This is the 1%... - Jessica Abel

This is the 1%…

OK, I’m no genius, but if you replace “genius” with “art,” Edison was right when he said, “genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Case in point: Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars, my graphic novel-in-progress. How did I come up with this epic space opera? Well, back in 2006, I drew these illustrations for Chapter 10 (“Getting Into Character”) of the first comics textbook Matt and I wrote together, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures.


“Which comes first – the character or the story?  Within the narrative arc, there are two major approaches to creating story. One is to come up with a spark, a conflict, and build characters to fit that spark. The other is to start with an idea for a character and build the story around that character with his or her particular characteristics acting as an engine for the spark and the story.”

Trish Trash, like most of my work, developed in the latter manner. But, why did I draw these particular illustrations?  “Draw a roller girl and a seven-legged Martian,” Matt suggested. I think that’s probably way way less than 1% of this project when we get right down to it, but the saying wouldn’t be as charming if it were like, “art is .001% inspiration and 99.99%perspiration.” That just not as zingy.


OK, so, a few silly book illos. Easily forgotten. But for some reason the idea of roller girls on Mars really got under my skin. Maybe if I dig I can find my early notes on the thing and figure out why. It’s true that I’ve always loved science fiction. I’d never have considered making scifi comics on my own, but I’d just wrapped up my collaborative comic Life Sucks, and collaborating on something new seemed like a very good idea. Now, here I am, five years and three would-be collaborators later, drawing it (sort of) on my own (more on that to come).

(Blog entry for another time: Life Sucks, a vampire love story where the vampires are convenience store capitalists, was sparked by a well-oiled bar conversation that I shared with Matt and co-writer Gabe Soria.)

Leave a Reply