Earlier this week, I discussed the design process for the three witches, Smertae, Riata and Cait from my new comic series, Toil and Trouble with Kelly & Nichole Matthews. However, what adaptation of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth could be complete without Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?

When I approached the design process for the human characters, it was important to me that they be very grounded in reality and match the actual history of the time, so that they would contrast nicely with the supernatural elements of our witches. The real King Macbeth lived in 11th century Scotland, so that is where my research began. I compiled a secret Pinterest board full of all the reference images I could find. Everything from clothes to ships to furniture to archaeological evidence from the time. I even traveled to Scotland to visit museums and castles, taking hundreds of reference photos.

Macbeth design Kyla

Character Design by Kyla Vanderklugt

Remember that I mentioned it can be hard to find images from a specific area and time period and one of my tricks was to look for specific historical figures for reference? Well the people in Macbeth’s area didn’t leave a lot of records about their fashion. But the people that lived to the south of them, the Anglo-Saxons, had a ton of stuff, especially in Macbeth’s time period, where they were fighting the Normans. By looking at examples of their fashion and comparing it to Norman fashion and the few references for Scottish fashion I could find (aided by the local Scottish museums I saw on my trip), I think we were able to come up with some likely outfits for our characters. Special shout-out to the SCA (a group of medieval reenactors who do fabulous research) and the Bayeux Tapestry (a giant, embroidered graphic novel of sorts that shows the Norman Conquest of England). P.S. As a cross-stitcher, I have a special love for this tapestry because a friend told me they got to see it in person and the back is nowhere near “as nice as the front”. In your face ladies who say your back needs to look like your front!

I digress.

So where did we start with Macbeth’s design? Here is my initial description to Kyla Vanderklugt.

Macbeth: A man in his later middle-ages, starting to go gray. Macbeth is still very much a warrior, but is starting to pass his prime (think Eddard Stark from GoT) and his age only seems to compound itself as our story goes on. Still, when he smiles he smiles with his eyes, a dazzling forest green that still look young.

We know that Macbeth was called “ruddy” in descriptions of him, which can mean anything from darker skinned (like you see in Kyla’s design) to essentially tan from being outside, to rosy cheeked, to having red hair. We decided to go with the idea that Macbeth was dark-haired (to contrast with Smertae and Banquo, the two characters around him most often) but tanned from being outside all the time.

Macbeth kickingshoes

Art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews

Also, as I dug deeper, we realized Macbeth was mostly likely born around 1005, so he would only have been 35 at the time he became king. So you see Macbeth got aged down and bulked up a bit in the transition from Kyla to the Matthews’ sisters design. The Scots seemed to make a big deal about their kings being active and physically fit men though, so I think our final designs really fit the bill.

Nitpicker’s note: I did also find reference to Macbeth being “cat eyed” but my sources so completely disagreed on what the heck that meant, I had to disregard it.

Next, to match our lovely Macbeth, we must include our Lady Macbeth to match.

lady macbeth Kyla

Character Design by Kyla Vanderklugt

Ah, Lady Macbeth, one of the most universally hated women in all fiction. Most people don’t realize that she is also based on a real person. The actual Lady Macbeth was named Gruoch and Macbeth was her second husband. She also had a son, Lulach, that she brought to her marriage…and that’s about all we know. No age, no physical descriptions, nada. We can guess she was a bit older than Macbeth (him being her second husband and her being his first wife) and Shakespeare does reference that Lady Macbeth had a child at one point (though he never says what happened to them). Everything else is up for grabs. so here’s where we started when I described her to Kyla.

Lady Macbeth: A middle-aged dark haired woman. Lady Macbeth is the kind of perfect that’s been hollowed out by disappointment. She’s lost  weight at some point and there’s a limpness to her body and her breasts.

And you can see that’s exactly what we got. I love her design and you can see it transition quite well in this flashback from the Matthews’ sisters. She got filled out a bit more, especially in her flashbacks, which are supposed to be Lady Macbeth at her happiest. But, unlike every Hollywood movie ever, she isn’t 18 married to a 50 year old. And while she’s pretty, she’s not a supermodel dropped into 11th century Scotland.

lady macbeth kickingshoes

Flashback Art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews

Some sources indicate she might have had some embroidery on her clothes or more jewelry, but I preferred to give her a slightly more streamlined design so it would stay consistent. Despite my rambley posts, we are a graphic novel, not a history textbook.

Anyway, now that you’ve met the major cast of Toil and Trouble, I hope you’ll come back for more! Stay tuned for future posts looking at background design, cover design, our historical research and the scripting process. 

Toil and Trouble #1 will be available in stores and digitally on September 2nd and can be pre-ordered at your local comic shop with the form below or you can get a subscription at the Boom Studios website.

Toil_and_Trouble_order_form

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The central characters in my new comic series, Toil and Trouble are the three witches of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth. In the play, these women function as supernatural seers delivering two prophecies to Macbeth that inspire Macbeth’s treachery and eventually lead to his downfall. The premise behind the series is to retell the story of Macbeth from the point of view of these three witches to uncover the true motivation behind their role in Macbeth’s fate.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be looking at the design process for the witches and the thoughts that went into both their look and their characterization in the book. In our initial pitch, all of the witches were going to be completely nude as they are supernatural beings with no need for clothes and a lack of clothes would underscore when our “normal” characters can and can’t see them. (Also, while the entertainment industry seems to almost require partial female nudity, there’s something about non-sexual, full-frontal female nudity that still makes many people uncomfortable. We toyed with the idea of nudity to essentially put our audience on an uneasy footing right from the start). This was later changed to help the book get a teen rating and be more appropriate for schools and libraries. So fair warning, there will be some nudity in these posts.

Actually, I wanted to take a moment and say this was a special concern for me with Cait because she looks so young. The idea of the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone were crucial to our design concept, so Cait really needed to look young to fulfill that part of the trinity. But while we never intended to treat her in a sexual manner, I’ll admit I was kept up at night by the prospect of being called a child pornographer. I want to tip my hat to Sarah Stone for doing such an amazing design of Cait that kept her from feeling at all sexual, even fully naked. These are the kinds of struggles you have when you’re making art.

Cait initial sketch

Initial Character Sketch by Sarah Stone

Anyway let’s take a closer look at Cait,  who in the play is known as the “First Witch”. Cait is the peacemaker in our trio of witches and looks like she is a pre-teen girl despite actually being the oldest of the witches. All of the witches are tied to an element and Cait’s is earth. We also wanted to play with the idea of the maiden-mother-crone cycle, so Cait is representative of the Maiden. Here were my initial character design directions:

Cait:

Element: Earth

Type: Maiden

Colors brown skin (like soil), pale hair, black tattoos like vines creeping through her skin. Younger than Smertae and almost childlike with a teen build, Cait is wide-eyed with hair like a tangle of branches which leaf, bloom and shed their leaves throughout the story. Quiet, Cait sees much and says little. She’s often the last of the group to make a move, slow to change and to anger and wary of making a misstep.

Her familiar, Paddock, is a black adder and usually coiled around her, preferring to stay in close physical contact whenever possible.

Cait color

Final Colored Design by Sarah Stone

All of the witches are meant to have supernatural elements that set them apart from the mortal characters in the book. They each have tattoos or magical markings with Cait’s being the tree branches that grow directly out of her skin. It was decided early on that these branches would almost be like the horns or antlers of an animal so you’ll notice a stag-like quality to them.  Graves from the time period she lived in (around 6,000 BCE) show that animal pieces were buried with people and I liked the idea that Cait might have been buried with a pair of antlers on her head a la the Celtic deity, Cernunnos.

When artist Sarah Stone designed the witches, these were her thoughts behind the design:

Blonde hair, perhaps so light it’s almost white. Frizzy, tighter curls that loop around branches and leaves. wide, large golden eyes or maybe darker eyes, to seem more faun-like. Branches almost form antler-esque silhouette perhaps? There can be three prominent ‘horns’. most childlike proportions: small breasted and a petite frame. shortest. Branches envelop and even appear to grow under her skin in some places. Her snake familiar can coil around her and her branches.

Later when we added clothes, we looked at the furs and leathers being worn in the Neolithic era. The cut of her outfit is based off the clothing found on a Neolithic man in the Alps. I noticed it had a very similar design and material make-up to traditional Inuit clothing, which is where we got the idea for the contrasting color stripes. We wanted something that would show off the branches growing out of her arms and legs, so we took away the leggings she probably would have worn and rounded out the outfit with some Neolithic jewelry.

Cait Kickingshoes

Art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews

One of the coolest things about a character design is seeing how other artists interpret it. After Sarah designed the three witches, cover artist Kyla Vanderklugt and interior artists Kelly and Nichole Matthews had to bring that design to life on the page. The strong elements that were important to us from the start (her branches, her darker skin, her child-like appearance), are all noticeable in every incarnation even as little aspects may change with each artist’s style.

Cait Kyla

Art by Kyla Vanderklugt

When the series opens, Cait awaits the return of Smertae, the witch that Riata exiled many years ago, and she hopes that Riata and Cait can reconcile. She sees the others as her family and wants that family to be happy and whole once more.

Cait believes that the witches must unite in order to watch over Scotland. As our story continues, Cait must try to keep her fellow witches in line as they battle over the heart of a king and the soul of a nation.

Stay tuned for future posts about the designs of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Toil and Trouble will be available in stores and digitally on September 2nd and can be pre-ordered at your local comic shop with the form below or you can get a subscription at the Boom Studios website.Toil_and_Trouble_order_form

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The central characters in my new comic series, Toil and Trouble are the three witches of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth. In the play, these women function as supernatural seers delivering two prophecies to Macbeth that inspire Macbeth’s treachery and eventually lead to his downfall. The premise behind the series is to retell the story of Macbeth from the point of view of these three witches to uncover the true motivation behind their role in Macbeth’s fate.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be looking at the design process for the witches and the thoughts that went into both their look and their characterization in the book. In our initial pitch, all of the witches were going to be completely nude as they are supernatural beings with no need for clothes and a lack of clothes would underscore when our “normal” characters can and can’t see them. (Also, while the entertainment industry seems to almost require partial female nudity, there’s something about non-sexual, full-frontal female nudity that still makes many people uncomfortable. We toyed with the idea of nudity to essentially put our audience on an uneasy footing right from the start). This was later changed to help the book get a teen rating and be more appropriate for schools and libraries. So fair warning, there will be some nudity in these posts.

Riata bw design

Initial Character Sketch by Sarah Stone

Last week we met Smertae, now let’s take a look at Riata,  who in the play is known as the “Second Witch”. Riata is the leader of our trio of witches and looks like she is in her forties so she has a more angular frame and some gray hair. All of the witches are tied to an element and Riata’s is air. We also wanted to play with the idea of the maiden-mother-crone cycle, so Riata is representative of the crone. Here were my initial character design directions:

Riata:

Element: Air

Type: Crone

Riata Color Design

Final Colored Design by Sarah Stone

Riata’s a cold woman that sees four steps ahead of everyone else and loves nothing more than to move pieces on the chessboard. The kind of woman you always expect to have unusually pointed K9s. Her tattoos are red and angular.

Her familiar, Graymalkin, is a red kite (a type of hawk native to Scotland), always on the hunt. [Note: In folklore a Graymalkin refers to a cat or winged cat that served witches. But since the other familiars’ names don’t reference a specific design and since our familiars are shape-shifters, we made Graymalkin a bird most of the time.]

All of the witches are meant to have supernatural elements that set them apart from the mortal characters in the book. They each have tattoos or magical markings with Riata’s being done in red. I also wanted her tattoos to be angular and severe so I used a lot of reference material from wind burns and severely dried skin. I wanted Riata to look like her tattoos were made from her skin starting to break open. Riata also has blackened hands with taloned fingers like a bird of prey which sharpen and grow when she is angry or using her magic. As the book goes on, you’ll see this blackness creep up as if her skin is necrotic.

When artist Sarah Stone designed the witches, these were her thoughts behind the design:

Dark hair, straightest. The most mature, and the tallest. Her frame can be almost elvish perhaps. Longer face and half lidded, cold, but beautiful piercing eyes. Pointed canines. Feathers break her silhouette, sometimes seemingly coming from her hair. Overly long nails like talons, stained black. Her tattoos could have the texture of burnt wood, like they are burns but not of flesh. When she casts, perhaps red flame or smoke bleeds from them.

Riata Kickingshoes

Art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews

Later when we added clothes, we researched what was being worn around the first and second century, which was also the time of the Celtic hero, Boudicca, who became a strong inspiration for Riata’s look. Since the witches are each from different time periods of Scotland’s history, their clothing became an essential clue to their history but it can be hard to find clothing reference from so long ago. Since Riata’s story also relates to the Roman Invasion and is closest in time to Boudicca, I was able to research her clothing by looking for articles related to what Boudicca would have actually looked like. Note: Riata would have likely worn plaid, but plaid is REALLY hard to draw consistently especially on non-formfitting clothes. Sometimes you need to compromise.

One of the coolest things about a character design is seeing how other artists interpret it. After Sarah designed the three witches, cover artist Kyla Vanderklugt and interior artists Kelly and Nichole Matthews had to bring that design to life on the page. The strong elements that were important to us from the start (her long hair, her tattoos and talon hands, her pale skin), are all noticeable in every incarnation even as little aspects may change with each artist’s style.

Riata Kyla

Art by Kyla Vanderklugt

When the series opens, Riata awaits the return of Smertae, the witch she exiled to the sea years ago, while also preparing Scotland’s forces for a confrontation with Norway.

Riata believes that she has foreseen the path to the best fate for Scotland and needs her fellow witches Smertae and Cait to help her fulfill it. Riata hopes Smertae’s exile has proven to her that she needs to fall in line, because she needs to be able to trust the women at her side. As our story continues, Riata must face the darkness of her own past, even as she battles for the very soul of the land she loves.

Stay tuned for future posts about the designs of Cait, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Toil and Trouble will be available in stores and digitally on September 2nd and can be pre-ordered at your local comic shop with the form below or you can get a subscription at the Boom Studios website.

Toil_and_Trouble_order_form

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The central characters in my new comic series, Toil and Trouble are the three witches of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth. In the play, these women function as supernatural seers delivering two prophecies to Macbeth that inspire Macbeth’s treachery and eventually lead to his downfall. The premise behind the series is to retell the story of Macbeth from the point of view of these three witches to uncover the true motivation behind their role in Macbeth’s fate.

Smertae rough design

Initial Character Sketch by Sarah Stone

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be looking at the design process for the witches and the thoughts that went into both their look and their characterization in the book. In our initial pitch, all of the witches were going to be completely nude as they are supernatural beings with no need for clothes and a lack of clothes would underscore when our “normal” characters can and can’t see them. (Also, while the entertainment industry seems to almost require partial female nudity, there’s something about non-sexual, full-frontal female nudity that still makes many people uncomfortable. We toyed with the idea of nudity to essentially put our audience on an uneasy footing right from the start). This was later changed to help the book get a teen rating and be more appropriate for schools and libraries. So fair warning, there will be some nudity in these posts.

Our lead character is Smertae who in the play is known as the “Third Witch”. Smertae is sort of the middle sister in our trio of witches and looks like she is in her late twenties. All of the witches are tied to an element and Smertae’s is water. We also wanted to play with the idea of the maiden-mother-crone cycle, so Smertae is representative of the mother. Here were my initial character design directions:

Smertae: the main character.

Element: Water

Smertae design

Final Colored Design by Sarah Stone

Type: Mother

Colors: Red Hair, white skin, blue tattoos. Her tattoos should be almost bruised into her skin. Smertae should have slighty rounded features with wild hair. Her hair should always look like beach hair, like it just dried.

Her familiar, Harpier, is a white crab and frequently put upon, fidgeting constantly.

All of the witches are meant to have supernatural elements that set them apart from the mortal characters in the book. They each have tattoos or magical markings with Smertae’s being done in woad, a blue dye made from plants that the Picts were known to paint themselves with. Smertae also has spikes like a crab that pierce her skin and grow when she uses her magic.

When artist Sarah Stone designed the witches, these were her thoughts behind the design:

Smertae: red hair, loose flowing curls, angular but perhaps the most ‘curvy’, middle height of the three sisters. pale hazel or gray eyes. tiger claw necklace “piercings” built into and around spiral tattoos that look like bruises instead of ink. old scars. Her silhouette is broken by small sharp thorns (like the tiger claws), similarly to a crab they come in threes.

Smertae kyla

Art by Kyla Vanderklugt

Later when we added clothes, we researched how the early Picts wore simple dresses and tunics. Sarah wanted to make sure the dress still felt stylish so she added the cutaways on the arms and legs to show off Smertae’s spikes and tattoos. we also thought it gave her a tattered, more realistic look. If you had spikes coming out of your hips, your skirt wouldn’t last very long either.

One of the coolest things about a character design is seeing how other artists interpret it. After Sarah designed the three witches, cover artist Kyla Vanderklugt and interior artists Kelly and Nichole Matthews had to bring that design to life on the page. The strong elements that were important to us from the start (her hair, her spikes, her dress), are all noticeable in every incarnation even as little aspects may change with each artists’s style.

Smertae preview

Art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews

When the series opens, Smertae is returning to Alba (aka Scotland) after years in exile. She will have to come to terms her fellow witches, Cait and Riata, who have very different plans for the fate of their homeland. Smertae confronts the mistakes of her past, even as she battles for the soul of the man she believes should be Scotland’s king.

Stay tuned for future posts about the designs of Cait, Riata, and some of our other characters. Toil and Trouble will be available in stores and digitally on September 2nd and can be pre-ordered at your local comic shop with the form below.

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NEWSFLASH!

My creator-owned series The Third Witch is now called Toil and Trouble. Same great book written by me with amazing art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews, but with a new title.

If you’ve already pre-ordered Toil and Trouble under its old title, have no fear. The order code is the same, so your request will still go through. For those of you that haven’t ordered Toil and Trouble yet, we have an updated order form just for you. Procrastinators!Toil_and_Trouble_order_form

Click here for a printable version of the pre-order form.

“But Mairghread,” you might be wondering, “what is this comic all about?”

Toil and Trouble is a perspective adaptation of the classic play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. This comic series tells the story of Macbeth from the perspective of the three witches who appear early in the play to deliver a prophecy that Macbeth will soon become king of Scotland. In this story, readers follow Smertae, Cait, and Riata, the fates of Scotland, as they battle each other for the soul of Macbeth and the future of their nation. This is a supernatural horror tale that utilizes the comics medium to delve deeper into Shakespeare’s play and tell an entirely new story.

Pre-ordering is a great way to make sure you get the book, but it also tells stores that this will be a popular book. So if you are looking to support books that you enjoy, make sure to pre-order.

Toil and Trouble will be available on September 2nd. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting some cool behind the scenes looks at the characters, art and writing process, so stay tuned.

Thank You,
Mairghread

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Comic Con colorsHello! We are just a few days away from San Diego Comic Con 2015. Below is my full schedule for all 4 days with panels and signings. Come by and say hi!

Thursday July 9th

  • Editing Comics: The Boom! Studios Way
    1pm in Room 28DE

BOOM! Studios creators James Tynion IV (The Woods,Memetic), Frank J. Barbiere(Broken World, Black Market), Mairghread Scott (The Third Witch, Lantern City), and Curt Pires (The Fiction), along with BOOM! Studios editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon and editor Eric Harburn, as they share some of the editing secrets of one of the comic book industry’s leading independent publishers and discuss editing do’s and don’ts.

  • 3pm-3:45pm Combiner Wars signing at the Hasbro booth #3213
  • Nerdstrong: Getting Fit for Cosplay, Geekdom, and Life
    4pm in Room14A

Andrew Deutsch (Nerdstrong partner, head coach), Marla Hudnall (Nerdstrong partner, coach), Christy Black (Nerdstrong coach, Healthy Is the New Skinny), Kimi Balcomb (Nerdstrong coach, Golden Lasso Cosplay), Andrew Seely (Nerdstrong coach, gaming director), Mairghread Scott (Nerdstrong member, writer Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Swords of Sorrow), and Mel Caylo (Nerdstrong member, marketing manager at BOOM! Studios) discuss fitness, body image, and confidence in a geek world. Moderated by Blair Herter (Nerdstrong Partner, TV host).

Friday July 10th

  • Push Boundaries Forward: Gender, Diversity, and Representation in Comic Books
    10am in Room 4

The face of comics is changing. A diverse panel examine what indie/web publishing has been doing right, how mainstream comics can catch up, and what creators and fans can do to be heard. Moderator Amy Chu (Girl’s Night Out) leads panelists Mairghread Scott(The Third Witch, Lantern City), IDW Publishing editor Sarah Gaydos, Derek Charm (The Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash-Up!), Dr. Andrea Letamendi (The Arkham Sessions podcast), Christian Beranek (Validation), and BOOM! Studios brand communications manager Christine Dinh in a sincere, thoughtful discussion on the topic of gender, diversity, and representation in mainstream comics.

  • VictorionWomen of Transformers
    1:30pm in Room 8

From Windblade and Arcee to Strongarm and the brand-new Combiner making her debut at SDCC, female Transformers characters have finally gotten their due; but behind the page and in fandom, even bigger changes have been happening. Panelists include Transformers comics writers Mairghread Scott and Georgia Ball, artists Corin Howell and Sara Pitre-Durocher, Hasbro’s Sarah Carroll, and special guests.

  • 3:00 pm-4:00 pm Women of Transformers signing at the Hasbro booth #3213

Saturday July 11th

  • Boom! Studios celebrates 10 Years and Pushes Comics Forward
    12:30 in Room 24ABC

2015 marks the 10th year of publishing for BOOM! Studios, a multiple Eisner Award-winning top 10 comic publisher. BOOM! is looking ahead to the next 10 years and how everyone can push comics forward. Moderated by BOOM! president of publishing and marketing Filip Sablik and featuring editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon, Mark Waid (Strange Fruit, Irredeemable), Asaf Hanuka (The Realist), Mairghread Scott (The Third WitchLantern City), and James Tynion IV (The Woods, Memetic, UFOlogy), panelists highlight the changes in the industry and what they want to see in comics.

  • IDW and Hasbro: Transformers, Jem, Ponies, and More
    2:30pm in Room 24ABC

IDW editors John Barber and Bobby Curnow, along with Michael Kelly (Hasbro’s senior director, global publishing), present a comprehensive overview of all things IDW and Hasbro; Transformers, My Little Pony, Jem, G.I. JOE, Dungeons & Dragons. Get the inside scoop on the latest news and announcements. Featuring writer Mairghread Scott, artist Agnes Garbowska, and more special guests.

  • 5:00pm – 6:00pm Signing at IDW booth #2743

Sunday July 12th

  • Push Fun Forward: All Ages Comics Have Arrived
    1pm in Room 24ABC

All-ages comics are important now more than ever in helping to bring in new and lapsed readers, from practically every demographic. BOOM! Studios associate editor Whitney Leopard leads a discussion on the significance of all-ages comics, from what they have achieved thus far to what lies ahead, with creators Mairghread Scott(Transformers: Windblade), Thom Zahler (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), Aron Steinke (The Zoo Box), Ian McGinty(Munchkin), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy).

Hope to see you there!

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ccifrontpage_cci2015_thursdayWow! San Diego Comic Con is only 10 days away! This year is going to be a big one for me, as I have several projects out with IDW and Boom! Studios and we’ve just announced my first creator-owned book The Third Witch. Between now and the show, I’m sure I’ll be making a number of announcements and a few days before I’ll list my whole schedule including signings, but for now check out these cool panels I’ll be on throughout the show weekend.

Thursday July 9th

Editing Comics: The Boom! Studios Way
1pm in Room 28DE

BOOM! Studios creators James Tynion IV (The Woods,Memetic), Frank J. Barbiere(Broken World, Black Market), Mairghread Scott (The Third Witch, Lantern City), and Curt Pires (The Fiction), along with BOOM! Studios editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon and editor Eric Harburn, as they share some of the editing secrets of one of the comic book industry’s leading independent publishers and discuss editing do’s and don’ts.

Nerdstrong: Getting Fit for Cosplay, Geekdom, and Life
4pm in Room14A

Andrew Deutsch (Nerdstrong partner, head coach), Marla Hudnall (Nerdstrong partner, coach), Christy Black (Nerdstrong coach, Healthy Is the New Skinny), Kimi Balcomb (Nerdstrong coach, Golden Lasso Cosplay), Andrew Seely (Nerdstrong coach, gaming director), Mairghread Scott (Nerdstrong member, writer Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Swords of Sorrow), and Mel Caylo (Nerdstrong member, marketing manager at BOOM! Studios) discuss fitness, body image, and confidence in a geek world. Moderated by Blair Herter (Nerdstrong Partner, TV host).

Friday July 10th

Push Boundaries Forward: Gender, Diversity, and Representation in Comic Books
10am in Room 4

The face of comics is changing. A diverse panel examine what indie/web publishing has been doing right, how mainstream comics can catch up, and what creators and fans can do to be heard. Moderator Amy Chu (Girl’s Night Out) leads panelists Mairghread Scott(The Third Witch, Lantern City), IDW Publishing editor Sarah Gaydos, Derek Charm (The Powerpuff Girls: Super Smash-Up!), Dr. Andrea Letamendi (The Arkham Sessions podcast), Christian Beranek (Validation), and BOOM! Studios brand communications manager Christine Dinh in a sincere, thoughtful discussion on the topic of gender, diversity, and representation in mainstream comics.

VictorionWomen of Transformers
1:30pm in Room 8

From Windblade and Arcee to Strongarm and the brand-new Combiner making her debut at SDCC, female Transformers characters have finally gotten their due; but behind the page and in fandom, even bigger changes have been happening. Panelists include Transformers comics writers Mairghread Scott and Georgia Ball, artists Corin Howell and Sara Pitre-Durocher, Hasbro’s Sarah Carroll, and special guests.

Saturday July 11th

Boom! Studios celebrates 10 Years and Pushes Comics Forward
12:30 in Room 24ABC

2015 marks the 10th year of publishing for BOOM! Studios, a multiple Eisner Award-winning top 10 comic publisher. BOOM! is looking ahead to the next 10 years and how everyone can push comics forward. Moderated by BOOM! president of publishing and marketing Filip Sablik and featuring editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon, Mark Waid (Strange Fruit, Irredeemable), Asaf Hanuka (The Realist), Mairghread Scott (The Third WitchLantern City), and James Tynion IV (The Woods, Memetic, UFOlogy), panelists highlight the changes in the industry and what they want to see in comics.

IDW and Hasbro: Transformers, Jem, Ponies, and More
2:30pm in Room 24ABC

IDW editors John Barber and Bobby Curnow, along with Michael Kelly (Hasbro’s senior director, global publishing), present a comprehensive overview of all things IDW and Hasbro; Transformers, My Little Pony, Jem, G.I. JOE, Dungeons & Dragons. Get the inside scoop on the latest news and announcements. Featuring writer Mairghread Scott, artist Agnes Garbowska, and more special guests.

Sunday July 12th

Push Fun Forward: All Ages Comics Have Arrived
1pm in Room 24ABC

All-ages comics are important now more than ever in helping to bring in new and lapsed readers, from practically every demographic. BOOM! Studios associate editor Whitney Leopard leads a discussion on the significance of all-ages comics, from what they have achieved thus far to what lies ahead, with creators Mairghread Scott(Transformers: Windblade), Thom Zahler (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), Aron Steinke (The Zoo Box), Ian McGinty(Munchkin), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy).

Hope to see you there!

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windblade 3In stores this week:

Transformers Windblade #3: Combiner Wars Part 5

(W) Mairghread Scott (A) Marcelo Ferreira, Corin Howell (CA) Casey W. Coller

FINAL BATTLE! The last of the Combiners face off… but who is in control of the ultimate combiner? And who will emerge with the key to dominating the galaxy?

The final issue of Combiner Wars is huge. I’m joined by awesome artists Marcelo Ferreira and Corin Howell for the finale.

The last two pages are going to blow your mind, so one small request: please if you are discussing this issue this week, use spoiler warnings, so that everyone can be surprised at the big reveals.

Also Hasbro just announced that at San Diego Comic Con there will be an exclusive Combiner Hunters toy set featuring Arcee, Chromia, and Windblade. In addition there will be SDCC exclusive covers for Combiner Hunters #1, Windblade #4, Transformers #42, and More than Meets the Eye #42 all by Combiner Hunters artist Sara Pitre-Durocher. Sara’s art with Yamaishi’s colors on this book are absolutely beautiful and this book introduces Victorion, so don’t miss this issue!

This special one-shot comic will also be available in comic shops later in July:

combiner huntersTransformers Combiner Hunters One-Shot

(W) Mairghread Scott (A) Sara Pitre-Durocher (CA) Casey W. Coller

COMBINER WARS FALLOUT! Because you demanded it-WINDBLADE and CHROMIA team up with ARCEE to put an end to the menace of the COMBINER WARS-but will they end each other first?! Featuring the first appearance of fan-created combiner Victorion!

Even more big news coming later this week so stay tuned!

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facets of Honor

Hi Comics Fans!

My latest comic, a digital mini comic called “Mended” written for the Honor Harrington anthology “Facets of Honor” just went live.

Normally I’d just give you the link, but I felt this particular book deserved a bit more. “Mended” is, hands down, the most difficult project I’ve ever written. It focuses on the assault Honor Harrington suffered early in her military career and how it affected her long after the actual incident took place. It’s always hard to shed new light on a pre-existing character, especially one with such a rich history already tackled in David Weber’s excellent books. It’s also always hard to write such a traumatic event in a character’s life. So put those hands together and you have one tough assignment.

I feared upsetting fans, upsetting actual assault survivors and upsetting readers new to Honor, but I also feared that ignoring this moment would be a disservice to the anthology. It happened. It shaped Honor afterward and I felt it deserved to be talked about. So I got some help.

Many thanks to my editor, Jackson Lansing and the good folks at Evergreen for allowing me to call in the one person I trusted to guide this project, the psychologist to the superheroes herself, Dr. Andrea Letamendi. Getting the help of an actual trained psychologist gave me insight into Honor that I would not have had on my own and, with Andrea’s help, I felt we were able to hit on a theme that not only resonated well with Honor, but would contribute to our community as a whole.

While I don’t want to spoil the issue, which I am so proud of, I thought it was important to say that this issue was not made to sexualize Honor or use her for shock value. Kate Brown did an amazing job of keeping Honor feeling like Honor and keeping us firmly in her shoes throughout the story. Thank you so much, Kate.

Not all of you will agree with our choices as storytellers, Honor’s choices as a character, or even the company’s choice to make this comic and I welcome your critiques, but I just wanted to assure that we tackled this difficult tale with all the respect and resources we could muster. I also wanted to thank everyone on this team for taking this leap with me.

With that in mind, here’s the comic.

Be Well,
Mairghread

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SoS-Chaos-Cov-A-Chin-60ce5Today Swords of Sorrow: Chaos and Swords of Sorrow #1 are available!

Swords of Sorrow: Chaos is a prequel one-shot written by me and drawn by Mirka Andolfo with letters by Erica Schultz and edited by Hannah Elder. This issue introduces you to the villains of Gail Simone’s Swords of Sorrow main series. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had writing a comic. When writing villains you can just let loose.

Swords of Sorrow: Chaos can be found at your local comic shop, on Comixology, or Dynamite’s website.

You should also definitely pick up Gail Simone and Sergio Davila’s Swords of Sorrow main series. It can also be found at your local comic shop, on Comixology or Dynamite’s website.

I also just wanted to thank Gail for putting together this amazing team of women and inviting me to join it. Gail is a real force of good in our industry and she uses her role as a veteran creator to help build a better future for comics. Thank you Gail.

So go read the books. Tweet or tumble at me and let me know your favorite parts. I bet it’ll be the #Grapes scene!

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