By Xiomahara Solis
When I read the title of Gina Wynbrandt’s comic book Someone Please Have Sex with Me, I knew I had to buy the book immediately. Once I started reading the five short stories within the book, I was floored by how well it reversed the stereotype that women are the gatekeepers of sex.
In movies such as Sex Drive, the men are always craving sex and making fools out of themselves while the girls are pristine creatures that never get horny. I always assumed that there was something fundamentally wrong with me since I believed I held a “dude’s mentality” when it came to sex, but then I found Wynbrandt’s book. Her book illustrates, in very outlandish and satirical scenarios, just how much women can crave sex. It also demonstrates that men aren’t the only ones who are willing to act absurdly in order to sleep with someone.
I was ecstatic when I found out I would get to talk to her. In our interview, she talks about her obsession with Justin Bieber, her experience with self-publishing, and her inspiration for drawing comics.
How did you find the confidence to write a comic about a female character that is horny and really wants to have sex?
My first comic book is about me being in love with Justin Bieber. I originally knew that I wanted to do a comic about him because I was just so in love with him and needed to express that love somehow. But I was also deeply ashamed that I had those feelings and I thought “no one would want to read about this, it’s just dumb.”
So I started writing a different story about a fictional character, which I was creating for a college class. My teacher told me “why don’t you just write about yourself because you’re the one who likes Justin Bieber” but I was like “ugh no one would want to read that.” But in the end, he convinced me that it was the right thing to do. I also chose to do it because I felt like I needed to express how much I love Justin.
I didn’t spend that much time reading comics, specially indie-alternative comics in the beginning, but I had really liked authors like Jeffrey Brown, Chester Brown and other male cartoonists who talk about how horny and pathetic they are. And I could really relate to most of what they were saying. I kept thinking “ this is so relatable and it’s cool that they’re so honest,” but there were parts I didn’t relate to because they’re men. So the secondary reason for wanting to write my work was because I thought it would be really great if the female perspective on horniness existed.
Did Justin Bieber end up being your muse because you like him?
I was really in love with Justin when I was twenty-one and twenty-two which correlated with the peak moment in which he was being marketed as a commercial entity of “hey girl I like you and I care about you” and that resonated with me; I was ready for that product to be sold to me since I was so unfulfilled by my personal life. I know that I didn’t know Justin Bieber the person, but I loved Justin Bieber the persona and it was really effective.
How do you respond to critics who say your work is too weird or are offended by your work?
I think any criticism I do get, I take it pretty well. The way I got into drawing comics was through self-publishing. I printed my first comic and sold it at consignment stores and that’s the way and things are supposed to be weird and experimental, outside the norm.
If anything, it’s a little surprising that I’ve gotten a wider audience now that my book has been published. My American publisher, 2dcloud, has focused on weird and experimental work, I am still one of their most accessible mainstream titles.
Yeah, they do a lot of visually experimental and artist poetry comics.
Can you tell me a little bit about your experience with self-publishing? Do you think that’s been a really successful endeavor?
I really like it since I have control over everything I do and that’s how I get the most profits out of my work— not that that’s the reason why I’m doing this. A good portion of my book had already been self-published. But I haven’t done self-publishing in a couple of years now but I would like to get back into doing that before I start working on another book. It’s cool and it makes it more special to do things on a smaller scale.
Before I started making my own comics, I was always drawn to the self-published section of the local comic stores here in Chicago, and it’s like having a more intimate conversation with the creator since it’s a direct line to the audience and it’s immediate too. With a publishing company there’s a really long period between submitting a book to be published and it actually coming out. With self-publishing, it comes out like BAM, these are my feelings and now they’re out there.
Did you expect people to relate to your book as much as they have?
Not as much as I did. I would say that is one of the best things that came out of that; meeting other women who also feel like I do. Normally, in my day to day life, I talk about my romantic life with my mom, but she has typical mom advice. I can also talk about my struggles with my best friend but for some reason, she’s never had issues with dating or she’s always in a long-term relationship.
Which makes me think “am I the only one with this problem? Is it a coincidence that most of the women in my life weren’t having the same issues as me?” And I was like “what’s wrong with me, I’m defective.”
So it’s been really cool to meet a lot of women who say “wait, I feel like this too” there’s this perception that women can have sex whenever they want and that they hold all the sexual capital and blah, blah, blah but it’s not true.
I’ve also hear from guys that they relate to the fact that romantic life is frustrating and lonely and I would say my audience is about 50/50.
Did you ever see yourself as being a comic book artist when you were younger or did you have a different career goal in mind?
I went through a million different things I wanted to be as a kid, just like everybody else. For a while, I wanted to be an actress or a singer; I wanted people to pay attention to me and I wanted to be a star. This all changed when I tried out for a school play and it was really hard so I didn’t think that was where my talents were. It was a bit scary for me to be on stage and to be the center of attention and to be open to a certain level of criticism which I felt like I was too sensitive to handle.
But then in high school, I started getting into art and fashion so I took fashion illustration classes to study fashion. But it was a super challenging program and I felt like it wasn’t the right thing for me since I wasn’t doing so well.
I had a whole crisis and dropped out of those classes and didn’t have any idea of what to do. I was just like “well they offer comics classes, I guess that’ll be a fun blow off class” but then I was like “wait, I kind of enjoy this and I’m kind of good at this” so it’s like cool that I get to do more of it now.
It’s pretty cool how it all worked out for you in the end. It all fell into place.
How do you get your inspiration to draw and write your comics? How do you come up with so many outlandish scenarios that clearly seem to be a part of the fantasy realm but still seem to have some truth to it?
Once I started getting into comics, I found out that that I really like autobiographical narratives. I really like that personal point of view. I like hearing other people’s stories and their secrets and all of that. But by reading those types of stories, I see that sometimes the endings are boring. Even though I appreciate the story the author is telling I’m like “uh you think you’re like this, but I know you’re actually like this.” The author may either be taking themselves too seriously or they’re prioritizing telling their “truthful story” instead of telling an entertaining story.
It can be self-indulgent to write a story since it’s like saying “hey everybody let’s talk about me!” So I feel like I, at the very least, have to make my stories entertaining for the reader. That’s why I push myself to create fantastical situations to put myself in so I can still satisfy my desire to describe my life or this characterization of who I think I am. But you know, my real life is not that interesting; I’m a full-time secretary and I don’t do much, that’s why I make up crazy endings.
So the inspiration for the beginnings of your stories comes from real life?
It’s not really intentional but that’s how most of the patterns of my story start. The plot starts out like normal life but then it leads to an adventure. I follow this format because I’ve been reading different screenwriting guides that tell me “here’s how you tell a story,” and I’m like “okay.” Maybe I’ve recently been a bit too reliable on formulas like that but that is where I’ve been getting my inspiration for the story lines.
Is Sailor Moon the only anime that has inspired you or have other animes influenced your work?
There are other animes that I enjoyed but I liked writing about Sailor Moon because I’ve been into Sailor Moon since I was 6 years old. She’s been a big influence in my life overall and that’s why I wanted to include her in my work. I wouldn’t say I’m a super anime watcher or that I know a lot about anime but a couple of years ago, my roommate showed me an anime called Golden Boy which is from the early 90’s that’s also based on a manga. It’s about a horny man going on an adventure and it was really funny and I enjoyed it. In a way, it kind of inspires what I do.
On Instagram, you posted a comic of Sonic licking your feet. Is Sonic really a part of your sexual fantasy?
Sonic is not really a part of my sexual fantasy; he’s a tool used to make my weird fetish palatable to other people. In the past couple of years or something, I have discovered that I really like it when guys lick and do stuff to my feet. It would just be too embarrassing to expose, or to draw something more realistic. In order to protect myself I just inserted Sonic, this pop culture thing, instead of drawing a real person that I might have a connection with.
It was the decision of my publisher to name it after the mini-comic “Someone Please Have Sex with Me” since it’s one of the five stories that appears in the book.
That particular story, is also one of the few instances where I came up with the title for the first.
That usually doesn’t happen but when it did, I basically knew what most of the content was going to be about; a sexual autobiography. It’s all about how I predict my future would play out to be if I continue to be as sexually frustrated as I am now.
I keep a screenshot of this Tumblr post that I made a couple of weeks before I started the comic where I wrote “what if I did a comic called Someone Please Have Sex With Me, lol” and that’s what I did. This is referring back to what I said earlier, there’s this assumption that women have control of the sexual capital and that the don’t have any problems on getting attention from men. Which may be true. But when it comes to me, guys don’t know I’m horny. Maybe I’m just too shy. What if I said something really direct? The title is kind of a joke but also kind of not. In a way, it’s a plea to the reader.
Has it worked out for you?
Not really, not in the way that I hoped. There have been a couple of guys that have read my book that I hooked up with but not guys that want to be my boyfriend.
Well I hope that works out later on in life.
Thanks me too, gotta keep writing comics.
How does it feel to be selected for the Best American Comics 2015?
It was really cool. I was really honored to be in the Best American Comics 2015. It all happened when I was still self-published and my book had not come out. I was not with a publisher yet so that was a real achievement for me.
The main editor of the series, Bill Kartalopoulos, just happened to be at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo. He came by my table and he bought my mini-comics. I just feel really lucky for being in the right time, and the right place. To be included is very, very validating because there is not a lot of wealth in comics so I treasure those bits of recognition.
If you want to buy Gina Wynbrandt’s book, click here.