We have a special treat this week. Continuing in a series of interviews with the real-life Wonder Women in my life, this week we feature my humble editor and Editor-in-Chief of Fanbase Press, Barbra Dillon.
I met Barb and her husband Bryant a few years back. It seems like they were just starting their comic company. It has been exciting to watch them grow and expand over the years. Not only are they a great presence in the comic book industry, they are the cutest couple and the nicest people on earth. It's always a joy to interact with Barb, so, without further ado, here is the interview!
Michael Fitzgerald Troy: Welcome, Barbra! I'm so excited for the chance to interview you for WWW. How are you today?
Barbra Dillon: Hi, Michael! Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of Wonder Woman Wednesday! It’s an honor!
MFT: I met you what feels like forever ago not long after you started your first comic. Book publishing company. Would you like to tell us a little about your history with Geekdom?
BD: I would be happy to! Seven years ago, my colleagues (Bryant Dillon and Sam Rhodes) and I founded a comic book publishing company to not only tell exciting and engaging stories through the sequential art medium, but to offer a platform for other creators to reach new audiences through interviews, reviews, and podcast appearances. We love celebrating fandoms and creating new ones, which is our mission at Fanbase Press. Now, my husband and I run the company with the help of an incredibly talented group of staffers, contributors, podcast hosts, and creators who can be found all over the world!
MFT: What was your inspiration for starting Fanbase Press?
BD: Having worked in various entertainment mediums (e.g., theatre, film, TV, comics, etc.), my colleagues and I wanted to create our own opportunities for creative expression that spanned as many forms of media as possible. In addition, we wanted to be able to share these opportunities with other talented creators.
MFT: Can you tell us about some of your duties as Editor-in-Chief of Fanbase Press?
BD: As the Editor-in-Chief of Fanbase Press, I guide the production of all of our comics and graphic novels from start to finish. That can include story editing, proofreading, marketing, sales, production, pre-press, convention coordination, and more! In addition, I oversee our staff and contributors, coordinating all of the reviews, interviews, and podcasts within our company. Of course, none of this would be possible without the hard work of my colleagues.
MFT: How do you feel about Fanbase Press' position in an industry mostly dominated by Marvel, DC, and now image comics?
BD: My approach to success for Fanbase Press in the comic book industry is less focused on competition with our peers and more dedicated to creating the best content possible. We want to create stories that feature engaging characters that leave a lasting impression, especially those that offer various perspectives from a variety of creators.
MFT: What aspects of comic books do you like?
BD: I love the varied approaches that can be taken with storytelling in the sequential art medium. There is so much that can be accomplished within the pages of a comic book or graphic novel that would be nearly impossible to capture in a film, on stage, or on TV.
MFT: What aspects of comics do you think could use a change?
BD: I think that we can always works towards bettering ourselves as an industry, and more specifically as creators and publishers. We need greater inclusivity and representation, as there are so many voices that have not been heard and audiences that are not being reached through comics.
MFT: It seems like Marvel and D.C. seem to take turns angering fans with bad decisions. At least DC is heading in the right direction. "Rebirth" seems to have saved their bacon. What do you think the future of comics looks like?
BD: Fortunately, I think that the future of comics has not been written and can always change. I have hope that the industry will stray from what may have worked in the past to accepting and embracing change and allowing it to guide their actions in moving towards a more inclusive and positive medium.
MFT: What does the future of Fanbase Press look like?
BD: We have a lot of exciting comic book series in production, many of which are currently being released digitally at this time, including Quince and The Gamma Gals. I would encourage all of your readers to check out our comics and graphic novels under the “Publishing” tab of the Fanbase Press website.
MFT: What are your favorite comics?
BD: I’m a big fan of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Saga. Unfortunately, finding time to read comics can be quite challenging, but any opportunity that I have to chip away at my massive “To Read” pile is always a welcome moment!
MFT: Who are some of your favorite creators?
BD: I’m a BIG fan of everything by Brian K. Vaughan!
MFT: Switching gears a little, I know you're an awarding-winning voice-over actress for your portrayal of Katniss Everdeen in The Katniss Chronicles. Would you like to share with us the voice-over aspect of your life?
BD: The Katniss Chronicles was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for which I will be forever grateful. Since that time, I’ve worked on a few children’s books and audio dramas, including Pendant Audio’s Archer & Armstrong.
MFT: Okay, let's get down to brass tacks. Since this is Wonder Woman Wednesday I should be asking some WW related questions. So, what did you think about the film?
BD: I enjoyed the film more than I was anticipating. I try to approach films with low expectations as to not have preconceived notions of how everything will turn out. The performances were phenomenal, and I’m so glad that the film connected so tremendously with audiences around the world!
MFT: I know your not the biggest WW fan. I understand as she is a complicated character with a lot of complicated ideals and history. Did the movie make you like her more?
BD: I have never identified with Wonder Woman as a character, but I appreciate how much she means to so many others. I’ve encountered various iterations of the character throughout comics, movies, and TV, and while there are many enjoyable representations of the character, I still haven’t found that connection with her. What I hope for, though, is that there will be hundreds and thousands of other complex female characters created in comics, movies, TV, novels, video games, and beyond, so that everyone can find a character(s) with which they identify. I think that there is a heavy burden placed on female characters like Wonder Woman to be everything to every reader/viewer, as there are so few meaningful female characters in media.
MFT: What do you think of the comic incarnation?
BD: I haven’t been following the current run of Wonder Woman, but I do thoroughly enjoy reading your reviews!
MFT: You know I talk about feminism a lot in my column. I guess I'm a fe-man-ist. Would you consider yourself a feminist?
BD: I think that anyone who believes in equal rights for all genders is a feminist. Creating a supportive, safe, and welcoming environment for all creators and fans is our #1 mission at Fanbase Press. We celebrate inclusivity and diversity, and it’s an honor as a publisher and a woman to be able to provide that opportunity to others.
MFT: I know cosplay is another aspect of your life- who is your favorite cosplay?
BD: Haha! I’m definitely an amateur cosplayer! I’ve cosplayed as Squirrel Girl and Katniss Everdeen in the past, but when I see the incredible time and hard work that is put into costumes created by other cosplayers at conventions, my talents very much pale in comparison.
MFT: If you could give comicbookdom one piece of advice, what would it be?
BD: I try to encourage others to follow the advice of Fred Rogers: “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind.The third way is to be kind.”
MFT: Tell us a little about your amazing husband and co-publisher, Bryant Dillion.
BD: Bryant is an incredible partner and colleague! I am so fortunate to be able to share our experiences at Fanbase Press and to create a platform for other creators to do what they love.
MFT: Thanks so much for participating in WWW! Anything else you would like to share with our faithful readers?
BD: Thank you for allowing me to participate, and thank you for your years of hard work on Wonder Woman Wednesdays! Diana would be so proud!
Well, that wraps it up for this week. Make sure you go and check out our sister page, I Am Wonder Fan.
Follow me on Instagram, @MichaelFitzTroy.