Today’s cover girl, Barbara Tarr a.k.a Babs Tarr a.k.a. Babsgirl just received a nomination for an Eisner Award in the category of Best Penciller/Inker for her work in Batgirl. According to Wikipedia, the Eisner Awards are the Oscars of the comics industry. Bravo, Babs!
Tarr will be the first to admit that the nom came as a shock. “I just got pulled into the comics world a year ago … so before then I didn’t know about [the Eisner Awards]. People keep telling me it’s a big deal, so I know it’s a big deal,” she says. “I’m just trying to make cool things that excite me and if I’m getting recognition, then all the better.”
Batgirl has only won two other Eisners, both by James Jean for Best Cover Artist in 2004 and 2005.
Tarr says that she thinks people appreciate the modern twist she’s given Batgirl, evoking the kind of cool vibe found in alternative and indie comics. On a personal level, Tarr’s success is bittersweet. Her mother passed away a few years ago, and today — the day of Tarr’s City Paper cover and Eisner nomination — is her mother’s birthday. Tarr says that her whole family is excited about her success, especially her dad. “His whole life is my career,” she jokes.
Tarr is excited about the nomination, but at the end of the day, she just likes what she does. “I worked two jobs for a long time that I didn’t like. Now I’m just trying to have fun,” she says. She also doesn’t want all the success to go to her head. “All this good stuff is happening and I’m over here just trying to meet deadlines,” Tarr laughs.
She says that DC comics took a risk with her comic book style. Looking at her competition in the Best Penciller/Inker category, Tarr admits that she’s baffled by the fame of some of the other nominees. “Fiona Staples … her work is, like, beautiful. Mike Allred is someone I’ve looked up to sense college,” she says.
Tarr is pretty stoked to be on the cover of this week’s Dig South issue, but she admits that seeing her illustration all over town can be “horrifying.” “I miss being under the radar,” she says. But, then again, her cover appearance is pretty cyclical. “When I used to live in Charleston [before I left and came back] I remember seeing another artist’s illustration on the City Paper cover one time, and I just thought that was the coolest thing.”
Tarr may think she’s tricking everyone with her talents, but if that’s the case, we’ve been fooled. Look for Tarr on July 10th when the Eisners announce their winners at Comic Con.