Shaenon K. Garrity

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Shaenon K. Garrity
Shaenon K. Garrity.jpg
Garrity in 2010
Born (1978-05-04) May 4, 1978 (age 43)
Area(s)Cartoonist, Writer, Editor
Notable works
Narbonic, Skin Horse

Shaenon K. Garrity is a webcomic creator and science-fiction author best known for her webcomics Narbonic and Skin Horse. She collaborated with various artists to write webcomics for the Modern Tales-family of webcomic subscription services in the early 2000s, and write columns for various comics journals. Starting in 2003, Garrity begun doing freelance editing work for Viz Media on various manga translations.

Early life[edit]

Garrity was born in Pittsburgh in 1978.[1] She enjoyed drawing and writing at a young age, and she began drawing comics in high school. As a youth correspondent, Garrity drew a comic strip for the kids' section of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. She studied English at Vassar College, where she ran a comic strip in the college newspaper. Once out of college, Garrity worked as a front-desk secretary at Viz Media for three years while simultaneously creating Narbonic.[2]


Shaenon Garrity conceived her daily webcomic Narbonic in college, after watching the science-fiction films City of Lost Children and Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie back-to-back. She began posting her webcomic, about the evil mad scientist Helen Narbon and her minions, shortly after moving to San Francisco in July 2000.[3][4] She initially advertised her webcomic to her family, friends, and her old Usenet group, and she submitted her website to major search engines. She also submitted Narbonic to the webcomic portal Keenspot, but it was rejected. Garrity had no plans to profit from her work, but she was curious how far her readership would grow. Narbonic's audience grew slowly during its first year, but shot up significantly in 2001, hitting Garrity with steep bandwidth charges.[5]

Narbonic was part of the launch line-up of Joey Manley's webcomic subscription website Modern Tales in March 2002, and it remained the most popular feature on the website until she moved it to Webcomics Nation in 2006.[6] In the following years, Garrity began several webcomics on Manley's subscription services. When the platform Girlamatic launched, Manley and Lea Hernandez suggested she do a Narbonic spin-off featuring a child version of the character Mell, one of Helen Narbon's minions. Garrity initially collaborated with artist Vera Brosgol to write the webcomic Li'l Mell for Girlamatic, and this webcomic later had a rotating roster of artists.[7] For the platform Graphic Smash, Garrity collaborated with artists Robert Stevenson and Roger Langridge to write More Fun, and, for Serializer, Garrity worked with Tom Hart to write TrunkTown.[8] After the launch of Webcomics Nation, Garrity wrote Smithson, drawn by Brian Moore and Roger Langridge. Garrity became content editor for Modern Tales in 2006. She revived the long-form webcomic section of the website and worked on implementing Project Wonderful.[7]

Garrity concluded Narbonic on December 31, 2006,[7] and Garrity began a commentated "director's cut" of the webcomic online a few years later. During Narbonic's run, Garrity was contacted by Narbonic reader Jeffrey Wells, who was writing a story that shared some elements with Garrity's webcomic. In 2008, Garrity and Wells launched the daily webcomic Skin Horse.[3] Telling the story of a top secret government agency that handles non-humans as armed social workers, Skin Horse was the most popular webcomic on Webcomics Nation until it was moved to its own website and GoComics. The first volumes of Skin Horse were published by a San Francisco Bay Area artist group, the Couscous Comics collective.[9][4] By 2018, seven volumes of Skin Horse had been released in print.[10]

In 2010, Garrity brought back Li'l Mell with a new storyline, this time collaborating with artist Cameron Nielson.[11]

Other work[edit]

Garrity began volunteering at the Cartoon Art Museum in 2000, and she continued to work there throughout her webcomic career.[12] Shortly after being laid off by Viz Media in 2003, Garrity began doing freelance editing work for the company. She edited One Piece, Yu Yu Hakusho, Ultimate Muscle, Knights of the Zodiac, and Tenchi Muyo for the English-language Shonen Jump magazine, and wrote reviews for Animerica magazine.[2][5] Garrity wrote for Marvel Comics in the mid-2000s, writing the 2005–2007 Marvel Holiday Specials. She was a regular contributor for Sequential Tart, The Comics Journal,[7] Publishers Weekly, and Anime News Network.

Handling the localization of Cased Closed, Garrity became responsible for official translations of the names of new characters.[13] Garrity intended to write the book CLAMP in America in 2011, a volume which was intended to cover the history of the popular four-member manga creation team CLAMP. However, this release was cancelled due to copyright issues.[14]

Garrity wrote short science-fiction stories in Strange Horizons,[15] Lightspeed,[16] and Machine of Death.[17] In 2013, Garrity contributed to Dark Horse Comics' CBLDF Presents Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Garrity is married to artist and Cartoon Art Museum curator Andrew Farago, and they moved to Berkeley, California in 2009. The two had a son in 2014.[19][20]


Garrity won the 2005 Friends of Lulu "Lulu of the Year" award, alongside Kazu Kibuishi.[21] In 2005, Garrity's Narbonic won in the "Outstanding Writing" category of the Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards.[22]


  1. ^ Rhode, Mike (2013-08-23). "Meet a Visiting Cartoonist: A Chat with Shaenon Garrity". Washington City Paper.
  2. ^ a b Lawlor, Layla (August 2003). "Just Something About Mad Scientists". Sequential Tart.
  3. ^ a b Martinson, Patti (2009-10-05). "Couscous Collective - Tasty Comics - Shaenon Garrity". Sequential Tart.
  4. ^ a b Dueben, Alex (2010-09-17). "More Than One Way to "Skin Horse"". Comic Book Resources.
  5. ^ a b "Mad Science and the Art of Comicking: Community Interview with Shaenon Garrity". Comix Talk. 2004-07-27.
  6. ^ "Garrity new Modern Tales editor". Comics Beat. 2006-08-01.
  7. ^ a b c d Spurgeon, Tom (2007-01-01). "A Short Interview With Shaenon Garrity". The Comics Reporter.
  8. ^ McCLoud, Scott (July 2004). "A Personal Top Twenty". Archived from the original on 2007-08-04.
  9. ^ "Garrity's Skin Horse collection out from Couscous". Comics Beat. 2009-07-07.
  10. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (2019-01-04). "The Beat's Annual Creator Survey Part 3: Predictions and a Stephen Hawking preview". Comics Beat.
  11. ^ Alverson, Brigid (2010-10-28). "The return of Li'l Mell". Comic Book Resources.
  12. ^ "Ten Questions With Shaenon Garrity". Comixpedia. October 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-10-25.
  13. ^ Toole, Mike (2019-12-02). "The One Truth, And Nothing But the One Truth: An Oral History of Case Closed". Anime News Network.
  14. ^ Manry, Gia (2011-06-02). "Del Rey's CLAMP in America Book Cancelled". Anime News Network.
  15. ^ Johnson, Lucas (October 2012). "SFWA Spotlight on Pro Markets: Strange Horizons". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
  16. ^ Englert, Bradley (April 2014). "Author spotlight: Shaenon K. Garrity". Lightspeed.
  17. ^ Higgins, Jim (2011-02-06). "'Machine of Death': killer stories to die for". Times Herald-Record. Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  18. ^ Green, Scott (2013-08-15). "Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Sells Frank Miller Signed "Lone Wolf and Cub" Promo". Crunchyroll.
  19. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (2015-01-06). "The Beat's Annual Survey 2015 edition Part Three: with added sneak peaks at Sfar and Blutch!". Comics Beat.
  20. ^ Berry, Michael (2019-11-11). "No man knows as much about Batman as this Berkeley man". Berkeleyside.
  21. ^ "The Lulu Awards". Friends of Lulu. Archived from the original on 2006-10-16.
  22. ^ "2005 Results". Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards. Archived from the original on 2010-04-21.

External links[edit]