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Fanbase Press Interviews M.H. Cali on Launching a Zoop Crowdfunding Campaign for the Graphic Novel, ‘The Fury, The Maelstrom, and The Kiwi’

The following is an interview with writer M.H. Cali regarding the recent launch of a Zoop crowdfunding campaign for the graphic novel, The Fury, The Maelstrom, and The Kiwi. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Cali about her shared creative process in collaborating with a host of incredibly talented artists to bring the story to life on the page, what readers can anticipate in terms of backer rewards, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the launch of your Zoop crowdfunding campaign!  For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the story’s premise?

M.H. Cali: Thank you! As the tagline says, ‘This is a story about revenge,’ but reducing it to that might be a little too simplistic. At its core, it’s a story about strong women, how life shapes them to become who they are, and how they adapt to events that impact them. Akemi Ito was a spy. One of the best. She got betrayed by her own, lost her wife, and is now trying to reinvent herself in a world in which she has trouble finding any glimmer of hope or any rhyme or reason. Life can get harsh, humans are complex, and exploring how individuals adapt by tapping into specific layers of their personalities is an amazing playing field for me as a writer. This specific tale is definitely about one of those life explorations in a very action-packed setting.

BD: This project has a Murderers’ Row of creative talent!  How would you describe the process for bringing these individuals together, as well as your approach to weaving each creator’s interpretation into a cohesive narrative?

MHC: It has been an absolute joy, as well as an honor, to collaborate with such amazing creators on this journey. I initially wrote the story to be contained in five separate issues and an epilogue, with the clear idea that each of those would be illustrated by a different artist. When I decided to release it all at once in a collected paperback, and pitched that idea to them, I felt privileged that they all jumped on board. We believe there’s unicity in seeing a story through different artistic lenses, and the beauty of it here is that each artist is bringing their own sensitivities and personalities to the narrative. It truly makes for a tremendously rich experience that is all put together beautifully by our fantastic letterer Mitzi Krasnoff who also flawlessly adapts the lettering to each style to make for an even more immersive experience. And don’t get me started on the variant covers and exclusive illustrations the script inspired! I’m so incredibly flattered and grateful for those takes.

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 The Fury, The Maelstrom, and The Kiwi’s story may connect with and impact readers?

MHC: I’m a big movie buff, and Kiwi has clear ‘What if Kill Bill met Atomic Blonde?’ vibes. I hope the riveting visuals paired with a definite character-driven story will connect with readers and make them feel the conflict inhabiting Akemi. Make them embark on her journey, root for her, but also see her struggles and questionings. Akemi as a protagonist is very flawed, very human. To me, the most impactful stories are the ones that feel genuine and relatable to different extents. I wish we somehow achieved that with The Fury, The Maelstrom, and The Kiwi.

BD: In light of the crowdfunding campaign, are there any particular backer rewards or tiers that you would like to highlight for our readers? 

MHC: We are proud of all the rewards and add-ons we offer from variant covers, the print set, to commissions, and original pages, but the most fun tier has to be the Karma Bundle. With it, you can get a copy of the full 140-page paperback with gorgeous cover by Liana Kangas (who also drew the epilogue), the print set and our exclusive Karma T-Shirt which sports a drawing by Elsa Charretier, was designed by Liana and has a quote from the graphic novel. We all think it’s the perfect badass addition to an already fierce story! Check it out!

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

MHC: Full disclosure: I write both books and scripts. On the comic side, I am currently working on a project with Karolina ‘Kej’ Kruszewska. It’s a sapphic sci-fi post-apocalyptic story that will have bold engaging visuals, and once again a very character-driven story that has subtle Blade Runner and The Last of Us influences. Go big or go home they say? We’re certainly trying to bring it into this story. One thing is for sure: The fall of humankind was just the beginning of something far greater than us! It should be out this Fall. Keep an eye out if that’s your jam!

I also have novels releasing this Summer. Both books of The Black Ops Series—I am in my spy era this year it seems—a steamy thriller for which the covers, designs, and amazing character art are realized by the incomparable Liana Kangas are going to be out soon. I honestly can’t wait for people to witness their gorgeous work on this.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about the The Fury, The Maelstrom, and The Kiwi Zoop campaign and your other work?

MHC: I’m always happy to chat with and meet readers and creators! I am not on Twitter/X anymore, but you can find me on Instagram and BlueSky (@mhcaliwrites). I am posting updates and previews of all projects on those platforms, as well as cheering fellow creators. I’ll be glad to see you around!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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