Artist Satine Phoenix just released her new graphic novel “New Praetorians” at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA last month and it’s pretty amazing. Satine is a life-long geek and gamer. She and I were in the “Women of Geekdom” calendar together years ago (put together by Legion of Leia writer Shaun Rosado!) and, most recently, an episode of Tabletop with Wil Wheaton and astronaut Richard Garriott. Satine also runs a charity celebrity Dungeons & Dragons tournament called CelebritychariD20.com . I got to chat with her about D&D, “New Praetorians,” how she got nto geekdom and her favorite geek franchise.
Legion of Leia: Give us a bit of geek background. How did you get into all of this?
Satine Phoenix: I didn’t get into geek culture, I was born into it in 1980. It was my choice to not “grow out of it”. I still have my Atari 2600 and a vast collection of VHSs that are sentimental. Growing up in the 80’s we were fed Saturday Morning Cartoons. Voltron, Gummy Bears, Masters of the Universe, Ninja Turtles. These were all part of a healthy well balanced breakfast. Our parents didn’t think it would rot our brains so they just fed us as much entertainment as they could to keep us from killing each other. Anything sci-fi I absorbed. Blade Runner and Star Wars were at the top of my list.
Legion of Leia: We’ve known each other for quite a few years! We even have the same tattoo! Still, I don’t think I’ve ever asked you what your favorite geek franchise is. Spill!
Satine Phoenix: Ha! Well, it’s Doctor Who, obviously. I even drove a Tardis for a while. You can hear me talk about it on the Who’s Talking podcast as a reoccurring guest. My other obsession is Fringe though I don’t usually have a platform to express my love for it.
Legion of Leia: Tell me about New Praetorians! How did it come about?
Satine Phoenix: New Praetorians is a sci-fi female lead revenge story with military forces, terrorists, mad scientists, alien technology and super powers. Basically RK Syrus and I had agreed on co-creating a graphic novel and came up with some ideas of what we would love to read. I went to my local comic shop (Meltdown Comics) and asked them if they had the comic I described. They said no. So we spent an entire year developing this 27 issue story.
Legion of Leia: What’s the process like for a new comic book artist?
Satine Phoenix: I think for other comic artists who work with a team with experience it is easier. You do things the way the group tells you to. Pretty straight forward. RK and I have our own way of working together that would probably drive anyone else nuts but feeds me with the inspiration that fuels every frame. The entire 27 issues is already written. RK has written so many inner monologues that I translate them into expressions and cut them out of the script. Each 60-70 page book is probably at least double that in written form.
Essentially, we are probably doing it the hard way but it is our way and we aren’t limited by publisher rules. We get to make our own story by Self Publishing but that also means I am the editor, penciler, inker, marketing department, web developer, commerce manager, distribution, etc. hopefully this will change after we release a few books but as of right now I’m proud to have had the energy to play all of these roles. We do have an amazing colorist (Mack Sutton) who has been fantastic to work with so that really takes a load off the pressure.
Legion of Leia: We were on an episode of Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop together. You also DM’d for a long time and you do a charity D&D tournament, which I was honored to be a part of. Tell us about that and how you got into gaming.
Satine Phoenix: I’ve been playing D&D for 20 years now. Started when I was 15. Before that I had been preparing characters for years from my dad’s old Dungeons and Dragons red box set he pulled out of storage when I was probably 8-10. Even before that my grandma who took care of me lived next door to a library and would read books to me and with me. She would even write stories for me to illustrate. So I guess you could say storytelling has been a part of my life forever. That’s how I look at table top gaming: Storytelling plus stationary improv.
Legion of Leia: It’s an important and rather trying time to be a woman in geekdom. Can you give us your take about where we are and where we’re going?
Satine Phoenix: I’m from Northern California. Went to college at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I’ve heard about issues with being a girl in the entertainment industry but I never experienced it. I’ve always worked hard and was able to focus on the task at hand, just like any guy. I guess things are just more equal up in San Francisco and I don’t participate in gossip or allow bullies to bother me. I hear about the horrors my female friends face and it saddens me and frankly scares me deeply for their safety. But I don’t participate. I keep my nose focused on work. I do what I do because I am passionate about my work. Nothing is more important than creating to me. People will always have their opinions and you have the choice to let it effect you or not. As a creator it is our responsibility to be true to ourselves, men and women both. And if we can all remember that the creations are the important part we will find more peace in navigating the geek future.