One of my favourite books of 2016 has to be 100 Times by Katie Fleming and E. Kerr. I immensely enjoyed the endearing tale of a guy and his werewolf boyfriend as they start out in their relationship. I decided to ask Katie Fleming about the book, gay representation in comics and what to expect to the follow-up 100 More Times.
There are not a whole lot of gay characters in Irish comics, at least the character are not dealt with to the same extent you have. Was this a factor when it came to creating the book?
Yes and no? I didn’t look at this project to intentionally bring more LGBT characters to the Irish comic scene, for me there was a lot of potential for a good story and the two leads happened to be male. But being a member of this community I knew that once the book was out and become part of the whole Irish comic collective that it would bring about more representation which is nice to think it has done.
Were there any books that you looked to for inspiration?
The one that springs to mind is a webcomic called ‘Hotblood!’ by Toril Orelsky, it’s about centaurs and humans living alongside each other in the Wild West. It was a huge inspiration to incorporate fantastical elements into what is essentially a story about relationships and Orelsky’s art continues to be a big inspiration for me too. An honorable mention would be ‘Soppy’ by Phillipa Rice in terms of pacing.
I think the werewolf aspect was a clever way of looking at a gay couple. What made you think of that?
What’s funny is, it turned into a bigger metaphor than I think myself or E. Kerr intended it to be. Like we explain in the blurb of the book, Quill and Myran were originally D&D characters we had created for a campaign and Quill just happened to be a werewolf. But when we transferred them over to the world of ‘100 Times’ the werewolf aspect became a metaphor for a lot of different things, even stuff that readers have pointed out to me and I would’ve never thought of.
The book covers the “honeymoon period” of their relationship. They’re a gay couple but I think a lot of the stuff can apply to anyone.
Yeah definitely, any couple will experience that first few months where everything is amazing and your partner is this incredible person that can do no wrong, we felt when we were writing it if we were going to drop in on these characters it’d be right to start off there. But I think regardless of sexuality anyone who has been in a relationship can relate to what Quill and Myran experience within the book…. Without the werewolf part of course.
Do you think that’s one way of making comics about gay characters connect with people? Showing some of the similarities?
I think that gay characters are the same as any other characters out there? They have the same emotions and go through the same things as any other couple. But I do agree that showing readers of a different orientation that this is what gay people go through is a great way of sparking an interest and hopefully a want for more books like this in the future
I’m hoping 100 Times will be the first in a line of books in the same vein. Why do you think there are so few comics like it?
I’d like to think there’ll be more books like it too. Like I said there are similar stories out there in the likes of ‘Hotblood!’ but I think there’s not a lot of mainstream books like that because it’s only very recently that creators are realizing that stories centered around gay characters don’t have to be just for an LGBT audience. I think people are scared of isolating or losing the interest of certain groups from creating comics centered around LGBT characters because people ‘won’t be able to relate’. While it is changing, I think there’s a lot more that could be done.
Speaking of more of the same, I’ve seen a preview of your follow-up, 100 More Times, do you want to give people a hint as to what is to come?
Yes! I’m glad you liked it. E. Kerr and I have a lot more stories to tell revolving around Quill and Myran, ‘100 More Times’ takes place 5 months after the first book. Whilst the first book dealt with the Honeymoon phase of a relationship, this one deals with the ‘Post-Honeymoon phase’ what happens when all those lovey-dovey feelings melt away and you see your partner for who they really are, do you stick together or drift apart? And that’s essentially where we find Quill and Myran in this book, facing that question.
I’ve forgot to ask you until now, why is it called 100 Times?
Ha ha, well long story short, Quill and Myran were D&D characters and when that campaign ended, me and E. Kerr would come up with different scenarios to put these characters in because we loved them so much. Eventually when it came to making the comic we joked that we had already come up with ‘over 100 stories’ for them so that’s how ‘100 Times’ came about.
100 More Times is set to launch at Thought Bubble in Leeds.