Inspired by his love of Matt Wagner's "Mage," Ha will turn to Kickstarter with his first independent project, which finds two sisters who are up against an alternate reality filled with monsters and mad science. The story follows Mae, who reunites with her sister Abbie after she disappeared eight years prior. Now Abbie is back in Indiana, but she is not alone; her sojourn to this parallel world brought back all kinds of creatures, and Mae is along for the ride. Less action-inclined than her sister, Mae must come up with solutions to problems that Abbie usually resolves by attacking.
Ha has 57 pages of the story complete and hopes to establish an ongoing series, fostered by his Kickstarter campaign. Calling the venture a "big risk," he explained, "I want the freedom to tell the story I want, when I want. Also, I wanted to reach new readers. For most of my career U.S. comics sales shrank as our readers aged. That's finally changed and a younger generation have made us a growing industry. The new readers were born after 1980 and include at least as many girls as boy. It's time for me to roll out the welcome mat to our saviors and offer them the best book I can make."
Ha, who writes and draws the book, is joined by letterer Zander and Rose McClain, who will provide a color assist. He also received tips and advice from other creators who successfully launched their own independent projects.
"Tim Seeley was especially helpful," Ha shared. "I wrote the first 'script' in the form of a marker rough with dialogue, and Tim went through and pointed out what worked and what didn't. I ended up adding two 2-page scenes based on his comments. He was really encouraging." Jimmy Palmiotti ("Harley Quinn") and Ryan Browne ("God Hates Astronauts") also pitched in with some Kickstarter help. Likewise, Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder offered some advice, which Ha says was "humbling, because their 'Rocket Girl' Kickstarter inspired me to try this."
"My professional goal has remained the same throughout my career: give readers the same thrills and inspiration that Matt Wagner's 'Mage' gave me in high school. 'Mae' is my best shot at that goal... It's such an exciting time to be working in comics!" Ha concluded.
Ha's Kickstarter campaign ends on May 26.