Fashion and comics don't really mingle much, but they probably should hang out more often. Case in point: Heroine Chic, a new comic that follows the antics of a Parsons grad, Zoe Porter, as she becomes a fashion assistant for bright-but-zany designer Dyna Cuff. The comic, which bears the tagline "Superheroes Are Always In Fashion," was written by David Tischman and illustrated by Audrey Mok.
The Devil Wears Prada-esque story is being released in 26 chapters; the first three segments are already on the site. Heroine Chic debuted on Monday on Line Webtoon, an online comic-book publishing platform (peruse its other, non-fashion-centric graphic tales here or on the publication's app). Check out the full first chapter of Heroine Chic, published exclusively in our slideshow ahead. But first, a few words with Tischman.
How did you come up with the concept for Heroine Chic?
"I was walking down Broadway and I saw a woman (she’d just come from a yoga class, with her mat in its carrier over her shoulder), and she was wearing those Koral shiny leggings and a Chromat sports bra. I write comics…and that's a superhero costume. That's where the...idea started. And then, I started thinking about the two worlds — superheroes and fashion. Both are about putting on a costume — whether it’s a cape or a three-piece suit — and putting forth a persona."
Besides the fashion angle, what distinguishes Heroine Chic from other comics?
"One of the real problems with superheroes in general is how hyper-sexualized the characters are — the women especially, but the men as well... I think everybody in comics is trying to make those characters — the way their bodies are drawn and the clothes they put on those bodies — less sexual. And that’s a good thing... We come at that in a very positive way through fashion in the heroes and the costumes in Heroine Chic."
How long has Heroine Chic been in the works?
"This all happened last summer. It happens pretty quick. Once I have the world, I need a good title. I’m a title guy. I did a vampire book called Bite Club. A title’s important. I knew Tom Akel at MTV, where I wrote a series of Teen Wolf comics. When Tom went over to Webtoon, we started talking, and Heroine Chic came out of that. I was lucky to find Audrey Mok, our artist. She’s 24 and lives in Hong Kong. She just graduated from art school, and she is fantastic. Audrey took my ideas for Zoe, our main character, and the costumes for the heroes, and she really brought it all to life. It’s been so great working with her. And she’s in Hong Kong! We’ve been working together for six months, and it’s all been on e-mail. We had our first Skype call last week."
Why do you think there aren't more comic books about the fashion industry?
"The big-selling comics have traditionally been superhero comics. And until recently, that’s meant comics for boys. But now, 47% of the people reading comics are women — and it’s changing everything... It’s time for a comic book about the fashion industry. I also think the dominance of comic-book movies and TV shows has a lot to do with fashion. Comic-book costumes aren’t designed for the real world, and those costumes don’t always work in the movies; there have to be real-world adjustments. And that gets a lot of people talking about the source material and whether Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow costume is functional."
Was Heroine Chic inspired by certain fashion designers or fashion industry figures?
"Avalon, the hero we introduce in Chapter 2 — her costume is very much based on those great Bob Mackie costumes Cher and Tina Turner wore in the '70s. Our character, Dyna Cuff, the biggest designer of superhero costumes in New York, is based on Mary Quant and the effect her groundbreaking designs had on London in the '60s. And Courrèges — those monochromatic red outfits. That’s what I want my superheroes wearing. And our main super villain, Mindfull — he’s wearing a lot of Tom Ford."