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Black Women in Comics: Horror With Fat Bat Dana


Art courtesy of Calyn Pickens Rich

Peanuts Gang, Cathy, and The Boondocks are the origins of my enjoyment that arises from comic strips. I appreciate the art of it deeply. It's the kind of doodling I really took to as a hobby when I was younger. One such lady whom I've recently connected with has maximized her youthful efforts by creating an extremely impressive array of comics guaranteed to appeal to an audience seeking the dry humor, intelligence, and cynicism of the strips I still call my faves.

Schooled, drawing, and residing in France, illustrator Calyn Pickens Rich has set her aim to "represent the underrepresented" with highly imaginative illustrations and  strips, creating lively characters with a sharp wit.Upon a budding universe of characters, Calyn uses her web comic to educate as well as entertain with wit directed towards the irony of adulthood. You know, all those things we hate about it that failed to enter our minds when we imagined how great it would be to stay up past 10 or not have a curfew. And the bigger twist: the burden of knowledge. While self- liberating, can also be a pretty heavy burden while we manage to balance it all out with Netflix binges.

I've never seen a Black woman illustrated character with an affinity for horror. That fact didn't dawn on me until I met Calyn's enchanting character Dana (@FatBatDana), she who dwells at Dining With Dana and is also known as "Fat Bat", a curvacious vision of a chocolate-toned goth gal who "lives in a tower with her six limbed mad scientist dad" and loves "books, cooking and horrible horror movies".

I wanted to learn more about Fat Bat and all her misadventures in the horror community so I decided to chat her up in between maintaining optimal health with Sasquatch Squats and inspiring legions of bats to be their own movement. She's a busy lady with some brooding buddies to tend to.

What is Fat Bat's go-to horror movie for when she's feeling down?

She's a huge lover of horror comedy and so-bad-it's-good movies! When Dana's got the blues, she generally turns to Re-Animator to get her spirits back in action.

Which horror film icon does Fat Bat identify with the most?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer because she cares both about what to wear in the morning and who to kill at night.

Is there anything Fat Bat dislikes about horror?

She dislikes how mainstream horror leans towards the repetitive character-wise. Many of them still use the "Magical Minority" and other stereotypes. They can be fun nonetheless but she hopes for more diversity in the future.

If Fat Bat got to make a horror movie, what would be the plot? 

An average individual opens the morning mail only to unveil one of life's greatest horrors. Taxes.

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