Beware the Valkyries

Kate Leth

kateWhich shop do you work at?
Strange Adventures in Halifax, NS, Canada.

What do you do for your shop?
I work about four days a week as a salesperson, event organizer and general counter girl.

How long have you worked there? 
About three and a half years.

What are some of your favorite comics?
Right now: Hawkeye, Saga, Sex Criminals, The Wake, Adventure Time, Young Avengers, Pretty Deadly. My all-time favourites are Darwyn Cooke’s Catwoman, Y: The Last Man, Habibi, Asterios Polyp, Hellboy, Locke and Key and The Rocketeer.

Who are some of your favorites in the comics biz?
Oh lord, so many. Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jamie McKelvie, Sean Murphy, Mike Mignola, Dave Stevens, Darwyn Cooke, Becky Cloonan, Ming Doyle, Joe Quinones, Maris Wicks, Mike Cho… Not to mention webcomic artists, of which there are THOUSANDS. Right now I’m really into Rebecca Tobin, Natasha Allegri, Zac Gorman, Matt Cummings and Madeleine Flores.

Who are some of your favorite comic book characters?
Oh boy. I read so many indie comics, I don’t have many superhero ones! I’ve always been a Batman girl, but New 52 killed it for me. Now I’m really into Hawkguy and Lady Hawkguy. I’ve been reading Kelly Sue’s Captain Marvel run and loving the hell out of it.

What is your most prized comic book or collector’s item?
Oh man. I have so much signed art… I really love my Sandman and Death bookends. I have a couple sketches of Nick Bradshaw’s that are to die for. I got a print of the cover to Saga #9 recently, and that is fantastic.

Which comics do you recommend the most often?
Saga, Hawkeye, Locke and Key, Daredevil, Blankets, Y: The Last Man, Hellboy, Sailor Moon, Fables, Sandman.

What kind of events does your shop participate in or host?
We go all out for Free Comic Book Day – we actually won Diamond’s prize for it this year! We host lots of signings and do annual Ladies’ Nights, as well as an annual comic book festival (DCAF) each August. We throw great parties.

Favorite webcomics/webcomic creators?
Oh, I didn’t even SEE this one. Well, let me name some more then! Jess Fink, Erika Moen, Kate Beaton, Dakota McFadzean, Boulet, KC Green, Lucy Bellwood, Marlo Meekins, and OF COURSE Emily Motherfreaking Carroll.

If you could only read one graphic novel for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Habibi, It’s really long.

What other things are you a fan of (TV shows, novels, movies, ect)?
I grew up on Strong Female Characters, so I’m a Buffy and Sailor Moon kinda girl. These days I’m really into Regular Show, Parks and Rec, My Cat From Hell and Steven Universe. I don’t watch a lot of TV. I go to a fair few movies! I like… Stuff.

Do you collect anything?
I collect Warrior Princess-themed art. I also seem to collect books and art supplies, as they take over every surface in my home.

If you could have any one superpower, what would it be? What would you use it for?
Telekinesis, man. I’m all about Matilda

Do you believe there is other life in the universe, and if so, what do you imagine it looks like?
I bet it thinks we’re kind of sad. I bet it’s creepy.

Do you go to any conventions?
Hella yes. This year I’m going all over – a tour through Texas, Emerald City Comic Con, TCAF, probably SDCC… Maybe SPX again, but definitely Thought Bubble. I am a touring machine in 2014.

Are you a cosplayer? If so, what characters have you cosplayed?
I never cosplay, because I’m usually at a table as a creator! Also, Ming Doyle is the actual best at being a creator/cosplayer. Have you seen her Jubilee?!

Outside of the day job, what other cool stuff are you working on?
Ha! Well, I am a webcomic artist, but also an illustrator, but also a writer. It is being announced TODAY that I am writing a Graphic Novel for Adventure Time for 2014. What the heck! That’s so cool. I do a semi-regularly updating comic called Kate or Die, and produce biweekly strips for ComicsAlliance. I do some occasional collaboration with Welcome to Night Vale. I am hoping to start working on a creator-owned series next year. I started the Valkyries! I’m… busy.

Tell us an uplifting story about working in your shop!
A couple of years ago, a dad tried to stop his daughter from getting any comics, despite buying several for his sons. When she asked why, he said comics were “for boys.” Overhearing this, I grabbed a comic and handed it to her, saying that comics are for anybody. She grinned so huge and held her comic like a stuffed animal. Her dad was pissed, but I made her day and I’m not sorry.

What do you love about being a Valkyrie?
It makes me so happy to have this constantly expanding, positive force for girls in geek culture. I started the group because I’m usually the only girl working at my shop, and it’s definitely a male-dominated industry even now. I wanted a network, but it became an army. There are over 125 of us now, in shops all over the world. We’re always sharing information, being there for each other, celebrating cool new items and accomplishments. It’s just so great!

How can we find you on the vast expanse of the internet?