February of 2013 doesn’t seem like that long ago, but since my last chat with Comic Book 19 her career has changed dramatically.
Her self-titled YouTube show has exploded in popularity thanks to her Game of Thrones recaps and “epic history” breakdowns (her “EPIC HISTORY: The Targaryens” video has over a million views and counting), she’s expanded into podcasting, won an award for her Robocop cosplay, appeared on a TED Talk, and is now poised to take over the world with her own calendar.
I was lucky enough to take 19 away from her busy schedule for a chat, and ask her about the epic year that was, and what lies ahead in 2014.
Blake Northcott: Thanks for taking the time to come back and chat with me. It’s been a while!
Comic Book Girl 19: Thanks for having me! It’s always a delight chatting with you, Blake.
BN: Our previous interview was early last year, and a lot has happened since then! I want to ask about your upcoming calendar, Game of Thrones, Ted Talk, and all sorts of other stuff. But first, take me back to 2013. It was your first “season” of The Comic Book Girl 19 Show – how much has changed since then, and what did you learn heading into the 2014 season?
CBG19: Producing The Comic Book Girl 19 Show has taught both Tyson (also known as “Robot” on the show) and I so many things that it’s hard to know where to begin. The industry term for what we are doing is called “New Media,” and the key word is “New.”
I feel like making a show on the internet is something like trying to make your way in the Wild West, where there are no hard rules established and nobody knows exactly what they are doing yet. The instability can be stressful, but the freedom is also thrilling.
I’m reminded of that time in Game of Thrones where Lord Baelish tells Varys that “Chaos is a ladder.” and let’s just say, Team19 is climbing that ladder one rung at a time and after doing the show for two years, I feel we’ve come up to a point where we can finally have a higher perspective on what we are doing. A better handle on this wild and wooly situation.
BN: So now it’s a new year, and a new season – and the next big thing for you is a calendar; from the pictures I’ve seen it looks absolutely incredible. How did this idea come about, and was it something you’d been getting requests for?
CBG19: One day I was brainstorming ideas for products and I asked my audience on Facebook if a calendar would be something they would want, to which I received a resounding “YES!” including several Futurama “Shut Up and Take my Money” memes, so that sealed the deal for me.
Tyson and I view the calendar as the chance for us to work on a big art project that includes many of our creative interests, such as making costumes, building props, modeling, doing rad make-ups, and having a bit of fun.
Plus, I love that I now have the best reason in the world to work on getting my body in tip-top shape!
BN: Your Dazzler cosplay is gorgeous. And how long did it take to create the Galactus costume?
CBG19: It’s funny, Tyson had already begun to work on the Galactus costume at the end of last year for a project that never was, so it was hanging on a hook unfinished until a few weeks ago. That’s part of the reason why we decided to recreate that particular Dazzler cover, because I already had a Dazzler costume and the Galactus costume was already started. If I had to guess, I would say it took us four full days from start to finish. Those wings on the helmet were especially fun to engineer.
BN: The Game of Thrones series is heavily featured on The Comic Book Girl 19 Show – which makes sense, considering the demand and popularity of your videos on the subject. Are there other subjects you’ll be tackling during 2014 that you’ve yet to cover, or would like to cover in greater detail?
CBG19: Summer movie season is heating up, so you can expect to see more videos on that subject matter for the next few months. One of the bigger projects we have in the works that I am really excited about is an Epic Review of the Lego Movie where we will talk in depth about the themes and philosophies found in the movie as well as the importance of creativity in society.
BN: I am a huge Lego Movie fan! I can’t wait to see that.
CBG19: I can’t decide who I love more, Wild Style or Uni-Kitty.
BN: When I was watching the movie I actually thought of you when I saw Wild Style.
CBG19: A Wild Style cosplay may be in my immediate future.
BN: It seems like a ridiculously natural fit.
BN: People will be asking you if Comic Book Girl 19 is the name on your birth certificate, or if you are a DJ.
BN: In a recent video you empathised with George RR Martin about the pressure he faces to work faster and continually produce more.
It seems like your situation kind of mirrors his, because the only thing I read online more than, “Where is the next Game of Thrones book?!” is, “Where is the next Comic Book Girl 19 Game of Thrones video?!”
CBG19: If it wasn’t for feeling the pressure from my own audience to put our episodes more quickly, I never would have understood what it was like for George RR Martin, and would probably still be complaining that “Winds of Winter” isn’t out yet. I can’t even imagine the kind of pressure he is under.
I read in an interview that he has spent his whole career trying to avoid deadlines because he doesn’t thrive under that kind of stress and as a fellow artist, I’ve learned to respect that. But on the other hand, it’s a wonderful problem to have.
BN: I absolutely loved your Ted X Talk! It was so moving, and beautifully articulated. How did that opportunity come about, and looking back, how did you feel about the experience?
CBG19: I was approached by Sam Spurlin and Syd Peterson about speaking at their TEDx event at Claremont Colleges on Unconventional Narratives. They were fans of the show and thought I might be a good fit and I feel very grateful that they gave me the opportunity to try something new.
I had never written, memorized, and delivered a speech in front of a live audience before and being one who enjoys challenges I gladly accepted. Looking back, I am really proud of how well I did for it being my first time, and although I know there is definitely room for improvement as far as my public speaking goes, I feel that the message I delivered hit home with some people out there.
Just last month, a teenage boy came up to me at the comic book store and told me he had seen my talk and that it had helped him learn how to empower himself even though his family didn’t understand him, and that meant the world to me.
BN: Wow, that must have been an amazing experience! And so gratifying.
CBG19: It was!
BN: Okay, let’s get down to business. Are you ready for another lightning round? You are the returning champion – this is your chance to defend your title.
BN: Here we go: best movie of 2013?
BN: Mine too! Best movie of 2014 so far, and what movie are you looking forward to most between now and December?
CBG19: Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy.
BN: What’s the first rule of Fight Club?
CBG19: I don’t know what you are talking about.
BN: What’s the second rule of Fight Club?
BN: Quick, tell me one comic everyone should be reading right now.
CBG19: She Hulk.
BN: Last year you told everyone to check out Empowered by Adam Warren, and I ordered both of his collected volumes the next day – I love them! Give me one more “hidden gem” people might not have heard of…?
CBG19: My new favorite find that just started coming out last month is Weird Love from Yoe Comics and IDW. It’s a collection of reprints of bizarre romance comics from the 50s-70s. “I Fell for a Commie” had me cracking up pretty hard.
BN: Make a prediction: last page of the last book of Game of Thrones ever – who is sitting on the throne?
CBG19: Whoever Varys is backing.
BN: Hmm…that sounds kind of cryptic. You aren’t calling Daenerys Targaryen? She’s the Mother of freaking Dragons!
CBG19: No. I got my theory on what’s gonna happen with her, and it ain’t sittin’ on the Iron Throne, as much as I would like to see that.
BN: Wow! Okay now I am intrigued. We’ll have to save that discussion for another day. And finally, who is sexier: Robot, Optimus Prime or David from Prometheus?
CBG19: David, David, David, David, David!
BN: (laughs) Aww, poor Robot. Well that’s it. You’re still reigning and defending champion. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me!
CBG19: Always a pleasure!
Blake Northcott is an author, Twitter-er, and occasional Slayer of Vampires (only the ones that sparkle).You can follow her on Twitter, or pick up her best-selling Sci-Fi/Superhero books Vs. Reality and Relapse over at Amazon.com.
Blake previously interviewed YouTube sensation ComicBookGirl19 in She Makes Geek Chic and proved cosplay is on the rise with The 5 Hottest Trends of 2012’s Summer Fan Conventions.