Written by Neil Greenaway
Ash Maczko and Ashley Witter, the creators of the hit comic book series Squarriors, have created a new story – which they intend to release as a webcomic. Titled Cigarettes & Carrot Juice, the webcomic would focus on the Nowhere Girls – an all-girl gang that rumbles with vampires, witches, and surf-Nazis in 1980’s Santa Cruz. The writer and artist pair (also known as Team Ash) have described the release of their Squarriors books as “painfully slow” and they say that this new comic will feature an intentionally simplistic design that will allow them to regularly release new content, even while they are on the road. There is no need to worry about their flagship title either, as they have assured me that Squarriors will continue on its current schedule.
Cigarettes & Carrot Juice debuts on February 14, 2018 on sites such as Smack Jeeves, Tapas, & Line Webtoon. In anticipation of the release, Ash was kind enough to answer 5 questions I had about the new comic – and Ashley shared a sneak-peek at the Nowhere Girls themselves.
Neil Greenaway: Can you tell us anything about the ladies in the promo image (names, roles in the gang)? Is the puppy in the story?
Ash Maczko: From left to right we have Jalyn, Rhiannon, Kitty, Jamie, Jack, and Alison. We will be revealing more as we get closer to launch, and during the series itself. I can say, each character adds a very unique, and... supernatural element to the story; including Jack.
NG: Santa Cruz in the '80s is a fairly specific place in both style and time. Is there a reason you chose to tell this story there?
AM: Santa Cruz was a place I used to fantasize about as a kid. Of course, The Lost Boys had a lot to do with that fantasy. The idea that there was this theme park, on a beach, that was a constant party, it was magical to me. I finally made my way there a few times as an adult, and it was really exciting for me. With Cigarettes & Carrot Juice, Ashley and I wanted to include as many things that we love as we could; Lost Boys-era Santa Cruz made the perfect setting.
NG: The press release says that this will be like a mix of The Lost Boys, The Warriors, and Riverdale. So we have '70s action, '80s horror comedy, and contemporary drama. Are these elements difficult to blend in one story?
AM: Cigarettes & Carrot Juice is Team Ash’s playground. This is a place where we can create any kind of stories we want; total freedom to be as weird, or as dark, or as scandalous as we want. I’ve been writing this series without any rules or pretense. I’d say it’s all come pretty easy so far. And you can bet someone is going to be sucked into and arcade game...
NG: Cigarettes & Carrot Juice is a highly evocative phrase. How does it factor into the story?
AM: The phrase, “cigarettes & carrot juice” comes from one of my favorite songs, from one of my favorite bands, “Big Dipper” by Cracker. I have been a Cracker fan since the early 90s. I found out fairly recently, that the band was from Santa Cruz, and the song “Big Dipper” was about the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. After doing some research, it turns out that “cigarettes and carrot juice” is some kind of slang/local term for Santa Cruz. This bizarre coincidence only furthered my fascination with Santa Cruz.
NG: The Nowhere Girls pictured all look a little beat up: some cuts and scrapes, a busted lip, a bloody nose. Is it safe to say that they do not always win in their fight against the supernatural?
AM: These women are fighters. And when you fight, you get hurt. There’s a lot of elements like that in CCJ; fighting for what’s important to you, and accepting the threats and sacrifices that come with it. This series is going to be a lot of fun, but will still have that “Team Ash edge” that readers expect.
If you would like to see more, you can find the full press release for Cigarettes & Carrot Juice here.