L. K. Ingino on Gallows Humor, “Never Say Boo,” and Creating All the Things

L. K. Ingino is a speculative fiction and comic writer, poet (Leanne Kathleen Ingino), and singer. She loves fairytales, myths, dark tales, the strange and bizarre, dark humor, and puns so bad they’re good. In addition to her short comic, “Never Say Boo,” coming in the DESTINATIONS Anthology, she’s had short comics published in multiple anthologies including Cthulhu is Hard to Spell 2, Tales from Neverland, Not So Fair Tales, I Like Robots, and more! She is currently working on her own comics, Fangs & Foul Play and The Orb Teller. She can usually be found trying to create all the things.

Click here to support “Never Say Boo” on Kickstarter!

LK Ingino Portrait by Francesca Fantini
L. K. Ingino Portrait by Francesca Fantini

It’s been a while since our last interview with you, L.K.! What have you been up to, creatively, since October of 2021?

Both a lot and what feels like not enough, but that’s a personal expectation that maybe needs some releasing… Anyhoo! Fangs & Foul Play Issue 2 just funded on Kickstarter and I’m in the works on doing more of a deep dive on the outlines for Issues 3 and 4 (they both have a rough outline, next is a more in-depth page-by-page outline, and then the script for Issue 3!)

My first poetry book, Blank Canvas, was released. And I’ve had two short stories accepted, 1 published and 1 coming out soon. And of course, a bevy of other short comics!

What’s next for Fang, the vampire cat we hate to love and love to hate?

Fang is always up to mischief, chiefly, harassing Richard! And of course, he can’t let Richard get any ideas about breaking their link.

blank canvas by leanne kathleen ingino

Your first poetry collection was just released! Tell us more about that, as well!

So in 2020 I joined a poetry class with the intention of writing and publishing a book of poetry—this was the intention of the whole class, not just myself. And in less than six months I wrote a little over 100 poems; I believe 90 was our minimum to ensure we’d have a spine. The next couple of months were filled with editing, we were all assigned an editor, and I also sent it off to an additional few people for edits. Never too many eyes! We were also assigned a cover designer and interior designer. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, I ended up having to do the interior design myself. It was a good learning experience, but was quite hectic at the time, and I wouldn’t have minded having someone else handle it! After that we had the opportunity to pitch our books, with no guarantee of an offer, though many received an offer and I’ve been able to help support many of my fellow classmates.

I recently had the poetry release as an in-person and virtual event and it was nerve-racking but also a really great experience. There aren’t a lot of open mics near me, but I’m hoping to both go to more in person after the campaign and attend some more virtually. One positive thing that came from 2020 was an increase in virtual open mics.

Now, on to “Never Say Boo,” featured in the Destinations Anthology. What can readers expect from this short comic?

Despite starting in a funeral, this story is cute, a bit quirky, and has a bit of a twist! It tells of one man’s dreams for his life, but who is that man?

A page from "Never Say Boo," written by LK Ingino with art from Jorge Luis Gabotto.
A page from “Never Say Boo,” written by L. K. Ingino with art from Jorge Luis Gabotto.

Your comics work often embraces dark humor. Where do you draw the line between morbid and funny? Are they the same thing?

I think the line is fairly fluid, as is humor, really. What one person finds funny, someone else might not, and of course, I’m not talking about bullying or anything that is dehumanizing. But, in general, humor is subjective. For example, I love puns, lots of people….errr, don’t. I certainly think that nowadays it’s almost hard to survive without having some base level of gallows humor as even the most carefree of us likely find it hard to ignore everything going on in the world right now.

That said, there’s definitely writing that I would personally consider just morbid. And a few pieces I’ve written without writing in jokes. Granted, someone might find something funny that I didn’t intend to be so. I would say though that a majority of my darker works have some bit of humor in them to alleviate their gravity.

What do you think makes comics such a fertile medium for this kind of subject matter?

While not impossible, pulling off good dark comedy in a poem is a little trickier and I’d say it usually leans more towards self-deprecating or gallows humor, at least, that’s what I’ve found in my own. Granted, my short book Haunting Haikus has some good dark haikus in it along with some cute art.

Certainly it can be pulled off well in fiction, but no matter how well someone’s face is described, it doesn’t quite carry the same punch as seeing a raised eyebrow on a vampiric cat in a comic!

Do your other creative outlets—poetry and song—work with the same kind of themes? Or do you find yourself gravitating toward different pastures?

I’m not quite at the songwriting stage—I’ve tried a couple, but it feels so different from anything else that I need to spend more time on it!

But, in my poetry I often touch on themes of mental health, and I suppose there’s the occasional humorous moment, though perhaps not as much as in my comics!

What can readers expect next from L. K. Ingino?

I’m hoping to put together a collection of short stories soon-ish. And of course, Fangs & Foul Play Issue 3 will be in the works soon!

Where can they find you online?

Headless Gnomes!

Support L.K. in the Destinations Anthology!

lk ingino never say boo destinations

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