Smash Pages Q&A: Joe Corallo and Molly Jackson on their Planned Parenthood benefit anthology

The editors of ‘Mine! A Celebration of Freedom and Liberty for All Benefitting Planned Parenthood’ discuss the Kickstarter for the project.

Joe Corallo and Molly Jackson are writers at ComicMix and other places around the internet, but they’re also editors of Mine! A Celebration of Freedom and Liberty for All Benefitting Planned Parenthood.

The anthology, which is currently being kickstarted, is a celebration of a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a nonprofit organization that is one of the biggest and most important health care providers in the United States. The project features work by Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, Trina Robbins, John Ostrander, Rachel Pollack, Howard Cruse and others. The campaign runs through Sept. 15, and we reached out to the duo to discuss the project.

Do you two want to introduce yourselves for people who may not know?

Molly Jackson: I’m Molly Jackson. I am the co-founder of [insertgeekhere], columnist and reporter for ComicMix, and a project editor for Mine!

Joe Corallo: I’m Joe Corallo. I’m a Columnist and Project Editor for ComicMix currently co-editing Mine! with Molly Jackson. I contribute to [insertgeekhere], Geeks OUT and Geek dot com. I also write comics.

So what is Mine!?

Jackson: Mine! is a comic collection that celebrates the amazing work of Planned Parenthood and personal empowerment. It includes stories about healthcare, personal experiences and empowerment, done in genres as historical, dramas, science fiction, fantasy, superhero, and satirical stories.

Corallo: Mine! is a comics collection to benefit Planned Parenthood. It includes auto bio stories, stories debunking myths about sex, how to get STI screenings, but it’s also filled with epic fantasy, fantastical science fiction, and super heroics. There’s something for everyone in Mine!

How did this project come about? Were the two of you looking to work together on something?

Jackson: Joe and I were musing about different ideas we had, and since we both wrote for ComicMix, which has an amazing group of comics professionals involved, we began to joke about how great a ComicMix anthology would be. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to see an anthology with talents like Robert Greenburger, Michael S. Davis, Denny O’Neill, Mindy Newell, John Ostrander, Glenn Hauman and Martha Thomases that’s helmed by Mike Gold? Once we mentioned it to Mike, it was all in motion.

Corallo: We were looking to work together on something, yes. Molly and I were grabbing pizza at a place in Astoria, Queens back in December of 2015. We decided we wanted to do an anthology. We were trying to figure out what might be best, and I had a contact with Planned Parenthood so I reached out. We went up the chain for a while, the election this past November ended up disrupting things a bit, but we’re finally making Mine! a reality!

How do you go about setting up a project like this? You have an all-star lineup of people and some interesting pairings of people who I don’t know have worked together before.

Jackson: It really comes down to the asking for help and a little luck. We’ve been very lucky to have great connections through ComicMix, and the overwhelming support of so many creators. Every creator we spoke to was excited for the project, whether or not they could contribute. Our pairings stemmed from the creators themselves. They wanted, as much as we did, to have a diverse team of contributors. In some cases, it was friends pairing up. In others, we had creators who wanted to work with a person of the opposite sex, or in a different part of the industry. And in some occasions, we just thought that two people would be a good fit.

Corallo: It’s been very interesting, yeah. All of us at ComicMix pulled out all the stops and reached out to everyone we could that we thought would want to support a project like this. Once you have someone like Neil Gaiman on board, it definitely makes things easier in terms of selling to people that this project is the real deal. Some of the people that haven’t worked with each other were able to use this opportunity to pair with people they admire. Louise Simonson and Tommy Lee Edwards love each other’s work, for example, and we were able to make that happen for this project. The cause is of the utmost importance, but it’s also really nice to help people connect with other creators when they otherwise may not have.

What kind of work were you envisioning for the book when you first sat down and how has that changed and evolved as you’ve been working on it?

Jackson: The moment we decided to go with a PPFA benefit book, we basically stayed on track. While working with PP, we did change directions slightly but the theme basically stayed the same. The only change we made was cutting the open submissions.  Unfortunately, the time constraints made it too difficult to do a proper open submission process.

Corallo: We were originally going to focus on the centennial for Planned Parenthood, but delays made that less timely of a topic than we would have liked. We also wanted to focus more on defiance at one point, and while defiance is certainly an important part of this book, there has been more of a shift to personal empowerment and we think that works well here and stays on message with Planned Parenthood well.

For a project like this are you working with Planned Parenthood or what is that relationship like?

Jackson: We have met with PP a number of times. From the start, we wanted them to know that this book was happening. We have a trademark license with them to use for the collection. Once the book goes into stores, net proceeds will be donated to PPFA. Our hope is that the stories within help raise awareness about their services and then need of healthcare for all.

Corallo: The relationship officially is a logo agreement with Planned Parenthood where instead of a fee we are providing them with the proceeds from the book sales. We’ve worked closely with Caren Spruch at PP and this was the best option for everyone. While we would have liked a more hands on experience with PP, they are staying vigilant through this heightened call for defunding from our government.

What else should people know, why should they care, what amazing stuff do you have besides books? Because the campaign ends later this month.

Jackson:  We hope that everyone cares about equality and healthcare for all. The current administration seems to disregard the needs of millions of Americans everyday when they threaten to defund PPFA. We hope to change minds while honoring and supporting this great organization.

Corallo: The campaign would normally end on the 14th, but we opted to go an extra day so it would go from Aug. 15 to Sept. 15 to make it a bit easier. The most important thing we have to offer is our book, but we have other goodies like condoms, digital extras, signed bookplates, original art, T-shirts and more! We need to raise awareness of the realities of healthcare, sex education, history, and show that the comics community stands together in supporting equal access to healthcare.

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