Last month, it was announced that Jackie Morrow would make her Image Comics debut with Supper Club. The new graphic novel targets young adults and promises to be full of friendship and, of course, food. Supper Club is set to hit stands this August, making now an excellent time to get to know the up-and-coming creator.
Jackie’s Origin Story
It likely won’t surprise anyone that Morrow started drawing at a young age. “My brothers and I watched a lot of cartoons growing up so I was interested in that 90s animation style, combined with the manga boom in the early 00s,” says Morrow. Morrow also recalls that she and her brothers read Calvin and Hobbes quite frequently. “The boundless imagination of a young kid left to his own devices – I think it felt like anything was possible even though it was make-believe, and that’s what I love most about comics.” Morrow added that she wanted to be a producer or director as a child, but realized that a graphic novel is something she is more suited to bring to life.
Morrow attended Savannah College of Art and Design where she obtained a Master’s in Sequential Art. “While I don’t think it’s necessary for artists to go to an art school to be successful, it really expanded my view of what was possible career-wise,” says Morrow. “It connected me to a lot of people who made a living as a cartoonist. Originally I went to school to pursue storyboarding, thinking I’d work in an animation studio post graduation. Somehow I came full circle back to comics,” she says.
Slice of Style
Those who are interested in getting a feel for Jackie Morrow’s style can hop onto her webpage where she has a few illustrations and short comics. One comic simply titled An Intro: My Art gives readers a good look at her influences and style. In this comic, she states that her influences include Natasha Allegri, Koyamori, Pendleton Ward, Leslie Hung, and Hayao Miyazaki.
According to Morrow, she made the comic during her first year in graduate school. “I feel like my style has changed so much since then,” she says. “I didn’t really find my artistic groove until the very beginning of the pandemic. I started experimenting with page layouts and more abstract ways of storytelling, as well as working with more varied line weights and textures. I think everything kind of clicked one day and I had developed a style that I really enjoy and feel confident with. The biggest change since then is that I work entirely digitally now.”
Morrow adds that her list of inspirations hasn’t changed too much, though nowadays she would add Carey Pietsch and Rosemary Valero O’Connell to the list.
Morrow’s style has evolved since the art intro, but there are still tons of the same expressive faces and bold lines that define her style. It’s a style that lends itself well to the slice of life genre, which often balances reality and larger-than-life moments.
“It’s kind of hard for me to pinpoint exactly why slice of life is so important to me,” says Morrow. “I know a lot of people find escapism through fantasy, sci-fi or even elements of magic mixed with real-life themes, but for me I’ve always escaped through stories rooted in reality. I think that empathizing with characters is a big part of feeling immersed.”
“I think about a series like Yotsuba and how much I’d love to be a part of that childlike exploration of the world. The appreciation and curiosity for everything that is already right in front of us,” she adds.
Unsurprisingly, Supper Club has taken a lot of time and effort to complete. One of the most crucial parts of getting a graphic novel published is finding the right publisher for the job. As we already know, Image Comics will be publishing Supper Club. “Image Comics has published some amazing books and series, a lot of which are sitting on my shelf right now,” says Morrow. “I always look at where my favorite artists are working and strive for that – I just happened to be so lucky that Image was interested in Supper Club.”
“I kind of pitched to them on a whim, not holding any expectations…but now I have a release date!” Those who are interested in Supper Club can take a look at two samples of the Supper Club pitch on Jackie Morrow’s website. Both are like night and day when it comes to presentation. One sample focuses on a group of friends baking and having a great time. The baking process is full of humor and expressive characters, while also giving enough detail to teach the reader how to bake the dish. The other sample feels much more emotional, with something heavy looming over one of the characters while the rest of the friends just want to help.
“Supper Club is a mix of those dramatic, real-life scenes with adolescent goofiness,” Morrow says. “When I think about being a teenager, they’re pretty moody and irrational – but they’re also really good at making light of hard situations. While Supper Club is full of hard-to-swallow life lessons for each of these characters, they find ways to laugh about it afterwards. As much as I want to tell a serious story, I always find my way back to humor. I think that’s a stronger point for me both in my writing and in my art,” she says.
One thing you might notice is that one pitch is in full color while the other is in black and white. We confirmed with Morrow that Supper Club will be fully colored. “I can’t wait for all of the food to come to life on the page – I’ll be the one coloring it,” says Morrow. “My editor, Alexandria Pipitone, will be assisting me to make sure everything looks great. She was the colorist for the series Charlie’s Spot published by Comics Experience.”
Real Life Supper Time
There is more to Jackie Morrow than just comic books, and it isn’t surprising that one of her passions is food. She says her favorite thing to eat is the chirashi bowl from Musashi’s in Seattle, Washington, her hometown. “They have the best sashimi I’ve had, East or West coast,” she says. “Before I became a pescatarian/vegetarian, I loved Taiwanese food – popcorn chicken, lu rou fan, xiao long bao, sticky rice… I could keep going. Everything is so delicious and strong in flavor.”
Morrow currently resides in Atlanta, so we asked her about her favorite restaurants in the area. “Recently I had tofu soup at Sokongdong Tofu House in Atlanta – there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of soondubu with good company,” Morrow says. “Another Atlanta favorite of mine has to be Beetle Cat – they have some of the best fish I’ve ever eaten!”
When Morrow isn’t writing or eating, she is usually running to reset her mind. She hopes to write a graphic novel about running eventually. “I also play a lot of Stardew Valley and collect cameras. Lately, my coworkers and I have been grabbing boba after work (in between pages, of course). I think it’s important to indulge in something delicious every now and then, really taking a moment to savor it,” she says.
Of course, we couldn’t wrap up our interview without knowing a little more about Morrow’s favorite comic books. “My favorite graphic novel is The Prince and the Dressmaker,” she says. “Jen Wang does such an excellent job of portraying small, gentle moments in her art – I’m always learning from artists like her. Besides that, I’m pretty crazy about the SAKANA series by Mad Rupert and Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley.”
So what’s next for Jackie Morrow? “It’s hard for me to think beyond Supper Club, especially since it’s been at the center of my life for the past few years,” she says. “To be honest, I am going to be sad when I’ve moved beyond working with these characters – they’re like my little sisters!” Morrow also expressed gratitude, revealing that she has another graphic novel planned with an “amazing” publishing team.
Supper Club will be available on Wednesday, August 28, 2022.