Pride Month ProFile Friday: Joan Hilty
Joan Hilty (born December 27, 1966) is a cartoonist and editor best known for the comic strip Bitter Girl and her tenure as a senior editor at DC Comics’s Vertigo imprint.
Hilty grew up in Northern California after some time in Kentucky and West Africa. She attended Brown University as part of the class of 1989 where she earned a BA in visual arts, which included coursework at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Her first comics were published soon after graduating college in publications such as Wimmen’s Comix, Girljock Magazine, Gay Comix, and The Advocate. Her illustrations have appeared in such publications as Ms. Magazine and The Village Voice.
She joined DC Comics as an editor in 1995, starting in the trading cards department. She was soon moved to Vertigo as well as given responsibility over licensed titles such as Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes, and The Powerpuff Girls, as well as DCAU titles such as Batman Adventures and Gotham Girls. In the main DC Universe, she edited such titles as Birds of Prey (with writer Gail Simone), Manhunter, Black Lightning: Year One (with writer Jen Van Meter), Vixen: Return of the Lion (with writer G. Willow Wilson), Blue Beetle (starring Jaime Reyes), and Huntress: Year One (written by Ivory Madison), as well as runs onCheckmate, The Outsiders, and The Flash. She later developed some of Vertigo’s first original graphic novels, such as the G. Willow Wilson-written Cairo, the Inverna Lockpez-written Cuba: My Revolution, and the Colleen Doran-pencilled Gone to Amerikay.
Her weekly alternative comic strip Bitter Girl was first published in 1998, inspired by an ill-fated relationship. Since 2001, it has ben distributed by Q Syndicate to LGBT newspapers across North America. She also posts strips to her blog a few weeks after they are released in print.
In 2010, she left DC Comics in the midst of the company’s restructuring. She is now the editor-in-chief of PageTurner, a book packager that specializes in graphic novels, as well as the owner of Studio Kabito, an independent editor specializing in genre fiction, nonfiction & graphic novels. She currently lives in New York City with her wife and teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art.