During San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Dynamite announced that artist Shannon Maer would be releasing his first-ever creator-owned comic Sirens Gate. Known for his painted covers, Maer’s unique style permeates every page, making the book a gorgeous art piece as well as an urban fantasy tale filled with vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures.
Ahead of the fall release, Maer chatted with us about the book and what it was like taking on not only fully painted interior pages, but the story, lettering, and more.
Deanna Destito: How has it been doing your first creator-owned book, especially since taking on all aspects (writing, art, letters)?
Shannon Maer: When I first thought about creating my own comic, I did have to stop and ask myself if I even thought it was possible. I think I just got so tired of wondering about it—one day I just rolled up my sleeves and decided to find out.
Destito: How did you come up with this story?
Maer: Our protagonist, Tara, is an aspiring writer and as an artist myself, I would have to say that the desire to grow and express yourself creatively is a story that I just felt that I wanted to share. I also figured why not do it in a fantastical world of werewolves and vampires while I was at it. This also gave me the perfect backdrop to explore the very nature of this yearning to break free.
Destito: The fully painted pages are beautiful. How long does it take to produce one completed page in this style?
Maer: The answer to that has thankfully been changing with every page that I do. Issue #1 took me four months to complete. The earlier pages took longer, and I got faster and faster as I went along. Right now I think I’m more than twice as fast as I was early on, but I still feel as if there’s room to improve upon that. Per page is a difficult question as they very much vary from one to another, but I am challenging myself to be able to complete a new issue on a monthly basis. Right now I’d have to say that I’m more comfortable with every other month—for the time being.
Destito: How has it been working with Dynamite for this book?
Maer: Dynamite has been incredible every step of the way. From day one I felt the enthusiasm about wanting to hear more about the project—followed shortly thereafter with the professionalism of an amazing team all working together to make sure that everything goes smoothly. I have been a cover artist for many years, but there was so much with this production that was new to me.
My producer Becky Fuller has been an integral part of the team since day one. Since the very first days, she was there to help me review and edit the pages. I couldn’t have asked for someone with more of an understanding of how a story should flow.
Destito: Any future projects you are working on that you’d like to share or tease?
Maer: The next issues of Sirens Gate are very much a focus for me. I grow more and more excited to share them, as there are mysteries and secrets to reveal every step of the way.
Sirens Gate #1 is available for preorder and will release in October in comic shops as well as on Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, ComicsPlus, and more.