First look at YA graphic novel Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandaughter
The example of Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein at the age of 19 has long put pressure on those writers who do not conjure up one of the horror genre's most iconic tales while still a teenager. But how much more pressure would it put on a present-day descendant of the novelist? That is the question raised by Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandaughter, a new graphic novel from writer, director, and actress Brea Grant.
"It’s about Mary, who is the descendant of Mary Shelley," says Grant, whose acting credits include the TV show Heroes and this year's creature feature-romantic drama After Midnight. "She comes from a long line of successful female writers and they expect her to be a successful writer. She’s a teenage girl, she is a bit sullen, she’s a goth, and she’s not a great student, hasn’t figured out exactly what she wants to do with her life and [she's] feeling a lot of pressure to make those decisions. What we learn in the book is that not only do monsters exist but she is a doctor to monsters. She had a different calling than she thought she was supposed to have. This crazy thing happens her life will completely change from this point."
The character of Mary grew out of Grant's obsession with the real-life Mary Shelley.
"I've had a lot of interest in her over the years," she says. "I kept thinking about how much she had to live up to. I wanted Mary in the comic book to reflect the same issues of where you’re just trying to figure out where you belong in the world."
Grant collaborated on the book with artist Yishan Li.
"She's fantastic," says the writer. "When I was developing the book, I looked through a bunch of artists and she came up. I thought she had this really interesting style that’s sort of gothic, a little throwback to the '90s, and then an Asian influence as well. I thought those were a really interesting. She did an amazing job. I sent her all these weird character ideas — you know I have a harpie and a talking stuffed bunny — and she sent back the most amazing character drawings. It was a great working relationship."
Grant hosts the books podcast Reading Glasses. So, will she be interviewing herself on an episode?
"I co-host with Mallory O'Meara, who wrote a book called The Lady From the Black Lagoon about the creator of [the monster in] The Creature From the Black Lagoon," says Grant. "We haven't actually talked about it. This is my fourth comic, but I think of it as a totally different thing. But graphic novels are books, so, yeah, we’ll probably talk about it."
Six Foot Press is publishing Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandaughter on Oct. 4. Exclusively see the opening nine pages of the graphic novel below.