If you’ve been following our Cook Your Comics series, you know that we are smitten with Ash & Thorn, the new series from AHOY Comics. In the first volume, available in comic stores now and in bookstores next week, writer Mariah McCourt introduces us to Lottie Thorn and her trainer, Lady Peruvia Ashlington-Voss. Unlike your typical bad girls of comics, Lottie and Lady Ash boast both experience and age, and definitely do not let the latter stop them from saving the world from monsters before tea time.
Here, McCourt chats with WWAC about her golden heroes and the delicious recipes that accompany their demon battling.
The tagline of “Buffy-meets-the-Golden Girls” was an instant sell for myself and anyone I described the series to. What role did these two shows play in your life?
I grew up with my grandparents watching a lot shows I think people associate with older folks like Murder She Wrote, Matlock, and Golden Girls. For whatever reason I really gravitated towards the latter (and MSW). Dorothy’s character in particular, for her wit and snark. I memorized whole episodes and I re-watch now. It reminds me of my grandmothers and the other older women in my life, like art teacher Myril Adler, who shaped a lot of my life creatively and personally.
With Buffy, I came to the show a bit late, after it was already off the air. But I got hooked on the trope subversion, the use of horror and humor, the weaving of narrative arcs that could play out over several seasons. There are lot of Buffy episodes that hit me on a person level, like The Body, and show you that even something with superficially “silly” concept can have real emotional depth and resonance.
Lottie and Lady Peruvia are unusual protagonists when it comes to comics. Why did you decide to centre your story on women who would typically be considered well past their prime in this industry?
Partly because I grew up around women who were technically “past their prime” but still living their lives, quietly or loudly, and realizing how ridiculous it is that we don’t seem them as protagonists very often. We spend most of our lives as “older” people, not teenagers. Yet we rarely see that, especially older women. And I mean truly older, not 40. So I wanted to tell a story that really hinged on the realities of age and the way we devalue older women, subvert that with deliberate tropes and genre play, and hopefully tell a story that makes people question that and have a good time while doing so.
Why was it important to you to incorporate baked goods into the series?
I think a lot of home arts are kind of dismissed as not true art or lesser skills when they shape a lot of who we are. Most of us have sense memories attached to foods, to the people who made them. Baking is creative, it’s unpredictable, it’s emotional and comforting and nourishing. So I wanted to include that in something that it would seem really weirdly juxtaposed with, like monster fighting, because it sounds kind of ridiculous but then in context you find it is and it isn’t.
How did you formulate your recipes? Did they come down from family members? Were they the result of tinkering with back-of-the-box recipes, or…?
Quite a few are family recipes, the pie crusts are my grandmother’s recipe and my dad really loved to bake pies. The gingerbread is from my mom but I add WAY more ginger and use molasses. I do a lot of baking with my daughter and there are only so many times I can make vanilla cake (even though I love vanilla) without adding things and changing it up.
How’s that recipe book coming…? Let me know when I can pre-order….
Well, the back of the TPB is going to have all the recipes from the series AND new ones so it’s kind of like a mini recipe book!
Pick up a copy of Ash & Thorn Volume 1: Recipe for Disaster, and check out our thoughts on the issues and recipes below: