I grew up in the small town Conifer, Colorado. Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park are also from there, if that gives you any indication of the flavors of wackiness small towns produce. As a kid, I knew comics existed in a sort of vague sense; the nearest comic shop was half an hour away by car. I read plenty of newspaper comics as a kid, but my first intro to comics came at age 14, when my mom told me about a story she’d heard on NPR. ::pushes up geek glasses higher:: She’d heard an interview with Pete Abrams on Sluggy Freelance. I started reading Sluggy Freelance and a wide variety of web comics; I spent many an afternoon catching up on dozens of titles.
A couple of years later I realized that comics were things that got written down in books, too, and that was neat. I used my handy public library to read Sandman, Akira, Bone, and anything else that was available to me. When I went to college in Colorado Springs, I discovered the awesomeness that is the Local Comic Shop. Every Saturday I ventured to Bargain Comics in Colorado Springs, and was educated in the ways of Brian Michael Bendis , Alan Moore, and many other awesome comics writers. I read mostly independent comics, with a smattering of Marvel and DC. I broadened my horizons by reading a lot of literary comics, graphic novels, and manga.
Also in college, being an English major and all, I got seriously interested in the theory and literary potential for comics. I read every book about the theory of comics I could find, from Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art to McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics. I even won a grant to write a script for my own comic, a semi-autobiographic journey based on the structure of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which I wrote in 2005.
I am a writer in addition to my day job, and I enjoy writing scripts as well as novels. I published my dystopian novel, Freedomland, in 2009 after I moved out to Washington. In Washington, I have felt much more connected to the pulse of the comics world (Fantagraphics and Dark Horse being local and all). I’ve enjoyed being able to have a choice of awesome independent comic shops and events. At the moment, I read mostly web comics, independent series such as Powers, and the occasional classic manga. I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting stuff.
You can find out more about me and my work at http://annebean.com. You can see me being a big nerd at @AnneBeanTweets.