Ash and Thorn #1 is a new comic from publisher Ahoy, and it’s written by Mariah McCourt and illustrated by Soo Lee.

Out this week, the touchpoint logline for the series is that it’s a bit like Golden Girls meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, played out in a delightful comics story published by one of the smartest publishers in comics today. The first issue — which is out Wednesday, July 24 — is a great start for a fun new series, and The Beat is honored today to have an interview with McCourt.

You can find our conversation about Ash and Thorn below…enjoy!

ZACK QUAINTANCE: I really liked the dynamic between Lottie and Peruvia. How did you develop it during the creative process? And where did you get such fabulous names for the characters?

MARIAH MCCOURT: Lottie is a name I’ve always liked, it’s often a nickname for Charlotte but in this case is just Lottie. I wanted it to be a little old fashioned but familiar and comfortable, reflecting that side of Lottie as a character. Peruvia I wanted to sound prim and proper and very Old Upper Crust British Family, so her full name is Lady Peruvia Ashlington-Voss. They’re opposites for a reason, playing on that kind of dynamic, to bring out the best and worst in each other as they try to save the world.

QUAINTANCE: I also liked how the book was very funny but didn’t ever go for the easy joke. How aware were you while scripting of the ways older characters are portrayed and the types of humor that usually surround that?

MCCOURT: Very. I grew up with my grandmothers and watching a lot of TV for older folks in the 80’s and 90’s. Older women either don’t exist or are the butt of jokes in a lot of mainstream media and I very deliberately wanted to subvert that. As a lady who is getting older I wanted to explore aging and ageism within the realm of horror and the heroic and question who are typically seen as heroes and why.

QUAINTANCE: I chuckled at the Golden Girls reference…and also wondered if the show or any other depictions of older women were an inspiration for the book? 

MCCOURT: Definitely The Golden Girls, I am a huge Dorothy Sbornak fan. Also Murder She Wrote, Miss Marple, Granny Weather and Nanny Ogg from Terry Pratchett’s Witches series, and more.

QUAINTANCE: Finally, the pies. I love that baking pies is so central to this, and I can’t quite articulate why. Can you tell me about how the pies found their way into the story and the backmatter?

MCCOURT: Well, I personally do love baking and find it comforting and creative. It’s also something associated with grandmothers a lot so I wanted to use it in the story as a nod to home arts that I think carry a lot of mundane magic with them. Of course, in this case, the magic is real and weird and even terrifying. I find that juxtaposition very appealing.

Ash and Thorn #1 is out from Ahoy Comics Wednesday, June 24.