Let Them Eat Meat Cake!
A gothic gabfest with indie darling Dame Darcy
by Claire Donner
The mercurial and ethereal Dame Darcy (damedarcy) is a renowned gallery artist, writer, illustrator, animator, rock musician, clothing designer, and interior decorator to stars such as Margaret Cho and Courtney Love. In spite of this grandiose resume, her artistic career began humbly enough with an indie comic called Meat Cake. When Fantagraphics began publishing this alarming title in 1993, there was nothing truly like it on the market. Its blend of gothic literary stylings, burlesque comedy and punk zine composition made Meat Cake a critical part of the strengthening indie comics scene.
In the years since her entry into the indie comics canon, Dame Darcy has contributed to the Women of Marvel series, Image’s Comic Book Tattoo anthology, and Alan Moore’s Tomorrow Stories (perhaps returning the favor for Moore’s earlier guest spot in Meat Cake #9). Alongside these forays into mainstream fame, fine art and fashion, Meat Cake is fondly remembered and still going strong.
[Read Meat Cake #1 FREE for a limited time on comiXology]
ComiXology: Which books inspired you to create something so unusual?
Dame Darcy: I read Love and Rockets when I was in High School it was my favorite. I liked how the Hernandez brothers portrayed life as a girl in such a real way, represented us in such a fair way. It was a dream come true to be published by Fantagraphics a few years later. I also loved a goth magazine called Propaganda and ordered fashion from it. Later, when I toured with (punk zine pioneer) Lisa Suckdog, after the insane rock operas, she would sell her zine and I my comic book. I also did comics for her zine, too.
Growing up in a bohemian household exposed me to art books and styles at an early age. We also lived in a 1902 craftsman only furnished with antiques, and had a lot of books and artifacts from that era, so for me the 1980s and the 1880s blended and I didn’t quite understand that books from 100 years ago were not contemporary.
For instance, I was obsessed with the OZ book series that my Grandma had many of the original editions of…I was inspired to create my own world. The land of OZ was a utopia ruled by a little girl, Ozma, and it had a very dark side: a walking talking voodoo doll…a lady who kept hundreds of heads on stands like other women would do with wigs…a suffragette valkyrie army of flying ladies with giant sewing needles for swords and buttons for shields. When I describe the OZ book series like this, and how I lived in that world for years growing up as a child, it is no surprise Meat Cake is the way it is.