics aims to bring some of these discussions to light and demonstrate that women have been contributing to comics for decades, just as they continue to do now.
WC: As a recent graduate, how have you adjusted to the “real world”?
MARISA: Well, for one, I’ve discovered the joy of waiting in line at the bank to get quarters for laundry – none of my building’s machines take Middletown Cash! I’m definitely still adjusting to the “real world,” but I think that Wesleyan helped give me the tools I need to navigate adulthood. I also learned so much about myself at Wes – about the kind of person I want to be and the kinds of things I want to do in life. I still miss Wes and all of the wonderful people I met there, but I know that I have the support of friends and former professors even from 3,000 miles away.
WC: What other projects have you worked on since you graduated?
PATRICK MEANEY: Right after graduation, I worked at a post production house, and got laid off in 2008, which prompted me to pull all my contacts together and start my own production company. Since then, I’ve done a wide variety of work, including a half hour infomercial, web content for ESPN and Comedy Central, and my own sci-fi webseries. But the biggest projects have definitely been a series of documentaries about the world of comic books.
I didn’t set out to become the comic book documentary film production company, but we just keep discovering great stories in the world, like She Makes Comics, and there’s no one else really doing this, so it’s a nice niche to have.
WC: Your Kickstarter has done really well so far. Were you expecting this kind of reaction?
PATRICK: I knew there was a lot of passion for the topic, which is part of the reason that we’re doing the film in the first place, so it wasn’t a total surprise, but it still blows me away to realize that over 400 people have contributed to the campaign already. That’s a lot! And a lot of people have been lending support in other ways, like press coverage and helping spread the word on Twitter and Facebook. It’s really cool to see.
WC: How did your partnership start?
PATRICK: Marisa got in touch with me over Twitter a couple of years ago, and we met up last year when she was out in LA for the summer. I was shooting a short film at the time and she helped out on that. This year, I knew that I wanted to get someone else involved with Respect Films and reached out to her to see if she’d want to work with us after graduating.
MARISA: I first met Patrick when he came to campus to screen his film Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods. As a comics fan, I was really interested in his work and kept in touch. It was so exciting to get an offer to work with him just prior to graduation. Bringing together my love of comics and my desire to work in film – it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!
WC: What are your roles in this project – and how has the collaboration process been?
PATRICK: Marisa is the one in charge of the overall vision of the project and the nitty gritty of scheduling on the project, reaching out to people, etc. I’m pretty much bringing my experience of having made several films previously to help focus what we’re doing and figure out who the best people are to interview and the best way to tell the story. And we’re both working together on editing the film.
MARISA: This is my first feature, and I’ve benefited so much from Patrick’s guidance every step of the way. It’s a bit daunting to be helming a project less than a year after graduating from college, but it’s also incredibly exciting.
WC: You didn’t overlap at Wesleyan, judging by your class years. Do you have similar memories of your time in college?
PATRICK: It’s pretty similar when we talk about it. She doesn’t remember MoCon and I was not around in the Usdan era, but things like the film series and the professors are pretty much the same. I think we’re both really big fans of Wesleyan.
MARISA: We both have fond memories of exploring the tunnels in the Butts. Sometimes one of us will mention something Wes-related and the other won’t have a clue. A lot can change in a few years, but some things do stay the same.
Image thumb: c/o of Marisa and Patrick
Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20140219-stotter-meaney
- The documentary that recognizes women’s roles in comics
- Sequart announces ‘She Makes Comics’
- ‘She Makes Comics’ crowdfunds the oral history of women in comics
- ‘She Makes Comics’ Podcast