Jessica Abel (Chicago, 1969) started making comics in college, at the University of Chicago. Her early efforts appeared in the student anthology Breakdown. After college, in 1992, she won the infamous “Stinky Date” contest in Peter Bagge’s Hate comics, and, since she had arranged to meet the artist at the Chicago Comics Convention, she decided to put together a sampler of her comics to show him and his publisher, Fantagraphics. She printed 50 copies of Artbabe #1, but Fantagraphics editor Gary Groth, who claims not to remember this encounter, didn’t take the bait. Four issues (and four years) later, she won a Xeric grant, put out the first full-sized and professionally printed issue of Artbabe, and thus finally appeared on Groth’s radar. She began a new volume of Artbabe with Fantagraphics in 1997. Abel won the 1997 “Best New Talent” Harvey and Lulu awards and she completed Artbabe Volume 2 in early 1999. She took time off from fictional comics in 1999 to complete a 32-page comic for This American Life, a Public Radio International program, written in collaboration with host Ira Glass, and then 2000 saw the publication of Mirror, Window, a collection of the second volume of Artbabe. Soundtrack, a compilation of early comics work, was published by Fantagraphics in 2001. La Perdida, a graphic novel thriller set in Mexico City, was originally serialized by Fantagraphics, during which time it won the 2002 “Best New Series” Harvey Award and was featured in the first Best American Comics anthology from Houghton-Mifflin. La Perdida was published as a complete book by Pantheon in 2006 and has been translated into French, Spanish, and Italian. Abel’s most recent books are a vampire romantic comedy called Life Sucks published by First Second Books, and, in collaboration with her husband, Matt Madden, a comics textbook called Drawing Words, Writing Pictures, also published by First Second Books in spring 2008. Abel’s upcoming projects include a prose novel for teenagers for HarperCollins, and a script for a graphic novel about roller derby on Mars. She is also co-series editor (with Madden) of The Best American Comics, and teaches at the School of Visual Arts. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn.