Issue 13: Corrina Rothwell, Mary Howitt and Hans Christian Anderson

We published Issue 13: Will You Walk into my Parlour on 8 March which also happened to be International Women’s Day. It was written by Booker shortlisted author Alison Moore and drawn by Corrina Rothwell, both of whom have never created a comic before. Inside the comic were four embedded essays from Rowena Edlin-White, a director of Bromley House Library and author of a forthcoming book about Nottingham’s literary history that I’ve been patiently waiting 8 years to be published. Alison’s publisher’s Salt also kindly gave us permission to use an excerpt from her current book He Wants as it deals with mobile libraries, which have been particularly hit by government cuts. To quote the Spice Girls, this issue was all about girl power.

Another reason for publishing the comic in March is the Nottingham Playhouse are running Polly Teale’s Mermaid (13-21 March), a bold reimagining of Han’s Christian Anderson’s tale of love, loss and desire. While living in Heidelburg, Mary Howitt learned Danish in order to translate the works of Hans Christian Anderson. Their relationship wasn’t the best, with the writer believing Mary had made a fortune out of his hard labour when in fact she had barely broke even. Mary would go on to learn Swedish and translate 18 novels of Fredrika Bremer in a more profitable arrangement that would see Howitt awarded a pension of £100 a year from the Literary Academy of Stockholm.

In the above video, artist Corrina Rothwell discusses the process of creating her first comic and the difficulties of making the transition from still images (Corrina is perhaps best known for her cards) to images that refer to each other on a page. As with any new medium, Corrina found the process difficult at first. But as her confidence grew she was able to stamp her identity on the comic.

Corrina is one of the most talented artists I know. I’ve bought countless numbers of her cards over the years, my favourite being a frustrated male shouting at his girlfriend ‘stop fannying around’. So when you see a box in the video that says ‘fanny magnets’, you’ll know exactly what this means!

Mary Howitt returns to Nottingham in our latest issue and is worried she's been forgotten.

Mary Howitt returns to Nottingham in our latest issue and is worried she’s been forgotten.

I think this is one of our more inspiring ‘how to create a comic’ films as Corrina is a self-taught artist who dropped out of university to pursue an alternative career. Thank goodness she did. But we needed the support of Nottingham Trent University to make it happen as it was filmed and edited together by Robert Harris and Alex Fynn, the latest placement students to join our team.  It has since led to an inquiry from NottsTV which may lead to further work for the students, which is one of the reasons we’re giving them these opportunities.

But let’s not dwell on the boys too much. This comic was one for the girls in both content and production. Now on to the last three issues…

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