Pyro Power In Magic: The Gathering’s Chandra
Sep 30, 2018
by Vince Brusio
At the tender age of 11, she climbed through a shower of sparks. Chandra Nalaar was born in a baptism of fire, and as a result when inventors welded near her sparks bounced off of her hair. Although not a metalsmith herself or an artisan, she is a power source, and never was that more apparent than the power she brings to Magic: The Gathering — Chandra #1 (SEP180750) from IDW Publishing, listed in the September issue of PREVIEWS. Here what writer Vita Ayala has to say about the new flammable series!
Magic: The Gathering — Chandra #1 (SEP180750) is in comic shops December 12.
Vince Brusio: When were you first introduced to Magic: The Gathering, and what sort of impression did it leave on you?
Vita Ayala: I was first introduced to Magic: The Gathering in high school, I think. I was a big collector of cards in general – I think I still have my full collection of Marvel/X-Men ‘95 cards somewhere – and the fact that there was a game associated with the collecting seemed really fun! My brother got more into it as a game then I did at the time though.
After high school, but before college, I was working at a comic book shop (Forbidden Planet NYC) that had a really solid gaming section. I decided to buy a few packs, and I addicted myself! I started building my own decks for casual play, but really, I was more interested in collecting as many cards as I could.
The art was beautiful, the game engaging and rewarding to learn, and it was something I could share with lots of other people in my life!
Vince Brusio: So given that your book is going to act as a fireworks display that helps celebrate 25 years of history for Magic: The Gathering, will the story you write in any way act as a shout-out to that monumental achievement? Any Easter Eggs hidden in the panels?
Vita Ayala: There will be some call backs and little hidden gems for sure! I wanted to be sure to make the series accessible and interesting for people who have never played the game, but I absolutely want to give players something fun and rewarding too!
Vince Brusio: In developing Chandra's history, her ticks, and her abilities, what were some outside influences or personal experiences that helped you to brainstorm?
Vita Ayala: All of the history and abilities came with the character – she has a legacy at Wizards of the Coast that I was eager to get to explore.
In terms of what I brought to her, I think it is impossible for someone not to put themselves into their work, even if it is work-for-hire, with established characters. I connect to Chandra very much, she reminds me of early 20s Vita, and I channel that when I am searching for her voice!
Vince Brusio: In a previous statement, Magic: The Gathering Franchise Director Jeremy Jarvis said "Knowledge of cards is optional, love of characters required.” If one were to reflect on certain cards that would be especially relevant to this series, what cards would be selected?
Vita Ayala: That’s a tough one! But, without giving away TOO much, if I had to choose five, here’s what they’d be:
-Ajani, Wise Counselor
-Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Vince Brusio: As you begin production on this book, how do you choose to work? What is your environment? Is there any music in a playlist that helps give you electricity? How do you get yourself jazzed so that you can make this book nuclear dynamite?
Vita Ayala: Sometimes I’ll challenge my wife to a quick game of Magic, too. She’s new to it, but she is pretty good! Wins at least half the time.
But mostly, I sit at my desk, hot cup of tea next to me, and BLAST music as I pound the keys! I made a Chandra playlist on Spotify to get me into the zone, and I rock out as I write!
MAGIC: THE GATHERING — CHANDRA #2 (OCT180694)
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.