Charley Macorn on Weirdness, Gentrification, and “Lynda Linda: Unlicensed Detective”

Charley Macorn (they/she) is the writer of Lynda Linda: Unlicensed Detective, an ongoing comedy/mystery comic set in Missoula Montana. Part 2: Midnight in the Ghost Musuem, will appear in the Destinations Anthology with art by Phobia Solaraclick here to support now on Kickstarter!

Charley is a nationally touring, award-winning standup comedian, drag performer, and general weirdo. She is also the author of the comics Strikeforce Dracula and Lynda Linda, Unlicensed Detective. Also known as the Mercurial Icon and the Voice of Your Generation, Charley makes her home in the City of Many Shoulders, Missoula, Montana. Follow along @CharleyMacorn.

charley macorn scream queen

It’s been a while since we’ve had an interview chat, Charley! Tell us what you’ve been up to since November, 2021.

I’ve been pretty busy since last year. I’ve been on the road a lot, touring around with my stand-up comedy. I also wrote the short story “Athena Alberton’s First Real Match,” which is going to be included in The Territories, Vol., 2, an anthology of fiction about professional wrestling, due out later this year. And I made my drag king debut recently as the mysterious stage magician Charles Macabre.

Lynda Linda, Unlicensed Detective, Part 2, panel art by Phobia Solara
A panel from “Lynda Linda, Unlicensed Detective,” Part 2. Art by Phobia Solara.

We’re here today to talk about “Midnight at the Ghost Museum,” Lynda Linda: Unlicensed Detective’s second adventure! But first, we’d better tell new readers about Lynda Linda herself. What’s her deal?

Lynda is an unlicensed detective; she has no code of ethics to abide by and no oversight regulation. This means nothing is going to get in the way of her getting the job done. She operates out of the attic of a big house that is part of a feminist commune. The feminists have no idea that she’s running a detective service out of their attic, and Lynda has no idea about the strange secrets deep in the house’s basement. Her best friend is a horse named after Richard Milhous Nixon’s wife.

Without giving out any spoilers, what can readers expect to find Lynda Linda up against in “Midnight at the Ghost Museum”?

The two things that scare me most: ghosts and gentrification.

Lynda Linda, Unlicensed Detective, Part 2, page art by Phobia Solara
A page from “Lynda Linda, Unlicensed Detective,” Part 2. Art by Phobia Solara.

This part of Lynda’s story is heavily inspired by our shared place of residence—Missoula, Montana. What local oddities or issues are you addressing here?

What I love about Missoula is that it is a place a lot of weirdos in Montana end up. We’re full of hippies, cowboys, punks, and artists. All these different types of people (among many many others) over the years have given the City of Many Shoulders the reputation for being very weird. It is that weirdness that powers a lot of Lynda’s adventures. This story deals—in its own way—with the housing crisis Missoula is presently battling. What happens when that weirdness, and the weirdos that prop it up, get priced out of their city?

Total non-sequitur: As a creator who works successfully in both written and performance mediums, what advice do you have for people who want to start putting their work out there?

Don’t be so held up by worrying about what you’re doing being perfect. I had a conversation with someone after one of my shows that I think about a lot. This audience member told me that he always wanted to try stand-up, but is waiting until the 5-minute set he’s been writing for years is absolutely perfect before he ever gets on stage. I didn’t tell him this (I was being polite), but that’s not how this works. That’s not how anything works.

Art is a practice. You can have all the best ideas in your head, but until you actually do something with them, that’s all they’re going to be. Get out there, make mistakes, learn your craft. Don’t get so tied up with worry that you’re not talented enough to make your ideas good.

Lynda Linda, Unlicensed Detective, Part 2, panel art by Phobia Solara
A panel from “Lynda Linda, Unlicensed Detective,” Part 2. Art by Phobia Solara.

How do you think your writing bolsters your performance work, and vice versa?

They pair together very well. My writing gives my performance structure, but my performance has allowed me to be less rigid in my writing. It’s a strange balance. Comedy especially has changed the way I think about writing. It’s made me want to push barriers that I wouldn’t have been able to without it.

Tell us about what you’ve been watching, reading, and listening to over the past year.

My big reading project this year has been to fill in one of my big blind spots in comics. As a horror hound and a lover of sequential art, I had never read any Junji Ito before this year. Now, having read through several of his books, I can safely say he is one of the greatest artists working in the fields of comics and horror. In fact, Lynda Linda’s adventure in the ghost museum has more than a little Junji Ito in its DNA.

Portrait by Freedom Lee Drudge.

What’s coming next from Charley Macorn?

Gosh, I wish I knew. (Lynda Linda artist) Phobia and I are working on some more Lynda Linda stories, and we’re kicking around the idea of doing a collected print run of all the existing material that’s out there right now.

Where can our readers find you online?

You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @CharleyMacorn. My website is charleymacorn.com. There you can find more information on my stage performances as well as all of my old comic book work (including Lynda’s first adventure).

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Oneshi Press is an independent publishing company based in Missoula, Montana. Our passion is creating stories that explore dark corners, shatter taboos, emphasize progressive ideals, and immerse you in intricate worlds. We’re inviting you to explore them! Our company publishes high-quality comics, graphic novels, and illustrated books that contribute to the collective conversation, helping to unify and transform one another into more nuanced thinkers and compassionate members of the world we share.

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