Arantza Peña Popo – Miss Read

Arantza Peña Popo

I'm an Afro-Latinx cartoonist and zinester based in Los Angeles. My work elaborates on complex issues of queerness, mental illness, repressed sexuality, and longing, by distilling them into something small, contemplative cartoons.

It’s through the language of panels and gutter that I can stretch apart these intangible moments of dissociation and yearning into dynamic compositions and abstract depictions. And this is further stretched out in part by my zines: tactile explorations of the continuum of time where readers can be submerged and interact with both the past and the present.

Tears become rainfall become tiny sperm from a man in a hotel bedroom; dissociation becomes a hazy tapestry of bodies floating in the dark air. Being horny on my mother’s patio or hiding in the bathroom of a gay club are no longer embarrassing moments– they’re opportunities to manipulate these experiences in fun, light-hearted and colorful ways.

I seek comfort in departing from the representational, from the obvious–if I'm not grounded in reality then why should my work?
If The Body Keeps The Score Does That Mean I'm Winning?
Arantza Peña Popo, If The Body Keeps The Score Does That Mean I'm Winning?, Tiny Splendor LA, 2023 © Arantza Peña Popo

A semi-autobiographical stream-of-consciousness comic that follows a girl feeling the weight of her past and present as she dances at a frat party. The vibrant story weaves in sexist rites of passage, the idea of the Cool Black Girl, and the murky borders of sexuality in the nighttime.

Lavender Scare
Arantza Peña Popo, Lavender Scare, Arantza Pena Popo, 2021 © Arantza Peña Popo

Lavender Scare follows a harrowing journey of a girl trying to escape a vibrant petal monster. This adventure stands as an allegory for my own journey of self-acceptance with my queerness. Through this adventure, our protagonist learns to accept their sexuality (along with earning a few bruises!)

See You Onna Dark Nite
Arantza Peña Popo, See You Onna Dark Nite, Arantza Pena Popo, 2022 © Arantza Peña Popo

Two-color, 16-page risograph zine about the precarious balance between power and vulnerability walking home alone at night as a Black femme. The cover features two eyes cut out by hand.