A new comics anthology drops on Kickstarter this week exploring the unique challenges of being bisexual. The aptly-titled Bi Visibility: A Bisexual Comic Book Anthology is curated by Kat Calamia and features nine different stories from 20 creators. The anthology explores bisexuality from different perspectives and dabbles in genres like fantasy and romance. You can check it out for yourself on Kickstarter right now.
With heart and humor galore, the anthology captures various insights and situations, like struggling with one’s identity, friends who don’t understand what bisexuality means, and aspects of being bisexual that are often overlooked and misunderstood. It’s an anthology that is touching, heartwarming, and, at times, enlightening.
To get more insight into the project, I spoke with Calamia via email. We discussed what it takes to curate an anthology, some background on the 20 creators involved in the project, and much, much more.
AIPT: What made Bi Visibility: A Bisexual Comic Book Anthology the right project to launch on Kickstarter right now?
Kat Calamia: I didn’t know the Tim Drake news was going to come out when working on this project, but the reaction to that news piece is proof just how badly we need this representation. Growing up, I didn’t have much bisexual representation, which made the journey to figuring out my sexuality a little bit longer. I always knew bisexuality existed. I knew the definition of bisexuality, but I never knew what it truly looked like. What it felt like? With this anthology, I wanted to showcase the diverse experiences of bisexuality through a variety of genres.
And why I thought it was the right time to launch on Kickstarter in particular? Kickstarter has a plethora of diverse creators and projects. One of the platforms most popular is anthologies. It helps bring the comic book community together for one project, which is a dream come true for a collaborative medium like comic books.
AIPT: What goes into curating an anthology like Bi Visibility? Where does one start?
KC: We made a call for action on Twitter and Facebook for scripts and portfolios about 6 months ago. We gave around a month for creators to finish their pitches, and then I worked with my assistant editor, Phil Falco, to go through all the submissions to pick the stories that were the best fit. (Trust me this was the hardest part about making this book. There were so many wonderful submissions to pick from, but a limited amount of pages to fit them all in.) Then we were off to the races. I worked with all 9 creative teams throughout the whole process: polishing up the script, getting art in, lettering, etc. I really enjoyed the process and having the chance to work with so many talented people.
AIPT: Can you talk a little bit about the creators involved in the project?
KC: We have over 20 creators working on this project! Some veterans who have worked for companies like DC Comics and Dark Horse, and then for some creators this is actually their first comic book project ever. We also have a few creators that have come from different sides of the industry including comic book journalism, public relations, and lettering. I couldn’t ask for a better team of people! Everyone was truly a pleasure to work with.
AIPT: There are various types of stories in Bi Visibility, I was curious were there “gaps” so to speak to fill as far as covering different aspects of bisexual culture?
KC: We truly just tried to tell good stories. Sometimes, that meant telling some really personal narratives and for others it just meant telling a really fun story that tied into the themes of bisexuality. There are still MANY sides of bisexuality I would love to cover, and if this book is successful maybe we can tell them in a second volume.
AIPT: When getting the order of stories right, is it similar to crafting a playlist?
KC: 100%! Playlists are an absolute blast to make, but there’s also a bit of pressure to nail it perfectly to cater to the person you are giving it to. Creating an anthology is really similar, except there are a lot more people you need to please. Maybe the best analogy is a DJ’s playlist. There’s a huge diverse crowd that you are desperate to please, but in the end, you just got to do what feels right.
I’m very proud of the pacing of this book. We start out with a really somber story about coming out to a person that may not take it well and then end on a high-speed, spy adventure about being proud of your identity no matter what it looks like to the outside world.
AIPT: Did you learn or come away with anything new after curating and finalizing this project before its Kickstarter debut?
KC With every passing comic book project I learn something new! For this project in particular, Bi Visibility was the ultimate master class in collaboration. Learning to work together to create a vision the whole team can be proud of!
AIPT: What was the hardest part of launching this project?
KC: You’d think it would be the book itself, right? But no. I had such a wonderful team that putting the book together was smooth sailing. The hardest part is just wanting everything to be perfect! This book is so important to me, and I’ve been prepping for months to make this launch as big as we can make it. So putting the book out there and getting eyes on it is the most rewarding, but hardest part to making any Kickstarter.
AIPT: Are there any stretch goals you’re most excited about?
KC: For our last campaign — HAUNTING/Like Father, Like Daughter we added trading cards to our inventory, and it’s something we added to Bi Visibility as well. The first stretch goal is for every physical backer to get one trading card for free and I can’t wait for them to get that in their hands if we make our goals.
I’m also excited for the indie comic book bundle. Every campaign we give 15-20 indie comic books that creators have graciously donated to the campaign. It gives our readers the opportunity to discover other great books. In this campaign we, of course, have a ton of queer books, and if we hit a certain goal then you’ll get an “expansion pack” to the bundle and double the original amount.
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