Coming to a Comic Store Near You: Lesbian Manga

Besides her desire to improve upon the dearth of lesbian comics, Gedris found inspiration for her work in her personal life. “I actually started doing this the day after I broke up with a girlfriend a couple of years ago, and I needed something to live vicariously through,” she said. “I'd been toying around with these characters for years, actually, and I finally decided to put them in a story.”

After several drafts and revisions of her original idea, she found her voice — as well as the voices of several colorful characters, including protagonist Fiona; her arch-rival Sister Mary; her beautiful, next door neighbor Lia; her green-haired gay best friend, Jake; and her conscience, taking the form of a sassy, Ebonics-speaking fairy. “With a lot of the characters, I didn't know where they came from,” Gedris explained. “They were just there all of a sudden. They were meant to be minor background characters, but they just had such strong voices that I had to give them bigger parts.”

Similarly, writing the series was not always a carefully planned project. “A lot of things happen without me planning them, and those are actually the most fun,” Gedris said. “It's as if the characters will do things on their own, and I'm just writing what they're doing. But as for the main ideas of the story, I already knew the ending as soon as I began it. Sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to stay on course because I get so many different ideas … but I'll have to put them into a different comic book, I guess.”

As for the future of YU+ME, Gedris says that there are some big changes in store for Fiona and company. “No specifics,” she cautioned, “but [there will be] some pretty major changes coming soon. It's going to become a very different kind of story.”

YU+ME has garnered both popular and critical acclaim, and Gedris notes that the positive responses to her work are her inspiration. “That's what keeps me going some days when I don't want to draw, but I do because the reaction is so powerful. I love the letters from people who say, ‘This is so much like what I'm going through right now,' or ‘You've helped me through a tough time when I wasn't sure who I was, and [reading] this helped me figure that out.' I just love the feeling that I get, hearing that from people.”

The future looks bright for the young artist, who already has another project in the works. “The next couple of years are going to revolve around finishing this series as well as Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space, which will get published at some time next year,” Gedris said. “So I'm mostly just trying to finish those and once I'm done … well, I'll just think of something new.”

Read Yu +Me at yume.comicgen.com. And find out more about Prism Comics at www.prismcomics.org.

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