In the past couple of years her writing credits have really started to pile up. She has written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Red 5 Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, her own label Vices Press, and more.
Erica also has taught lettering for Comics Experience and is currently an instructor at the Kubert School.
Her creator owned comic series Forgotten Home, with art by Marika Cresta, was published as a Comixology Original, and she is currently writing The Legacy of Mandrake, the Magician for Red 5 Comics.
We talked about her process and her latest projects. It was a fun interview and Erica is a fantastic storyteller.
We transcribed a good portion of the interview below, but there is plenty more in podcast.
You can find the audio recording of our discussion below. We hope you enjoy the conversation.
PopCultureSquad: Let’s start off with the newest book that you have released. The Legacy of Mandrake the Magician. You are writing with art by Diego Giribaldi was released on October 28th. It is wonderful. Can you tell us how it came about?
Erica Schultz: Actually Stonebot Comics approached me. In the summer of last year, I was approached by Matias Timarchi, and he wanted to know my availability for a possible project about a “legacy” character. Like with a lot of projects, when people reach out, they don’t give all the details of the projects that they are planning because of NDAs and stuff like that.
He asked if I was familiar with Mandrake, and I said that I was familiar with the character, but I am not like a super-fan or anything, and I would have to do some research. He mentioned that they were going to be updating the character. It wasn’t going to be a reboot of Mandrake. It was going to be a legacy character.
PCS: What type of framework did they give you for that?
ES: They actually had been working with another writer prior, so I was given kind of a story bible. I was told to use it as a guide. So I came up with some stuff. Some of it we used in the final story, and others they pushed back on because I think that there was a specific direction that they wanted to go with.
I had a lot of fun working on the character. I read a bunch of the old strips so that I could get an idea about the world. Also, in the original series, Mandrake’s powers and abilities aren’t really defined. It is almost as if he has whatever ability he needs at that particular time.
PCS: Right, well, back then the didn’t worry about people going on blogs and complaining how things didn’t match.
ES: Exactly, so I wanted to set some parameters and a framework. The fact that the main character Mandy is just learning her abilities, that helps. She is not able to just snap her fingers and everything gets done. She has stops and starts.
I think that having a teenage girl, who is dealing with not just trying to get a handle on these abilities, but also trying to get a handle on life, is fun, and there is a lot of potential there and a lot of different avenues that you can go down.
PCS: What is the publishing plan for Mandrake? Is it a limited series?
ES: Well, there is a #0 issue that is free on Comixology.com. That is the digital only intro. It is a one and done, but it introduces the character. As of right now, this is a mini-series. We have discussed more, but we are not technically doing more at this point. The #0 issue and the four-issue mini-series will be collected in a trade, for now.
PCS: The opening issue is a great set up, and it feels like there will be some serious hurdles for Mandy?
ES: Yes. High School sucks! She and her mom both really love each other, but they are very strong personalities, and that tends to cause conflict. Her mom has very specific things that she wants for Mandy. Mandy is first generation American, and coming from an immigrant family myself, this idea that you have to go to college and be better than I did, is sort of sticking point between Mandy and Mabel, her mom. Mabel has a more traditional tract that she want Mandy to go in. Mandy is wondering if she wants” the normal life.”
Check out the audio for some exploration about how expectations of maturing are changing and what Erica thinks about how it works in Mandrake.