Friday, June 17, 2011

Nerd Mafia Promo Party

I know I've been neglecting my duties as a blogger recently, sorry it's been busy as of late, what with working and trying to put out a comic a week as well as going to promo parties. What's a promo party, you ask? Well, only the greatest thing a starving artist/writer like me could ever attend! Put on by the very cool Nerd Mafia, and hosted by the wicked Andrew Uys who is responsible for Uysfaber and his lovely wife Theresa. A few friends of mine in the comic/creative/nerd industry all got together with some really awesome interviewers like radio/pod cast hosts, bloggers and those who do video interviews for their site, as we mingled, had some food and alcohol and enjoyed the lovely June day while listening to the magical music of Nerds With Guitars. It was wonderful. I got to see some old friends like Alice Quinn of Tdotcomics as well as my friend D.K. who's working on Hardware, Sally Christensen and her awesome boyfriend John T. who do so much for Nerd Girl Pinups and have their own little business called Yarn of Despair. I also met some new people while I was there, mainly one of the very knowledgeable and cool hosts of Geek Hard, Andrew Young who did a full interview of me here: as well as Eli Green and Nathan Schwartz from Lazyreviewzzz who did a lovely tribute video to the party here: Also the lovely Sally Christensen that I already mentioned above asked me to do my first interview of the day so I was a bit nervous but as the interviews went on I loosened up. She interviewed me and other cool nerds here: check out the videos, I hope you enjoy them, and visit the websites of these wonderfully creative people in Toronto. You may realize you love what they're doing and might even come out to a Nerd Mafia party in the near future!

P.S. Sorry to those I met/greeted at the party I did not mention, there are so many cool people at this party as I'm sure you can see by the videos, I could not meet everyone there and those I did talk to and did not mention, again my apologies. Maybe next blog post! :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Top 10 Fave Animated Tomboys

Ok, I think cartoons are the perfect place to showcase strong, sarcastic and even gutsy women. Maybe it’s the fact that this is where most outcasts come to share a common ground but if you’re going to make a cool character, animation is the place to be. In most things, tomboys are considered to be the side-kick characters as they are in a lot of cartoons as well, but there have also been a few that have become the stars of the show either because it’s all about them or just because they stand out on the coolest people ever scale! Perhaps I am biased because I have a comic about a tomboy but I think tomboys are the most fascinating people in human nature. Either way without further ado here are my top ten fave animated tomboys:

Gadget from Rescue Rangers:

This wrench-weilding mouse is not only handy but oh-so-adorable and has even caught the eye of Chip and Dale…whom, let’s face it, aren’t even in her species. I love Gadget’s name and strong nature. Oh and by the way, cool goggles hun, you were Steampunk before it was even invented!

Lydia from Beetlejuice:

Ok some may argue with me on this one and say, she’s not a tomboy, she’s more Goth. I say, who said Goths can’t be tomboys? I think they go nicely together like skulls to Hamlet. I dunno…fact is, she doesn’t quite get along with Pru that prom-queen chick and hangin’ out with ghosts all day don’t make you all that popular with the female living unless you’re into that sorta thing like her. To me she was always very cool and I was drawn to her spunky nature and fascination for all things unusual.

Ashley Spinelli from Recess:

Often referred to by her last name, Spinelli was frequently seen getting dirty, playing sports and punchin’ out anyone who insulted her clique on the playground. I almost forgot about recess until I watched this show back in high school and Spinelli was always my favorite character on the show. I loved how she hated “The Ashleys” (the group of princesses all with the same name who were clone-like in nature and were all rich, pretty and popular…aka: Snots) and defended her friends without even a hesitation. I also thought it was hilarious how she seemed to have no emotions until the episode where we meet her parents and they embarrassingly reveal that she has a crush on T.J. the main character.

Lor from The Weekenders:

Another Disney show (I know, who knew Disney was that into producing so many shows about tomboys, it was a shock to me too, but then again, they did make Mulan) Lor was cute and a bit boy crazy but her gazillion brothers (who would often, for some reason, pile on top of Lor for fun) kept her in line I think. Also she hung out with guys and a very smart chick, these guys were never very popular in their school but they had some fun weekends together, shooting hoops, eating pizza and doing “normal” kids stuff.

Kim Possible from…Kim Possible:

Yup, yet another Disney show I dressed as her for Halloween once. Kim is the butt-kicking spy/superhero you always dreamed you could be…she also tries to keep a head on her shoulder and even tries out for cheerleading which you don’t always see tomboys doing in these cartoons, but hey she’s the leading lady, she hasta be kinda cute. Her best friend is a wise-cracking, nerdy guy who has a naked mole rat as a pet. She tries to be a normal teenager but often fails; I don’t feel that bad for her though, she’s got a sweet high school job.

Buttercup from Powerpuff Girls:

Despite her simplified and cute look this girl is very intimidating. She always looks mad whenever I see her. I’ll admit I didn’t watch this show enough (I didn’t get the channel when it was on) but I find Buttercup was the coolest outta the girls and I know a ton of people who have called her as their favorite. She kicks monkey-butt! And no that’s not an expression she really kicks monkeys in the butt, if you haven’t seen it, look up Mojo Jo-jo he’s my fave villain!

Jessie from Undergrads:

Another costume I did for Halloween, Jessie was awesome. This show was so wicked and I’m sure most would agree. Too bad it only lasted a season, but maybe that’s how it remained so good, it didn’t wear out its welcome…at least I didn’t get sick of it unless I allowed myself to watch it over and over again. Anyways Jessie totally had the hots for Nitz but didn’t bluntly flirt with him about it; at least he didn’t notice ‘cuz he was too busy pining over Kimmy. She was quick-witted and one of the guys. A good combination of sexy and cool, Jessie was a character I have always enjoyed watching.

Nikki from 6-Teen:

Another purple-haired, femme-fetal, Nikki is one of my fave characters in the Canadian born show 6-Teen. Maybe I missed an episode or two but I never quite understood why she worked at that store with so many blond clones. Maybe she enjoyed mocking them or feeling superior to their very ditsy ways but either way it made me laugh. Normally in most situations girls like her would have either been fired or more likely would have quit that job long ago but for some reason she stuck it out. She was smart, mature, gutsy, sarcastic, and had a good head on her shoulders. Out of all the girls I think Nikki was my fave and she made me wanna tune in as often as I could. This show had a lot of fun characters though too, if you haven’t seen it I suggest you check it out.

Joan of Arc from Clone High:

Another Canadian show, yes Joan did seem pretty gothy too, and who knows why she liked Abe, it was such a silly show. I loved how she would punch out JFK if he ever made an offensive comment and kicked Gandhi in the face for the same exact reason. I also loved how she loathed Cleopatra and how they seemed to share a common animosity for one another. The historical stereotypes in one school and how they interacted with each other was pure genius, and the way the characters would point out the random flaws in the writing out of nowhere made it even more hysterical.

Daria and Jane from Daria:

Ok, I know these should be #10 and #11 on the list but these are my #1 fave tomboys…and well since they’re from the same show it was really hard to separate them. I love the characters equally. I feel even though Daria is most likely thought of as a geek and Jane the crazy artist they were both drawn to each other as friends through their common tomboyish personality trait. Daria was created on Beavis and Butthead (which I’ll admit I rarely watched) that they called “Diarrhea” as she sardonically zings them back with her awesome wit. On her show she held her own quite nicely I think. Running 5 seasons long and gaining character development along the way. Jane and Daria seem attached at the hip and despite major curveballs and bumps along the way somehow manage to remain friends through everything they go through, even when Daria steals Jane’s man?! Wow, talk about sharing everything as friends! They both have their differences but a stronger similarity. Both gals agree that they possess a really good friendship. I think it’s great when two tomboys have found each other and can keep each other sane in this crazy mixed up world, especially when that world is full of those that are the complete opposite of them.

Those are my fave animated tomboys, I’m sure I forgot a few along the way, what’s your favorite tomboy of all time?

Friday, April 29, 2011

What 80s and 90s Cartoons Taught Us About Nerdy Girls

Ok so I was doing a little research for fun. I thought it would be funny to point out some of the stereotypes of the smart female characters of the 80s and 90s...the fact that I actually grew up on these characters makes me sad. Most of the characters have large glasses, are shy, klutzy, desperate for love...and even at one time a man and no one seemed to notice their huge transformation? I know...right? Some of them have their better qualities sometimes I mean they're all quite smart or at least leave something to the imagination with their ensembles. Oh I also noticed that a vast majority of them either wear blue or purple or even have blue hair. Coincidence? Probably not, it's most likely just the characters I chose. Anyways here's a few pix of the characters with little write ups about them*:

Shy Violet from Strawberry Shortcake:

"Shy Violet is a studious little girl with the mind of a genius. She wears great big glasses and looks just as intelligent as she is. Most of the time, Violet can be found reading or writing or working on her theories about color. She is Rainbow Brite's problem-solver and can always be counted upon for quick answers to difficult questions. Though Violet is very shy, she never hesitates to speak up to offer advice. And when she speaks, everybody listens because she's always right! Hers is the color of wisdom and enlightenment, so when she's not busy offering advice, she's managing the work of the violet Sprites, supplying violet colors to our world." ~Quote brought to you by:

Plum Pudding from Rainbow Brite:

This one shocked me a bit too, but I also find it somewhat amusing: "The last of Strawberry Shortcake's original 1980s friends, Plum Puddin' was the bespectacled genius of the group. A surprisingly non-token second male character in Strawberry's early adventures, Plum Puddin' vanished from Strawberryland in 1982, only to return to the series in 1984 as a brainy female. Strawberry Shortcake seemed not to notice. Plum remained Strawberry Shortcake's scientific advisor through the franchise's disbanding in 1985."~Quote courtesy of:

Jeanette from Alvin and the Chipmunks:

Now I dunno about you but I watched a lot of the Chipmunks as a kid, it just always seemed to be on. I noticed later on that Jeanette slightly resembled Irma from Ninja Turtles. Anyway, here's another quote from Wickipedia: "Jeanette Miller is the tallest of the Chipettes. She is the female counterpart of Simon. She is the middle sister of the Chipettes. Jeanette has a high amount of intellect which she is often not afraid to use, and is considered the lovable klutz of the Chipettes. Her klutzy personality is shown in her outfits, and is often seen with her shoelaces untied, a strap on her dress shoulder crooked, etc.. She wears glasses due to extremely poor eyesight. Jeanette has brown hair in a bun, green eyes, and her signature colors are royal blue and purple. In the 2009 film, Jeanette is voiced by Anna Faris.~

Irma from Ninja Turtles:

Is it me or is there a striking resemblance between Jeanette? It's uncanny! "Irma Langinstein is the bespectacled, dorky best friend, and colleague of April O'Neil at Channel Six, where she serves as Burne Thompson's secretary in the 1987 series and Archie Comics." ~

Janine from The Real Ghostbusters:

"Janine's character was changed at the suggestion of consultants, who said that they wanted to change the shape of Janine's glasses (which they thought would frighten children), and change her from a feisty character to the "mother" of the Ghostbusters group as they felt she was "too abrasive". Additionally, the Brooklyn accent was discarded with a change in voice actresses. This, among other reasons, was why writer J. Michael Straczynski left The Real Ghostbusters." Quote found and additional info about this can be found at:

Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury from Sailor Moon:

"A quiet, fourteen-year-old bookworm in Usagi's class. Highly intelligent with a rumored IQ of 300, she can transform into Sailor Mercury, Soldier of Water and Wisdom. Ami's shy exterior masks a passion for knowledge and for taking care of the people around her. She hopes to become a doctor one day, like her mother, and tends to be the practical one in the group. Secretly, she is also a fan of pop culture and romance novels, and becomes embarrassed whenever this is pointed out. Ami would also be considered the "tech girl" of the group, Utilizing her mini data computer, which is capable of scanning and detecting virtually anything she needs." ~More info as well as this can be found at:

So what have we learned here today? I personally have learned that smart girls (at least in cartoon land) are often reserved and shy, with head buried in a book while toting laptops and wearing their hair either really short or in a convenient ponytail.

*Note: Most of these characters are obviously from girly cartoons or shows that drew an equal male/female audience...with possibly the exception of The Real Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Awards, Interviews, and Ponies?

Ok, so a few things have happened to me this month that I'd like to share. The list of articles I'm addressing is as follows: 1: I'm up for an award, and if you'd like to vote I'll tell you how.
2:I was interviewed about my career by a 15 year old who had a project, if you'd like to know what I think about being a cartoonist read on, it's long-winded.
3: My friend Kelly Mills made me a wonderful My Little Pony version of Tom Boy Tara!
If you'd like to read all three topics, please feel free, but if you'd like to skip one or two at least you know what I'm going to rant about so you can skim.

The Prix Aurora Award
So I'm pleased to announce that the lovely and always wonderful Liana K. has nominated my comic "Tom Boy Tara" for a Prix Aurora Award. I'm in the "Best Graphic Novel" section. Apparently webcomics are able to be nominated for it. My comics 129-165 from 2010 are in the running which involves *SPOILER ALERT* the huge story arc of my one character Jade coming out as a bisexual and Tara questioning her own sexuality. If you haven't read it, lots of stuff happens after that's a crazy read.

Liana and the fine people at Futurecon (a fabulous 3 day New Years Relaxacon that she and a few others made up and then donated all of the money gained from it to epilepsy Toronto) were also nominated for a Prix Aurora Award. Please vote for them if you can!

The Prix Aurora Awards are Canada's national popular vote Sci Fi & Fiction awards, meaning the public gets to vote on the best of the best in Canadian SF!

The nomination period is open, and it is free to nominate. However, since the awards are a one person/one vote system, you must register with the society and get your society number before proceeding to the nominations.

Nominations are live now, and close April 30th, 2011. Please help us get those who supported the Futurecon convention on the ballot! They donated a lot of time and work to help raise epilepsy funds.

Come voting time, there is a nominal $5 fee per ballot. This money goes directly to paying for the swanky trophies they give out, and other expenses related to the awards. You can donate more if you wish.

The nomination form can be found here:

The Prix Aurora Awards prefers that you complete all categories when you nominate. So to help you with that, here is our preliminary "Friends of Futurecon" list of recommendations. Let's get all our Futurecon guests nominated, so we party at SFContario, November 18-20th, 2010 in Toronto:


Best Novel - English:
Robert J. Sawyer: Watch (Penguin Canada)
Derwin Mak: The Shrine of the Siren Stone (Orchard House Press)

Best Short Fiction - English:
"Cloned to Kill", Derwin Mak, Infinite Space, Infinite God II, Twilight Times Books
"The Polar Bear Carries the Mail", Derwin Mak, The Dragon and the Stars, DAW Books
"Family Tradition", Derwin Mak, Night to Dawn, issue 17, April 2010

(Note: All these short stories can be read online here: )

Best Poetry/Song - English
Robert J. Sawyer: "The Transformed Man," Tesseracts 14 (EDGE)

Best Graphic Novel - English
Tomboy Tara, strips 129 - 165, Emily Ragozzino,, self-published.

Best Related Work - English
The Dragon and the Stars; Derwin Mak and Eric Choi, Editors, DAW Books

Best Artist:
Leonard Kirk, Examples: Dark X-Men: Issues 3, 4 and 5 - Penciling and Inking, Marvel Comics
New Mutants (vol.3): Issues 15 - 19 - Penciling and inking, Marvel Comics


Best Fan Publication:
The Dominion Dispatch, Adam Smith, Editor,

Best Fan Organizational
Liana Kerzner, FUTURECON!!!!!!!!!! (This was a team effort but the Auroras make you list a single name. This was the one RJS provided, so let's keep it consistent!)

Best Fan Filk:
Nero's Fiddle, Red is the Rose Album

Best Fan Other:
Andrew Gurudata, The Constellation Awards, Polaris 24
Nero's Fiddle, Live performance, Futurecon, December 31st, 2010 (In case the Aurora committee doesn't see the gals as "filky" enough. The official definition is muddy.)

An Interview About Being in the Cartoon Industry
Interview for Comic Book Artist and Author Emily Ragozzino

Q: How did you first decide to become a comic book artist?

A: When I was eight years old, I used to do my own comics based off of cartoons I watched on T.V. and newspaper comics I read. I didn’t have a comic book store near me, as I grew up in the country so I didn’t really base them off of comic books, but I always found all sequential art and animation to be extremely fascinating and an amazing storytelling method.

Q: Is there anything you think is important to do during your formative years if you want to become a comic book artist?

A: Well for one thing, I think it’s best to learn a thing or two about writing and art, especially if you want to do both. I’m mostly self-taught but I took Fine Art in college and all through high school, I also loved English. I think it helps to know how to craft your own stories and create some kind of movement with your art to make the story interesting. Creating a story that includes body language often helps make the art look more appealing, however if the story calls for it, small gestures can make the art look more organic, more boring perhaps but also more realistic if that’s what you’re going for.

Q: Do you think it was luck or your own choices, or a combination of both, that got you where you are today?

A: Well, I’ve always worked hard to achieve any goals. Sometimes coincidences happen where I met a cool person at the right time that would help me to further my career, but most of the time if was motivation and sticking with what I loved and never giving up hope that got me to where I am.

Q: How often do you work as a comic book artist?

A: I try to post a comic a week if I can. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but I try to stick with that goal. I think having goals and giving yourself a deadline really helps a lot. I try to work on a comic for about 3 hours more or less. I just began colouring it in. Because I change my style frequently and experiment a lot it can take more or less time, but I mainly have fun with it and the time flies by. It’s what I love to do, so it’s hard not to have fun.

Q: What are your favorite parts about this job?

A: Just being able to create something new and different really makes me content. I’ve always loved art and writing, so I think the fact that I’ve found something to combine both of my loves has really helped me to progress.

Q: What are your least favorite parts about this job?

A: Trying to find the time to do it among my day job and other daily tasks and challenges and at the moment I’m not making a ton of money off of it. It’s the price I pay for being an artist and enjoying what I do.

Q: Are their any particular skills and interests that are required for the job?

A: I think most people can do this type of work if they really have the passion for it, dedication and the talent. Talent comes last because I’ve seen some comics with good writing and bad art or vice versa and they still make it alright. I think if you have a new and different idea that will relate to people, that often helps. Creativity is a big requirement. I say passion and dedication because I’ve seen enough artists give up because they don’t think there’s enough money in it or they’re too shy to show their own work. If you like what you do you’ll want to show it to the world and keep going with it. If you put your mind to it, I really believe you can accomplish anything.

Q: Which of the following types of abilities are useful within your job?
(Copy from the following list)

A: Definitely Linguistic, I think without language in the comic realm (body language or speech) it would just be a bunch of random pictures. There must be a concept or some kind of story to suck the reader in. Visual is definitely another strong ability needed, or else it would just be a regular short story, conversation, narrative, etc. Art is what makes comics such a fascinating medium; it can convey a mood or set a scene. I believe you can use most of the other abilities in the above list to write about something, the ideas for comics are endless. I for one will use music in my writing to display the characters likes and dislikes or again, set a mood.

Q: Within the job, what sort of thinking is important?
(Copy from the following list)

A: I think “Creative” and “Discipline” are the top ones on the list. You obviously need to have creativity to even craft your own comic, and discipline to keep going with it, especially if it has a storyline that lasts a while like mine does.

Q: Is there a particular personality that best suits the job?

A: Well, like in any career, an ambitious personality will allow you to take the career far. Especially because you will most likely not receive overnight success, it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and a lot of money into it (that you may not easily get back) you have to enjoy what you do and I think creative methods in marketing yourself can really help get things out there a little bit. Most artists forget that if they begin this career, you must market your product and unless you have a partner you must do it on your own or with the help of friends and possibly family. If you have a business mind and a fabulous support system, it sometimes helps to get your idea out there. Creativity also helps obviously, but being logical about your goals in your freelance career also helps a lot, you’re your own boss, you call the shots, they may as well be smart decisions.

Q: Are there any good things that people can do to volunteer that prepare them for your job?

A: Well, I think if you have the time to dedicate to your future goal while you’re young, it can help. If my college had a newspaper that was published often, I would have definitely volunteered to do the comic in that newspaper. I have in the past made comics for things. I used to practice making birthday cards for people and coming up with funny little slogans and caricatures, just writing and doing random sketches can often help. Carrying a small notebook with you at all times too can help you get ideas down that you later forget about. I just practiced art a lot, and wrote whenever I could to keep things fresh. I think that’s all you can really do to prepare yourself.

Q: Are there any other interests that your job makes it easy to pursue? Are there ones that you feel are difficult to pursue?

A: Caricatures and face painting have been things I have done on the side. I can easily do storyboards for film because I know how to do sequential art. I can easily also write scripts for film as well, as I normally write out scripts before I draw out the panels.
I feel it is a very limited career, but you can also do a lot with art and writing. I have published books because of it, I have created t-shirts and other products with my art, there are endless possibilities. My core interests are art and writing, I find that this career path helps me fulfill all of my needs.

Q: Does your job often interfere with your personal life, and vice versa?

A: It can sometimes. I have been distracted at past side jobs because I was so focused on what I wanted to do next in my comic. I have even been fired over it. Although that job was not for me and the employer knew it, it was just at a bad time in my life that I lost that job. I have had friends and family think I was delusional for wanting to do this as a career as it makes very little money, especially at the start. I have ignored a lot of people because I have followed what most consider “just a dream”.

Q: Is it possible to create a healthy work/life balance, without cutting too much of either?

A: I have created one. I now work full time at an art store for spare money so I can eat, pay bills and generally have a roof over my head. It also helps me save money on supplies if I need them. I find doing a comic a week at least until I make some money off of my comic gives my viewers just enough to constantly go back to check in with it, and it allows me to pursue what I love while still giving me time to work and have a social life, and do all the things I need to do.

Q: Is there anything else you’d include that’s important information about your job?

A: It can be a difficult career. It may sound glamorous at times, but believe me, it takes a lot of discipline, and dedication and laborious life balance to allow you to survive in this incredibly sought after career. Let’s face it, a lot of people want to be their own boss and work mainly from home while making massive amounts of money doing it. If that’s why you got into this career in the first place though, you may want to rethink your life choices. It’ll take years to get there, I haven’t even received that luxury yet, and don’t know if I ever will. That’s the price I pay for doing what I love though.

Kelly Mills Makes My Little Ponies Even More Awesome!
So I just got the best present of the year, and I was so excited to share it with everyone! My friend Kelly Mills makes customized My Little Ponies. She came to visit me one time recently on her way to see the play "Wicked" with her boyfriend and told me she was going to make me a Tom Boy Tara pony. I didn't think she'd be making it so soon. I can't stop staring at the pictures she had of them below, I was just in awe of all the detail she put into it. She took my childhood girly toy and made it something tomboyish! Such an amazing thing! Well I luckily snagged the pictures of the making of the pony and the finished result is there too. If you want to see Kelly's other ponies she's customized she does such an amazing job, they're here, just click on this link: Midnightflurry
Please hire her if you know someone (or yourself) who would like a My Little Pony customized. She does an incredible amount of work, as you can see!