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Interview: Meredith Gran, creator of “Octopus Pie” by Aaron Matthews

Posted by Maximum Fun on 15th November 2007

Meredith Gran is the Brooklyn-based comic artist and animator behind the webcomics “Skirting Danger” and most recently, “Octopus Pie.” The latter series tells the serio-comic story of Eve and Hanna, 2 young women living in Brooklyn, New York.

Meredith recently self-published a collection of the first four storylines of “Octopus Pie” and just began the sixth storyline of the comic.

AM: When did you first consider cartooning specifically as a career, as opposed to art? You started writing Skirting Danger when you were about 16, if I remember correctly.
Meredith: Yeah, I was a teenager. At the time I didn’t really see it as anything more than a hobby. I only began thinking about comics as a career in the past year or so, after working out of school for a bit. Seeing how other professional cartoonists operate.
AM: What was it like writing a reasonably popular and well-regarded webcomic at that age?
Meredith: At the time I was very excited to have that storytelling outlet. Looking back, I’m actually shocked at how well-received it was. At the time, I figured a handful of people, a lot of my friends, enjoyed it. People ask me about it all the time and it seems so long ago. It’s very strange.
AM: How much of Octopus Pie is autobiographical? It’s definitely very Brooklyn-centric and much of it, particularly the more serious storylines, feels authentic and lived-in.
Meredith: None of the stories are true, per-se, but a lot of the themes are taken directly from experience. Eve has definitely gone through a few of my internal struggles. In a recent storyline she’s faced with the prospect of forging her identity out of a lucrative career – or lack thereof. In my post-college years, I’ve asked myself many of the same questions Eve has to work through.
AM: Have you ever considering syndicating Octopus Pie? A few of your contemporaries, namely Diesel Sweeties and Dinosaur Comics have been syndicated in some smaller press papers.
Meredith: It hasn’t crossed my mind. The comic isn’t much of a daily strip; there’s too much context to understand if you miss a day. If you can’t press the “back” button with my stories, a lot of the effect is lost. Plus syndication just doesn’t seem all that lucrative for a comic my size.
AM: In a lot of ways, the form fits the content really well, at least in terms of having the entire storyline up to that point as accessible.
Meredith: Webcomics are kind of similar to telenovelas in that way.
AM: One last question to wrap things up: describe Octopus Pie in one sentence.
Meredith: Haha, this one is hard.
AM: Don’t rush it. This is crucial.
Meredith: It’s a Brooklyn drama about a girl’s comedic life.

Octopus Pie is published three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Watch video of Meredith drawing here. The unedited version of this interview is available here on Aaron’s blog.