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Fanbase Press Interviews Matthew Erman and Liana Kangas on the Upcoming Release of ‘Mariko Between Worlds’ with Mad Cave Studios

The following is an interview with Matthew Erman and Liana Kangas regarding the upcoming release of the graphic novel, Mariko Between Worlds, through Mad Cave Studios. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Erman and Kangas about their shared creative process in bringing the story to life on the page, what they hope that readers will take away from the story, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your Mariko Between Worlds! You recently noted about the book: “If you’ve ever watched 90 Day Fiancee and felt it needed more angst and space aliens and portals to capitalist nightmare dimensions… then I guess this is literally the comic for you.” What can you share with us about the genesis behind this off-the-well, yet completely grounded, rom-com story?

Matthew Erman: Yes, my wife Lisa and I were asked by Liana, our good friend, to be on this project with her, for Mad Cave. They had a short proposal, and we were asked to build out the story from that which can be a lot of fun. So, Lisa and I were watching a lot of reality TV, I think this was during the beginning/middle of the COVID pandemic, so it was actually 90 Day Fiance, that was like our main show, and we thought the structure of that show could be fun for a story, and we built it from there.

For stories like this, stories that I don’t “own,” I like to have fun and I like to test the boundaries a little, and see how far things can be pushed and still make sense. There’s stuff in here I’m really proud of, and Liana did a beautiful job illustrating those hard-to-convey ideas.

Liana Kangas: Ideally, if you’re ever asked to do a comic, the first thing is pick a rag-tag crew of killer creators. Next is, apparently, make the world seem limitless and as bizarre as possible. And only THEN, do you work with the team to inject the really soul-crushing, adorable(?) rom-com aspect.

BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working together to bring this galaxy of characters to life on the page?

ME: Liana is someone I’ve always really admired and respected, and it was a joy to write the script for her and see her bring to life so many weird things and details. It’s the best part of being a comic writer, getting to work with very cool and talented people like Liana, and then see them feed off your scripts and create something you never imagined.

LK: We were really lucky to get to choose our creative team and be paired with Rebecca and Micah. I know with work-for-hire projects that doesn’t tend to happen a lot, so I’m really grateful Matt and I finally got to work together. I can’t wait to find another project for us to work on in the future.

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BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Mariko and Rem’s story may connect with and impact readers?

ME: I believe that despite being very irreverent, there is a great story about a young woman who is stuck in a variety of spots in her life, and this book is about the journey she takes to find peace with those things.

LK: I think the takeaway from this book is finding one’s true purpose and being at the center and ultimately are happy with themselves. For me this is really important, as this is a journey I’ve been on since the conception of the book. I hope a lot of readers connect with the themes here like I did.

BD: What makes Made Cave Studios the perfect home for this story?

ME: It was their idea, and my experience with them has been nothing but great. So, I wasn’t nervous about working with them again.

LK: It’s really cool to see the evolution of stories Mad Cave has put out since Matt and I started on this book in 2020. You can clearly tell they are very story focused with what they publish! Ours included.

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

ME: I have several upcoming comics with IDW, as well as an unannounced project with Mad Cave, and my next announced release is in 2024, my Dark Horse debut with an original graphic novel with Sam Beck, Loving, Ohio. I’m very excited.

LK: A lot of my work is coming out this year! You can pick up my new creator-owned books, TRVE KVLT (IDW Publishing), Know Your Station (BOOM! Studios), and Welcome to Riverdale (Archie Horror) in the span of the next month! I’m also doing a ton of rad covers for Star Trek in their new Eisner-nominated line that I’m super proud of!

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Mariko Between Worlds and your other work?

ME: You can find links to my other published comics at my website:

LK: You can always find me on my Patreon, or my website at

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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