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Comichaus Meets: Heather Palmer

Today we meet creator & writer, Heather Palmer!

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Please introduce yourself and your team (if you have one).

Hi, I'm Heather Palmer, a Glasgow-based writer and co-creator of Grave Wax. I write about Scottish folklore, nationalism and death. I'm lucky enough to work with the wonderful Allan MacRitchie on Grave Wax and in the last few years I've been published with BHP Comics, Frisson Comics and Bloodbath Lit Zine.

What are some of the comics that inspired you to start creating your own? Any creators in particular?

I started reading comics later on than a lot of creators I know - my second year of university! I was already writing and often making some accompanying doodles but I didn't really know about comics until I studied them. I read a lot of the New 52 stuff then and particularly loved JH WIlliams III's Batwoman. Really, I got into making my own when I started reading other Scottish indies like John Lees and Iain Laurie's And Then Emily Was Gone and all of Craig Colins' work. 

How much of your own personality goes into your character(s)?

Well, I definitely end up putting a lot of what I'm thinking about into characters . I love to write about bold, funny women though, so maybe that's what I'd like my personality to be. I do tend to put a lot of my friend's personalities into characters. Waxy, the main character of Grave Wax, is based on a lot of really witty women I know and admire. I have also been guilty of basing nasty characters on people I've not enjoyed being around - Grave Wax's villain is based on a really seedy customer I encountered back when I worked in retail, for example. He deserved it! 

Where did you draw your inspiration from?

I do a lot of people watching for character traits and dialogue but I also do a lot of book-based research. For Grave Wax, I researched Scottish death practices and some really ancient folklore from the Highlands. Now, I'm doing a lot of research into forests and cults so look out for those books. I also love to write about politics - like, Grave Wax responded to the Indy Ref and my next book with Kirsty Hunter, Smithers&Wing (out in November), is about living around toxic masculinity. I like to have these cultural themes going on. I also read a lot and listen to a lot of podcasts on bizarre subjects. 

What struggles have you faced with the creation of, and producing, the final release?

Well, self-publishing is tough, really. It's very expensive to do at just about any stage, from taking time without pay to write it to convention travel costs. If you're working without a publisher then you have no formal editorial and that makes things harder, and often lengthier, while you work out what's wrong with the plot - or where it is exactly. I've been incredibly lucky to have a lot of support, though, from the artist's I'm working with to booksellers in my local comics shop. I think that community can overcome most of the struggles that go along with making comics. 

What do fans need to know going into their first issue of your comic?

I hope nothing at all! Grave Wax is self-contained, four issue series. It's good for horror, folklore and mystery fans as well as anyone looking for something a bit spooky. Grave Wax was the first comic I made and I'm so proud of it but it's just the beginning and I think my work has improved so much from there and I'm more aware of making inclusive books now too. 

What have you got coming up in the future? Are you working on more issues?

I have a lot going on just now! I'm really grateful that the Scottish Book Trust are giving me a mentor for the next year so I hope I'll be making a lot of work with their help. Kirsty Hunter and I have Smithers & Wing coming for Thought Bubble this year and next year my comic with Katie Whittle, Bloodline, will be out. Allan MacRitchie and I will also have more Grave Wax out in 2020, this time set in our hometown of Glasgow. After that, I'll be putting all my research to good use on a my next graphic novels. 


You can read Heather's titles over on the Comichaus App now, or purchase a print copy from the Comichaus Marketplace by clicking on the cover images below.

G-Man

Grave Wax 2016-Ongoing Vol.1 #1
Grave Wax 2016-Ongoing Vol.1 #2
Grave Wax 2016-Ongoing Vol.1 #3

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