Posted October 26, 2015 by Carlos Alcazaren in Comics

LET’S TALK KOMIKS: Itching for Mich Cervantes

Mich Cervantes made quite the impact with her komiks – Itch, a powerful story about sexual discovery. Reading the komiks only scratched (pun intended) the surface so we here at Flipgeeks sat down with Mich Cervantes to talk more about Itch and her future plans in the komiks scene!

 itch page

FLIPGEEKS: Tell me something about Itch.
MICH CERVANTES: Itch is a small glimpse into the initial stages of a 13-year-old girl’s sexual awakening and some of the deceptively little things that play a part in its development — peer pressure, upbringing, social class, and other stuff. It’s set in an all-girls Catholic school — which is, I think, the perfect setting that ties together all these external factors in a neat (and, well, damaging) little bundle out to fuck up young girls’ lives.

How did you come up with it? Is it based on your personal experience?
I spent fourteen years of my life in an all-girls Catholic school, so… yes. Haha. I’ve seen and experienced firsthand how all the pressure from every possible source and direction can effectively mess up a young girl’s perception of herself and the world. We’re taught a lot of things about who we’re supposed to be and how we’re supposed to behave by a dizzying amount of figures seemingly in control of our identities — parents, teachers, the media, society, God (especially that guy), etc.. The aftermath of this pressure is a very confused and conscious young girl, whose individuality is replaced with a manufactured perception of how a “proper, Christian lady” is supposed to act like. Most of us take years to unlearn this.

I don’t see a lot of young adult material in local indie komiks right now, which is a big reason why I wanted to write Itch. There are so many stories we can tell exclusive to our little corner in the world — many ups and downs are unique to us, yet will still resonate with absolutely anyone whose ever been a fumbling, adolescent mess. I chose to go with a story fourteen years in the making — one with nuns, uniforms, gossip and Google.

How does it feel to make this kind of story into a comic?
Making Itch has left me feeling a complex mix of emotions — but pretty good, overall! More than anything, I feel good about the fact that I was able to voice out fourteen years’ worth of concerns in a format that would interest young girls (not-so-young ones, too) and drive them to discuss. I’m glad I managed to take such a large chunk of my growing up and turn it into something that people could hold.

 itch page

Making this comic has also left me in total gratitude for my 13-year-old self — she went through a lot of tough shit, but she came through and is a much better person now. I’d like to thank her for getting past everything that she did and making it this far.

After Komiket, did you get any feedback about your book?
I think I can say that it was received pretty well, haha! Its first print run sold out within the first few hours, which was nice. When I got home from Komiket, I got a few e-mails from people who bought and read it saying how it resonated with them, even if some of them didn’t really belong to the target audience I was writing for, which was really good to hear. One of my main concerns about Itch was that it was a coming-of-age story with an impact exclusive to middle- to upper-middle class young girls from all-girls Catholic schools, but people have told me that they saw themselves in the overwhelming and incredibly confusing discovery of sex, more than anything. I’m glad a lot of people understood what I was trying to say.

Were you thinking of a certain target audience when you working on this?
Itch is my open letter to all sexually confused teenage girls of the past and the present (and anyone whose ever been through the awkward early stages of sexual discovery, really!). I just wanted everyone to see a part of themselves in Aya (the protagonist).

What’s next your plan after Itch?
I have a lot of fun experimenting with and writing young adult stuff, so more of that, I guess! Itch was so short and I wasn’t able to explore a lot of what its setting entails. I’d like to explore and portray in greater detail someday the toxicity of the environment I wrote for Aya.

(Side note — I may be doing a reading of Itch along with a live score at Uno Morato soon!)

Have you thought of other title names before calling it ‘Itch’?
I thought “Thirst” was way too obvious. Haha! I thought “Itch” was short and kinda catchy. But really I was too lazy to come up with anything else, haha.

It also rhymes with my name.

Have you shown this to your parents and relatives? What were their reactions?
Absolutely not! Haha. I don’t really have any plans to show them because I know they’d never understand! They’re still supportive of what I do, anyway, which is nice, I guess!

Carlos Alcazaren