Hot Chocolate with Marnie Galloway

I recently sat down at a cafe to talk with Marnie Galloway, comic artist and cartoonist. She is the author and artist behind the incredible award winning wordless comic In the Sound and Seas.

I asked her about her choice of medium of the wordless novel. She said while she was aware of the tradition of wordless novels, they weren’t her source material. Instead, she explained, “I grew up in a sometimes chaotic environment and took a lot of refuge in literature. I’m also a pretty staunch materialist, an atheist, so if there is anything sacred to me, it’s literature. I’m intimidated by language. There are all the other reasons. I think the more restrictions on a work, the more creative you have to be in a lot of ways. You have to be so thoughtful about communication in a different way. Everything has to be intentional. Not to say that it isn’t intentional [in comics with text], but there are so many challenges with not having words. When I very first started working on it, I deliberately chose not to have words cause I didn’t want to mess it up. I wanted to dip my toe into that world that is so powerful to me and has meant so much to my life.

“I’m starting to get braver with that. The next big book I’m working on is going definitely have language in it, I’m sure informed by wordlessness. Taking this idea of secular sacred, I think silence is very powerful. And those things that are not easily communicated with language, that’s what I want to think about and that’s what I struggle to communicate with one other human… If something is ineffable, by definition it can’t really be described. You can only create impressions of it. I’m starting to learn more about poetry to learn how language can capture that ineffability. Frankly, I’m still a little intimidated.” I love this notion of the secular sacred. What a phrase!

Marnie Galloway also co-hosts a new podcast called “Image Plus Text” with fellow cartoonist Sam Sharpe. I asked her about the origin of the podcast: “It was a happy accident that there were two cartoonists at Ragdale at the same time; it was Sam. I got a whole lot out of talking with [Sam] and I realized that I didn’t have a lot of opportunities in my daily life to truly talk shop. I think hard about these questions but they spin in circles in my head. So having someone else to talk to about them and a different insight was really valuable…

“It was his idea to start the podcast; he’d been thinking of doing it for awhile. He has a lot of friends in radio and I’ve been listening to podcasts for years. I remember packing up my dorm in college almost a decade ago and listening to early Ricky Gervais podcasts. So it’s a familiar media for people who do visual work for sure. It’s been terrific. The format... we talk to other creators, so far it’s been other cartoonists since that’s what our social network has been mostly made up of. We want to talk to sculptors, novelists, anybody who spends their life thinking of art, in order to test the metal of what we think.”

As always, this is just a short section of our conversation. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Marnie Galloway about her work.

Check out the podcast here:

Check out her website: