With fashion week taking place, I thought that this would be the perfect time to interview my friend fellow geek blogger Kosi Harris, about her fashion inspired web-comic HUNTER HAUTE. Also coming from a fashion background, I was super excited to check out a fashion based comic book! Not only will comic book fans enjoy this book, but also fashionistas will be enticed by this fashionable adventure.
Hunter Haute is an online fashion based action/adventure comic suitable for teens + and anyone interested in fashion. It is a story of courage, strength, compassion and justice. Meet our protagonist Amina Williams; Design Institute student and daughter of William Industries CEO Alexia Williams. When the CEO and fashion industry mogul is killed in a controversial tragic “accident”, Amina has to deal with the death of her mother and the responsibility of taking over her mother’s legacy.
After spending a year in Salvador, Brazil to grieve, Amina returns home and now has to face reality. Amina tries to balance not only school, the launch of her own clothing line (with friend J.J.), and the remains of her mother’s company, but now fellow students are suddenly disappearing.
Created by Kosi Harris
Issue #1 written by Phil Buck and Kosi Harris
Illustrated and lettered by Candace April Lee
When students start to go missing Amina notices a pattern, they all worked for Debra Sullivan. Sullivan Industries is known to be a long-time rival company of William Industries. Could there also be a connection to her mother’s death? After nearly being kidnapped herself, Amina decides to take action. We learn that during her time in Brazil, she not only tried to cope with her mother’s death but she learns a new skill.
While away Amina learned Capoeira; an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music! She now uses the fighting and training techniques she learned during her time away to fight for those who need help.
Amina does not have super powers but she takes things into her own hands and becomes the caped hero.
She is called “The Hunter” !
Check out our interview below!
When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comic book? Coming from a fashion background how has it influenced your comic and what made you want to combine both worlds?
This was a six-year project when I was a marketing manager at a fashion company. It was around the same time I started getting back into comic books attending my first comic con it was also the same time we were prepping for a winter trade show. After a late night of prepping for the show (including tagging, steaming and packing for the movers for the move to the Javits center) the idea just popped up to me. There are very few comic book characters’ that have a female lead much less a women of color. I started writing outlines and character descriptions. It was initially supposed to be a graphic novel. Fast forward 2014, I resigned from the wholesale job, to take a new job to only get laid off after a month. That leaves you with a load of time, as I was cleaning out my computer I found the outline I did and started updating it. Then I decided it was better for it to be a comic book and started putting a team together to help me do it. I couldn’t thank Phil (my co-writer) and Candace (my illustrator) enough for their dedication to the project.
Who has had the biggest influence on you in or outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?
My mom and my late grandfather have been the biggest influences in my life, they taught me it’s more important to live a life where you are happy, work hard, and treat everyone with respect instead of rising fast to the top dismissing people along the way. I think I learned that lesson hard a few years ago and I began to think about things that I know have been taught to me.
Tell us about Amina Williams and how you came up with the character for Hunter Haute. Did you draw inspiration for the characters or concept from any actual real-life experiences in school or working in the fashion industry?
Amina Williams! Of course, there is a little bit of myself in the character but I like to think of her as less angrier Bruce Wayne meets Lisa Bonet, meets Serena Van Der Woodsen. She is loyal, fashionable, independent, kind, stubborn af, loves a good party, and is trying to figure out what she is going to do with her life now back to NYC and reconnecting with the friend’s (that she realizes in time are her family) that she left behind. She has experienced things that I have in the fashion institute of technology and working in the fashion industry from working with classmates to coordinating fashion shows!
How would you describe your creative process?
Step 1 Plan and Practice—brainstorm ideas, discuss, question
Step 2 Begin to Improvise—imagine, construct, synthesize
Step 3 Review—Analyze and ask questions to determine feasibility
Step 4 Refine Thinking—interpret , explain and create
Step 5 Share and Reflect—Publish, get feedback and self-assess
Why did you decide to go digital? And why use Webtoons as a platform?
It was more of a funding issue, I wanted to test the concept of the comic before investing in print to get proper feedback. I also being a marketing/public relations professional know that my target audience loves to discover new product digitally. Webtoons was recommended to me by my co-writer Phil. I loved the community and the fact they really do filter out the trolls so the reviews are constructive and not toxic.
What has been your most memorable experience as a writer?
Seeing the feedback on WebToons, and seeing a comment that someone wanted to cosplay at Hunter Haute! That made my day! My nephews also told me they liked the comic and were “very” impressed I did it lol! They’re cool dudes so their feedback means a lot!
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I have learned that long-term goals are best achieved when I break them into shorter goals. My short-term goal is I achieved getting the issue made! Woot! Now that I had a good year to see the feedback, I want to add value and continue to grow from the success by launching Issue 2 in the summer with both issue 1 and 2 being printed in the fall. My long-term goal will depend on where issue 2 goes from there it would be cool to start doing some swag: enamel pins (I obsessively collect them), patches, etc. One thang at a time!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It’s actually two things: Don’t make decisions based on those who will be disappointed by that choice; instead on whether or not you will disappoint yourself.
Another one was given to me at last year’s Dragon Con: Nurture, Don’t Compete.
Also, what’s the best advice that you’d give to other promising new creators who are trying to get their first professional projects? Don’t be afraid to ask for help, I used to have a big issue wanting to be “Superwoman” no pun there, and I ended up overwhelmed and bitter. Learned 3 years ago, just get the help it makes creating more enjoyable.
Being a publicist I am used to thinking 3-6 months ahead, and I got myself thinking about “I need to achieve this in two months and also add four other tasks to stay ahead of the game” and I wasn’t happy. Quite frankly, it’s tiring af and social media adds to that, unnecessary pressure for what likes from strangers? I wasn’t being present at all. I didn’t take a moment to thank and connect with the people who have helped me along the way: clients, family, friends. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get ahead and planning, but it’s important to be thankful for what you have in the present. That advice helped me stay focused closing 2017 the right way! It also helped me create a 2018 game plan that aligns with my professional, personal, but also emotional goals.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Continue to pick up books that inspire you.
What superpower would you have and why?
Telekinesis. Telekinesis is a power with infinite possibilities. Whenever I take a Superhero quiz I get Jean Grey the queen of Telekinesis. I think having the ability to control any element, influence any movement, and manipulate any physical action is far better than any other power. Imagine being able to cure cancer by destroying cancerous cells in a person’s body, rescuing people in natural disasters, or influencing an election result (nuff said) ha ha!
What else can we look forward to with Hunter Haute? Any other cool upcoming projects that you would like to tell us about?
Well, I put off getting issue 2 published doing a few revisions, life got in the way, I realized I needed to take a break in between launching issue 1, graduating grad school, and the work hustle and bustle. The break has inspired me so much, I attended a few cons as well that will definitely help me for future issues of Hunter Haute. I also plan on getting issue 1 and 2 printed. I have amazing ideas on packaging that will merge comic packaging and luxury fashion packaging together. I’m really stocked about that!
Geek Girls Unite !!
LOVED HUNTER HAUTE !!
Kosi Harris and Phil Buck feature a great fresh new story, with a strong kickass female lead. The central character Amina; is humble, daring, smart, and level headed; she knows when and where to put her strengths to use. Paired with Candace April Lee’s artwork, they really do make a great team. The tone of the story and the artwork flow perfectly together. The comic features super cool fight sequences and Capoeira fighting style combat. Candace also does a great job of portraying young and fashionable students that are very relatable. There’s definitely a strong fashion influence, the comic showcases cute runway looks, and I love Aminas Hunter costume. (fun cosplay idea!)
I felt this was a good introduction and I would love to see more of Aminas story. Excited to see what else Hunter Haute and Kosi have in store!
Check out Kosi’s blog: One Creates One Self