When we started this journey to getting the first issue of Our Lady Maven printed and released, I anticipated the day we would have all the art for the first issue done, and put together. I’m excited to announce that today is that day. To celebrate officially being art-complete on our first issue of Our Lady Maven, I wanted to share the inside story of this process with you all.
It was about a year ago that Sarah and I were talking about the idea for a spy series. We didn’t even have a name for it at that time, but I had already written enough material for a whole graphic novel. I have been a friend and admirer of Sarah’s art for years, and always wanted to work with her on developing a comic project. We got our first opportunity to collaborate when we published a little zine called ‘The Teletypist’ back in 2019. The Teletypist was an underground project – exactly the type of thing that Sarah and I are both into. The Teletypist was less a story, and more of a collection of true life history by and for hackers. Although there was a cohesive, albeit obscure lore behind the project, it wasn’t what you would call a ‘comic’. (I even still have some original remaining print copies of The Teletypist which you can get at our shop. There are a limited number of them though, and they will never be printed again so get them while you still can!)
Despite its size, The Teletypist was our first opportunity to collaborate on a passion project that was not aimed to do anything except prove that it could be done. These types of projects have always meant the most to me artistically, and often prove to be the most interesting experimental pieces of art. In a few short years, Sarah and I would get another chance to work together, but this time on something much more ambitious. When we entered the pandemic in March of 2020, we would suddenly have an endless amount of the two crucial conditions that fuel the greatest works of art in history; time, and fear.
In the fall of 2020, I began writing out the script for what would become Our Lady Maven. Sarah and I had been talking about working together on some sort of spy story together since 2018. The original idea I approached her with was very different than what I ended up writing in 2020. Over the course of about a year and a half, I had written out about 200 pages worth of scripted frames. After countless edits and re-edits, I finally had a copy of the script I was happy with. Soon the conversations Sarah and I were having went from discussing improvements to the written content, to how to make this story a reality. For me, this meant a crash course in the business of comic making. Even making this single issue has been a multi-year commitment for me. Not just a commitment of time, but also a commitment of money. Sarah and I aren’t the kind of well known creators who can expect to get picked up by a publisher, so self funding/publishing is the only way we can make this happen. That’s when we approached Zoop.gg about crowd funding the project.
In case you weren’t one of the early backers of this project, Zoop.gg is a crowdfunding website for comic book projects. We decided to go with Zoop over gofundme or kickstarter for several reasons, but one of the main reasons was because of how selective they are. This would be the first test of the concept for this comic project. We knew that if we couldn’t convince Zoop to curate the project, then we needed to go back to the drawing board and rethink everything. We reached out to Zoop in early 2022, and after pitching the early art and plot, Zoop agreed to host us. But first we had to give them a title. After a long discussion about what the title should be, Sarah suggested “Our Lady Maven”. It was a simple title, but perfect. Once we had the title, and the curation on Zoop, things felt like they were starting to fall into place.
But not everything was so easy.
We were a month out from the kickoff for crowdfunding the first issue when imposter syndrome kicked in. In her wisdom, Sarah had hoped to build my confidence and portfolio as a creator in the comic space by suggesting that we collaborate on an anthology submission in early 2022. We spent months working on the idea, but ultimately, the pitch failed. The idea, which was a film noire take on the flight of Orpheus was rejected by the anthology which left me wondering what the fuck I had gotten us both into. Here we were, ready to ask people for money to make a comic book project, and my storytelling couldn’t even land us a spot in a simple anthology. I was terrified, and I almost pulled the plug on the whole thing.
Pulling the plug on Our Lady Maven at that stage would have meant that all of the time and energy we had both put into this project would have been wasted. But what was much worse, was the reputational damage that Sarah would have suffered for being caught working with such an obvious amateur. The issue had to be printed because nothing in life worth doing is easy.
So here we are. Officially releasing our first issue and making good on a promise we made to ourselves to actually make something great. We don’t know where this road will take us, but we’re glad to have you all on it with us. Thanks for being here, and stick around for more news soon to come on Our Lady Maven.
-Emily, Author of Our Lady Maven