Introduction to Justine Mara Andersen's New Mara project

Justine Mara Andersen re-launches MARA and discusses page 1. Justine has been busy prepping her files and pages to discuss with her students. This is a glimpse of a 32-page comic in progress, with valuable insights Justine is offering into the creative decision-making process on each page.

 

In this video I’m showing you how I live, where I work, and a little bit about who I am. Who is this madwoman creating Exploitation comics in this day and age? Just me… Justine Mara Andersen.

You’ll be seeing my room, my “psychedelic pad,” my “little slice of paradise.” Eclectic as the setting may be whenever I watch Bollywood movies in my room at night… the movies just seem to settle right into the decor, and at times it’s hard to tell where the movie ends and the room begins, especially when watching Sanjay Leela Bhansali films. At night, when the curtains are pulled, the room takes on an exotic magic that feels quite different from the vacation in paradise setting of the daylight hours.

And definitely the forest around my room has been integrated into the decor. The yellows and greens play about on the walls creating a seamlessness between the interior and exterior.

In fact, the below photo was taken directly from my room. My nearest neighbors are animals, deer, bald eagles, hawks, alligators, wild turkeys, and lots of little lizards and gorgeous green tree frogs.

I took this picture from my window, a great view right into the forest. (pic by Justine Mara Andersen)

Mara Medievalist (by Justine)

Mara Medievalist (by Justine)

And here, in this setting, in this room, is where I do my work, my drawing and my dreaming. In many ways, this relaunch of Mara seems like an exercise in madness.

Many might ask, why return to a project that was wholly ignored, sold poorly, and has been ultimately forgotten?

There is no logical answer, other than the one French exploitation director Jean Rollin gave me when I asked him why he kept creating under such adversity, he told me, if I don’t write or make films, I die.

When I began Mara back in 1989 (or so) I knew nothing about her or her world, nor did I know how to draw or tell a story. Of course the image above is from one of the last Mara books, and is quite accomplished, but in so many ways Mara has never left me. Even if the rest of the world chose to ignore her, and ignore me as an artist, she and I have always been one.

And even if many want to call me out for “sexualization” or being somehow anti-feminist for drawing good old fashioned romantic erotic fantasy, Exploitation, I no longer care because that, too is part of me. I don’t do this for money, I don’t do this because “sex sells,” or to be a “sell-out,” I do this because it’s the truth of who I am.

Be careful when judging a person’s art, when assuming their motives. Very often the anger of the viewer is the only lens through which they can see art that does not conform to their ideologies.

I guess if you don’t like Mara, you don’t like me, and you know what, that’s fine by me. As deep as I am into this incarnation, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that I no longer expect to be loved by all.

All I can do is love what I do and tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.

Oh, and funny note about the above Mara panel… that word balloon “I feel like a Victorian” was a direct reference to how dismissive David X Cohen was of my work when a friend delivered it to his desk in the hopes that I might be able to find work with the Simpsons (by the way, I had sent in cartooning samples, not just Mara), he tossed it aside and said, “It’s too Victorian.” Well like when Lennon said all McCartney did was write silly love songs and Paul wrote “Silly Love Songs” in response, I did the same here.

What’s so wrong with being Victorian anyway?

And to take Justine's classes, click https://learn.sawcomics.org/collections/justine?q=