Quinceañera’s are stressful enough, even when you don’t get super powers! In Quince, 15-year-old Lupe gains exciting abilities during her Quinceañera, but with a catch—she only has her powers as long as she’s 15. I talked to Sebastian Kadlecik, Kit Steinkellner, and Emma Steinkellner about this upcoming series!
Mexi Gremillion: Sebastian, you are the creator of Quince. What made you interested in creating a superhero like Lupe? What inspired you to think up this story?
Sebastian Kadlecik: I have always been a fan of stories featuring teenage superheroes that gain or manifest their powers in moments of emotional stress. For me, being the center of attention at a quinceañera is the ultimate version of that. There are so many feelings involved in this monumental event. I can’t imagine turning 15 and having so many eyes on me. I’d be worried about everything that could go wrong. Dramatically, that seemed to be the perfect/worst moment for someone to gain superpowers and completely lose control. I also really liked the idea of grounding the event in this very specific cultural tradition. Another big inspiration for me was my family. I had already been cultivating the idea, but seeing my nieces run around dressed up as their favorite superheroes shined an even brighter light on the fact that all the mainstream female superheroes are white. I wanted my nieces and all young Latinas to see themselves reflected in the story of Quince. Having a character like Lupe, a young Latina who struggles, sometimes fails, but ultimately has a good heart and does her best is important.
MG: Sebastian and Kit, I find the premise to this tale to be so intriguing. A young woman gaining superpowers during her quinceañera and having one year to use her abilities. Will we be seeing other young women gaining powers like Lupe?
SK: Thank you! I think that ticking clock forces her to figure out very quickly what type of person she will be. Will she be selfish, will she be cruel, or will she be a force for good?
Kit Steinkellner: In the world of Quince, having powers is a very rare thing, which is one of the things that makes Lupe so special. So, you won’t see a TON of other people wielding powers, but that is coming, for sure. After all, every good hero needs a good villain… and I’ll just stop talking there before I start spewing spoilers.
MG: Kit and Emma, I want to say that I read Aces and I am loving it so far! Great work there.
Emma Steinkellner: Thank you! Aces is very special to us. When Kit and I get together, pretty much nothing can stop us from making exactly what we like. So, there are for sure some common threads among Aces and Quince.
KS: Yay, thank you! We loved working on Aces, and the work we did there really prepared us to do our absolute very best work on Quince. So stoked you’re reading and liking!!
MG: Kit and Emma, how did you get involved in this project? What did you think about the premise of Quince when you were first told about it?
KS: Sebastian and I knew each other from doing weirdo, underground theater in Los Angeles. (Shout-out to our friends at cARTel who put on the best events in L.A.!) Sebastian also knew that Emma and I did webcomics together. The e-mail where Sebastian asked us to work on Quince is seriously one of the best e-mails I’ve ever received. I instantly fell in love with the premise. Magical coming-of-age stories are my jam, and it’s been the greatest honor and privilege getting to write this story.
ES: Sebastian reached out to both of us together (because – say it with me – working together we are better), and we were both so stoked from the get-go. I was more experienced with slice-of-life and diary comics, so I was really excited to work on a superhero story, especially because we were doing it our way.
MG: Kit, you are the writer on Quince. I love Lupe’s relationship with her grandmother, it feels very genuine. I especially love the scene where they are talking as Lupe tries on her quinceañera dress. The rapport between the two characters is wonderful. What has been your favorite scene to write in Quince so far?
KS: Thank you! Lupe and Abuela are so fun to write. They are best friends and family, but they’ve also got a Harry Potter/Dumbledore hero/mentor relationship going on, and it’s really fun to write a relationship that contains those multitudes.
I don’t know if I can pick a favorite scene so far, I have, like, five favorite scenes an issue. I will say I really like writing scenes where Lupe has a big win. Girl is working so hard, and being a superhero is no easy thing, so it’s really fun every once in a while when things work out exactly like she always hoped/dreamed, and for one awesome panel, she gets exactly what she wants.
MG: Emma, I love how you draw Lupe. In fact, I love all the art in this first issue in general. My favorite page for your art is the page where Lupe shows what she wanted her party to be like as opposed to reality. It’s a fun, relatable scene. What has been your favorite thing to draw for Quince so far?
ES: I love drawing Lupe, so, hopefully, that love shines through. My favorite thing about illustration is acting through my drawing, so really working the characters’ expressions and gestures so they look like how I imagine they’d behave. Pushing the emotions makes things more fun for you, the reader, and waaaay more fun for me, too.
MG: Are there any little tidbits you all can say about the upcoming issues of Quince?
SK: I’m so excited for what’s coming. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say all heroes have to train. Look forward to that.
ES: All I can really say is buckle up, because the quinceañera is just the beginning.
KS: Romance! Adventure! Secrets revealed! Lessons learned! Jokes, jokes, jokes!
MG: Besides Quince, are there any other projects that you’re working on that you’re excited about?
SK: I’m wrapping up my other comic book project, Penguins vs. Possums, also published by Fanbase Press. The final issue comes out in December, and the whole team has done a terrific job. It’s been an epic experience.
ES: I get to draw every day at my job, so I’m just excited about growing as an illustrator through that and through making Quince. Yay, growth!
KS: In 2016 I worked as a staff writer on the first season of Amazon’s Z: The Beginning of Everything, a bio-series about the lives of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. The series drops February 10th, 2017, and I could not be more excited about that. I have some more TV-related news that I’m dying to share, but I gotta wait for the official announcement, so fingers crossed that comes soon, because I’m terrible at keeping secrets.