We enlisted the talents of one of our long-time favorites to
spice up our Valentines this year -- THE one
and only Natalie
in case you aren't familiar with the internets or you don't
get out much, Natalie Dee is a fabulous writer and
cartoonist. She is the
creator of the self-titled comic, Natalie
Dee, as well as Married
to the Sea,
which she produces in conjunction with her husband, Drew (another
web icon), author
for Dinner. Natalie Dee is also the creator of MUGS, which is part
of the ongoing
online video series Roller Chester. Natalie
lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two dogs,
Charles and Chester. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. These two kids
are N-U-T-S, especially now that we can see them in all their video glory--just
as crazy as we'd hoped.
personal favorite of all of Natalie's video work has to be
Dee's Weiner Jamboree, where she suddenly adopts
a dead-on southern gal persona, right down to the mindless
shoutin' of "Shut up, dawg", added as
an inevitable afterthought. Bein' in the south, we recognize
left are some examples of our favorite Natalie Dee comics,
but feel free to explore for yourself. We think you'll be hooked.
do you think growing up in a small town creatively inspired you?
dunno, a lot of people view coming from a small town as an
albatross, but I don't think that could be farther from the
in a small town affords kids a lot more freedom than they
might have in a larger city. In a small town, you have more
room to find
what you like on your own terms, instead of being met with a smorgasbord
of different pre-established cliques of people.
being said, though, there is nothing particularly inspiring about small
towns in and of themselves. I don't make comics about small towns,
but I don't think that I would be able to make the kind
of comics I do without having grown up in a place
that encouraged me to
care so little about what other people think. In a small town, wearing
little plastic bugs taped to your clothes and shaving half your
head and starting a polka band is weird, but so is playing soccer, or being liberal. You don't care if people make fun of
you for making weird art if they made fun of you for
doing normal stuff, like reading books or wearing dresses, also.
Maybe small towns have a backassward kind of inspiration.
comic "Natalie Dee" is the most popular comic
online written and illustrated by a woman (wow!) How has
working in a male-dominated industry
challenged you, and what have you done to overcome these challenges?
by "challenged" you mean "ignored",
then working in a male-dominated industry challenged me a whole fucking lot!
joking aside, though, I never really think about the webcomic sausage
party. I don't really look at other online comics, and they never
have anything to say to me, so we mutually ignore each other. Comics
in general are pretty male-dominated-- I read REAL COMICS a lot,
and started making drawings on my own not as a way of getting into
a male-dominated industry, but as a way of entertaining myself
in a way that a bunch of dudes just weren't able to.
I make stuff that I like, and that is as far as I
concern myself with what anyone thinks about what
I do. The way that media changed, and people came to view my drawings and lump them in with comics/webcomics was a fluke.
don't think I've had to overcome anything, because I don't think that
being a lady is anything to have to overcome. I never asked for an
invitation to anyone's party, I just keep to myself, make stuff
I like, and get a lot of work done. My vagina never
really comes into it at all. If I was a dude, I would
probably be as marginalized, just for different reasons.
If people want to pass judgement on your work based
on anything other than the art itself, they will. Other webcomics
seem to have hung a NO GIRLS ALLOWED sign outside their clubhouse,
but if you look past that and read their sites, you see that
they cater to the interests of teenaged boys. You can't be mad about
the NO GIRLS ALLOWED sign when they just hung it up to cover up
the fact that no girls wanted to come over, anyway.
Since you quit your full-time job in 2005 to draw Natalie Dee,
has your perspective on your comic or your art career changed
especially... The only thing I really think about when I am making
comics is whether or not I am having fun drawing it, whether
or not I think it looks good, and whether or not
I think it's funny. Things have changed a lot since
I started, but I have been served pretty well thus far by just making something that makes me happy.
do you do to stay creative, now that you no longer have the
inspiration of a daily commute
to a full-time job?
think a lot of people might think the wording of this question
is strange, since I have job in a creative field,
and also since people don't associate a commute with
creative inspiration, but there is a lot to be soaked up just by going about normal day-to-day business.
try to stay sharp by keeping abreast of current events, culture, etc.
I also draw recreationally and try to learn other drawing programs
and methods to make sure I keep learning new ways to get my ideas across.
has the Internet changed in the six years since you've been drawing
your comic? Do you think your readers have become more or less
receptive to independent media since you began?
certainly think that people are more receptive to independent
media than they were when I first started posting
content. In the past 5-10 years, the Internet has
made strides in growing from a small community of
a select group of people, to being something more widespread and accessible
to a much wider group. Where being on the internet used to be
a luxury that was only pursued by certain types of people, now everyone
has access to it. Old people, young kids, soccer moms, whoever.
Almost everyone sits in front of a computer with internet access
all day long at work and at school. The Internet is definitely a
more accurate cross-section of society now, whereas before it was more
like--do I want to say--a nerd thing?
will go ahead and say that--it was a nerd thing. Now it is not
as much. It has grown more into its potential as
a community, and people are learning more about
using it to make real-life tasks easier, rather
than to escape real life. People use it to talk to their
friends, rather than hide because they have none. That's not
to say that people don't still use it for escapist
purposes, it is just a lot easier now to make it
a part of the balanced breakfast of your life.
online comics seem to have a target demographic, but "Natalie
Dee" seems to draw from all spheres. Who's your target audience
(if you have one?)
just make what I like, and put it up. I don't have a target
demographic. If you can look at my site and get something out of
then I made it for you.
read a lot, and think about stuff a lot. I read anything and everything,
and I let my thoughts wander wherever they like. Filtering my
ideas through what I think a particular group of people would
want would be stifling. It would also be unfair to the people who
like the comics which might not see the light of day if I forced myself
to work within the confines of a particular age or subcultural group.
There are a lot more people who like my site for what it is than
people who want to read a comic about videogames or indie rock
do you intend for your readers to get out of Natalie Dee comics? Do
you feel they reflect reality, or do they reflect an alternate
site is called Natalie Dee, but that is because my name is
Dee and I made the site. The main character of the site is not
supposed to be me, and the other characters don't really represent
anyone I know. The main character is a blank canvas upon which
I can project any kind of ideas I have. Sometimes she has qualities
that I share, but other times she exhibits negative,
ugly qualities that I would never indulge in.
anyone was to get anything out of my site, I would want it to influence
people to be more honest with themselves and others. Not honest
in some godly, perfect honesty way-- just honest about how they actually
feel about things, and honest about sharing their ideas with people
without worrying what people think.
maybe? Maybe I wish that it would influence people to be more frank,
and more obvious with their intentions and wants. Does that make
sense? God, I hope so.
you're talkin' frank as in hot dogs as in weiner jamboree, then
yeah. Frank it is.