The rabbit-obsessed Minky Woodcock is a detective in the tradition of Holmes and Watson but whom is lavished in the trappings of stage-light burlesque. The multi-talented writer, artist and performer Cynthia von Buhler took some time to discuss about the newly released collected edition of Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini from Titan Comics. The children’s book author takes a look backstage in Houdini’s time with the more adult spiritual crime drama with Minky Woodcock.
* * * * *
FOG!: Thanks for joining us, Cynthia! We’re really excited about Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini. Who is Minky? Is the comic persona based on a real person?
Cynthia von Buhler: Most writers channel themselves into their characters. Minky Woodcock has always been one of my alter egos. I wrote her with myself in mind.
However, my model was the beautiful and talented burlesque star, Pearls Daily. Her mannerisms, style and spunk are all Pearls.
This is about my favorite time periods, and as a longtime fan of your art, I can tell it is yours as well. What’s your favorite part about going back to the Prohibition era?
The twenties were a time when women finally won the right to vote.
It was a time of freedom.
Skirts were shorter, hair was bobbed and gender roles were more fluid. Liquor was illegal, but people went out to drink more than ever.
The Prohibition era was a turning point in history for women.
During the war women left the home and took jobs formerly held by men. When the troops came back from war many women decided they liked working and kept doing so. And the music was so damn good back then.
Though you’ve been dancing around the genre for many years, and to call yourself a multi-dimensional artist is an understatement, why are you bringing Minky’s story to comics?
I adore books. Books and stories are lasting. Art shows and plays are fleeting. I want to create art that will be around long after I’m gone. I’m not interested in writing novels because first and foremost I’m a visual artist. Comics, graphic novels and children’s books allow me to show my stories rather than tell them.
Why Titan Comics? Why is the Hard Case Crime imprint a good home for The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini?
Hard Case Crime makes really lovely, well written books. Charles Ardai, the publisher of Hard Case Crime and my editor on Minky made the words so much stronger with his editing sword. He’s fantastic to work with and really pushed me to draw in this new style.
Titan Comics is based out of the UK. I’ve always been an anglophile. I love all things British, comic books included.
Your art and storytelling with the panels is very sophisticated and I was floored at how the book looks. Did you also color the book? Master letterer Simon Bowland really brings a lot to the look as well.
Thank you! Yes, I did mostly everything. I even did the typewriter parts myself. I also made many suggestions about design and supplied some design elements. I have a design background as well. Simon did a wonderful job. I’m sure it was a struggle fitting all the text in around my at.
My editor kept telling me “make more room for the text.”
We’ve got a detective story, some real but larger than life authors in the story and even a seance. Will magic play a part in the mystery in issues to come?
Yes! Good question. I have the brick wall, water torture, cutting the girl in three, disappearing rabbit, slave girl, rope and straitjacket tricks incorporated in the book (and the forthcoming immersive play).
Thank you for taking the time! Is this a limited series or an ongoing? What is next after Minky? Congrats on finishing the book!
I’m hoping there will be future Minky books. We will know fairly soon. Now Minky will become an immersive play.
Can you tell us where we can we find you and Minky online?
Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini is available now.