Following a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, Sarah Graley’s Our Super Adventure: Press Start to Begin is set to be re-released by Oni Press later this month. The hardcover volume includes over 200 comic strips from her wildly popular web comic, Our Super Adventure, which chronicles moments from her life with partner Stef Purenins and their four cats: Pesto, Pixel, Wilson and Toby.
Graley is known for these diary comics, as well as books like Kim Reaper, Rick and Morty and Invader Zim. Ahead of the new Our Super Adventure release on March 27, The Beat caught up with this UK-based comics creator via e-mail to talk about Our Super Adventure, ideal celebrity voices for each of her four cats, and her other projects-in-progress.
Samantha Puc: For our readers who may not be familiar with the long history of the Our Super Adventure comics, can you talk about when you started them and how you came to the decision to create a printed volume for them?
Sarah Graley: I started doing them back in 2012! My partner Stef kept doing really cute things, and it was fun to draw those things in comic form! I started sharing them online, and they seem to have really connected with other people which is really sweet! Over the first few years I would make smaller collections of comics and sell them at conventions in the UK. I think the VERY first collection was a scrappy little black and white photocopied one that we made last minute for a convention called Thought Bubble in the UK, and some people still have a copy of it to this day!
Puc: I know you initially published this volume through Kickstarter — what was it like to crowdfund this book and how has working with Oni to produce a new version differed? What have you learned?
Graley: It was really exciting; we received a lot of support for the book which was a lovely surprise! It was the first time that I’d ever run a crowdfunding project, and I really wanted the first big, full-colour comic collection to be something special! We ended up getting to make a really nice hardback book with gold foiling on it, and the the new Oni Press version shares that same sparkly finish! The comics inside have remained the same, but it was nice to tidy up some of the other design elements in the book and bring them more up to date with newer Our Super Adventure books (which will also be out through Oni Press in the near future!).
Puc: Why do you think so many people connect with this material? Have you had any meaningful interactions with fans about these comics, at shows or online?
Graley: I think when I started doing these comics, it was a way of documenting cute everyday moments in my life and my relationship, and I didn’t really have an audience in mind — I was just making them for fun! It’s been lovely seeing people connect with the comics, and it’s kinda nice knowing that we’re not the only people out there sharing cute, goofy moments with one another. I often get messaged by people who say that when they started dating their partner, they would send each other Our Super Adventure comics, and I think that’s really kinda magical! We get to talk to a lot of readers at conventions, and it’s always super interesting hearing about which strips are people’s favourites!
Puc: How do you choose moments from your daily life to turn into comics?
Graley: I think it’s mainly the moments that make us laugh really hard after they’ve happened, and if I’m lucky enough to remember to note it down afterwards, I’ll make a comic about that moment! It really helps that Stef is hilarious, and having four cats definitely means things never get too quiet or boring.
Puc: How has Our Super Adventure changed since you first started doing diary comics?
Graley: Initially I was doing comics in black and white, but this first hardback collection collects the comics from the point that I started doing them in full colour! (There’s still a few of the black and white ones in the back of the book in a bonus section!) From the second collection onwards, Stef started doing lettering on the comics and I started drawing the comics digitally! It’s also become a lot more collaborative — me and Stef are super lucky to work together now and it’s a joy to be able to make such a personal comic together.
Puc: What do your cats think about their comic selves?
Graley: I would say that Pesto begrudgingly accepts how grumpy she looks — she’s a very angry looking cat but she’s incredibly sweet IRL. Toby is too busy doing her own thing to care. Pixel is probably asleep, and Wilson probably wants his own spinoff series.
Puc: Do you have a favorite comic in this collection?
Graley: Stef’s favorite comic is one where the cats all run away from me and I sadly exclaim, “I’m a lonely little plum.” He vividly remembers that moment because of the comic which is fun!
I would say my favorite is the one where me and Stef both have cats on us, and Stef wants crisps. Mainly because it’s the comic that people see and realise that we’re from the UK! It’s so interesting to know that people mainly see these comics and give us American accents by default, but then it gets to that comic and we get a lot of comments from people saying that it broke their brain a little bit!
Puc: If Our Super Adventure is ever optioned for a movie, do you have a dream cast in mind?
Graley: Okay, most importantly, it’s all about famous voices for the cats. I want to say Tom Hanks for Pixel, Lin-Manuel Miranda for Wilson — I think he could pull off the cheeky vibe that Wilson has — Pesto would probably be someone like Aubrey Plaza, and Toby would be Natasha Lyonne. (Yes, we just watched Russian Doll, how did you know?)
Puc: What else are you working on currently, if you can say?
Graley: I’ve just finished working on my first middle grade graphic novel, called Glitch, and I’ve just finished creating the art for the first Minecraft graphic novel! Both of those books are out later this year!
Stef and I are now working on a second Our Super Adventure travel comic — Our Super Canadian Adventure! Oni Press will be releasing that later this year and we’re really excited to make a book all about our first trip to Toronto last year! We’re also working on some other projects together but those are secret for now!
Puc: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Graley: Just that we’re super excited that Our Super Adventure is being released by Oni Press! They’ve been incredibly helpful and supportive to me over the last few years, and I’m really excited that Our Super Adventure books can get to a larger audience now!
Additionally, Stef and I will be at Emerald City Comic Con in March to celebrate the release! We’ll be taking part in panels and signings and we’re super excited!
Our Super Adventure: Press Start to Begin hits shelves on March 27. You can follow Sarah Graley on Twitter and Instagram; you can also follow Stef Purenins on Twitter and Instagram. Our Super Adventure updates on Mondays.
Check out the cover and some interior pages from Our Super Adventure: Press Start to Begin below and be sure to grab a copy at your local comic shop or bookstore later this month!
Samantha Puc is an essayist and culture critic whose work has been featured on Bustle, The Mary Sue, SheKnows, The Tempest, Rogues Portal, and elsewhere. She mostly writes intersectional pop culture analysis with a particular focus on representation of LGBTQ and fat characters in fiction. Samantha is also the co-creator of Fatventure Mag, an outdoors zine for fat women and non-binary creators who are into being active, but not into toxic weight-loss culture. She lives in Rhode Island with her partner and cats.