Violet Miranda: Girl Pirate

By Emily Pohl-Weary and Willow Dawson

In 2005, Strange Horizons is running part one of the graphic novel Violet Miranda: Girl Pirate, one page per week. Each line below will be linked to its page when the page is published.

In response to the comics industry's lack of positive role models for teen girls, writer Emily Pohl-Weary and illustrator Willow Dawson created Violet Miranda: Girl Pirate, a graphic novel told in four parts. Violet Miranda draws on the life stories of the two most famous women pirates in history: Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

Violet Miranda Cover

The girl protagonists, Violet and her best friend Elsa Bonnet, take control of their lives—and pirate ships—through cunning and wiles. Violet and Elsa have grown up together on the isolated island of Los Vagos. They're fully aware that their loving fathers were once fearsome pirates who swindled the famed Calico Jack out of a treasure chest just before retiring to live happily ever after. Or so they think.

For more info on Violet Miranda, which is also being published in paper form as a Kiss Machine Presents... publication, see the Violet Miranda website.

About Emily Pohl-Weary


After editing the superheroine anthology Girls Who Bite Back, Emily thought she should put her money where her mouth is and create a new kind of girl hero. Violet Miranda emerged from her overactive imagination and became a full character through Willow Dawson's incredible artwork.

Emily's first novel, A Girl Like Sugar (2004), is the coming-of-age tale of a slacker girl named Sugar who's haunted by her dead rock star boyfriend. It has been called "wonderfully explicit" and "quietly redemptive" (Globe and Mail, Canada's book review of record), "the refreshing and rare perspective of a troubled youth in a fast-paced city" (Young People's Press), and "racy enough to keep you turning the pages, but witty enough to legitimize it" (Fashion18). Film rights have been optioned.

In 2002, Emily completed Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril (2002), which was started by Judith Merril, Emily's grandmother, before she passed away in 1997. Better to Have Loved was reviewed across Canada and the U.S., won a Hugo award, and was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award.

Since 2000, Emily has edited the baby mag Kiss Machine, a conga line of arts and culture. She's currently working on the first of a series of young adult mystery novels.

About Willow Dawson


Willow first connected with Emily Pohl-Weary when she contributed the comic "Levitation Girl in Good Afternoon America" to the anthology Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Mutants, Slayers and Freaks, which was published in 2004 by Sumach Press.

Willow is a texturally expressive artist working in illustration. Her work, often autobiographical, explores contemporary gender politics and issues of equality, community, safety, and health. She has garnered the attention and respect of her peers and mentors in the illustration industry for her hard work, dedication, and achievements. In 2003, she received a grant from the Atkinson Foundation to codevelop and publish Mother May I, with writer Sarrah Young.

Her self-published and autobiographical comic, Not Yer Princess, is an ongoing series of zines consisting of comics, art, and poetry. Willow has contributed to the anthology Drawing the Line (2004), a not-for-profit, self-published book investigating various health issues, Paul Sizer's Little White Mouse, Open Space #4 (2003), and John Greiner's Wheelchair Riot #6 (2003). She has created cover artwork for poet Sophie Levy's These Are the Licks (2003), and illustrated the album packaging for Maps of the Night Sky's Twilighters EP (2004) and the Twilight Band's Said She Surrender album (2000).

Willow is currently in the planning stage of an autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in Vancouver, BC.