Interview with Heather Antos
When I first joined the Valkyries, the first thought that popped into my head was “I would LOVE to interview Heather Antos!” I have been a huge fan of Heather and her work ever since Gwenpool and so this interview has come as a real treat. Heather is the senior editor at Valiant and Image and has worked previously for Disney and Marvel.
Firstly, I just want to say a big thank you for taking the time to speak to the Valkyries. I have only recently joined the Valks as I wanted to find a safe space to support the brave creators who have voiced their mistreatment in the comic book industry. As a community moving forward, how do you think we can promote a safer space for women and other marginalized creators?
Making sure that ALL communities feel safe in the comics industry is something I take very seriously and have been actively having in-depth conversations about my entire career. And for me, it all starts at the publishers. So long as the publishers turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of marginalized creators – and continue to partake in ignoring and mistreating marginalized creators – this industry will continue to suffer.
Change isn’t easy. And it certainly almost never comes overnight. But it’s more important than ever for positions of power – whether it be creators or publishing staff themselves – to acknowledge their responsibility to voice the need for change for better representation at conventions, at creative summits, on creative teams, and more.
I started to follow your work when you began at Marvel Comics and I remember reading you were involved in editing 12 to 15 titles a month. I am a huge Gwenpool fan and loved it when she “took over” your Twitter page! It is also nice to see my first appearance of Doctor Aphra in Darth Vader #3 become a hot book! What are some of your personal highlights from your time at Marvel?
Getting to be so involved with the creation and promotion of such strong female characters such as Gwenpool and Doctor Aphra are absolutely the top of my personal highlights at Marvel.
My goal in comics has always been about creating more characters that I would have wished existed when I was growing up – making sure girls have more than one female character to choose from to relate to. I think the best moments, though, would be when I would go to conventions and fathers would come up to me and say how excited they were to have a book they could share their love of comics of with their daughters. It’s those moments of “This. This is EXACTLY why I’m doing this.
Last year, you joined Valiant Entertainment and have since been promoted to a Senior Editor. What is a typical day for you? Has your routine changed since the world has entered lockdown?
My days depend entirely on what books are going to print that week – my priorities are always going to revolve around the next print date. Whether that’s wrangling missing covers for Previews, getting lettering notes from a writer, or waiting on interior art corrections from pencillers, inkers, and colorists, it’s all about that print deadline. From there, what’s next on deck is making sure all scripts are read and notes are given to writers to make sure when artists finish drawing issue #2, issue #3’s script is ready for them.
On a much broader scope, since becoming a Senior Editor, I’m involved very deeply with planning the publishing line-up for the rest of the year, 2021, and beyond, giving notes on marketing material, as well as consulting on licensed projects like the YA novels and more!
As for how things have changed during lockdown, well, my first week working from home I adopted a puppy! So now my day is broken up with puppy training, walks, and lots of playtime.
As readers, what should we be looking out for from the talented team at Valiant? And what back issues should we be catching up on?
Now that Diamond is shipping comics again, the final issue of Quantum & Woody will be hitting the shelves of a comic shop near you very soon! Not to mention the latest issues of Bloodshot (have you checked out the film starring Vin Diesel yet?), Rai, X-O Manowar, and more!
If you’re brand new to Valiant and don’t know where to start, I highly recommend picking up “The Valiant” from 2012 – it’s a complete story that introduces readers to the world and the characters. From there, find a character you like and continue their story from there!
OR check out the Valiant Comics Twitter (@ValiantComics) where we have been giving out free PDFs to help everyone get by during the pandemic.
One thing I absolutely love is a penguin! As a penguin-enthusiast yourself, have you ever been able to meet them in the wild? I know lucky fans are also able to commission penguins-in-cosplay from you. What is your favourite penguin commission you have been asked to draw?
GUH! So, pre-COVID-19 my 2020 plans included FINALLY seeing penguins in the wild for my 30th birthday – I was all set to go to South Africa and everything. Alas, since I had to postpone turning 30 this year, maybe this dream will come true next year.
As far as my favorite penguin commission…hmmm… Honestly, each and every one of them is a blast to do. Whenever I get asked to draw a character that I’ve not done before it’s always a fun challenge to try and figure out how to penguinize them. I love all my babies equally! Having that been said, Baby Yodaguin has probably been my most popular.
Although I love to write comic books and have launched successful Kickstarter campaigns, I am also a full-time teacher. This can make it difficult to find a work/life balance. As a mental health advocate, what is your best advice for someone who is hoping to break into the industry?
I find often that most creative personalities seem to also be the personality type that gives, and gives, and gives, and gives…but forgets to take time for themselves. There’s so much we feel that we “should” be doing at all times that we ignore the warning signs our body gives us that we need a break. There is no one-size-fits all solution when it comes to self-care, but more so it’s about finding out what fits you best. For me, personally, I need routine and structure – having a set schedule and plan for everyday helps me feel much more at ease and in control; and part of that schedule is time away from work. Making sure I schedule time to eat, stretch, exercise, socialize, run errands, and time to do just plain nothing. It’s okay to take a break. This is comics. This isn’t heart surgery. We can put our tools down if we need to.
On Twitter (@HeatherAntos) you have created #SignalBoostSunday ! This is a hashtag that I love to follow, having used it to share my own work in the past. How can fellow Tweeters get involved?
#SignalBoostSunday came about in 2016 after I realized the majority of what I was seeing on Twitter was negative discourse, trolling, and all in all made the online social media experience rather awful. So much negativity only breeds more negativity. It sits with us as humans and really affects our lives much more than I think we’d like to admit. I wanted to help try and change this.
If it weren’t for the help and guidance of strangers I met on Twitter, I would have never been able to break into comics the way that I did. I found my people – my community – on Twitter, and #SignalBoostSunday was my way of trying to pay that forward, so to speak. The rules are simple – the first Sunday of every month from 9am-5pm EST I use my platform to promote the creative endeavours of creators all over the world.
Reply to my announcement tweet with a brief description of what you’re promoting and any/all relevant links. The only catch – before I retweet your promotion, the user MUST retweet – and pay forward – the promotion of another creator.
So often I find it’s very easy to compare oneself to all the other creators out there – but creation isn’t a race, and it certainly isn’t a competition. It’s so important to promote and support each other, and I hope this helps!
Finally, Heather, do you have any further stories or advice to share with the Valkyries or any links to your pages for readers to follow?
Absolutely! I have a backlog of every interview, podcast, video, article, etc. I’ve ever given/done available on my website: www.HeatherAntos.com – and to follow my daily adventures you can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @HeatherAntos.
Thank you again to Heather Antos for taking the time to chat with us! Be sure to go check out Valiant!
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