PERFECTION IS POWER IN MARA
Posted on September 25, 2012
In December, Image Comics will publish the first issue of MARA, a new series by acclaimed writer Brian Wood and brilliant up-and-coming artist Ming Doyle. In a hyper-technological future where sports, war, and celebrity are the world's obsessions, no one is more famous than Mara Prince. A model and athlete regarded as a paragon, Mara rises to an untouchable height of fame when she manifests superpowers on live television.
For Wood (Northlanders, Conan the Barbarian, DMZ), the connection between athlete and superhero is a natural one. "For a while I've seen a connection between superstar athletes and superheroes, both superficially and also in how each can be portrayed and dissected, lauded, and demonized by the societies they serve," he said, adding that the pressure to perform perfectly can be tremendous for young athletes. "Mara deals with a superstar female athlete who commits this very 'sin' of not being perfect, and finds herself facing down the worst of what we can throw at a vulnerable young woman. "
In the society Wood imagines in MARA, physical prowess "is not just expected, its mandatory. Society celebrates perfection and personal achievement," he explained. "In one day Mara will go from being the absolute example of this to betraying it all completely."
Mara's transformation and the futuristic world that explodes elements of our own society into a more extreme scale are in keeping with the iconoclastic, rebellious protagonists and possible futures that Wood is renowned for in works like Channel Zero (originally published by Image in 1997), DMZ, and The Couriers (a collection of which will also be published by Image Comics in November). But while the societies in his earlier works are crumbling, in MARA, the world is at the height of decadence that precedes inevitable decay.
Bringing this world to life with her art is Doyle (Girl Comics, Mystery in Space, Adventure Time: Marceline Scream Queens). "Mara exists in a society where personality is productized and even the minutest actions are instantaneously uploaded, circulated, and examined," said Doyle. "I feel that in both the broad strokes of ultra-sized stadiums and the small touches like social media enabled microphones and eye-in-the-sky blimps, we're building a stage for Mara that's both expansive and claustrophobic."
Bringing color to Doyle's pencils and inks is Jordie Bellaire, whose work on THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, Doctor Strange, and The Rocketeer have made her one of comics' most sought-after colorists.
MARA is a six-issue mini-series, debuting on December 26. It is available for pre-order in the October issue of Previews. An exclusive advance preview and interview with the creators appeared in USA Today on September 12. Wood and Doyle were also interviewed at Comics Alliance in March, when their collaboration was first announced.