Sally Ingraham here with news and comics from Rachel Masilamani!


A panel from Rachel Masilamani’s project “Nonpartum”

Rachel Masilamani lectured at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh last night, and in a lead-up to the event 90.5 WESA’s Bill O’Driscoll ran a feature about Masilamani and her comics. She talked about how Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics made her turn to the medium:

“I had never thought to look critically at what I was doing when I read a comic, and then that made me really excited to try to do it on my own,” she said. “I thought, ‘Here I am, I’m a person who loves to tell stories and a person who loves to draw. Why didn’t I try this before?’”

“It became really exciting to me to realize that there was a way that you can build stories and really welcome people in a new way, different than standing and talking, different than just writing, and different than illustrating someone else’s words,” she said.

Masilamani’s main comics project of the last few years has been Nonpartum, which has been serialized on Mutha Magazine (read it here). This comic is her examination of pregnancy and motherhood and how the eyes of society view both from all angles.

“I really want everybody to think about motherhood, and to think about how children are born, how we think about women, how we approach motherhood as a whole,” she said. “And I think that the form that I’m using opens a whole topic up to a new set of people who might not have realized that they wanted to read about it and they wanted to think about it.”

Read the rest of the article and listen to the radio spot HERE.

Juan here! Last night was really important for me as Rachel is a friend and an inspiration. She, in combination with Bill Boichel, are the very reason that I started making comics in Pittsburgh in 2010. I snapped some photos for posterity. Here’s hoping we can record a talk like this with Rachel to share with you online!

Rachel Masilamani signing books at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main (July 12, 2018)


Rachel offered up some great riffs and thoughts to serve as connective tissue across all her work. She’s making some truly titanic, contemporary comics that I can’t wait for you to see in the coming years.

I wanted to appreciate Rachel a little with you all, she is quite simply, the primary reason why I started making comics. I made my first self-published comic,in response to a zine of Rachel’s that I’d found at Copacetic Comics’ old location in Squirrel Hill. It was this small, black and white zine for a $1 ‘Singing Contest’ was this amazing, relatively wordless story about a young girl living at the American-Mexican border. All the humans essentially don’t speak in words. All the word balloons are just filled with images. And there are these magical helpers, and they’re just animals from the desert and end up helping this girl in the story.

In a traditional sense, she draws expertly in a naturalist mode. She works with color in a gorgeous way where she can lay another layer of meaning in her work just with the color, but it is not about the “good” drawing taking the work to this next level. Rather it’s about the way that the drawings and the words interconnect. Her ability to stitch and weave meaning and braid thoughts together. She’s able to achieve this lyrical prose that is just like utterly poetic in the combination of the images and the words.

Her approach, he said, is experimental but accessible. What a godsend.

She’s doing really deep, complicated communication and she’s able to do that and not lose you. Rachel does a really amazing job at inviting people to share that space with her on the page. She’s the reason why I started and is one of the reasons why I soldier on, trying to make beautiful things with images and words in this land that we call, comics.

With that, I’d like to invite you to read all her work over on Mutha Magazine!

Above is a page from the 4th chapter of Nonpartumread all of it HERE.


Weekend Reading!

  • Lisa Lim shares the story of her “Bad-Ass Grandmother” on Mutha Magazineread it HERE.
  • Check out Angie Wang‘s comic about searching for a cherished dish – Water-Boiled Fish – on Eater.
  • G. Willow Wilson (co-creator of Ms. Marvel) is going to take over the writing of Wonder Woman in November...Paste Magazine has the details.
  • Hyperallergic takes a look at Eleanor DavisWhy Art?HERE.
  • The London Free Press has a quick feature on Lisa Hanawalt‘s upcoming Coyote Doggirl.
  • Here’s your quarterly reminder to check out the Women Write About Comics website!


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