Sophie Labelle is a writer, teacher, and comic artist, her main project being the comic series Assigned Male, focusing on an 11 year old transgender girl. Tomatrax caught up with Sophie to ask a few questions.
You’re comic deals with 11 year old Stephie, how closely does she reflect you and your childhood?
Well our love for books is the same. Also, our love for rigorous analysis is pretty similar too. Otherwise, my transition had a couple more obstacles to it, as society wasn’t as accepting. When I transitioned at 13, my family reacted pretty well though.
Are there plans for Stephie to age over the course of the comic?
Yes! I love the idea of seeing how she will go through teenagehood and adulthood.
Have any of your family/friends recognised themselves or things they’ve said or done in your comics?
Mostly friends! I get most of my inspiration from them. It did lead to some arguments.
The comic has been an inspiration to people going though similar circumstances, what’s it like to see your work have such an impact on people’s lives?
It is great and terrifying at the same time, since I feel it puts a lot of pressure on me. Also, I do believe it gives me a lot of responsibility.
On the other side your work as also brought out a lot of hat and even forums dedicated to attacking your work, how do you persevere in spite of this happening?
Oh, it’s nothing compared to the amount of love I get out of it! If it wasn’t of all the demonstrations of love and support I get from doing it, I would have stopped a while ago!
Are there any comic artists that have inspired your work?
Allison Bechdel and Bill Watterson. Oh, and I was a big fan of Keno Don Rosa when I was a child!
You recently mentioned that you were working on a novel, what is it about?
I’m ALWAYS working on a novel! Right now, it’s about… trans stuff. 😉
How has work on the novel being going?
Badly. The comic is taking most of my free time – which is a good sign!
You have also been teaching, how does that compare to writing and drawing?
I really like teaching, it’s been fueling my work for many years. But I’m taking a break of it right now, as I feel I’m being more useful out there talking about my experience as a cartoonist. But I’ll always come back to it!
What advice would you give to people who are starting to go through what you’ve gone through?
Buy a lot of paper and get other people to read your stuff. That’s the most important thing for a cartoonist!
What are your 5 favourite songs of all time?
with no particular order :
Notre Dame de Paris – La Monture
France Gal – Laisse tomber les filles
Starmania – Le Rêve de Stella Spotlight
Destiny’s Child – Survivor
Aqua – Cartoon Heroes
Check out the Assigned Male website to find out more!