Dana Simpson is an August Presence

Big conventions, like those in Salt Lake City and San Diego, attract huge numbers of artists and fans. For Santa Barbara, California-based Dana Simpson, it became too much.

“I’ve started doing more of these smaller conventions. I got tired of the big conventions because they’re big and loud, and it’s easy to feel lost. I like these cons where you can interact with people,” she said.

Dana Simpson is a headliner among a number of cartoonist guests attending
the Boise Comic Arts Festival this year during the August 24-25, 2019 weekend.

Her work explores the inner life of a young girl and her imaginary friend, and has updated, 21st-century motifs: Phoebe’s unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, got her name through a randomized unicorn name generator Simpson found online, and in-comic, Marigold can broadcast WiFi from her horn and send text messages. The work does, however, harken back to one of Simpson’s favorite movies, The Last Unicorn, and has been compared to Calvin and Hobbes—a strip that she said was influential for her own development as an artist.

“I think any cartoonist should be happy to be compared to Calvin and Hobbes. I think it’s the greatest strip of the last 30 years, and I do see my strip as a feminist response,” she said. “I always thought the most interesting character was Calvin’s friend, Suzie. What’s she like? What would a strip about her be?”

Boise Weekly highlights Dana (and Sarah Mirk) in an article about this weekend’s festival.