This listing is for Comic Book Manya: 3 1/2 Hours and Five Cups of Coffee #1 by Vagabond Press 1995.
By Jen Benka & Kris Dresen. B&W, 28 pages, standard paper stock, 7-in. x 8.5-in. Mature readers. Cover price $3.00.
The Herstory from 3 1/2 Hours and Five Cups of Coffee says the idea of the character evolved while Jen was sitting behind a hospital information desk and reading a biography of Marie Curie. Can you elaborate on that? Was Manya a nickname of Curie's? Was the character always intended to be a comic character?
BENKA: About a decade ago I was doing what many graduates with liberal arts degrees do - working as a temp. I was assigned to an information desk receptionist position at a major Milwaukee hospital. In between directing visitors to patients' rooms, answering phones and updating the birth and death logs, I read biographies and doodled. I was most struck by a biography of Marie Curie written by her daughter Eve. Marie was originally from Poland. She went to Paris as a young woman to study science at the Sorbonne, married her professor, Pierre, and changed her name from Manya Sklodovski to Marie Curie. She adopted a French identity in name and culture. She didn't want her two daughters to feel as torn between two countries as she did. Marie's life was at the same time incredibly tragic and full of profound discoveries (she discovered radium, which won her the Nobel Prize and an early death from cancer). Her creativity, discipline and dedication were awe-inspiring to me.
While on a phone call giving directions to the hospital for the zillionth time, I started sketching out a comic strip with a funky female character. There was no question her name would be Manya.
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