Getting blogged on Glamour magazine’s site is definitely sexier than a lot of things, so have a look at their feature on the Sexier Than comic if you’re interested. I’ve posted the interview text below for anyone who can’t access the site due to regional lockout or whatever it is that’s preventing some people from seeing it. Huge thanks again to Rosemary for the opportunity to appear on their site!
Meet Sexier Than, the Coolest Comic You’ll See All Day!
The other day I came across an incredibly cool and inspiring comic strip. Even if you’re not into comics, I think you’ll get a kick out of this one. It’s all about being sexy. Plus, it packs a pretty powerful message.
So often we’re told that being sexy or having sex appeal is about looking or acting a certain way. But more than anything, I think being sexy has to do with the people we are—not how we look. Earlier this week, graphic artist Winston Rowntree posted the comic “Sexier Than” on his site Subnormality to show that there are a ton of ways to be sexy. I was so moved by Winston’s work that I just had to ask him a few questions.
Rosemary: What’s the story or inspiration behind Sexier Than?
Winston: The comic was actually directly inspired by the website womenwithmustaches.com, a “humor” site that features pictures of women with facial hair alongside jeering captions like “this is what nightmares are made of.” I ran across the site last week and was just absolutely disgusted by it and what it represents–the kind of brain-dead ultra-juvenile sexism that’s unfortunately so easy to find on the internet–and so the idea for the comic came together pretty quickly from there.
I really wanted to make a statement in the other direction, as well stick up for comics as a force for positive messages (the womenwithmustaches.com site is incidentally the creation of one the most popular internet cartoonists going today, which is the other aspect of it that’s so offensive to me personally). Beyond that, I just generally feel like the popular stereotype of “sexy” and what people are actually interested in in a meaningful way are completely at odds, and that’s to no-one’s benefit, hence I really just wanted to convey that sexiness maybe could be thought of in a different way.
Rosemary: And what sort of reactions have readers—or friends and family—had to the comic?
Winston: As for reactions to the comic, taking a look at online feedback on my site and others it’s been pretty wide-ranging (which is typical of almost any comic though), from “Hell Yes” to “this is cheesy.” I do think there are many people who are personally skeptical of the message in the comic, but in terms of my core readership though they’ve definitely reacted positively.
The audience I’ve built is kind of one that’s open to new ideas, or is at least maybe a bit disillusioned with certain aspects of mainstream culture and the way it places value on some things and not others. That is, I think I share with my readers a sense that maybe the mass media doesn’t necessarily do a comprehensive job of conveying what people are really like and what they really care about–they get excited about ideas that they don’t see in the mainstream, and that kind of vibe has definitely been evident with the Sexier Than comic as well, I reckon. There are a lot of people who either appreciate that kind of message, or at least appreciate the effort taken in making it, so I’d say that reaction’s been positive overall.
Rosemary: Awesome. What’s your artistic background? Do you work primarily with comics?
Winston: As for my background, I work in comic strips, primarily online, as well as the odd longer project or freelance illustration job. I’ve been publishing my sort-of-weekly comic strip “Subnormality” since 2007, and have built a pretty great audience over these past four years.
I know for most people “comic strips” are probably still defined as those that you’d find in newspapers, but the medium’s increasingly migrated online in the past decade, and I’m just happy to be able to take advantage of the creative freedom offered by the internet to make comics about whatever I want and have them seen by people all around the world (something that newspapers can’t offer). The money’s not great, but everything else about it is, which is more than good enough for me.