We had a chance to speak with Maggie Vicknair about her thesis story, ‘Tommy Lin: A Motorcycle Fairytale’. You can find the first chapter at and then.sva.edu and be be sure to follow Maggie on Instagram @maggiedreadful
Tell us about your thesis story.
My thesis story is called Tommy Lin: A Motorcycle Fairytale. It is a comic adaptation of the folk tale Tam Lin, but instead of being set in medieval Scotland, my version is set in America and has a motorcycle chase! The main character of my story is Gretchen, a teenage girl who is on the outs with her BFF Janet, ever since Janet started dating the no-good Tommy. Unfortunately, Tommy is mixed up with an evil, supernatural, motorcycle gang, and Gretchen is the only one able to save him, so she’ll have to put aside her jealousy towards Tommy for the sake of her friend’s happiness.
Why did you decide to tell the story in this medium?
I had the initial idea for Tommy Lin years ago. My work often uses fairy tales as a starting point, and this is no different. Being a comic was also always a part of the plan. Tommy Lin is told with flashbacks spliced into the action scenes showing how Gretchen and Janet’s friendship got so thorny. As the stakes of the car chase become more dire, so does the emotional energy of the flashbacks. Overlapping scenes and juxtaposing events is something comics can do better than any other medium, in my opinion.
What themes would you like to resonate?
While the original fairytale is about romantic love, my story centers around a friendship. Our perspective character in my story is the best friend of the original heroine – a “third wheel” character. Gretchen is struggling with her friend’s changing priorities, of feeling pushed to the side, and the resentment she feels is real and painful. I wanted to tell a story where the character must overcome her jealousy, but isn’t punished for feeling the way she does. We can’t force people to stay the same, and we can’t expect ourselves to not be hurt by others, but we can learn to deal with those feelings in a more generous way.
What are your dreams for your story?
I’m kickstarting a print run of Tommy Lin in August. It’s the most ambitious project I’ve ever tried to print, but I really want a physical copy to sell and give to people. I am hoping Tommy Lin will be a portfolio piece to showcase what I’m capable of and to demonstrate the types of stories I’m interested in making if given the means and opportunity to create longer works.
Would you have told this story if you hadn’t attended MFAVN?
Yes. As I mentioned, I had the idea for Tommy Lin years ago, but the finished work would not have been executed in this way. It would have been shorter, smaller, and less polished. My teachers, classmates, and mentor all encouraged me to be more ambitious and were able to give me the advice needed to make it better, as well as give me more confidence in my own talent.
Thanks for chatting with us, Maggie!
You can see Maggie’s story on the ‘And Then…’ thesis site.