9.10.19 by Marina Harkness


Summer went good. It’s already cold in Minnesota which means good comics making weather. I had a little bit of fun but mostly it’s all about laying low and working, which is good. I like it that way. Body feels worn out but it’s to be expected.

I wrapped up my open critique night sessions at Boneshaker books and I’m happy to have met a few folks that were interested in comics and had questions about craft and clarity. Me and Pete Faecke always joke that we have to leave town and go to shows in Ohio and Illinois to find other Minnesota cartoonists. We’re all to insular and weird and it’s habit we gotta be mindful of. I’m interested in doing a monthly comics meet up to some degree. Meeting weekly is nice for little low order things but you obviously can’t get too much done in between. I can’t stress enough the need to just do comics. Just do the thing that you want to do. So many people turn to you for advice on how to get better and how to make the thing they want to make and almost always you just need to find the drive to do it. Make sure your life supports whatever you want in terms of your energy level and the time you have to create something, but sometimes you just need to bully yourself into being focused.

Everyone knows it, nobody wants to hear it, etc.

I’ve hit over 100 pages on my book, which feels nice. Having a hefty stack is great for my brain to actually feel like I’m making progress. Really, I’m on the downhill slide and I’m gearing up to do some redraws for Tinderella for the re-issue coming this spring. Not that much is going to change, just the table dressing. Hoping to have just about 30 pages left to do at the end of the year for DP and next year I just get to make hella minis and enjoy my life again. I have a few things cooking, but if anyone has ideas or anthologies they want to put together next year, now would be a great time to shoot me a message about it.

I won’t be at SPX next week, but I do have an anthology out with Tinto Press that I should be telling you all about:

This is that thing I was talking about curating- basically I got all of my good autobio buddies and we all wrote a script and had a different artist draw it. The idea partially came about with me and my friends complaining about how trite and stupid most autobio anthologies can be. Alex Graham did the cover, and Pete Faecke, Hyena Hell and Nate McDonough all put scripts and comics together. I ended up drawing Nate’s script, here’s a little preview of the pages:

Tinto Press will debut the book available at SPX for 10 bucks, so swing by Ted’s table if you’re in Bethesda next week. If not, make sure you pre-order it here and you won’t be sorry.

Good news is though, I’ll be at Twin Cities Zine Fest in 2 weeks so you can catch me there. I’ll have a mini from my cousin DJ Montney, who is currently serving time in prison somewhere up in the upper pennisula of Michigan. We’ve been corresponding and I showed him a pretty simple way of making a mini comic, so I’ll have a little flip book made by him. All the profits will go toward me buying him some art supplies or books and things.


He’s legitimately good at drawing and shit, you should buy it. I’ll also have some ridiculous little minis from My boyfriend who is making depressing family circus parodies because why the fuck not.

Boyfriend/Zine genius

Boyfriend/Zine genius

Anyways, TC Zine Fest will probably be my last show of the year and so I’ll see you all around when I’m much more active in 2020. I’m kicking around the idea of doing a patreon but I also don’t really want to do it and don’t know what the hell I would do for tiers. I’m not a strip cartoonist. I don’t do dailies and I don’t really want to make some quarterly or monthly comic that pulls me away from doing more adventurous things. But I love money oh noooo.


See u guys around

5.21.19 by Marina Harkness

Page from  Desperate Pleasures

Page from Desperate Pleasures

Book is over 1/3 done. Everything is on schedule which feels good. I got my grant money and purchased all of my materials plus a very nice bed that is very difficult to get out of in the morning. It’s helping me recover a lot better for weightlifting which is cool. I’m coming up on a short break period that I’m taking this summer in order to work on some redraws of Tinderella and an anthology piece which is just a quick 8 page thing. Me and Pete Faecke are working on a podcast. Things are going good.

Mostly I’m writing an update promote the fact that I’ll be doing an open studio night this summer for Minneapolis cartoonists>>>


“Select Tuesday’s” is just exempting the 3rd Tuesday of every month. Our critique nights will meet on the following dates:

JUNE 4th

JUNE 11th

JUNE 25th

JULY 2nd

JULY 9th

JULY 23rd

JULY 30th




If you’re from out of town but will be visiting, put any overlap in your phone! We’d love to have you. Everyone is welcome, and the hours we spend will be structured around whoever shows up. This event can be a great bit of accountability to sit down and work if you have a busy schedule, but if you’ve never even made a comic before and want to experiment, we’re here for you. Bring snacks if you want, but keep in mind this is an all ages, sober event.

I’ll be bringing my own pages of Desperate Pleasures to work on, and we can discuss process, materials, and problem solving techniques for both long and short stories. Tech questions (Photoshop, adobe, etc) are welcome as well, but make sure you bring your laptop with whatever programs you want assistance with.

Page from  Desperate Pleasures

Page from Desperate Pleasures

I’ll be at CAKE in Chicago on the 1st and 2nd of June. Buy me a drink? I’ll be doing custom tinder portraits.


2.19.19 by Marina Harkness


Right now this page doesn’t look amazing but I don’t really need it to. I’m maybe the youngest person in comics to have a blog built into my website. I dunno how I feel about committing to writing frequent blogs or updates on things but I guess I need something on here so it doesn’t look too bare or weird. Right now I’m pulling the plugs on all my other art zones online so this will be the fuckin main zone. Big Data Center.

I’m M.S. Harkness.

Shortrun ‘18

Shortrun ‘18

A couple of people have asked me why I don’t use my full name and there’s a few reasons. I’m trying not to have my full name online and there’s some of you out there who know my real name and had to go through the trouble of me calling you to take it out of your blogs/tweets/comics, etc. You’re all saints and I love you. It’s EM ESS Harkness. Not Miss Harkness. If you mess it up, I forgive you.

I make autobio comics and I live in Minneapolis, MN.

Panel from Desperate Pleasures

Panel from Desperate Pleasures

I’ve been making comics professionally for about four years now. I graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in ‘17 with a BFA in Comic Arts and Kevin Huizenga was my Professor for the majority of the time there. My very first show was the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo ‘16 in Columbus Ohio with Pete Faecke. We drove all the way to Ohio because we were pissed off we didn’t get into the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo in June. It was a 12 hour drive, we had no one to stay with until we got to the venue and Pete texted Josh Bayer and somehow Caitlyn McGurk of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library let us sleep in her basement. It was fucking insane for two college kids who had no idea what the fuck they were doing. On the way back, my car was totaled and it was in that moment I knew I was going to die for comics.

Where my car died outside of Wisconsin Dells, WI. 2016.

Where my car died outside of Wisconsin Dells, WI. 2016.

Since then, it’s kind of been a no brainer. After I graduated, I published my first full length graphic novel with Kilgore Books and Comics and hit the road on a cross country tour with some of the Kilgore squad. I love making minis and doing live readings in the Minneapolis area whenever we throw together a little show. During the week, I work part time as a personal trainer, so I never have to worry about drawing soul crushing freelance garbage to pay my bills, and I love training for Olympic Weightlifting as a hobby. You can see a lot of my life on Instagram in between the books I make.

I’m a young cartoonist and I’m excited to be working on my second book and just grinding toward my mid-career. Everything feels really wide open right now, and just this spring, I’m receiving a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant toward the creation of Desperate Pleasures, which is a little longer than my first book Tinderella.



I’ve got a good chunk of pages finished now, but I feel like I’m still settling on how things are going to look throughout the book. The idea is to make it shine in ways that Tinderella didn’t, but to stay sharp and on beat with what worked. Trying to be balanced. Save my wrist from overdrawing. Make sure everything looks like it’s from the same solar system.

Aside from that, I’m working with Tinto Press on another secret project. Maybe I’ll post some of that stuff later. I don’t know how much of this stuff people will care/read about. For some things, I like being secretive (But I’m also really bad at keeping secrets)


Uncivilized Books will be publishing Desperate Pleasures and printing a NEW edition of Tinderella in 2020. As a celebration, all books in my store are 25% off through the month of February with the discount code LAUNCH. Order something and help me troubleshoot my new shop, if you can.

Shame me in the comments. Do not follow me on twitter.