Sunday, 13 November 2011

Come to the Launch of the Brand-new Strumpet!

Come to the launch of the first-ever issue of the Strumpet, an anthology of new comics work by exciting women artists from the United States and United Kingdom.

Fun starts at 7pm in the ground-floor party room of the Miller Pub, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge/Borough, in lovely London town. We'll be showing the Strumpet's favourite films, listening to some of her favourite music, and enjoying the company of the UK-based artists (and, who knows, perhaps the spectral aura of some of the US artists!) Come early for cupcakes, come late for some high-quality drunken revelry.

Check out a full preview of this issue on our website - see you there!

If you are a Kickstarter contributor and would like to pick your copy up at the launch, please let us know and we'll have it ready for you to take away! Thanks so much to everyone who helped us reach our goal!

Some more Strumpet news - we will have advance copies of The Strumpet at Leeds' fab Thought Bubble convention this coming weekend, 19-20th November. Come say hello - we'll be sharing a table with David O'Connell and the ink + PAPER crowd, and Ellen will be appearing in the Comics Economics panel from 2:30-3:20 on Saturday, chaired by We are Words and Pictures' Matthew Sheret. Loads more info - plus a full programme - is available on the Thought Bubble website.

See you soon!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Kripa Joshi, now in The Strumpet!

Miss Moti enjoys a night out on the town, and meet up with lots of intriguingly disguised characters, in this page from the new Strumpet.

We are so pleased to welcome Kripa Joshi, the creator of Miss Moti, to our very first issue.

Kripa speaking at Laydeez; she's in front of a photo of her extended family in Nepal.

Kripa recently knocked everyone dead at the October meeting of Laydeez do Comics, London's premier spot for discovering new cartoonists (of both genders!)

Kripa with London comics folk John Miers, Megan Donnolley and Mike Medaglia.

At Laydeez Kripa discussed her Nepalese heritage and how her travels around the world - notably to New York, India and London - have influenced her work.

Even more wonderfully, Kripa agreed a few months back to create an image for us Strumpets to use as a Kickstarter incentive. If you love fairytale princesses and knights errant on a mission, then you might want to grab this print for your very own. It's not too late - although we've reached our goal the terms of Kickstarter are that we have to stay open for business until the day we promised - that's 11th November. Which means you're in luck! Check out our Kickstarter today.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

New Interview! The Strumpets speak to PIKALAND!

An exciting interview with 8 of our artists is now up on fantastic illustration site Pikaland!

Thanks so much to the amazing Melanie Maddison for taking the time to explore our fevered imaginations.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Return of MARDOU

One of the things that I'm most excited about in this first issue of the Strumpet is the fact that MARDOU, originator of the Whores of Mensa and one of our favourite cartoonists, is BACK with an 8 page story.

This story is vintage Mardou: subversively funny and vibrantly drawn (highlighted with her trademark zip-a-tone), offering a look into a gratifyingly unusual mind. Mardou rocks!

Are you a Mardou fan? Maybe you're a devotee of Kripa Joshi, Lucy Sweet or Megan Kelso? If you are - but especially if these are new names to you - may we suggest a pre-order? For a mere $10 you get a signed copy of the Strumpet air-mailed to you anywhere in the world, complete with a set of three buttons on a hand-stamped backing. Check out our Kickstarter page for more details - we could really use your support!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Strumpet Lives!

Cover for Strumpet Issue 1

Ellen Lindner's cover for the first issue of The Strumpet.

Strumpet Issue 1 will début at this year's Thought Bubble Festival, 19-20 November in Leeds. We'll be launching the comic on 24th of November at the Miller pub in London Bridge. And we have a group of contributors to drool over: Kripa Joshi, Patrice Aggs, Tanya Meditzky, Jeremy Day, Mardou, Ellen Lindner, and...MEGAN KELSO!!! And more! AIEEE!!!!!

Right now we're taking pre-orders over at our Kickstarter page - if you want to be one of the first to reserve a copy of Issue One for your very own, I suggest you act quickly!

Kickstarter is brilliant - it's easy to use, fills the gaping distribution hole left by Diamond, and enables us to keep all of our titles in print (as well as pay for extra expenses like contributor copies, review copies, and postage). So please, have a think, and pre-order at the level you're comfortable with. All of the prizes are fab - and you'll be making a band of Strumpets very, very happy.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Strumpets Ahead!

Hi everyone,
It's been a long, crazy summer here in Whores of Mensa HQ. We've been working on a secret project - the relaunch of our beloved collective as a brand-new annual.

Why the upheaval? No one likes upheaval!!!

Well, a lot has changed for us over the course of the seven years we've been publishing comics as WoM: personal stuff and professional stuff.

Our last issue made us think really hard about what we wanted to do, as a collective. It was great printing regular work by the three of us, but having so many fantastic guest artists for our blockbuster fifth issue felt like something we'd like to do again.

Over our travels in New York and Portland, we met so many great lady cartoonists. We got excited about the possibilities of bringing female creators from the USA and the UK together for a fun cultural exchange - an exchange that, due to the failure in the personal jet-pack market and the total washout of the transatlantic Tube system, could perhaps most easily happen on paper and on the internet.

To whit, we're creating a publication, and soon a website, that will take some small steps (or maybe even some big ones!) towards that goal. And it's called...


Whores of Mensa will not be going away - thanks to the generous lift given to our fifth issue by our Kickstarter supporters, we've printed 400 copies of our Party Issue - the most ever of any single WoM issue - and it's still very much in print.
It'll be sold right alongside the Strumpet, keeping the WoM flame alive (if you're coming to the party late you can get your own copy here). We're also hoping to put together a book collecting all of our best work from our seven year stretch.

Many thanks to our intern Elliot Baggott for his hard work on our new logo!

Very soon we'll be taking pre-orders for our first issue of the Strumpet, and we're planning a London mega-launch in late November to which you'll all be invited. But in the meantime, please let us introduce one of our newest artists, the amazing Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg of Portland, Oregon.

We met Lisa when we bought Cut Your Hair 3, which is about her epic travels in China. We love her work and we think you might, too!

And here's a sneak peek at Lisa's story...

We'll be back soon with more Strumpets....stay tuned!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Whores of Mensa USA Début!

Nothing says love like farmer's market fresh caramel popcorn...ta Stephen!

Woo! It's been a crazy two weeks, with Whores of Mensa and the Comix Reader hitting two major indie comics shows - MoCCA and Stumptown - in two crazy weekends! Sarah McIntyre and Cliodhna Lyons were fantastic tablemates - thanks, ladies, for doing so much organizational work and making this super-fun trip possible! And thanks to Stephen Betts for taking the lion's share of these pictures!

Cliodhna, Sarah and I - looking awesome despite the jetlag!

First stop, the excellent Drink and Draw Like a Lady, organized by the wonderful Lucy Knisley. If you're ever in NYC, you need to check out 192 Books - there will be many, many books you'll want to get your paws on!

Here I am with the very accomplished author of Dolltopia, and fellow Angouleme denizen, Abby Denson.

As my mom would say, you need to eat. And here we are - Sarah, Cliodhna, myself and Sarah's good school friend Rose Jung, gettings a pre-con meal at Manhattan's Lyric Diner. Thank you, Lyric, for the salmon bagel big enough so that the second half became my lunch. Yum!

Sarah putting the finishing touches on our table...

At MoCCA you never know who you're going to meet. Here's Swedish comics star Joanna Hellgren, part of the group brought over by the excellent Editions Cambourakis. My husband Stephen's done some translations of her comics - they're amazing! Also in attendance were some delegates from Germany's Reprodukt press, along with a massive Scandinavian contingent - not to mention the fab fellows from Accent UK. It's great how truly international MoCCA is.

Calvin Reid, Gabrielle Bell, Joe Ollmann, Pascal Girard and Leslie Stein after their thoughtful panel - Almost True, about semi-autobiographical work. Calvin is such a great MC - he moves the conversation along wonderfully. And these guys had so much great stuff to say about the tricky process of turning your life into a comics narrative. Leslie's book, Eye of The Majestic Creature, is out now from Fantagraphics. Highly recommended!

Here we have Sweaterweather and Robot Dreams author Sara Varon getting interviewed, perhaps in a leadup to her new book from First Second, Bake Sale. Sara let us take a peek, and it is INCREDIBLE! Full color, and an absolute must for anyone who likes baking, boxing, travel, or just plain wonderful comics. It's out later this summer.

I love New York, because you never know what you'll see. Stephen and I popped along to a yarn shop to buy a gift for my mother, and were treated to huge knitted space diorama with this guy as the centerpiece!

Here's a glimpse of the frankly terrifying Multnomah Falls, the second-tallest waterfall in the US of A. Guess who got to walk up to the tippy-top - AIEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

And on to beautiful Portland!

In a touch befitting its status as the Stumptown festival hostelry, the Jupiter Hotel had chalkboard doors. Sarah left this super-cool drawing for me! Thanks, Sarah! (For a good time, indeed! :) )

Here's our Stumptown table setup. The night before we'd been at the Guapo Comics and Coffee pre-con party. A great opportunity to catch up with local comics pals and see some amazing art! Portland has so many great comix shops - it's pretty amazing.

Our table standee...

An inspiring sight! Molly Crabapple labored away on a piece of original art for the entirety of the show.

Portland's excellent Floating World Comics, now the ONLY place in North America you can buy the Comix Reader!
Get in, Portlanders - get in!

Stephen and I met up with amazing local cartoonists Matt Sundstrom and Jen Sorenson for one last night out...and then it was goodbye, Portland! We were very sad to leave.

Many thanks to everyone who came out and supported us at both shows, and to the New Yorkers and Portlandians for their hospitality. Each festival was an adventure! I particularly enjoyed exploring the Pacific Northwest...what an amazing place!

See you next time...

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Exciting News: Whores of Mensa 1 Now Available as a PDF

Hey there Whores of Mensa Fans!

There’s been a lot going on at Whores of Mensa HQ this month, so perhaps I should take the time to introduce myself. I’m Elliot Baggott, a second-year BA student at Wimbledon College of Art. For the past month I’ve been the official WoM Intern, helping Editor Ellen get everything ready for exciting anthology news and changes to come! But first, we have a special surprise; the digital return of long out of print Whores Issue One!

It’s been nearly seven years since Whores of Mensa first hit the British Comics Scene. Jeremy Day (then Jeremy Dennis), Mardou and Lucy Sweet met while promoting comics at Ladyfest Bristol in 2003. Since then, these ladies - with the addition of Ellen Lindner, and in Issue Five, a bevy of guest artists - have been flying the standard for women in alternative comics and producing their own brand of smart, quixotic cartoon stories.

We’re currently preparing our sixth issue - and Issue One is the best possible way of seeing how it all began and really getting a flavour for the tone of the anthology as a whole.

Jeremy Day starts us off, coping with the infuriating antics of all your favorite literary figures in “The Society of Dead Poets.”

Lucy Sweet, meanwhile, has a brush with stardom in her engagingly bizarre tell-all confession, “Justin Timberlake Laid my Laminate!”

Last, but by no means least, Mardou spins a dystopic tale of a horrifying future without comics in “Fahrenheit 50/50” and rounds off with “Dojo of Love!”, a comic about a very unusual inter-generational love affair.

Here, with no further ado, is the link to download your own copy in PDF format.

Issue One is free to download, but if you have enjoyed reading then please consider donating. All your donations go towards financing future WoM projects and paying for printing costs, and help to keep this wonderful anthology going!

Thanks everyone!

Elliot Baggott’s personal blog is and his latest comic TEETH is available at many comics stores in London or by direct order.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The New Thing: London Comic and Small Press Expo This Weekend!

I'm very excited, because this weekend the London Comic and Small Press Expo is coming to New Cross!

New Cross is also the home of the Fleece Station, the studio I've shared for the last year-and-a-bit with Gary Northfield, Lauren O'Farrell and Sarah McIntyre.

Here's a map of some places I like in New Cross, or that have been recommended to me - New Cross high street can look very forbidding, but there are a few real gems, and if you get into Deptford - well, everyone's got to experience Deptford just once. Especially now that you can get bubble tea on the way in!

Some quick notes: Meateasy is FAB for greasy American diner food (exactly what you came to New Cross for, I imagine) - but it's only open after 6, and the waits are almost as legendary as the chili dog. If you're serious about checking out London's most talked-about popup restaurant, get there before 6.

Personal fave Panda Panda, purveyor of amazing banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) and bubble tea - is legendary if you read Sarah's blog - they're also open until 9, so if you get a chance, give them a try. (I haven't given them a coffee icon - they sell too many good things to represent visually - but their Vietnamese coffee is amazing!)

One thing I haven't covered: transport. New Cross is accessible by rail, Overground and loads and loads of buses - too many to cover here! Check out the London Transport Journey Planner instead.

Please let me know if you have any questions about my map - there's a bigger version here - and hopefully, I'll see you at the show. Look for me at the Fleece Station table - I'll have Undertow, Whores of Mensa, and some great little prints Sarah and I have done just for the show.

See you there!

Monday, 28 February 2011

Whores of Mensa at London Print Studio!

Earlier this month and I gave two workshops on anthology-making at London Print Studio, London's center for print-making excellence. Pretty exciting stuff for us small-pressers!

LPS has a great team of comics interns at the moment, including Freya Harrison, William Goldsmith, Joe Kelly and Isabel Greenberg. The interns are collectively keeping a record of their LPS experiences at their amazing blog.

Here's Issy Greenberg's take on our private workshop for Issy, Bill, Freya and Joe, in which we focused on plans for their Imagined Cities anthology.

If you like Issy's work here, check her out in No Brow Press's Graphic Cosmogony - mindblowing work in there, some of it from Issy. Highly recommended!

Thanks again to Karrie Fransman for inviting us in, and for the interns and young people who came to our workshops. And thanks LPS!

Want Whores of Mensa to come and do a workshop at your school, art centre or other institution? Email me at ellen at little white bird dawt calm, and let's talk comics!

Whores of Mensa London Print Studio Wednesday!

Whores of Mensa Head Honchette Ellen Lindner here with some news about a very swiftly upcoming Whores of Mensa teaching event.

The delectable Karrie Fransman has invited Jeremy Day and I to give a FREE workshop for teenagers at the estimable London Print Studio this Wednesday!

We'll be talking about the process of putting together the last issue of Whores of Mensa, and our very DIY approach to community building through comics.

In short, it'll be a workshop about creating anthologies - why they work, why they don't, how to get into the famous ones and - most importantly - how to do it yourself!

WHEN will all this be happening? This Wednesday, 2nd February - 5-7PM
WHERE? London Print Studio, 425 Harrow Road London W10 4RE
HOW to sign up? Either turn up on the day, or email ahead for more information -

Hope to see you there!

Interview with Team Girl Comic

As you may have seen in a prior post, I recently made an awesome discovery - the world of Scotland's Team Girl Comic. Edited by Gill Hatcher, a talented draughtswoman in her own right, Team Girl Comic unleashes the storytelling powers of a cool crew of young female cartoonists on an unsuspecting UK comix scene.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Gill Hatcher?
I’m 23 and originally from Wishaw, one of the greyer parts of North Lanarkshire. I used to draw comics just to entertain my school friends, and then when I left school I started meeting people involved in the Glasgow small press comics scene. About 4 years ago I got the confidence to start photocopying and selling my work, and this evolved into Team Girl Comic. I haven’t been to art school, I studied product design which suited me because I enjoy both art and science. And now I’m doing a PhD which really suits me because it gives me the flexibility to work on comics as much as I need to!

Art by Gill Hatcher.

I’ve got quite big aspirations for TGC, and if I can find a way to live off making and promoting comics I’ll do it. The thing that’s so exciting about comics is that is it’s one of the few artistic mediums that still has so many unexplored avenues, there’s still huge scope for innovation. I think this is only just being realised, I’ve noticed a real boom in alternative comics and graphic novels in the past few years. It’s a good time to be involved.

How did Team Girl comics get started?

The group properly got together about a year ago. I had been self publishing my own comics for a few years beforehand, just photocopied booklets, but was feeling a little isolated. So I decided to try and find other female cartoonists in Glasgow to work with. At first I couldn’t find any! But from talking about the idea with people around me I realised I actually knew quite a few people who were drawing in their spare time but had never publicised their work before. Secret cartoonists! And there’s my younger sister and cousin in there too.

Art by Heather Middleton.

That’s how the all-inclusiveness concept around Team Girl Comic emerged. We started work on our first comic book, and fortunately word got round and some other cartoonists got in touch about joining in. We’ve managed to double our numbers between the first and second issue, and I hope that we can keep growing and build up a real network of varied artists.

Not everyone has the ambition to be a professional cartoonist. We range from fine artists to manufacturing engineers to schoolgirls still unsure about what they want out of life. And then there’s a few of us like me, juggling a double life of comics and ‘career’! The key thing about Team Girl Comic is that it’s supposed to be fun. Anyone is welcome to give it a go.

What's your editorial process like? How do you choose which stories to print?

Well so far, as we’re just starting out, everything submitted makes it into the comic. I’ve not yet had to deal with an unsuitable submission, especially since I want the comic to be as varied as possible. Story-wise, the comics can be about anything: politics, autobiographical, daft animals, and just because we’re an all-female group doesn’t mean the comics have to be ‘girly’ either.

What kinds of comics do you read?

I can’t speak for everyone but I mainly read what I guess you’d call ‘alternative comics’, one of my biggest influences is Mark Beyer’s Amy and Jordan strips, and I’m also a fan of artists like Peter Bagge, Julie Doucet, Dame Darcy and Simone Lia. I have to admit I’m pretty ignorant of superhero comics and manga, they’ve never interested me, although when you say you’re into comics that’s what most people assume you’re talking about. I grew up reading Twinkle, The Beano and Tintin and I still love kids comics. Right now I’m loving a lot of the DC Comics’ Minx books, their range of comics for teenage girls. And of course Peanuts is always a comfort and a joy to read.

Where can we find your work?

(In terms of in-person sales) I’m sure there will be loads of events in the next year, we’ll keep everyone posted. Team Girl Comic is available to buy from comic, music and book shops in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham (so far!). The full list is on our blog, and you can order a copy from there too.

Art by Jude Stoo.

Are you working on any additional projects?

I’ve just finished a solo project that resulted in Go Wildlife Comic, a similar format to TGC with stories about wildlife that I tried to make both entertaining and informative. Kakapos, buffalos, sea otters and the like. I also took part in 24 hour comic day this year and came up with a 24 page story called ‘The Bearoplane’, so I’d like to do something with that soon. My next project besides Team Girl Comic 3 is going to be a kids comic, but that’s just at the planning stage right now.

It's clear that there's a great comics scene in Glasgow. Who else should we be checking out?
Glasgow is a pretty good place to be if you’re making comics, there’s a growing community here that’s a mixture of professionals and people like me. Big titles like Batman and Superman are drawn in Glasgow, and although that’s not really my kind of thing it’s an encouraging environment to be in. There’s also quite a few independent shops, such as Monorail Records, Love Music and Plan B Books that are supportive of small press comics. I still think the scene’s a little more fragmented than I’d like it to be, so I’m glad Team Girl Comic has managed to bring together at least some of the female comic creators in Glasgow!

Our main contemporary is Khaki Shorts, or ‘Team Boy Comic’ as I like to call them, Glasgow’s (probably) longest running small press anthology at 11 years in the business. I’d also recommend people check out Scheme Comix by Kev Harper if you like drama, Toastycats by Magda Boreysza if you like dark tales and John Miller’s Atomic Society of Justice if you enjoy being baffled by Jimi Hendrix detective comics.

Team Comics garners an endorsement...

What are your plans for Team Girl 3?

It’s a lot of work bringing the comic out on a regular basis, between managing all the contributors, drawing your own pages and selling and promoting the previous issue, so at the moment I’m aiming for two issues per year, at least. Team Girl 2 still has a fair bit of steam left in it so it will be early next year before we see the third issue. At the moment we’ve got about 15 or so artists in the loop, including even more new people since last time so I’ve got high expectations. I’m especially excited about the possibility of seeing a comic by our youngest contributor yet and seeing the next steps of some of the new characters that have emerged from the first two issues.

Thanks a lot, Gill! Be sure to follow the ladies on Twitter - they're @TeamGirlComic - and visit them on Facebook. And look out for the ladies and their comics - especially Team Girl Comic 2, out now!

Whores of Mensa See the World: Leeds Edition

Tozo creator Dave O'Connell, four-time Whore of Mensa Ellen Lindner, Derek the Sheep artiste Gary Northfield and Stitch London head girl Lauren O'Farrell share a pint in Leeds' lovely Adelphi pub.

Thought Bubble 2010: what a crazy ride!

We experienced brilliant typography....

A brush with actual brilliance, in the form of Dr. Mel Gibson and the effervescent Suzy Varty...

Enjoyed a tour of Leeds by its owl population, crowned and un-crowned...
Here's one at Leeds' famous Corn Exchange, now a place for exchanging cash for vintage clothes and 'gourmet hotdogs' (both highly recommended.)

A big draw for Leeds and Though Bubble was a really sweet show by cartooning genius Kristyna Baczynski, who was kind enough to come along to say hello to the Whores of Mensa during the show.

Sat nav tried to drag us to the Ash Blast Car Wash (a cry for help, perhaps?) but we pushed on to Leed's historic Hyde Park Picture House.


Here's the poster for Kristyna's show.
Copyright Kristyna Baczynski, 2010.

Wit and whimsy abounded...
Copyright Kristyna Baczynski, 2010.

Even in the gents'!

Copyright Kristyna Baczynski, 2010.

Copyright Kristyna Baczynski, 2010.

Don't worry ladies, we were not neglected!

The Hyde Park has its own charms - like this fantastic stained-glass window! - and a wonderful history. It dates to just around the start of World War I. We were heartbroken that we couldn't stick around for a showing of Chico and Rita!

Congrats to Kristyna for taking home the Thought Bubble Competition prize two years ago - and extra special congratulations to Dave Shelton, for winning this year's prize!

Thought Bubble was a lot of fun - thanks so much to the organizers, and all the cartoonists who gave us some love and said hello. (And extra-special thanks to Stephen Betts, for doing all the driving!)