November 22nd, 2023
“Mara Llave: Keeper of Time” opens on a pulpy, sci-fi world once inhabited by a league of heroes called the Time Keepers, who were created to keep watch on the ever-changing state of the time stream. However, a singular Time Keeper (Kent Gordin) remains, and he only has one hope for the future of the Time Keepers — a woman named Mara Llave, whose true origins lie in a distant world.
“Mara Llave” first arrived on Comics Kingdom last November, and after an eight-month hiatus, the time-keeping heroine has returned in full force!
We sat down with “Mara’s” creators, Alex Segura and Nickolej Villiger, who combine Segura’s words with Villiger’s art to make quite a compelling collaboration. They were able to offer some insight into where Mara has been and where she has yet to go.
“You’ll find a slightly different Mara in the lead now,” Segura explains. “Older, a bit more world-weary, but also fiery and curious. She’s been through a rough stretch, and as she faces some new, unexpected challenges, we’ll start to peel away what happened to her in the gap.”
“A big aspect of Mara’s story going forward is working toward independence and freedom from old world traditions adopted by the Time Keepers and understanding her role in all of this,” Villiger says. “As for Mara’s history, we hope to provide a trail of breadcrumbs for audiences to follow and piece together.”
“When we are first introduced to Mara, all we know is that he has raised Mara in New York, circa 1980, for much of her youth and has now passed on the ‘Time Keeper’ moniker over to Mara,” Villiger points out. “Most of what Mara knows about who she is, where she came from, and her overall purpose has all been filtered through her mentor. But something causes a rift between them, resulting in Mara’s independence and forging her path.”
The world of “Mara Llave” is chockfull of opportunities to creatively explore points of conflict for its characters due to its limitless setting based on time travel. Segura and Villiger specifically crafted this to transcend genre and allow them to be more flexible with their storytelling.
“We realized we needed the kind of story flexible enough to allow us to tell any story — a western, space-opera, noir-detective story. That’s when we landed on time travel,” reveals Segura. “‘Mara,’ to us, is like playing jazz. We’ll go where our shared mood takes us, and the world of ‘Mara Llave’ can contain it.”
Villiger also mentions the difficulty of correctly pulling off the time-travel narrative and discussing time nonlinearly. “We ask audiences just to enjoy the ride along with Mara,” he recommends. “No matter how weird, wacky, and fantastical it gets, we want audiences to know that our characters’ growth and motivations will always be at the forefront.”
Segura is based in New York, while Villiger is based in Canada. When asked how their collaboration came to be, they echoed each other’s statements about being unapologetic fans of each other’s work. They also emphasized that this is far from their only collaboration in development.
“We discovered we had a lot of overlap in our storytelling sensibilities and approach with character development. Since then, he and I have been creating multiple stories and characters,” Villiger says.
Now, as to what readers can expect in the upcoming strips, the duo was kind enough to spill a few teasers about some key characters that Mara will encounter along her journey. Villiger mentions that a glimpse of Mara’s parents will come as she traces her roots, along with appearances from other Time Keepers with “antagonistic motives,” while Segura teases that a mysterious new anti-hero will be introduced in the early new strips that will serve as a great foil to Mara. We can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!
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