by Keidra Chaney
“The Space Between” is a sporadically occurring TLF series of interviews that I do with fans that live in that space between fandom and professional artistic/creative work: those who dedicate their time to creating fanworks or are making a career out of their fandom passions. You can read previous interviews with Laina Dawes and Sam Ford here.
I was recently clued into an intriguing new film project from Austin, Texas-based artist and musician Maya Glick. Rain is a fan-film inspired by Storm from the X-Men and Maya, the writer and star of the film, is raising money via Kickstarter. We’ve got mad love for Storm in the TLF Executive Offices, and I am excited to see such an ambitious fan project from a woman of color, so I gave her a call to find out more about Rain and her own creative inspirations.
“My background is as a musician,” said Maya about her creative roots. “And I tend to start a lot of projects backwards and then figure out how to complete them later. As a teenager, I booked my first show as a musician before I had a band! This film project is similar in that it grew into something much more ambitious than when it started out.” Maya started writing a short script, and after taking promo photos with the help of her photographer husband and posting them online, the response from friends and new fans encouraged her to think bigger. “I had taken a break from music. I wanted to start working on something creative again, and I thought it would be music, but this project ended up calling to me.”
Maya was inspired the aesthetic of the 1980’s classic punk Storm. “There was always something so powerful about this particular stage in her look, and something I connected to. She’s an African goddess, this look fits for her, it looks like an African headdress. I remember reading something (from artist Paul Smith) saying that this look was actually drawn originally as a joke, but I wanted to explore that more as a real part of her identity.”
[An aside: the punk-Storm-as-joke reference bristled me (Keidra) when I originally read
about it; this idea that Storm wearing a mohawk committed grave crimes against appropriate hairstyles and/or femininity. Punk-era Storm was one big reason I was attracted to X-Men in the first place, and I’m sure that’s the case for a lot of people, and yet, as recent as 2011, Cracked posted a piece about “unintentionally hilarious superhero reinventions” referencing Storm shrug]
Maya was also inspired by creating an alternative portrayal of the most mainstream and widely-known portrayal of Storm, in the the feature film franchise. “Many fans of the X-Men movies don’t even know about this side of her. She’s been portrayed as so soft and mild. Her name is Storm for Christ sake! I wanted to explore more of this side of her that other fans relate to, her life as a thief, a street kid.”
While not getting into too much detail about the plot of Rain, Maya reveals that it is an original story and not connected to any particular storyline in the X-Men comics. “The X-Men aren’t in this, it’s about her identity and her life [on her own].” Fan-filmmakers are always in a precarious position of being targeted for a cease-and-desist (note the Punisher fan film shut down by Marvel earlier this year) and Maya is aware of the risks. “I read about the Punisher shut down, and that’s yet another reason the story itself is an original – even though I started writing it as an original story anyway. But it’s also not connected to the X-Men or referencing her by name.”
After the enthusiastic response to her initial idea, Maya started a campaign to raise money for Rain via Kickstarter to see the film’s vision through to completion. There are 8 more days to fund the project and she is hoping for fan enthusiasm to muster up fan support in the final days of the campaign.
“I think there’s a real hunger from fans [of Storm] to see such a focus on her. A lot of people are attracted to X-Men because of the themes of diversity and difference, and being an outsider, and I think people connect with her from that perspective.”