Amanda Conner’s latest hardcover art book, Hot & Messy, contains 96 pages of black and white and color sketches, designs, cover art, and even a never before published Betty Page comic.
The exclusive Paperfilms Kickstarter project (for mature readers/collectors only) also includes commentary from many of Conner’s peers and collaborators such as Dan Panosian, David Mandel, Justin Gray, Adam Faberman, Jeff Smith, Frank Tieri, Billy Tucci, Dave Johnson, Garth Ennis, Chad Hardin, Phil Noto, Adam Hughes, Joanne Starer, and many more.
Conner discussed her new project, the process of creating original art for backers, and offered some teases about her upcoming work in this exclusive interview.
What was the genesis of your latest art book: Hot & Messy?
Amanda Conner: Many people know my art from the Harley Quinn and the Power Girl runs, The Pro, and lately, Red Sonja, but throughout the past whole lotta years, there is so much obscure art that I had done for smaller companies, or an occasional random work for hire job that lots of people might not have known existed. Hot & Messy gives everybody the opportunity to see art that they may have never seen before.
How do you decide what to include in an art book, and is it tough when pieces of art don’t make the cut?
Conner: Actually, I have an incredibly difficult time making decisions, so it’s way better when I have parameters to follow. That’s one of the good things about this art book. The work ranges from a bit sassy and saucy to outright nakedness and naughtiness, with some occasional grossness thrown in. Choosing is a lot easier when you don’t have the option to throw a Disney or a Barbie cover in there.
A new 5 page Betty Page story is also included in the book (by you, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Susie Floozie). Was this created for the book or was it an unpublished piece?
Conner: This Bettie Page story was supposed to have been in one of those awesome Big Books from Paradox Press, if you remember them from the mid to the late ’90s. It was going to be in the Big Book of Wild Women, written by the sensational Suzie the Floozie, who really knows her wild women. Unfortunately, it was just dropped from existence. DC, who published the Paradox line, gave us permission to print the story, but we had to find Suzie and get her OK to print it with her wonderful words. We finally found her, and she said yes, so here it is!
Many of your favorite collaborators also offer insight into your work in the book. Where there any surprising or funny comments from anyone in particular?
Conner: I gotta say, hearing my friends and co-workers, who I have so much love and respect and admiration for, saying all those things about me and my work… it’s pretty damn heart-warming!
The Pro is featured prominently on the cover. What are your memories of working on that comic with Garth Ennis?
Conner: Garth is so fun to work with, and in real life, he’s low-key and loves nothing more than sharing a beer or five and a good meal with friends. If you had just met him in a bar, you wouldn’t expect him to come out with such outrageous stories, but I think he’s found an excellent way to exorcize his inner demons and possible dormant craziness.
You will be doing sketches for some of the top tiers for Hot & Messy. Do projects like this one allow you to connect to fans in a unique way that wasn’t possible before Kickstarter campaigns?
Conner: Yes! Kickstarter is a much more personal way to deliver content to comic fans and art lovers than it would be to do it through a large conglomerate. When you run a Kickstarter campaign it really feels like people are cheering you on, and that gives you the energy, and the drive, and the excitement to reciprocate, and deliver the energy, the drive, and the excitement right back.
Is there a particular piece that was included in the book that you had forgotten about or where surprised by when you started assembling the art for the book?
Conner: Oh, definitely! Back in the ‘90s, I was working on Vampirella for Harris Comics. They had expressed interest in doing some Vampi photo covers and found some really beautiful models. I got a chance to fashion a Vampi costume, but it was a bit complicated to put on. We found some old visual instructions that I had drawn to make it easier for the model to squeeze into. I think the closest the instructions ever came to seeing print was whatever fax machine it had come out of on the other end!
Conner: Right now, I am working on Boom Pow for Zestworld, which is proving to be more challenging than | had expected, but also super fun! Also, you might see more of our favorite obnoxious but lovable super-powered sex worker. Aaannd… something that I can’t fully speak about just yet, but here’s a hint… I’ll be revisiting something from my distant past. Hopefully, that doesn’t sound too scary and turn your hearts to stone!
The Hot & Messy: Art of Amanda Conner campaign is available to support until August 19 and features digital, physical, retailer and original art levels for all backers, including a number of already unlocked stretch goals.