(c) Tinet Elmgren 2000-2008

Q: Eva often uses her teeth in combat situations. How come she can bite so hard and long?
A: See this 4-panel strip ...

Q: What has inspired the comics about Eva?
A: The main influences are film and music. Some of the films that have provided inspiration are Wong Kar-Waiís Chungking Express, Mika Kaurismškiís Helsinki-Napoli All Night Long, the Jet Li flick Kiss of the Dragon and Quentin Tarantinoís Reservoir Dogs. As for music, it's mostly Sahara Hotnights, Soundgarden, Garbage and Faye Wong.

Q: Is it cool to smoke?
A: I have to say that I think itís much cooler to smoke excessively than to drink excessively, but smoking is still rather uncool.
Evaís smoking is part of her pretty self-destructive lifestyle (to which she wonít admit).

Q: Is it cool to work as a prostitute?
A: Itís not like I have any first-hand experience, but basically, I wouldnít really recommend working as a prostitute if you feel like your sexuality is something private, or if you canít handle the social stigma.
There is a lot of glorifying of prostitution, and the "happy hooker" myth is still quite alive. There are surely some people who donít really "suffer" much from being a sex worker, but whatever you do, there is serious social stigmatising of these lines of work. Even if itís "just another job" for you, itís NOT for most other people.
So, even if you actually have decent working conditions and are able to handle it mentally (like Eva, but unlike the great majority of all the prostitutes in the world), it can be tough on you.
Of course, I wouldnít be drawing comics about prostitutes if I didnít find it a fascinating profession, just like I find, say, professional killers, criminals, sailors, revolutionaries and mailmen fascinating. Iíve tried to keep my comics from glorifying prostitution, though I guess there have been times when Iíve failed at that Ö With a character like Eva, who would never show weakness if she can help it, it's perhaps kind of hard to avoid.

Q: What do you think about people who buy the services of prostitutes?
A: In my perception, some people go to prostitutes because they are the only available women who will agree to what they want. A few of them could be classified as mentally ill. A lot of them just have crappy relationships with their wives. Others just canít find anyone besides prostitutes to have even "normal" sex with, because of shyness, insecurity, cultural circumstances etc. - or the wish to have "strictly sex" with no strings attached. Due to social and cultural circumstances - and also supply - most people who buy the services of prostitutes are men. So, to return to the question: if anything, I mostly just feel sorry for these people.

Q: Does Eva have long hair in some kind of knot, or short hair thatís just longer in the front?
A: Itís short. (In some older comics, itís clearly in a knot, but thatís just WRONG! If you see it, ignore it!!) Itís more convenient that way, since Eva has to shower several times a day, which can be tough on your hair sometimes. 

Q: Why are Evaís hands so big?
A: She was born like that. And all the other female characters in my comics were also born like that Ö Well, actually, I just like big, strong hands, especially on women. Maybe itís because of my motherís big, strong workerís hands.

Q: Where did Eva learn to fight and shoot like that?
A: She grew up on the streets ... what do you expect?

Q: What model is Evaís gun? Where did she get it?
A: Itís a 9x18M PM (Пистолет Макарова Ė 'Makarovís pistol'). She got it from a certain friend, for self-defence, back in the port town in her country of origin where she first started to work as a prostitute. (Read more about this model!
At this point I should perhaps also mention that my own knowledge about handguns is highly limited. I never did any military service, so all I know about guns is basically from comics like Kenichi Sonoda's Gunsmith Cats ...

Q: Gunsmith Cats, eh? That's SO lame ... So that's why it's a PM?
A: Hmm, PM's aren't mentioned at all in the couple of Gunsmith Cats books that I've read. (If I was entirely brainwashed by that comic, I'd of course have given her an 'early version' CZ75.)
Okay, for all you wannabe "REAL gun experts", here is the explanation. If you have a *basic* handgun in the Soviet Union or, to some extent, post-Soviet Russia/SNG, it's most likely a PM or a TT (Тульский Токарев, 'Tokarev from Tula', the main Soviet army gun before the PM was introduced in the 50's). The emphasis is on *basic*, because it wasn't any *special* gun that Eva got from her friend back then. He wasn't a gun freak, but a normal soldier or criminal (or both, I haven't decided yet). 
For example, Anna Politkovskaya was killed with a PM (left at the site, as any professional killer would do). Which shows that this model is sufficiently cheap, 'anonymous' and easy to get to be disposable, but reliable enough to get the job done.
And why not a TT? Well, I've read (on websites by Russian gun freaks, for your information) that TT's aren't quite as reliable and, for instance, tend to misfire a bit more easily than PM's. Besides, the PM's form is a bit more esthetically appealing ...

Q: I'm a language nerd, and I understand that the people in this comic obviously arenít speaking English (or Swedish, as in the original). What language are they speaking? 
A: The country where these stories are set has found some inspiration in PRC, though itís certainly for the most part a product of my imagination. As you might have seen at the end of each episode, "The End" is written there in Cantonese. (I copied it from the Hong Kong movies, and I do hope Iíve spelled it right ...) So, yeah, they speak Cantonese. Although she is a foreigner, Eva speaks almost without accent.

Q: So, Eva is a foreigner. Where does she come from?
A: Sheís from this universeís equivalent for Russia. She came to this China-like country when she was about sixteen. (Presently sheís 23.)

Q: What do you think should be "done" about prostitution?
A: Criminalizing one or the other party (traditionally the seller, recently in Sweden the buyer, recently in Latvia both) is pretty useless by itself Ė cutting off just the top of the weed doesnít make it die. Legalisation, on the other hand, is also useless unless it's paired with great efforts to reduce the demand for prostitution from a different end. In Victoria, Australia, for instance, where prostitution was legalised in the 1980's, illegal prostitution has strongly increased along with the legalisation (read more about this). 
One should realise that prostitution is a male problem. If there is a way to earn some money by doing something, some people will do it if they have to. It's not something in the people who sell sex that makes them prostitutes, but it's something in the people who buy their services. Generally, men buy sex from women and men - the number of women who do the same is very small. In the relationship between the buyer and seller in prostitution, there is always a considerable power imbalance: the seller has very little possibilities to refuse a buyer. The seller will do what the buyer wants. Our culture is one of male dominance, where sexual power and sexual performance is an essential part of the male identity. As long as relationships between the sexes continue to be seen as a struggle for power, there will be prostitution. Change that, and there will be no demand for it.

Q: What does Eva do when she gets her period?
A: She usually takes the week off. When she doesnít have her period, she often works seven days a week. Of course, there are customers who specifically want a menstruating girl, so sometimes she also works when sheís on her period ... Basically, Eva and her colleagues at La Sirťne earn a quite decent living, so a week off doesnít hurt. Some of them use birth control that makes them menstruate much less frequently, though.

Q: At least Lead Lips has so far been described by reviewers as "feminist glorifying of violence Š la Dirty Weekend or Baise-moi". What do you think about that?
I havenít seen either of the two films mentioned, so I canít say anything about the assumed resemblance. (I like what Iíve read about Baise-moi, though, so Iíll see it as soon as I get the chance.) 
As a woman and a human being, itís self-evident for me to be a feminist. Unfortunately, a lot of people have forgotten that feminism is about equal rights for the sexes, and not "hating all men". 
Iíve used a lot of physical violence in Lead Lips, because on one hand itís fun, and on the other hand, if I should start talking about symbolism - something that usually creeps into my stories without any too great intention - itís a symbol for mental struggle: conquering obstacles etc. 

Q: Where do you come up with these stories?!
A: Oh, they just pop up in my head. To be more specific: 
Asphalt Mirrors was drawn completely ex tempora - I just started drawing the first page, while having no idea what the story would be about, except that there would be a corpse in Evaís room on the next page. 
Lead Lips was inspired by a story I heard about a friend of my mumís Russian teacher, who lived in Moscow. In the wild early 90ís, she was once pulled into a car when she came out from a restaurant, and found herself under the eyes of a bunch of gangsters. After looking more closely, they realised they had gotten the wrong woman, and threw her out of the car again.
Odd Tuesday was probably the most 'planned' of the stories. I wanted to show the obligatory health inspections. So I did. 
Glass Rain was based on an idea for a story that had been floating around in the back of my mind for a dozen years or more. It was about a woman who disguised herself as a prostitute in order to kill a man, a gang of men or just men, generally, who tortured and killed women she knew (or didnít know).

Q: Ting Yay is so nice. Why isnít there more of him in these comics? (In Odd Tuesday he never even shows up!!)
A: I ask myself that question, too. Maybe itís because Asphalt Mirrors was really the essence of Ting Yayís story, and after that I just didnít know how to express him in any new and different way. Another reason could be that Iím too lazy - itís very easy for me to make up stories where people kick each otherís asses or kill each other in interesting ways, but itís much more difficult to write about love in an honest and 'real' way. 
Well, all rejoice: I've finally figured out how Eva and Ting Yay met. But so far you can only read about it in Swedish.

Q: Is Kim lesbian?
A: I think so.

Q: What kind of birth control does Eva use?
A: Condoms (obviously, because they are the only things that also protect against diseases). Eva once tried the pill and got really fat, so she has since then refused to touch it in any form and under any label. She also doesnít like anything messing with her body and its "natural functions". And if the condom breaks, thereís always the 'day after pill', though that, of course, doesnít do anything about STD's ...

Q: What would Eva do if she would get pregnant?
A: You can read about that in my other comic Driftwood

Q: What is the relation between Eva in these stories and Eva in Driftwood?
A: The two comics kind of happen in parallel universes. Eva, Kim and Bijou are the same people in both comics, but the surroundings and the people around them are a little bit different. The tones of the comics are different, so they need to happen in slightly different worlds.

Q: Will there be a book or something where one can read these comics on paper and in English?
Yes, there will be a book, at least in Swedish. After that one gets published, who knows what might happen ... 

Eva | Svenska | English | Italiano |

Support this comic at OnlineComics.net!