Malcolm Terzich writes:
I began running a Kickstarter for my first comic book recently, and almost everyone has asked me: of all the stories you’ve been working on, why choose the one about a literal bunny girl?
It’s a fair question, I have to admit. The story is strange, but I’ve always been a pretty strange guy, so that makes a lot of sense. I’ve always been fascinated with mythology. Egyptian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Hebrew, Greek, Norse, Chinese, Mayan, you name it. If there was a fantastic tale that helped explain how people made sense of the world, I wanted to know it. We didn’t have access to the internet for quite some time over at my house when I was growing up. Even dial-up was too expensive for us until later on. This left me with only the public library, whose only computers were set up as card catalogs at the time.
I must have read every book on mythology and religion the library had at the time, which wasn’t much for a city only just then growing to 20,000 people. My hunger for the subject was yet to be satiated, so I asked a librarian if they had any other books on the field that might have been hidden in other topics that wouldn’t show up in the catalog search. She answered no, but since she had seen me read through the books so quickly and frequently, she asked why I was so fixated on mythology.
It wasn’t a question I had asked myself before that. I thought about it rigorously and came to a conclusion. It was the hero story. Sure, there were ancient explanations for how the world came into being, but mythology was littered with hero stories. And it wasn’t just people going out and helping others. A mythological hero was someone who had to tangle with madness and bring order back to the world. And that was when the librarian pointed me to the section containing comic book anthologies.
I hadn’t much experience with comics at this point. I recognized some of the characters from animations and the few movies out at the time, but the stories weren’t quite the same as they were in print. To me, these were nearly identical to the stories I had been reading, except in many ways more personal. At times, it was like you were in the hero’s head. I had reached my Modern American Mythos, and that was when I realized that I could make mythology, too.
Years went by and I continued reading and writing into adulthood, but I never did anything with it. Then one day when I was going for a walk with a buddy, this story hit me. I don’t quite remember what the conversation was about or how we got on to the topic, but we were arguing over whether or not the classic cape comic genre could be consolidated with the magical girl genre. To me, this was a no-brainer. Magical girls and their stories are inherently no different from cape comics. You have a person with abilities, naturally or gifted, who is thrust into chaos and has to overcome an enemy that embodies said chaos. And to win this argument, the Jackrabbit was born.
The character would need to check certain boxes to work. As a magical girl, the first obvious requirement was the girl part. After that she would need to be reluctant to the job but it would be necessary for her, she would need a unique set of powers, and she would need a familiar that follows her around. The requirements for cape comics are much looser and more dependent on story structure than anything. She just needed a name, an traumatic origin story, and an overall theme to really hit the clichés. So, to really tie everything back together, I went back to mythology.
Many of the oldest deities were feral, or had animalistic features. This made them both recognizable and unpredictable at the same time. Since the rabbit is a very common theme amongst magical girls I went with that image. I also figured that if it was an ancient guardian spirit she had to host, then her familiar could be her predecessor as well, which in turn would allow me to throw in the passing of the mantle trope. As the lone survivor of a bus accident on the brink of death, having the spirit passed on to save her life solves all of these issues. And what rabbits known for? Going fast.
After a while of working out all the details, I had won my argument, but I ended up with this really chaotic and entertaining story. The problem was that my art isn’t really up to par, and it was a story that really needs the additional execution that words alone wouldn’t suffice. So I let it sit on the back burner for some time and just kept eating at me. I went on writing, mostly for fun and free, expanding my mythos, until one day I came across a Kickstarter for a comic book.
I didn’t consider that anyone could fund the production of a comic book that way. So I went and found a team of people to fill the gaps in my capability and set out to make the book I’ve been dying to produce for the last few years.
And I don’t want to stop with this one story. It is written to be a 12-issue arc, but like all good mythologies it spreads wide and I have tons of other stories to tell. Some of which the Jackrabbit will pop up in. If you want to support the modern mythos or just a fun story in general, you can find it here. And if you came over from Bleeding Cool, send me a message saying so over there or at the Facebook Page after you back it with your backer info (name and such) and I’ll add a concept art print to any physical reward tier that won’t be available otherwise.
Just remember, that mythology doesn’t stop just because the world moves on, we just look at it a little differently than we did before.