Interview with Sabrina Pandora and Dee Fish; Writer & Artist Behind Giant Girl Adventures!

Sabrina Pandora (SP) created Giant Girl Adventures in 2012, and since then her bright red coat and thigh-high boot-wearing, size-changing slacker heroine Veronica “Ronni” Kane has featured in seventeen web comic issues. Also appearing in Giant Girl Adventures are characters like Ronni’s friend and sidekick 64-Bit, a.k.a. Stanley Hope. A giant kaiju “frenemy” by the name of Badonkasaurus, a.k.a. Kumiko Kanzaki, and opponents like the psychotic Prom Queen, the sinister S8n and his School For Girls, and internet cult leader Pussycat Kiss. Sabrina also teamed-up with fellow creator Sean Harrington of Spying With Lana fame to produce “Giant Girl & Lana: Forces of Nature.”

The new Giant Girl Adventures artist Dee Fish (DF) is a cartoonist, illustrator, and graphic designer with decades of publishing experience. Dee created, amongst other projects, the successful online comic strip “Dandy & Company” and the young adult fantasy graphic novel series “The Wellkeeper.” Since 2017, she has also been the creator of the semi-autobiographical webcomic, “Finding Dee“, about the trials and tribulations of being a struggling cartoonist trying to make it in the industry while coming out as transgender in your 40’s. Dee began working on Giant Girl Adventures in the summer of 2020. Fans can follow the Giant Girl Twitter account, read Giant Girl Adventures online, and purchase Giant Girl Adventures comics from Amazon.

#1) Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

SP: Sure! I’m Sabrina Pandora, from Plano, Texas- hometown of Alan Tudyk! I’ve been an avid comics collector my entire life, and for as long as I can remember I wanted to create comics. But it wasn’t until I got the idea for a webcomic that I finally began to realize that dream. Because no one can reject your ideas if you are self-publishing, and I think that’s the driving force behind a lot of webcomics these days. It’s nearly impossible to get a submission to one of the big comics publishers these days- they have to pursue you to get a break. So, while I have scripts collecting dust written for intellectual properties owned by megacorps, I don’t have to just sit on my hands. I can put my stories out there, warts and all.

Giant Girl Adventures is the culmination of those years of desire, combined with figuring out how to (and how NOT to) tell stories in a graphic visual medium as I stumbled along. Originally Koen Luyten and I produced it together, but we came to a creative parting of ways back in 2017 as he wanted to pursue other opportunities. Meanwhile, I had been doing a lot of writing with Dee and we’d formed a good working relationship. When she offered to take over the book, I was frankly overjoyed. Looking at the artwork for the past year and a half, you can certainly see why.

My day job is working as a digital assistant to Howard Chaykin, compositing shots for him, adding textures to his linework as he directs, designing backgrounds in Sketchup, that sort of thing. Which is kind of awesome, because I get to learn visual storytelling from a master in the field, who’s been doing it professionally now for 50 years. As I myself am trans, I was also a big chunk of the research that went into the Divided States of Hysteria book he published in ’17, for which both the right and the left pilloried him, clearly without ever having read the book.

Beyond that, I’m still a comics fan, still an avid action figure collector, and in the years since a comic book first found it’s way into my hands til now, my love for the form has not diminished. I love the superheroic fantasy, and I love graphic storytelling. That’s why GGA is a blend of an action/adventure strip with some superheroic leanings. Ronni Kane is a terrible superhero, but she’s slowly coming of age. We have a lot planned over the next few years, as we’ve established the world in which she lives pretty clearly, and now we’re setting our sights on Giant Girl becoming the hero she’s always been afraid to try to become.

DF: My name is Dee Fish, and as a cartoonist and creator, I’ve been self-publishing my own comics as a writer and artist since the late 90’s with a sci-fi/fantasy book I produced 4 issues of called “Scarred World: The Chronicles of Aegis”. In 2001, I launched my webcomic, “Dandy & Company” online and made that for years as well. I’ve lived all over, but am originally from New York and currently call home the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania. I work as a full-time graphic designer and karaoke junkie when I’m not making comics, drawing, or writing.

#2) How did you first become interested in giant ladies?

SP: Ooooh, kinky! A lot of the base characters of the strip, as well as the concepts, were ideas I had when I was 16. Growing up in rural Florida, there was not much around or going on, which lent itself to a comics-obsessed kid feverishly punching out ideas. I realized when I made the character ‘Amazon’- again, I was 16, so be kind- who could grow up to 60 feet tall, that it was an idea I found very… stimulating. That’s a good word for it, right?

Robert Crumb. I would place quite a bit of this at the feet of Crumb, and the women he drew in the perspectives he drew them. Because that stuff still raises my interest to this day.

We try to lean into it with the book. We know that while we are auteurs who are of course writing classic literature- aheh- we do try to ensure that the fans who are reading the strip because the often emotional and very freely size-shifting heroine needs to be displayed from the angles that illustrate her mass, her size, her power, and her sex appeal. Because power and confidence are sexy. Dee even muscles her up a bit when she’s exerting herself- because it makes sense in the framework of the story, and because we like sexy muscle women too. Stratonimbus the storm giantess was designed specifically to be a big solid muscle amazon with some style and distinctiveness all her own, and I feel Dee got that across well.

When we showed her origin story in this issue, we demonstrated that she was a bit mousy before she got her powers, and that one of the first things she did with them was make herself over into a knockout. Beyond that, she wears bright red, to practically scream ‘Look at me!’, because getting the size of a skyscraper isn’t enough. It all points to lots of self-worth issues, of course., Because Dee and I love the idea that despite her power and her efforts and the fact that she can grow as big as she wants, inside she feels very small, and she’s compensating for that in a big way.

Honestly I am not sure how that goes over with the giantess community, but hopefully her freewheeling, wisecracking style and Dee’s lovingly rendered art give them reason to come back for more. Mega giantesses, mini giantesses, Ronni covers much of the spectrum in the course of her adventures, even varying her dimensions as she likes. Because we like that sort of thing, and turns out, we’re not alone.

DF: I would say that I lean more towards the aesthetic of the larger muscle-girl characters like Big Barda, She-Hulk, and Ann O’Brien of “Monkeyman & O’Brien’, more than specifically “giantesses”, and it certainly shows in the work. As an artist, I love exploring varying body-types and have a LOT of fun drawing Ronni’s ever-changing form and physique. I love getting to play with a lead whose physicality alters in the subtle ways it does throughout the book, reflecting her mindset and personality as she uses her powers in different ways. 

Artistically, I had never thought of some of the more “cheesecake” aspects of comic art as a strength of mine, and so to pull off those elements, requires my flexing of different creative muscles, but I do enjoy the challenge.

#3) What are a few of your favorite works from other artists and writers?

SP: Well, for me, I am a fan of Howard Chaykin, of course. I interviewed him for a comics newspaper back in 1984, and I’ve been a fan for life. American Flagg was revolutionary for me, and Black Kiss was… educational and liberating for me. I love Mark Waid’s writing, Kingdom Come in particular, but I was a huge fan of his Flash run. Warren Ellis inspired me with Planetary, and I have to admit Cassaday’s art certainly changed how I viewed cinematic action on a comics page.

Like so many fangirls I was deeply influenced by Alan Moore, starting with his Swamp Thing run, where I began to see how elegantly a comics story could be told. Miracleman was amazing, and honestly I think my favorite of his works is Top 10, because he takes such an incredibly impractical premise and completely makes it work in a believable fashion- again, assisted by a visionary artwork in the form of Gene Ha and Zander Cannon.

Fred Perry also inspired me, as I love the madcap nature of the adventures in Gold Digger. Alex Ross can make anything look like wonder and beauty, it seems- Marvels showed us another all-new way to interpret the medium, then Kingdom Come topped that. I love Larry Stroman’s art for it’s visual impact, much like Mignola, who is such a remarkably unique talent. I’ll always love the work of George Perez, who illustrated a lot of my mainstream comics adolescence, particularly on the JLA and Avengers. Can’t deny my love of classic Kirby work. And we both share a mutual love for John Byrne, particularly his work on the FF and She-Hulk, which was most definitely an influence on both of us.

Oh, and we share awe and admiration for Art Adams, whose work I first noticed in Longshot, so good eye, young me. Because DANG, can that guy draw!

DF: Like Sabrina mentioned, I am a MASSIVE fan of the work of Arthur Adams and have read pretty much everything he’s ever done. In my mind, he’s just the best there is. Creatively, I have been inspired in comics by him and a host of other creators ranging from John Byrne, Jon Bogdanove, Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, John Romita Jr., Mike Mignola, Mike Wieringo, Paul Smith and oh, so many others. 

As an artist, I like to explore different styles and am also a huge fan and have studied lots of comic STRIP and cartoon artists and take influence from Chuck Jones, Kyle Baker, Charles Schulz, Walt Kelly, Carl Barks, Don Rosa and Frank Cho for sure. There are always more names I’m sure I’m forgetting, of course.

SP: Oooh, I forgot Kyle Baker. Huge fan of the Shadow, Why I Hate Saturn and the Cowboy Wally Show.

DF: Some of the BOOKS that are my all-time favorites are Jeff Smith’s ‘BONE’ and Terry Moore’s ‘Strangers in Paradise’. (Oop. Forgot the mention them earlier. See.) Miller’s Sin City books, the Dark Knight Returns and Ronin were big influences. Kyle Baker’s “Why I hate Saturn” is a masterpiece, as is Don Rosa’s “Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.” I can re-read Mignola’s “Hellboy” at the drop of a hat and adored Chris Clairmont’s runs on X-Men and more specifically his “Excalibur” run with Alan Davis. I love Byrne’s “Next Men” and the original black and white “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” were some of the first comics that helped me realize that ANYONE could make their own books.

#4) How would you describe Giant Girl Adventures? Can you give new readers a brief rundown of the main characters and plot?

SP: Veronica ‘Ronni’ Kane is the titular Giant Girl of the aforementioned Adventures. She is a third-generation superheroine, from a disgraced line of heroes. However, after a lifetime spent in the shadow of those two powered individuals and growing up in their world, she herself got no powers at all. Feeling cheated by fate, she went to work for the shadowy organization known as The Agency, where she found a way to empower herself with reality-altering powers, which she used in remarkable unimaginative ways, such as empowering herself with size and density changing abilities.

In recent times, she was sent to a fantasy realm of magic and monsters, where she has faced hard choices, and finally started taking the first true steps toward becoming a genuine hero. Faltering, clumsy and imperfect steps- but that’s our Giant Girl.

DF: Since Sabrina covered the specifics of the STORY, what I can add from a creative standpoint, is that it’s a grab-bag concept where anything can happen in the vein of Erik Larsen’s brilliant “Savage Dragon” or Fred Perry’s “Gold Digger”. It is an artistic playground where we can create epic action, high-stakes drama, and slapstick comedy in one story and never have any of it feel out of place.

SP: That’s it, you’re writing the press releases from now on, because yours was way better than mine!

#5) Are there any upcoming projects that you’d like to mention?

SP: Hopefully by the end of the year, we’ll have this fantasy epic we’ve been working on finished, and we’ll be gathering it together in an oversized volume for sale. Because Issue 17 ‘Against the Giants’ is a pretty self-contained story. You don’t have to know all about Giant Girl and her wacky villains and the world she lives in, because we cover pretty much everything in this issue by the time it’s done. So it will make a nice stand-alone volume that will showcase what I feel is the best storytelling I’ve done up to this point in my career.

Beyond that I will keep knocking out scripts for the big two, in case they ever let me play in their sandbox, and keep working on GGA. We’ve got the next issue completely scripted and about half of the issue after that, so we’re pretty solid at the speed we produce. Beyond that, I’m going to keep trying to convince Chaykin to produce the sequel to Divided States of Hysteria, because I love the character of Chrissy Silver, and I really want to help bring that heroine’s further adventures to life.

DF: Well, my webcomic, “Finding Dee” is still ongoing, and aside from GGA, I am also working on a series of werewolf novels I plan to start self-publishing later this year. I really never stop creating, and I think I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I tried. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Finding Dee can be read here: https://deebrisbyfish.tumblr.com/)

SP: You’d go nuts.

DF: Probably!

Thank you for doing this interview!

All Rights Reserved.

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