Abby Howard

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Abigail "Abby" Howard is a webcomic artist from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is the creator of Junior Scientist Power Hour and The Last Halloween.

Biography[edit]

Howard was born on August 3, 1992 in Jackson, Mississippi and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. She attended McGill University in Montreal, majoring in Biology with a specialization in Evolution. She enjoyed learning about life history, but did not enjoy the math, chemistry, and microbiology classes that were a part of her degree. She describes herself as “a wretched student, all I wanted to do was draw pictures.” [1] She started Junior Scientist Power Hour in the summer of 2012. With only 27 comics to her name, she entered Strip Search. Despite placing second, she was able to quit school and become a full-time cartoonist, as noted in her comic "Screaming Constantly".[2]

Junior Scientist Power Hour[edit]

Junior Scientist Power Hour was a weekly episodic webcomic by Howard, usually focusing on topics such as her daily life and parodies of pop culture. From the Facebook page, "it's about her incredibly interesting life with her cat, and sometimes it is also about other things." [3] The panels tend to be hand-drawn black and white; however, there is one notable exception. The band members in the strip “Tupper Ware Remix Party[4] are brightly colored and subsequent strips featuring them are in color as well. Abby's art style is similar to that of Jhonen Vasquez, whose comics she has admitted to being influenced by, especially Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.[5] Howard describes herself primarily as a traditional artist, but she does use digital art for coloring panels.[5]

Strip Search[edit]

Howard was selected as one of the twelve contestants for Penny Arcade's webcomic based reality competition show Strip Search.[6][7] She was the only contestant who competed using traditional media. Howard built up a following, who called themselves “Team Tangent.”[5]

The Last Halloween[edit]

After competing in Strip Search, Howard created a Kickstarter for her next project, The Last Halloween.[8] It was pitched as an episodic horror-comedy comic, and was crowdfunded within 20 minutes.[9] The Kickstarter raised $126,507 of the $9,000 goal.[10]

The Last Halloween began October 8, 2013 (September 18, 2013 for Kickstarter backers). While the art style is similar to Junior Scientist Power Hour, it features more detailed illustrations, locations, and a continuing story. The comic is influenced by horror films, which Howard is admittedly a fan of.[5]

The story follows a young girl named Mona who finds herself tasked with saving the world when billions of monsters suddenly spill into the human world one Halloween night. Howard first conceptualized the story in high school, and pitched it for the finale of Strip Search. Although she lost, she chose to launch a Kickstarter for it anyway, and was successful. She describes her comic as partly being a response to uninspiring horror media, such as bland male power fantasies with uncreative monsters and hollow plots. Howard has the entire story written out in advance; she prefers this method of story-telling, as she can insert Easter eggs and foreshadowing.[11]

Other work[edit]

Howard created the 2016 comic The Portrait of Sal Pullman with writer Lonnie Nadler.[12] She wrote and illustrated the graphic novel Dinosaur Empire!, a volume in the Earth Before Us series from Abrams Books, published August 1st, 2017.[13][14]

Howard co-hosted horror podcast Scared Yet? with cartoonist Kris Straub in 2016 from July to December. Lasting 6 episodes, Straub and Howard discussed horror storytelling, writing advice, personal favorite horror stories, as well as personal experiences with writing horror.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "zEXqpXk". i.imgur.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  2. ^ "Screaming Constantly - Junior Scientist Power Hour". jspowerhour.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  3. ^ "Junior Scientist Power Hour | Facebook". facebook.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  4. ^ http://www.jspowerhour.com/comics/10
  5. ^ a b c d "TTYL Podcast #16 – Abby Howard!". That Thing You Like. July 1, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  6. ^ Faguy, Steve (2013-07-12). "Web comic artist Abby Howard is "a natural at humour"". Montreal Gazette.
  7. ^ Harrison, Leah (2013-04-29). "Charlotte cartoonist Abby Howard competes for comic strip career". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on 2013-06-17.
  8. ^ "Abby Howard kickstarts comics career". CBC. June 27, 2013.
  9. ^ "Strip Search - The Last Halloween Kickstarter". penny-arcade.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  10. ^ "2013: The Last Halloween by Abigail Howard — Kickstarter". kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  11. ^ Morris, Steve (2016-05-18). "Abby Howard Invites Her Readers to 'The Last Halloween'". Comics Alliance.
  12. ^ Morris, Steve (2016-01-15). "Weekender: Jewel Kats, Yifan Ling, 'Portrait of Sal Pullman'". Comics Alliance.
  13. ^ "Children's Book Review: Dinosaur Empire! by Abby Howard. Amulet, $15.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2306-3". Publishers Weekly. 2017-06-05.
  14. ^ "Dinosaur Empire! (Earth Before Us #1) (Hardcover)". Abrams Books. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Scared Yet? - The Podcast".

External links[edit]