Janaan is a witch and she always has been. It runs in her blood and in her family. Janaan and Simone, her best friend, practice their craft in peace, their community used to them and to generally everything. Even their gentle priest is unbothered. Palermo has always been a city of differences, after all. Everything changes abruptly when a town member is found dead, with a symbol carved into their forehead and horror on their face. He is only the first of a series of victims that will send the life of the community into panic.
To make the matter worse, a new vicar is in town and he is wildly different from their last one: he seems pretty set into destroying everything that is different, including Janaan and her coven. While our witches have to fight the rising mistrusts of their community, they also have to try to solve the killings: magic is involved, an old dark enemy is back from the past, and it’s their duty as a coven to protect their people from this evil entity. Why? Because that’s what witches do in Palermo.
Sicily is a big Italian island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. This story is based on Sicilian folklore. Palermo, the capital of this island, is where this story is set, a patchwork of architecture and cultures.
“Ma’ari”: this is how Sicilians call “witches” in their language. On this island the Ma’ari were respected as keepers of knowledge and trustworthy healers. Many saw them as creatures from “The Outside”, a world parallel to ours.
They could be protectors or they could be enemies: it was up to you to decide what to make of them.
They were pretty good at being both.
As a Sicilian myself - born and raised in Palermo - it feels like it’s my duty to tell our stories. I can only hope you will love it just as much as I do.
Something I also deeply care about is telling stories about the ones whose stories aren’t told very often. We use stories as mirrors, desperately trying to find the one with our reflection in it… ‘cause there’s nothing more powerful than finding yourself in a story someone else has told. You feel seen, heard and less alone.
I like to write about queer characters without necessarily centering the story around their sexuality: they exist, they are queer, but their story could be about magic, friendship, blood, murder or love. For instance: in Ma’ari, it’s about all of the above.
After getting a degree in art, Elisa Bisignano - born in Palermo, Italy, in 1993 - decides that she really doesn’t want to be a painter. Thanks to some good luck she manages to enroll at the “Scuola del Fumetto” (School of Comics) of Palermo. She completes the three years and, once finished, creates with her colleagues “Ehm Autoproduzioni”, a small indie self-publishing house. She writes and/or draws a few titles, a couple of them in collaboration with other members of the group: ‘Come le bambole’, ‘Balloon’, ‘The Dead Waltz’, ‘TA’, ‘Frikis - Episode 4’.
As of today she is, thankfully, still not a painter. Her paintings would have been pretty bad.
Iolanda Zanfardino is a comic book and cover artist born in Southern Italy in 1988. She graduated with honors from the International comics Academy in Rome in 2015 and soon started working as an artist for Titan Comics and Marvel, and as a writer, artist and colorist in her first Original graphic novel for Lion Forge comics. She loves rock musicals, street art, Pride parades, dystopian literature and brave, heartwarming comedies.
GregAnderson Elysée is a comic book writer and journalist, film-maker, model. He is the editor for Ma'Ari.
Risks and challenges
The book is done. The only possible issue is a delay in shipping. If anything happens we will let you know.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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