Born in 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, Jessica Abel started making comics in college, at the University of Chicago. Her early efforts appeared in the student anthology Breakdown. After college, in 1992, she won the infamous “Stinky Date” contest in Peter Bagge’s Hate comics, and, since she had arranged to meet the artist at the Chicago Comics Convention, she decided to put together a sampler of her comics to show him and his publisher, Fantagraphics. She printed 50 copies of Artbabe #1, but Fantagraphics editor Gary Groth, who claims not to remember this encounter, didn’t take the bait. Four issues (and four years) later, she won a Xeric grant, put out the first full-sized and professionally printed issue of Artbabe, and thus finally appeared on Groth’s radar. She began a new volume of Artbabe with Fantagraphics in 1997, and won the 1997 “Best New Talent” Harvey and Lulu awards. The second half of Artbabe Volume 2 was completed during the two years that Abel lived with her now-husband Matt Madden in Mexico City, 1998-2000.
Abel took time off from fictional comics in 1999 to complete a 32-page instructional/journalistic comic for This American Life, written in collaboration with host Ira Glass called Radio: an Illustrated Guide. The year 2000 saw the publication of Mirror, Window, a collection of the second volume of Artbabe by Fantagraphics. Soundtrack, a compilation of early comics work, including much of the self-published first volume of Artbabe, was published by Fantagraphics in 2001. Her next comics work, a graphic novel set in Mexico City titled La Perdida, won the 2002 “Best New Series” Harvey Award. La Perdida was published as a complete book by Pantheon in spring 2006. Abel is also at work on a prose novel for teenagers, tentatively titled Carmina, and due out from HarperCollins in 2007. In addition, First Second will publish a textbook on creating comics that Abel is writing with her husband, Matt Madden.
Abel has been teaching comics since 1998, and teaching in the Cartooning Department at the School of Visual Arts in New York since 2001. She lives with her husband Matt Madden in Brooklyn, NY.
Jessica Abel BiographyThe short version: Cartoonist and writer Jessica Abel is the author of a textbook, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, about making comics, written in collaboration with her husband, the cartoonist Matt Madden; and the graphic novel La Perdida(Pantheon Books). She’s also the co-writer of the graphic novel Life Sucks. Previously, she published Soundtrackand Mirror, Window(Fantagraphics […]
Santa Fe Reporter – Zane’s World: Ever AfterFairy tales are always being co-opted. The famous brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm who, in my day, were often mistaken to the originators of all fairy tales (whereas now Nickelodeon is more likely to be the mistaken originator), simply collected and interpreted stories they gathered in Germany for Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales). […]
PRESS RELEASE – Once There Was, Once There Wasn’t: Fairy Tales RetoldFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, August 31, 2007 Once There Was, Once There Wasn’t: Fairy Tales Retold September 14 – October 7 Reception: Friday, September 14, 2007, 5:30 – 7:30pm SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – Eight Modern is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Once There Was, Once There Wasn’t: Fairy Tales Retold. This group exhibition […]