Christina Stewart a.k.a. “Steenz” is one-half of the creative team behind Archival Quality (Oni Press) a comic written by Ivy Noelle Weir which follows Cel Walden, a young archivist who takes a job at a museum that is apparently haunted. Cel must battle her own depression and anxiety while trying to solve the mystery of the ghost that walks the museum’s halls. I was excited to be able to interview yet another sister working in comics! Read on:
TBG: When did you first get into comics?
CS: I started reading regularly in 2008. I had grown up with the DC Animated Shows like Batman The Animated series, Justice League, and Superman, but didn’t get into reading comics till out of high school.
TBG: What artist influenced you and your work the most?
CS: Sean Galloway, Chris Sanders, Dustin Nguyen, and Brittany Williams!
TBG: Who is your favorite comic book character and why?
CS: I have way too many to make a concrete choice. But at the moment I’m completely obsessed with Kamala Khan.
TBG: Can you tell us about your comic Archival Quality? Where can we buy/read it?
CS: Archival Quality by myself and my creative partner Ivy Noelle Weir is about a young woman who is an archivist at a medical oddities museum. She starts seeing strange things happening in the museum and eventually becomes haunted by a ghost that resides there. So she tries to figure out the mystery surrounding the ghosts death.
TBG: Your comic strip “I’m So Tired” about Black Lives Matter is brilliant. It’s also very timely. Does your art say things that you feel you might not say otherwise?CS: I feel like sometimes it’s easier to put what I’m thinking into images AND words. Words aren’t enough for me. I want people to see the face and the personality behind my words. It gives it more meaning.
TBG: A lot of us have been pretty vocal about wanting to see more women of color and other marginalized voices being included as artists as well as characters in comics. What’s your take on that? Are things getting better?
CS: I would love to see more of us in mainstream comics. When it comes to webcomics, we’re KILLING the game. Mildred Louis, Wendy Xu, Ariel Ries, Gisele Jaboteh, Shannon Wright, Bianca Xunise, I mean we’re knocking it out of the park. But when it comes to mainstream print, it’s different. I think in order for that to change we need more WOC writing and illustrating more than just other POC characters. Put one of us on Iron Man. Have a WOC creative team for Justice League. Let me see more of us writing for ALL characters and from that is where the growth begins.
TBG: What is your advice to the women out there who are trying to create comics but just don’t know where to begin?
CS: Use what you have at this very moment and finish something. If your comic is made with a highlighter on a sticky note, own it and get your work out there. Ideas are great but finishing a piece is so gratifying that it’ll inspire you to finish more work and do more.
TBG: I know you’ve worked as a librarian. What is a way that comic book creators can get their work into libraries?
CS: I know a lot of librarians are pretty good about keeping comics in libraries. Moreso now than like ten years ago. I would suggest going to your local library and letting them know where they can find your book for ordering. Librarians do great research, but bringing it to their attention is always a good idea.
TBG: What else are you into right now? (It doesn’t have to be comic related)
CS: Pokemon Sun and Moon. (I’m literally taking a break from the game right now to write you). It’s been such a hard [time] for a lot of us and being able to escape to the Alola Region, catch pokemon, and become a CHAMPION is exactly the medicine I need.
TBG: Please name 5 underrated artists that we should check out.
CS: You can look up any of the women I noted in the previous question but here’s a few more:
Leland Goodman basementdwellerscomic.com
Melanie Gillman http://www.melaniegillman.com
Shivana Sookdeo shivanasookdeo.com
Christina “Steenz” Stewart is an illustrator, comic creator, and librarian from St. Louis, MO. She’s been making comics professionally for the past 6 years and created and has run an annual educational series “Comics University” for the past 4 years. She likes watching reality tv competitions, eating pop-tarts, and listening to any and everything Lin-Manuel Miranda touches. She lives with her fiance Keya and cat Marko. Archival Quality has been picked up by http://onipress.tumblr.com/Oni Press and will be published as a full color comic in 2017. Until thenou can find Christina online at the links below:
Facebook: Art of Steenz
Please support Christina on Patreon