In her illustrations, Jenifer Prince recreates vintage pulp comics as sapphic love stories

“I started to illustrate to express myself, my own feelings and desires,” Jenifer Prince tells It’s Nice That on growing up as a queer adolescent in Brazil. Jenifer’s portfolio is now an impressive pastiche of old pulp comics from the 1940s and 50s, taking its distinct style and morphing it into lesbian love stories of her own imagination. From this, we see funny, apt, and endearing portrayals of queer women in a style that historically occluded their desires and expression. “I’ve been naturally drawn to comics because I’m a very nostalgic person, and the vintage aesthetic always caught my attention,” she says. It’s a style that is now Jenifer’s signature – the “mid-century comic book,” as she calls it. “I always make their lips black as a detail that connects every piece to the same world,” she explains. “I always choose one colour to set the mood, and then a limited palette which then matches that mood.”
Jenifer has always been intrigued by portraying lesbian stories in this style, especially when she discovered the effects of storytelling in comic books. The form goes beyond simply having fun, and resonates with her in a more decisively profound way. “I always wished to see lesbian stories and art when I was growing up, and the lack of that was what ultimately motivated me to illustrate my own,” she explains. “So, I always recall that old desire as a source of inspiration.” Jenifer’s commitment to portraying queer women in her art is admirable, as she reworks the vintage pulp and pin-up characters almost always seen in the light of heterosexuality and oppressive misogyny. “Sometimes the idea comes from a photo set in the 1950s that I look at and think ‘what would it be like if a couple of women were living this?’ and suddenly I’m already invested in their story,” says Jenifer. Looking to pulp fiction covers and old comic books, Jenifer relishes in the process of transforming them. “My inspiration comes from anywhere that has a possibility of a story to be told.”

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