DAR! chronicles the six year long autobiographical story of Erika Moen, who starts out as a lost 20-year-old lesbian artist-wannabe in college who falls in love with a boy in England and the evolution that her sexual identity undergoes before winding up marrying him as a queer 26-year-old full-time cartoonist. Along the way there are many vignettes about sex, farts, the queer community, the Brits, vibrators and figuring out sexual identity.
It ran from 2003-2009.
Erika is a freelance cartoonist with a self-made degree from Pitzer College in Illustrated Storytelling living in Portland, Oregon as a member of Periscope Studio. She has been happily married to Matthew Nolan since October 2008.
Find More Erika Here:
Erika Moen’s Portfolio
Twitter & Facebook
A Quick Little FAQ
Why haven’t you answered my email?
I am chronically, chronically bad at keeping up with my inbox. I get more email than I can possibly reply to, although rest assured that I do feel guilty for every one that goes neglected. If your email is time sensitive or involves business, please feel free to send me a reminder poke.
What does “DAR” mean?
I actually did a comic just to answer this very question!
Why did you end the comic?
Long explanation. Short: I wanted to work on other projects and my life got boring once I got married.
How do you make your comics?
The way I create my comics is by drawing digitally on my Wacom tablet and lettering everything with a font of my handwriting, all in Photoshop. Once I have everything where I want it, I print out the digital comic in a very light, single color onto 11″ x 17″ Bristol board. Then I ink with a brush and pens and re-letter with a pen over everything on the page. Once the ink has dried, I scan it back in and drop out everything except for the ink work using Photoshop again. After that I add tones or colors, make minor corrections, and then save a copy of the file for web. From there I upload it to my site.
Why did you lie about being a lesbian? / Why don’t you call yourself bisexual? / Why “queer”?
At the time when I identified as lesbian, I was 1) exclusively attracted to females and 2) completely repulsed by the idea of being sexual with a man. The thought made me feel physically ill. Based on my attractions, feelings and experiences of that time, “lesbian” felt like the proper identification. Had I possessed the ability to predict the future and see that one day I would be both attracted to and fall in love with a man, then I would not have called myself a lesbian. That is why I call myself a hasbian today ;)
Bisexuality exists and is a perfectly normal and healthy sexuality. However, I do not feel that word best describes me. To me, it implies that there are only two sexes (male and female) and that my attraction is evenly split between these “two”. I do not mean to project that definition onto anyone else who is bisexual, but those are the concerns I have when it comes to using that term for myself. If other people want to call me bisexual, that is fine and I will not be offended.
Queer, to me, is inclusive of all sexualities that are not strictly heterosexual. Again, I am not trying to dictate what that word means for anyone else; that is just what it means to me. My marriage to Matt is far from heteronormative. I drew a comic further explaining why I prefer the word “QUEER” in 2012.
How do people feel about being depicted in your comics? How do your parents feel about your work?
In the beginning, I didn’t think about how others would feel about my portrayals of them and some were extremely hurt. After that, I have made an effort to check in with friends if I am recounting a conversation we had in a comic to make sure they are okay with it first. That said, I’ve had some friends think I was talking about them in a comic and get pissy with me when it had absolutely nothing to do with them or something they said. Every single comic about Matt has had his approval before going online and, yes, he has veto-ed a couple because he was uncomfortable with them.
The family members (both blood relation and in-laws) that read my comics tell me they enjoy them, even if it means learning a bit more about Matt and me than they would have liked to know. I’m very lucky to have family and in-laws with great senses of humor (for the most part). My family knows what kind of subjects I cover in my work, so if they find that kind of topic offensive then they know not to read my comics unless I give them a specific strip and tell them to read that one.
Why are you so open about your personal life?
I only do comics about things that I am comfortable talking about, sex being one of them. There are so many, many, many elements of my life that I did not include in my comic because I was not comfortable sharing them with the world. DAR! is actually very censored, but people don’t realize it because they can’t see what I’m leaving out. There’s a lot of my sex life that I left out as well. I just wanted to share the moments that I thought would get a laugh or help me find like-minded individuals.
Do you support yourself through your comic?
Not entirely, but it does pay for a pretty significant percentage of it.