This creator spotlight is a part of a series of interviews featuring artists from Cloudscape’s latest comic anthology, Fantastic Frights. Click here to check out the Kickstarter campaign for the book.
Kathleen Gros is a cartoonist from Toronto living in Vancouver, BC. She is the creator behind the graphic novels Jo: An Adaptation of Little Women (Sort Of) (HarperCollins 2020), Last Night at Wyrmwood High (Cloudscape Comics, 2015), and Lunar Maladies (lunarmaladies.com).
What were you scared of as a kid?
Kathleen: Literally everything! I had to be taken out of so many movie theatres as a kid because I would get scared and overwhelmed. Things that seem pretty insignificant to adults could terrorize me for years. I once caught a glimpse of the cover of an “It” adaptation in a Blockbuster and I didn’t even know what the film was about but that image haunted me every time I saw a dark space under a bed. I was particularly freaked out by the Goosebumps book “Say Cheese and Die AGAIN” about a camera that took pictures of horrific future events. There’s a scene where a kid steps on a nail, and it goes through his foot. I’m still kind of scared of that! Even now, I’m a big baby. I watched “The Blair Witch Project” a few years ago and I barely slept for the next week.
What’s your favourite aspect of the horror genre as it applies to comics?
Kathleen: I love when horror comics play with what happens in the gutters. Emily Carroll is obviously a master of this. In “Through the Woods” there’s a page where a character is hacking into a wallpapered wall with a hatchet and the way the panels are arranged is genius. Similarly in “When I Arrived at the Castle” there’s a sequence where a character peeps through a key hole and it is *chef’s kiss*. You have to get your hands on these books to check out what I mean.
What was the most interesting/challenging thing you experienced when working with the book’s two-tone colour scheme?
Kathleen: I love limited pallet comics! It’s my favourite way to colour. I’ve been doing it basically since I started posting comics online. On a practical level, I love it because it’s fast (and I’m always looking for ways to streamline the process of cartooning). On an aesthetic and theoretical level, I love how it looks, and it’s a great way to add metaphor and symbolism to a story.
I was so pleased when I found out that the colour scheme for Fantastic Frights was going to be blue/pink because I’ve been drawing vampires drinking hot pink blood (instead of red) for years. I’m a sucker for the colour pink. I like using it in creepy scenes instead of red to make things feel a little strange and not quite right—it’s not what you expect in those situations!
What was the inspiration behind your story for this anthology?
Kathleen: My comic is based on a true story. This building manager really exists! That’s all I’ll say about that.
Where can people find out more about your work?
Kathleen: You can find me on instagram and twitter at @kagcomix, or check out my website for more of my comics at kagcomix.com.
The Kickstarter for Fantastic Frights is live Oct 19th – Nov 5th.