Fetch, a graphic memoir by Nicole Georges is out July 18th on Haughton Mifflin Harcourt and we got a sneak peak! Fetch tells the story of Nicole’s childhood and teenage years when Beija, the loveable but quirky dog, came into her life. Together, Beija and Nicole blossomed into feminists, seriously, this dog was a total feminist. Nicole Georges graphic memoir is witty and charming and a wonderful read for pet-lovers, feminists and punks alike. Nicole was so kind to answer some questions I had after reading, Fetch.
Izzi Krombholz: In Fetch, you talk about your friend who had a bad experience with an older guy and needing to speak out about it. When other people in your town didn’t feel the same way, how did you get the confidence to speak out?
Nicole Georges: I discovered feminist zines in high school. These were handmade publications where women talked about feminism, sexual assault, and holding people accountable for their actions. It was a model for justice and for a way of standing up for each other. Even though I didn’t see this kind of thing in the direct community around me, it felt like something I strongly needed to do. I was intolerant of how unjust it was that this guy could go back to being “a nice guy” after messing with some teenage girls. If I was confident at all, it’s because I knew that punk feminists had my back, even if they were far away.
IK: Beija very much represents feminism, when did you first realize the parallel?
NG: A friend who had taken a women’s studies class received my Beija Manifesto flier and said, “It’s like feminism, for dogs!”. This was the first time I made the connection.
Beija’s manifesto essentially is: Dogs get to have autonomy and create their own boundaries. Humans should respect those boundaries, because dogs aren’t property, they are individual, sentient beings.
People were constantly trying to pet my dog because she was cute, even when I asked them not to (because she was scared). Their reactions, when she barked and lept, were exactly the same as the reactions I get for asking men in public for physical space. They would yell that she was crazy. To me they yell that they wouldn’t want to touch me anyway because I’m so (insert ugly/unpleasant/“a fucking cunt”, etc). Embarrassment that turns into anger and is then directed at the person who was originally made uncomfortable by their lack of spacial awareness or basic respect.
NG: I really liked having breakfast shows at my house. I felt very fortunate to have Mirah play a breakfast show at my 2nd house, the Gingerbread Manor. She had just gotten an eye procedure, and could barely see, so had to wear those special giant sunglasses the ophthalmologist gives you. She sat in a chair and sang an acoustic version of “When You Were Mine” by Prince. My chickens were in attendance, and everyone sat on the floor in my wallpapered living room to watch.I also really liked having Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, the Papercuts, Blast Rocks! & Johnny X & the Groadies play there.
IK: Did the Sour Grapes ever record music?
NG: We did! The Sour Grapes released a cd called “No More Drama” with Tugboat Press in… 2004? It’s on band camp now.
IK: What were your zines called/about?
NG: My FIRST zine was called HiTMaN, when I was 14. It was about ska music, aliens, and working at Subway. I do not recommend it. I did an emo zine after that whose name I shall not even speak, and then Invincible Summer, which is still going. Invincible Summer is an autobiographical comic zine. I draw about dates and dogs and coffee. It was the practice space for stories I would later turn into graphic novels.I’ve also edited a couple of anthologies: Coffeeshop Crushes and the Bad Roommate Zine. Both of them are exactly what you think they’d be.
IK: What classes do you teach as a professor?
NG: I teach First Year Comics Workshop for MFA students at California College of the Arts.
NG: While I was grieving Beija, I was trolling the shelters and, by accident, found a very very well behaved pomchi. I named her Ponyo, and we have been together, going strong, for the past 4 years.
IK: Your ability to capture your life in this memoir is amazing, how long did it take you to complete Fetch?
NG: Thank you! Fetch took me about 3 years to do. Some of the stories in it are things I began writing about when I was 16, but from book proposal to writing and sketching, penciling and inking the finished book, it was 3 years.
IK: What do you have in the works now?
NG: I have a series of thoughtful therapeutic animal drawings called Anonymous Fuzzball (you can find them on instagram). I am traveling the country interviewing kids about gender for an illustrated book with Judith Butler and Kenneth Corbett. I am working on my weekly podcast, Sagittarian Matters, and I have another graphic memoir in my head that I’d like to start soon.
**You can pre-order Fetch here.