About this project
This non-fiction anthology of text stories and comics features stunning work from an amazing cast of female creators negotiating their way through love, dating, and sex.
- Cover Art by Gisèle Lagacé & Shouri
- Art by Renee Nault, Jen Bartel, Sanya Anwar, and Kristen Gudsnuk.
- New comics by: Margaret Atwood, Meaghan Carter, Megan Kearney, ALB, Jen Vaughn, Meags Fitzgerald, Gillan G., Diana Nock, Roberta Gregory, Laura Neubert, Sarah Winifred Searle, Natalie Smith, Jenn Woodall, Mariko Tamaki/Fiona Smyth, Irene Koh, Fionna Adams/Jen Vaughn, and Annie Mok.
- Illustrated stories by: Kate Leth, Janet Hetherington, Sam Maggs/Selena Goulding, Megan Lavey-Heaton/Isabelle Melançon, Cherelle Ann Sarah Higgins/Rachael Wells, and Stephanie Cooke/Deena Pagliarello.
- Text stories by Brandy Lynn, Diana McCallum, Jen Aprahamian, Katie West, Adrienne Kress, Soha Kareem, Loretta Jean, J.M. Frey, Trina Robbins, Twiggy Tallant, Rachel Deering, Hope Nicholson, Crystal Skillman, Marguerite Bennett, Soraya Roberts, Emma Woolley, Gita Jackson, Renee Nejo, Natalie Zina Walschots, Alicia Contestabile, Tini Howard, Cara Ellison, Jessica Oliver Proulx, and Erin Cossar.
Reprinted comics by: Gisèle Lagacé and Danielle Corsetto.
The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is a 6” x 9” softcover, approximately 250 pages, mixed art and text.
This project was inspired by two things: reading dating advice online, and a typo.
I find myself very optimistic whenever I see an article on advice or information on geeks and dating. But soon this excitement turns to disappointment; the articles are almost always written with only the male geeks in mind.
There is a desert of information geared towards the women in fandom. Yet when I get together with my friends at events or over drinks, one of our major topics is how we handle relationships and crushes, rejections, unwanted advances, and general romantic and sexual entanglements.
The Secret Loves of Geek Girls anthology is written for the geek girl who wants information and stories on dating and love. It's a compilation of tales told from both sides of the tables: from the fans who love video games, comic books, and sci-fi, and those that work behind the scenes: creators, and industry insiders.
The Secret Loves of Geek Girls collects successes as well as embarrassments, examines the fandoms that we ship, and reassures us that no matter what we're going through or have gone through, we are never alone.
Now for the typo. Years ago I had been developing a television series on the Secret Lives of Nerd Girls, a docu-soap focused on the fangirls and creators in my Toronto community, tracing their daily lives and interests in preparation for con season. A sort of feminist Comic Book Men, if you will. Sadly, broadcaster interest was low and the project was shelved. But I always kept the poster that I commissioned for the series, and whenever I looked at the file, I noticed a typo in the filename. Instead of "Secret Lives", it said "Secret Loves". For the last few years every time I see that typo I think "Man, now that would be a good project!"
Well, here it is!
I'm so excited to be able to bring these stories to you.
Below is sample art only meant to indicate the artist's style
Renee Nault - The artist of The Handmaid's Tale Graphic Novel will be contributing an original artpiece for this campaign.
Jen Bartel - (cover artist, Jem and the Holograms) will be contributing an original artpiece for the campaign.Sanya Anwar (1001) - will be contributing an original artpiece for the campaign.
Sanya Anwar (1001) - will be contributing an original artpiece for the campaign
Kristen Gudsnuk - Illustrations for select stories: "Because Survival is Insufficient" (Katie West), "Rise of the Late Bloomers" (Hope Nicholson), and "Anne of Linux Pine" (Erin Cossar)
Comics / Illustrated Stories
Award-winning author Margaret Atwood will be contributing her own drawn cartoons detailing her personal experiences as a young woman, created specifically for this project.
Meaghan Carter (Take Off, Godslave) - A comic on first dates.
Megan Kearney (Beauty and the Beast) - "Dibs on the Goblin King" A comic on teens and gothic romance bad boys.
Danielle Corsetto (Girls With Slingshots) - Selections from Danielle Corsetto's Girls with Slingshots webcomic that deal with romance and technology (fiction)
Gisèle Lagacé (Pixie Trix Comics) - Selections from MA3 and Sticky Dilly Buns webcomics focusing on female comic book & videogame geeks (fiction)
ALB - "Settings": Comic story about a relationship where the phone is an interfering third party.
Kate Leth (Bravest Warriors, Edward Scissorhands) - An illustrated story about kink.
Jen Aprahamian - "Read 1:19 AM" : An illustrated story on dating anxieties and hyperanalysis, centered on read receipts and communication frequencies
Jen Vaughn (Avery Fatbottom) - "Pining Over Puzzled Pints": So you broke up, now comes the hard part, who gets to go to trivia night?
Fionna Adams & Jen Vaughn - A comic on what it’s like being a trans woman trying to figure out romantic/sexual inclinations while entrenched in comics.
Meags Fitzgerald (Photobooth: A Biography) - "Composition Studies": A comic about how Meags’ pre-teen love of Sailor Moon intersected with her new curiosity about the mechanics of sex.
Janet Hetherington - "Both Sides of The Table and Between the Sheets" - The illustrated adventures of a fan turned creator throughout the years of convention explosion.
Diana Nock (Intrepid Girlbot) - "None the Wiser" A comic on following your true love into unknown adventures - and why it's a horrible idea.
Roberta Gregory (Bitchy Bitch) - Roberta Gregory illustrates the downside of five decades worth of drawing adult comics.
Laura Neubert (sehnsucht): They Bury You in White - In this comic Neubert deals with the fears and anxieties around relationships and marriage: happily ever after doesn't mean the end of the story.
Gillian G. - "Firsts" - A visual trek through the uncanny valley of firsts that would be described as "romantic," if they weren't so embarrassing. This is the legacy of a woman with absolutely no game.
Sarah Winifred Searle (Fresh Romance's Ruined, Smut Peddler 2014) – "Better Than Fiction" – A comic about finding romantic fulfillment in reality after relying too heavily on escapism, both as a consumer and creator of stories.
Natalie Smith - A comic on misadventures with potential romantic encounters with men
Jenn Woodall - "The Flower Girl" - A comic about Jenn's childhood obsession with Final Fantasy VII and the shipping wars in that fandom.
Megan Lavey-Heaton & Isabelle Melançon (Namesake) “How Fanfic From an American Girl Captured an English Boy” how a fanfic review from an English university student turned into an international marriage that includes anime conventions, heart surgery, a blizzard and a jealous cat.
Mariko Tamaki (Skim, This One Summer) & Fiona Smyth - 1994. Montreal, Quebec. 17 year old Mariko Tamaki arrives with the dream of being Montreal's first chubby Asian Frankenfurter, ends up being woo-ed by "Rocky," a heavily nerdy man in his mid to late 40's who likes microwaving pot brownies and young women.
Cherelle Ann Sarah Higgins & Rachael Wells - "Cherry" - 1982, England. First crushes, broken hearts, cracked ribs and skinheads - plus how to use the Lord of the Rings as armour... literally.
Irene Koh - A comic about lovers who meet, interact, and learn some truths about themselves through an MMORPG.
Annie Mok - "Why Do I Like This So Much?" An examination of dorky crushes, from totally unrecognized crushes, like Devon Sawa in the 1994 Casper movie; and Tobias, the tortured, James Dean-y loner who's stuck in the body of a hawk, from the Animorphs YA series.
Text StoriesBrandy Lynn - "A Different Kind of Fantasy Roleplaying" is a live experience told through texts on flirting through D&D obsession.Diana McCallum (Texts From Superheroes, Cracked.com) - “There’s Nothing Wrong, It Must Be Love” – A story about a three year relationship that was technically perfect, but just not enough, and what it took to bring it to an end.Also, "5 Couples With Happy Endings (That Are About To Go Tragically Wrong)", a comedic article examining the epilogues of five famous couples in pop culture.Adrienne Kress (Alex and the Ironic Gentleman/The Friday Society) - "I'm Your Biggest Fan" details how we turn our crushes into our own personal fandoms.Soha Kareem (Dames Making Games) - Mashing Our Buttons: On Love and Sex in a Wasteland" A story about the love options in Fallout: New Vegas.Loretta Jean (Nerd Girls Burlesque) - Let Loretta Jean teach you how to incorporate your geeky interests into your dating profile.J.M. Frey (The Untold Tale) - "How Fanfiction Made Me Gay"Trina Robbins (Pretty in Ink) - "Why My Boyfriend is Secretly Plastic Man"Rachel Deering (In the Dark) - "MONSTERS, MAIDENS, and METAL: The Darker Side of Fandom and the Lesbians Who Love It."Hope Nicholson (Brok Windsor) - "The Rise of the Late Bloomer" An essay on discovering the shocking secret of how common blooming late is, and why no one talks about it. w/an illustration by Kristen GudsnukCrystal Skillman - “GEEK: A Play” Excerpts from the play Geek, woven in with personal anecdotes and experience.Soraya Roberts - "No Country for Old Mentors" The quest for a mentor leads to an unsavory encounter in a hotel room.Emma Woolley - "The Vulcan in Me" Spock is Hot. ‘Nuff said.Gita Jackson - "Dating While Black"Natalie Zina Walschots - "Check Out Our Matching Armour: Co-Op Gaming and Long Distance Relationships."Alicia Contestabile - "Never Kiss a Writer" A piece examining how much of your love life can — and should — be expressed through game creation.Tini Howard (Poseidon IX, Magdalena, Oath Anthology) - “Fanfiction, f/f, angst” Reflecting on young love and slash fiction.Katie West - "Because Survival is Insufficient" - Preparing for the end of the world while dealing with the end of never-ending love. w/an illustration by Kristen GudsnukMarguerite Bennett (Marvel's A-Force, DC's Bombshells) - "MINAS TIRITH" - A lighthearted, charming story on how geekdom kept a relationship fun, funny, and alive.
Renee Nejo - "Your Girlfriend is in Another Castle" - Is it chocolate or water? Both are delicious, but only one can sustain life. An examination of the transition from the attraction to the superficial to gravitation toward substance and integrity, and how fandom fuels that attraction.
Twiggy Tallant (The Nerdy Stripper) - story about a high school crush and poetry written to that cute girl in science class
Cara Ellison - "Role Playing" - An essay about how game systems ease lost loves.
Jessica Oliver Proulx (Nerd North Media) - "Grandiose Gestures are Grandiose: I Don't Know How To Flirt." A personal anecdote about breaking the ice with a geek.
Erin Cossar - "Anne of LINUX Pine" - East Coast Canada, 1996: A love story told through messages sent via the text-only PINE email system. w/an illustration by Kristen Gudsnuk
Budget is based on a 1,500 copy print run
38% of the funds are going directly to the writers and artists involved in the project
32% is estimated to be the total shipping cost
15% is going to the printer of the book (Canadian based printer)
9% is going to Kickstarter fees
3% is held in reserve for an emergency buffer (ie. postal rate increases, reshipping of lost packages, technology failure) Should no emergencies happen by the time the book is printed and shipped these funds will be used for convention travel & promotion.
3% is for the interior and exterior design of the book
75% of any funds after expenses raised above the minimum goal will be distributed equally among the writers/artists of the project after the book is printed and shipped to funders. There is no cap and no benchmark to this.
$50,000 - A custom bookplate page will be included in the Kickstarter package, handsigned by the editor (me) and numbered.
Risks and challenges
To date I am the publisher of two successful comic collections (Brok Windsor, Nelvana of the Northern Lights) and editor of the anthology Moonshot, all of which were funded and distributed through Kickstarter. Through these experiences I have been well prepared to take on this project and any difficulties that might arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter