Megan Rose Gedris wrote and drew a comic called I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space!!!, and successfully got it published before she was 22. If that doesn't intrigue you, there's really not much more I can say.
Born on June 12, 1986, Gedris has been interested in comics from a very young age. Her first comic drawn was called “Fly Guy” and was drawn one page a day on notebook paper, and was sixty pages long at completion. She was 10 at the time.
Gedris grew up in Michigan in the United States, drawing comics and sharing them with her friends all the way. Despite going to an “ultra-liberal school where everyone wanted to be gay”1, she eventually began to draw comics she was more hesitant to pass around among her friends. Luckily, in July 2002, Gedris discovered webcomics. At 15, and not yet out, she began drawing webcomics under the pseudonym “Anonymous Manga”. These comics, which she admits to being a bit embarrassed by now, featured gay male characters. These characters were originally both female, but Gedris at the time found that they hit too close to home, and figured that if anyone cracked her pseudonym, having gay male characters would throw them off the track of her lesbianism.
Eventually, though, Gedris found it tiresome to not have any webcomics that she could relate to; the amount of gay male comics online far outnumbered the lesbian ones. Unable to find the kind of quality lesbian webcomics she was looking for, on June 20, 2004, she made one: YU+ME (technically, YU+ME: Dream).
YU+ME was started to help the artist through a breakup. Gedris accredits the inspiration for the story from equal parts her life, her friends' and family's lives, and her own imagination. YU+ME starts off as a fairly straight-forward anime-inspired story of an alienated teenager who falls in love with a girl new to her Catholic school. As the story went on, however, it broadened in scope, and the art dramatically improved. Nine issues, three years, and hundreds of pages into YU+ME, Gedris also took a huge risk in the webcomic in both style and plot, which lost her some readers, but is also a mark of the confidence Gedris has in YU+ME. Confidence that is well-earned: YU+ME has gained a substantial international fan base, in part due to the niche market Gedris staked out, but also because of the talent she's shown.
While managing to write, pencil, colour, and ink YU+ME, Gedris created a second comic: I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space!!!, inspired by her love of 1950's pulp fiction novels. She pitched the comic at the 2006 Platinum Studios Comic Book Challenge. Although Gedris did not win, she was one of the top three finalists, beating out contestants from twelve other countries. Gedris was surprised at well it was received; she had been used to the reception her genre of comics got in Michigan, and was astonished at how different the audience was in California. The judges were so impressed with Gedris that they gave her a publishing contract anyways, and in March, 2007, began publishing it online at DrunkDuck.com, where it would go on to consistently be on their daily top ten list. By May, 2008, I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space!!! was being printed in comic-book form and distributed across the US.
Meanwhile, Gedris also won a $1000 Queer Press Grant from Prism Comics (a non-profit organization promoting a GLBT presence in comics) for YU+ME in 2007. Both the grant and the publishing contract were within a couple months of each other. The Prism judges credited Gedris's grant to the impressive extent of her accomplishments, especially at 20 years old: a thousand pages of graphic art, a ready-to-publish graphic novel, and a popular website (both of Gedris's sites together have her comics being read by 30,000 fans a day).
Megan Rose Gedris shows continual surprise at her success in the comic book field. She expected years more of obscurity and rejection before she got published. In fact, she jokes that the her five-year plan was completed in five months. So what now? Gedris has stated that both her current comics have definite end points in mind, though YU+ME is quite a bit longer, and that both will wrap up within a couple months of each other, probably in mid-2010. After that, Gedris will embark on new comic projects. She has said that her next project will likely not have lesbian main characters, partly because she wants to prove that she is not just a lesbian artist.
Recently, Gedris has asked for submissions of women-friendly, hopefully lesbian, comics (and the occasional novel) to be published at newly-created Rosalarian Publishing (Rosalarian is a pseudonym Gedris uses often). If this 22 year old can manage her own publishing project and two highly successful and ambitious comics (in both webcomic and ink-and-paper form), I can't wait to see what she'll be doing in a few years.
1 Gedris, Megan Rose. “YU + ME: dream >> Info”. < http://rosalarian.com/yume/?page_id=22>
< /br>“Drawn together – Southern Voice Atlanta”. <http://www.sovo.com/2007/1-12/arts/feature/drawn.cfm?page=1>
< /br>Forshner, Michelle. “GLT >> Comic-Con: Gay comic-dom still runs strong”. <http://www.gaylesbiantimes.com/?id=12683>
< /br>Gedris, Megan Rose. “YU + ME: dream >> Info”. < http://rosalarian.com/yume/?page_id=22>
< /br>Queer Honi team. “Interview Madness!” (Warning: PDF link) <http://www.src.usyd.edu.au/PDFS/Honi2007/722.pdf>
< /br>“Prism Comics >> Megan Gedris”. <http://prismcomics.org/profile.php?id=1023>
< /br>Riendeau, Danielle. “Coming to a Comic Store Near You: Lesbian Manga”. <http://www.afterellen.com/Print/2006/12/yume.html>
< /br>Scott, Richard A. “Q+A with Megan Rose Gedris – Curve Magazine – September 2008. <http://www.curvemag.com/Curve-Magazine/September-2008/QA-with-Megan-Rose-Gedris/>
< /br>Smith, Tony. “Megan Rose Gedris: A Rising Star in the Comic Book World”. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/404042/megan_rose_gedris_a_rising_star_in.html?cat=38>