maple key comics

Very excited to announce the new project I’m working on for Maple Key Comics which needs your support on KICKSTARTER!! Maple Key is a comics anthology magazine, released bi-monthly. Edited by Joyana McDiarmid. Act now, and it’s 300 pages of comics (by some of my best friends and fave cartoonists) for only $5 (digital) or $15 (print). You’d be a fool not to support it!!

My story is called “The Disappearance of Pepper Stein.” It’s about an underground queer nightclub known as “Bahnhof,” which occupies an abandoned turn-of-the-century Manhattan metro station. Despite its outlandish fashions and glorious performances, this club is drowning in submerged dark secrets: false identities, affairs, blackmail, and murder. And they are all about to surface.

Phaedra M, a bumbling and adorable private investigator heads to the nightclub to search for Pepper Stein, a wild socialite (the daughter of Brooklyn sausage magnate Saul Stein) who has taken off with a fortune of her father’s money.

This story is campy, glamorous, and deeply queer. It’s an homage to four of my favorite things: Agatha Christie, Paris is Burning, Michael Alig, and Weimar Germany. Those all go together, right? No? Oh well. I’ve been working really hard on the art for this story. As some of you know, most of my comics have been pastiche, based on “drag"ing out the work of renowned cartoonists. This time, though, I’m continuing in the style developed for my piece in QU33R. No references, just free drawing. It takes forever, but i’m happy with the results. More updates soon!!

Interview: Joyana McDiarmid, "Maple Key Comics" - Comics on Kickstarter

As often as I can, I will try to bring you short interviews with people who are creating comics and doing everything they can to show their work to the world.

Today I spoke with Joyana McDiarmid, the editor of Maple Key Comics, about her anthology project on Kickstarter.

Interview after the jump.

Keep reading


From the mind and pen of rising alt comics star and Maple Key contributor Sophie Goldstein ( redinkradio ) comes “The Oven–” a magnificent soft-SF story set in a desert camp outside of a totalitarian domed city. “The Oven” will run for the first six issues of Maple Key Comics.

External image

Goldstein, whose work has appeared not only in her long-running webcomic Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell but also in Irene 3, Best American Comics 2013, and scores of other anthologies, concerns herself with depicting a human perspective in otherworldly situations. Her style is marked by clean, precise lines and judicious use of spot blacks that often evoke elegance, loneliness, and space.

External image

To see more of Sophie Goldstein’s work, visit her tumblr, her webcomic, or her personal website.
We’re in the second week of our Kickstarter Campaign, and we still have a ways to go! Won’t you consider backing us?
Keep your internet dial locked right here for more creator profiles!


Saying Hi to Kickstarter Creators at MoCCA Arts Fest

Beneath the watchful eye of a giant floating Charlie Brown, we visited the MoCCA Arts Festival this past weekend and caught up with some fantastic project creators. There were great Kickstarter-funded comics to be found all over the festival — above are just a handful of the creators we saw (and managed to take photos of). Pictured:

Great seeing everyone — now go back some projects and read some comics!


Each issue of Maple Key will feature a different “Star Artist”–an established cartoonist who started their career by self-publishing their own minicomics. We’ll have an in-depth interview with our star artists in each issue, plus a new short story!

Maple Key 
April/May Star Artist Jon Chad is not only an accomplished cartoonist and educator, but also writes and illustrates a pinball fanzine called Drop Target with Alec Longstreth. “The Surena Grant,” Jon’s one-shot story in Maple Key Comics issue one, finds Chad in relatively familiar territory–descending through the earth to discover exciting new science!

External image

Chad’s work is notable for his intense detail work and interest in creating continuous visual narratives. “The Surena Grant,” however, stands out from much of Chad’s other work in its heavy spot blacks and significantly darker narrative.
External image

For more of Jon Chad’s work, visit his website or follow him on twitter. If you like the work you’ve seen so far, please back our kickstarter so we can get Jon’s story and more into print! Stay tuned for even more creator spotlights as we continue our fundraising push in the weeks to come!


Laurel Lynn Leake, Maple Key contributor extraordinaire, is a New England native with great interests in social justice issues, body politics, cooking, and her guinea pig Kiwi. Her Maple Key column “Space Kitchen” is only one of two projects Leake will be bringing to to the magazine; She’ll also be producing a series of typographical affirmations called “Headspace” (full-color prints of which will be available as a Kickstarter reward)!

External image

Leake’s work is highly textured, delicately rendered, and sensitively written. Her ongoing series Deep Forest, short story All Rumors are True and collection of shorts L3no2: Made for Meltdown (the latter two printed by the fine gentlemen at Good Pals Printing) are poetic excursions into science fiction/magical realism and abstract comics, brilliantly conceived and masterfully executed.
External image

We’re very pleased to have Laurel on board the good ship Maple Key, and highly recommend you check out one of her many tumblrs. If you like Leake’s work and want to help us get “Space Kitchen” and “Headspace” into print, please consider backing our Kickstarter! We’d really appreciate it.


Maple Key contributor Rachel Dukes ( @mixtapecomics )has some serious drawing chops. Between her personal work–much of which is intensely autobiographical in nature. “Shiny,” her one-shot short appearing in the first number of Maple Key takes a more fanciful turn, dealing with the aquatic adventures of an orca-mermaid critter.

External image

Dukes says she changed her normally fairly traditional process for “Shiny,” opting to pencil her pages digitally rather than using the non-photo blue pencils she normally tends toward for her comics work. She then inked over printouts of her work and rescanned for her finals.

External image

You can discover more of Rachel Dukes’ work on her website,, but if you want to read the rest of “Shiny” in print, back the Maple Key Comics Kickstarter!

Stay tuned for more creator spotlights and more information about what to expect from Maple Key Comics!

Our first Reward Spotlight focuses on contributor Dan Rinylo’s gorgeous print–which will also grace the cover of Maple Key Comics’ second issue! A handsome, high-quality print of the piece is one of our great Kickstarter Rewards. We pulled Rinylo away from his desk for a minutes this week to answer some questions about his illustration.

Your piece lacks a lot of the “tells” of your comics work–did you use a different process to achieve the image?
Yea, this is pretty different from my Mangy Mutt stuff.  Drawing-wise it looks more like how I draw in my sketchbooks – more of a doodle-y, whatever comes out comes out kinda thing.  The whole no-outlines thing is something I keep seeing in comics lately, – especially in NoBrow books –and I wanted to try it on for size.  I tried out a little photoshop doodle with a tablet just messing around.

External image

After some paper doodles, I drew the initial full image as a sort of master sheet.  From that, I outlined each color on separate sheets using a lightbox.  Then I layered it all in on photoshop.

There seems to be a narrative running underneath the image. Would you care to tell us anything about that?
Initially, brainstorming ideas for a cover, I just thought it’d be cool to have a bunch of cartoon characters running through the woods.  Somehow the bluebirds got in there.

External image

I knew I wanted those little dudes in onesie pajamas – but I guess they looked like they should be chasing something.

Did you run into any unexpected difficulties while working on this piece?It was just tedious.  I think I drew the entire image on like 12 separate pieces of paper.  And lots of scanning.  There’s probably an easier way, but it probably involves being more sneaky with photoshop and I don’t wanna be too sneaky.

External image

Can we expect more work like this from you in the future?
Yea, maybe.  Making an entire comic this way would suck and take forever, but I do hop around a lot with styles.  I want to keep working in color, too, which is new for me.

External image

You can see more of Dan’s work on his website or his tumblr. If you want to snag a copy of that print (along with a three-issue subscription to Maple Key Comics), you can back us on Kickstarter! Watch for more spotlights on our amazing creators this coming week!

A sporty girlfriends commission for the charming lb-lee of Sakura Oogami and Aoi Asahina from Dangan Ronpa (with bonus Chihiro Fujisaki)! This one was a lot of fun (despite my struggles to do justice to Sakura’s hella bod)

If you’d like to commission some cuties of your own, consider backing our Kickstarter for Maple Key Comics magazine!  We’ve got rewards starting at just $5, and we’ve just announced a new reward: $40 will getcha a print copy of our first issue plus an ~*~original personalized 5"x7" commission~*~ from yours truly (or from andsoluke, drinylo, heartsandminis, or lickspittlecomics)!


It’s here, it’s, here, Maple Key Comics #1 has arrived!  I couldn’t be happier with my stack of contributor copies, and have been poring over the stories all week. It feels so good to hold it in my hands!  Everybody really pushed themselves and I feel like I can hear their stats leveling up (ding! kbling! ding!) as I read. Here are a few of my favorite pages so far (including some of MIIIIINE) - I could barely narrow it down to fit Tumblr, haha.  There’s so much more to read so why doncha join in?

Maple Key mastermind Joyana McDiarmid (heartsandminis) and Josh Lees (lickspittlecomics) will be representing maplekeycomics  at MoCCA this weekend, and I’ll be helping out too. Come say hi! 

And while you’re at it, why not check out the rest of my fellow contributors’ tumblrs: Sasha Steinberg sahsashas, April Malig aprilmalig, Luke Howard andsoluke, Neil Brideau ohboycomics, Sophie Goldstein redinkradio, Laurel Holden angstuniversity, Carl Antonowitz thulsadude, Rachel Dukes @mixtapecomics, Dan Rinylo drinylo, Mathew New mathewnew, Will Payne williamkpayne … Whew! I think that’s every one, except Iris Yan!