The following is an interview with Eisner-nominated comics writer and novelist Alisa Kwitney (Rogue: Untouched, Mystik U) regarding the upcoming release of the comic book series, G.I.L.T., from AHOY Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Kwitney about the shared creative process with artist Mauricet, the bonus content that readers will have in store, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of G.I.L.T.! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the series’ premise?
Alisa Kwitney: My one sentence answer is it’s The Golden Girls meets Sex and the City—by way of the Twilight Zone. My slightly longer answer is that it’s the story of two women—Hildy, a bawdy, chain-smoking old broad, and Trista, a middle-aged mercenary of a home health care aide—who slip through a time portal and land in the past. All of a sudden, it’s 1973, and Hildy is thirty-something and about to get married, and Trista is a nine-year-old discovering that her life was tangled up in Hildy’s from the start. Now, both women have to disentangle the past before the Guild of Independent Lady Temporalists sanctions them and dismantles their futures. (Okay, that was a slightly longer answer.)
BD: What inspired you to tell this story alongside artist Mauricet, and how would you describe your shared creative process?
AK: When my mother came to live with me during the pandemic, we started watching The Golden Girls together. I hadn’t really watched it back in the ’80s, and I was amazed at how good the writing was — and how bawdy and sexual the three women were. I was also kind of shocked that they were in their fifties and sixties, not in their seventies and eighties. It occurred to me that there were all these similarities to the ’90s Sex and the City—this was well before the reboot—and yet I felt both shows had a similar flaw. They ended with the main character getting married, and in the case of the Golden Girls, leaving her friends and mother for this new guy. And I thought, “Bet Dorothy regretted that decision.” That was the initial spark.
But Alain and I always talk throughout the creative process, and I write knowing him and seeing his art in my mind’s eye. So, the story became one that reflected themes that resonated with both of us—trying to reconcile your past self with the current version, trying to reconcile your version of the past with someone else’s, trying to square the seventies obsession with airplane sex, disaster movies, and mustaches.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Hildy and Trista’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
AK: I think this story should resonate with anyone who secretly wants a heartwarming buddy story to soften the shriveled, dried-out husk that used to be their heart, but can’t handle even the slightest hint of sentimentality. And even though that sounds like a joke, I mean it most sincerely. I am always writing the story I would want to read, and I often find myself torn between the stories which have the tone and sensibility I like, and stories that have some uplift and don’t leave me utterly fershluggen at the end. I loved Fleabag and Russian Doll because they were cynical optimist stories. I always want the end of the world to have a coda where the kid and the rat become best friends.
BD: What makes AHOY Comics the perfect home for this series?
AK: AHOY supports creators in every conceivable way. I felt that Tom Peyer was committed to making this series the best it could be and finding it the widest possible audience. In that sense, it’s a lot like Vertigo was in the nineties—focused on the stories and the creators, not on what the comics might turn into on the big or little screen.
BD: As with all of AHOY Comics’ releases, there are sure to be lots of incredible “extras” included with the issue. Can you give us a preview of what readers can anticipate with the first issue’s release?
AK: There is an amazing variant cover by Jill Thompson, and a letter column that fills my seventies-era heart with joy.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
AK: Sandman fans should check out my Endless podcast with Lani Diane Rich, and I have a Rogue novel with Aconyte that was a lot of fun to write. I can’t talk about what’s next just yet, but it might be set in Greenwich Village in the fifties, and could potentially feature sentient mushrooms.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about G.I.L.T.?
AK: People can follow me on Twitter @akwitney, on instagram at k.witty, or on FB @alisa.kwitney.sheckley. My website is www.alisakwitney.com, and Sandman fans can check out my Endless podcast with Lani Diane Rich at https://endless.transistor.fm.