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Fanbase Press Interviews Joanne Starer on the Upcoming Release of the Graphic Novel, ‘Total Suplex of the Heart,’ with Humanoids

The following is an interview with writer Joanne Starer regarding the upcoming release of the coming-of-age graphic novel, Total Suplex of the Heart, through publisher Humanoids. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Starer about how her own experiences with the world of wrestling influenced the narrative, what she hopes that readers may take away from the story, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Total Suplex of the Heart! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this story?

Joanne Starer: Total Suplex of the Heart is a coming-of-age story about a young girl who gets involved in the pro-wrestling business. It’s based on my own time in the wrestling business, and my experiences with eating disorders, toxic relationships, and finding myself.

BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in bringing this story and characters to life on the page alongside artist Ornella Greco, and how much of your own experiences influenced your narrative?

JS: Ornella Greco is a miracle worker. She read my script and read my mind. I’ve honestly never worked with an artist who needed so few notes and so little input. And that’s saying a lot, because I do the series, Sirens of the City, with my boyfriend, Khary Randolph, who I live with. And he REALLY gets me. But Ornella just instinctively understood these characters and this story, and she brought it to life. Maybe that’s because the story IS very real? It’s about my life. That’s not saying it’s 100% true…parts of it are fictionalized to make the story flow and make more interesting characters. But I did work in wrestling and I had these wild adventures with these colorful people. In the process, I made a LOT of mistakes and learned a lot about who I was and what I wanted.

Total Suplex of the Heart p 13

BD: What makes Humanoids the perfect home for this story?

JS: Humanoids is a legendary company, of course, so even being considered by them is an honor. But what made them such a perfect fit is that they don’t do superhero books. And, of course, I LOVE superheroes, but this was a very personal story. It was a story about my life. And Humanoids literally has an imprint called LifeDrawn for these types of books. They saw the value in this very human, relatable book.

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Georgie’s story may connect with and impact readers, especially in depicting the lived experience of working through eating disorders, toxic relationships, and finding one’s own identity?

JS: It was very important to me, from the beginning of this project, to talk about things that were uncomfortable, that were maybe taboo. I wanted to share things that I wish I had heard other people talk about. When I first pitched the book, there was no artist attached and no script, so they asked me to make a mood board. And one of the things I put on there was body hair. That’s a thing that happens when you have an eating disorder, but who likes to talk about stuff like that?? I wanted to make sure we didn’t shy away from it. I wrote a fun, romantic story, but the things I went through were real and difficult. And if you’re going through it, I want you to know, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?

JS: Well, unfortunately I can’t talk about any of the BIG stuff yet, but I do have a story in Harley Quinn #42, coming out in July. Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville (from DC Comics, art by Natacha Bustos) is coming out in trade paperback on August 6, and the collected Sirens of the City (from BOOM! Studios, art by Khary Randolph) is in stores now!

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Total Suplex of the Heart and your other work?

JS: Find me online! All my socials are under my name: @joannestarer! But be warned, I talk a lot about my cat and reality TV.

*Editor’s Note: Humanoids is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the publication of the first-ever English-language edition of Arkadi and the Lost Titan by legendary comic book artist and illustrator Caza! Be sure to visit the Kickstarter campaign now!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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