Gene Ha, who is best known for his work with famous comic book publishers including Marvel, DC Comics, and ABC Comics, recently debuted a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for his first ever creator-owned graphic novel, Mae.
According to Newsarama, Ha announced the project on Friday at C2E2 and noted that he has been working on Mae for the past two years. The new comic is a story about a girl name Mae who is reunited with her sister Abbie, who ran away years ago and finds that the place she ended up at was a fantastical other world called Cimrterén.
While describing the comic, Ha stated that there are “mad science and monsters” everywhere in Cimrterén and they are coming to get Abbie – and those who stand in their way such as Mae. Ha also revealed that Mae is a project decades in the making and was inspired by his early love of Matt Wagner’s Mage.
During his interview with the media outlet, Ha stated:
“Mae is the story of two sisters from small town Indiana. Eight years ago, the older sister Abbie Fortell disappeared. Mae, the younger sister, finished school, cared for their aging father, and took over the family business. She has no idea what happened to her sister until she gets a last night call from the Sheriff’s office. Abbie is back, with tales of adventures and mad scientists and monsters. Those stories are hard to believe until the monsters start appearing in Indiana.
“The viewpoint character is Mae. Just as the first Middle Earth novel is called The Hobbit instead of Gandalf, this is a tale of an ingénue dragged into an adventure, not the guide.
“Mae will have a much more interesting take on the other world than her sister. Abbie is an action hero, so if she has a problem she just looks for an enemy to attack. Mae has a more nuanced view and more thoughtful solutions. Sometimes that solution will involve kicking an a** but not always. Mae will never stop growing and learning: that’s why Mae is the hero I want to write.”
Sharing details about the monsters Mae and Abbie will encounter, Ha explained:
“We see the monsters from the other world, but we don’t see their home world yet. I can give you a broad description. In Cimrterén mad science works and monsters are everywhere, many of them quite pleasant and some of them terrifying. The first Czech explorers arrived in this other world in the 19th century, and Czech-Americans and the other U.S. citizens followed them. For instance, there’s a large African-American population. Whatever your race or gender, economic and political power usually comes from mad science talent.
“I’ve created a history and basic principles for the mad science of Cimrterén. This is only for consistency’s sake; I won’t force into the story just to show off. I want to avoid anything like midi-chlorians and long debates in the galactic senate.”
In regards to what made him turn to Kickstarter, Ha added:
“I attended a Kickstarter panel by Jimmy Palmiotti at the Long Beach convention 2013, and afterward he answered some more questions for me. He’s continued to advice me by email ever since. He’s an incredibly savvy storyteller and businessman. He’s launched a whole series of great PaperFilms books through Kickstarter. My main advisor has been fellow Chicagoan Ryan Browne. He did a brilliant Kickstarter to publish the hardcover collection of his God Hates Astronauts comics. No one has ever created more fun running a Kickstarter. He had limited run tiers where you could get extras like having the book packed in the box backward, or getting the book signed along with a personalized sarcastic insult. Those stunts were amusing, but he could only do stunts after he had the basics down pat. Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder have been incredibly generous with their wisdom. That’s humbling because their Rocket Girl Kickstarter inspired me to try this.”
Mae’s Kickstarter is set to close on May 27th.
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