The following piece is presented as part of Illustrated PEN: 2017 PEN World Voices Festival Edition, a special edition of the Illustrated PEN that highlights participants of next week’s PEN World Voices Festival. Artist Jennifer Camper introduces Julia Gfrörer, an American cartoonist living in New York, whose new graphic novel, Laid Waste, takes place in a plague-ravaged medieval city. Camper and Gfrörer will participate in the panel Transcendent Obscenity at the festival on May 6.  

Camper writes: Gfrörer’s comics are fever dreams, gothic fairy tales that are delightful and disturbing. Her delicate line work and careful pacing chronicles humans and other creatures yearning for love, sex, and comfort in the midst of dark times. I’m excited to talk to her about her work at the PEN World Voices Festival focusing on Gender & Power. Our panel, Transcendent Obscenity, will explore the work of three cartoonists who push the boundaries of comics.

Julia Gfrörer is an American cartoonist living in New York. She is the author and illustrator of Black Is the Color and Laid Waste for Fantagraphics Books. Her name is pronounced something like “gff RUE er” to an actual German speaker, but generations of American accents have evolved closer to “gff RARE” or “grr FAIR.” She won’t be upset if you get it wrong.