BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
Cameron DeOrdio is a funny guy. If you read his Twitter, for instance, you'll see he's a big proponent of sarcasm, bad dad jokes, and puns. He's also the co-writer of the Archie comic "Josie and the Pussycats," as well as a fiction writer.
In a time where feminism and diversity in comics is thankfully changing, but still problematic (remember the recent controversy over a Marvel editor posting a photo of herself, only to be torn down by sexist fans?), I was happy to be able to speak with Cameron about "Josie," his experience getting a MFA, and how the comics world is changing for the better.
What has been your favorite part of writing the new Josie comic?
Definitely the collaborative aspect. Writing prose fiction is an entirely solo endeavor, while with Josie, I had a cowriter (Marguerite Bennett), artist (Audrey Mok), colorist (Kelly Fitzpatrick) and editors (Alex Segura and Jamie Lee Rotante) all in the mix, finding ways to greatly improve the story it would otherwise have missed out on entirely.
What do you often listen to when you write?
It depends on the mood I'm trying to strike. The playlists I've done for each issue provide some insight. Genres range from horror movie soundtrack to folk punk to trap and beyond.
What influences your writing in general? (It doesn't just have to be comics and other writing.)
For Josie, my influences were largely cartoons (especially Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated) and, to be honest, the pace and content of typical conversations I have with Marguerite and Christina (Trujillo, Bennett's cowriter on SHEENA), who were my roommates in grad school. I'd like to think my love of the music of Billy Bragg, the Dead Kennedys and Phil Ochs is pretty evident in my writing, too.
Describe your favorite meal.
Green pepper pizza.
What was your MFA experience like? What's your advice to someone who is interested in pursuing a MFA? What would you change?
My MFA experience was fantastic. I doubt I'd be anywhere close to where I am without it; the opportunity to learn under Scott Snyder and then work with Marguerite, first as a friend she'd bounce occasional ideas off of and then as a cowriter, completely changed my life's trajectory. I think an MFA is a great choice if writing is something you're willing and able to commit your life to, but it's definitely not necessary, and it is often wildly expensive. So I'd say, "carefully consider your options, and don't be afraid to go for it if you think it's right."
When it comes to women, LGBTQ, and the representation of people with special needs in comics, how do you think the world is progressing?
Progress is being made, and it's wonderful to see, but it's nowhere near enough yet. We have to keep fighting. Fortunately, so many brilliant, talented, determined people are in the fight.
Check out this playlist Cameron made for issue 9:
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016) and the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017). Joanna received a MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, a managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM, as well as an instructor at Brooklyn Poets. Some of their writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Brooklyn Magazine, Prelude, Apogee, Spork, The Feminist Wire, BUST, and elsewhere.