Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Hilary Price about the upcoming 15th anniversary of the national syndication of her popular comic strip, Rhymes with Orange. With its debut, Hilary Price became the youngest woman ever to have a nationally-syndicated cartoon strip at age 25. She is also one of a handful of lesbian cartoonists, and is one of 9 women highlighted in JWA’s feature on Jewish Women and GLBT Pride. Hilary Price also does speaking engagements for Jewish organizations, particularly women’s groups, in which she talks about the ways Judaism informs her strip.
LB: Fifteen years ago, you were the youngest woman to have a nationally syndicated cartoon strip. How do you feel?
HP: It’s a nice opportunity to look back and remember when I first heard that I got syndicated and it takes me back to living in San Francisco in a flat in the mission with four other housemates. Doing the strip is an interesting journal of sorts because with lot of strips – I can see the strip and remember where I was or what was happening in my life during the time of the strip.
LB: Do you feel that your work has changed a lot over the last 15 years? Are you working with new or different themes today than you were 15 years ago?
HP: I’ve gotten much more comfortable drawing. I think everybody does this, but I look back on the drawings from a long time ago and realize that I have progressed on the drawing front. And on the writing front, I’m better at an “economy of words.” When I look back on some of the older strips, I feel like I’ve gotten to be a better editor. You want to get your message across as quickly as possible, and there’s such a small space in which to do it in. So the fewer words you can use, the better.
On a different level, though the strip launched when I was 25, I started working on the strip when I was 23 and my life was a bit different then. I was having a great time in San Francisco, and the whole 20-something scenario of living with housemates in that post-college phase with not a lot of responsibilities was a great place to be and informed my work at the time. Now, my cohort is different. People have families, they have grown up, and they have houses. Now I live in a much more rural community than I did when I was in my 20s. In a way, with my life as a 40 year old writing about houses and dogs and relationships – more people can actually relate to my situation than perhaps they could when I was talking about the subjects I talked about in my early 20s, like sleeping on a futon, having a million housemates, eating Ramen…
LB: Oh, stuff I can relate to now.
HP: Haha, I’ll send you the archives.