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Read Karen Berger’s intro to the G.I.L.T. collected edition

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This week sees the release of the collected edition of G.I.L.T. from AHOY Comics. The book, which follows the time-travelling shenanigans of members of the Guild of Independent Lady Temporalists comes from the creative team of writer Alisa Kwitney, artist and colorist Mauricet, and letterer Rob Steen. With the book on store shelves today, The Beat is pleased to present an exclusive look at the introduction for the collection by legendary editor Karen Berger. You can check that out, as well as a preview for the book, below. 

Last weekend I sat down and read all five issues of the witty, wild and wonderful G.I.LT. On Monday, I woke up with vertigo. I kid you not. Call it a crazy coincidence, call it a temporary medical condition, hell, call it my past is out to get me –– but I like to call it sublime synchronicity.

For those of you not in the know, Alisa Kwitney was my assistant a couple of years before Vertigo officially began. When she interviewed for the job I had a splitting headache, and being pregnant at the time, pain relievers were off limits. Alisa quickly impressed me with her intelligence, literary background, and her way with words, both eloquently spoken and in writing. Plus, her debut novel was just published to much acclaim. She was also funny, with a natural warmth, and I found her very easy to talk to. But what really sealed the deal was this: she walked behind my desk chair and proceeded to massage my temples, and voila, my headache was gone. How could I not hire her?

Alisa’s acupressure talents aside, she was excellent at her job and was promoted to editor by the time Vertigo launched, a position she held both full and part-time over the next ten years. During that time and in the ensuing years, Alisa has authored a slew of women-centric novels and several comics series including the Eisner-nominated Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold and the fan-favorite Mystik U. Whatever genre and whatever storytelling form she’s crafting her smart, inventive and compelling tales, you’re sure to find plenty of heart, humor and humanity… and sometimes a little weirdness. In G.I.L.T. we have a lot of weirdness. And that makes me very happy.

Together with the exceptional Belgian artist Alain Mauricet, Alisa tells the story of Hildy and Trista, two women caught in a time travel loop between 1973 and 2017. Throughout the series they fling back and forth through time and space on a dizzying death-defying jaunt, striving to undo one enormous life-changing mistake.

Whether they succeed, well, that’s what this thrilling, magical mystery you’re about to read is all about. The story moves at a breathless pace, as does Hildy and Trista’s razor-sharp repartee, reminiscent of Katherine Hepburn and Rosalind Russell comedies from yesteryear. And like many of the roles which the great aforementioned actresses played, Hildy and Trista are strong minded women. They’re also both a bit bawdy, outspoken, fast-talking writers, fighting to do what they think is the right thing. Even if it comes with extreme danger and consequences.

With a clever and sure hand, Alisa deftly takes us through different stages of their lives, giving us glimpses of the social and political climate of the times along the way. Sometimes, even in just a panel or two, she conveys the expectations and obstacles women face in society, and the self-judgment that many of us put ourselves through. Alain seamlessly captures the nuances of all these moments, and not just of Hildy and Trista, but of the supporting cast, who also get swept up in this whirlwind adventure.

The story takes place in a very real NYC, albeit one with cosmic disturbances and outrageous goings on. Crazy stuff does happen in the city that never sleeps. G.I.L.T. couldn’t have been set anywhere else. The New Yorker in me loves that it’s so Upper-West-Side –– from the grand baroque pre-war (that’s WWII) apartment buildings, to the magistral yet quirky doormen who know and see all, to the terror inflicted by mysterious co-op boards who most definitely control all. And yes, let’s not forget the occasional annoying neighbor.

For me, at its core, G.I.L.T. is about the meaning of enduring friendship and the importance of our connections to each other. Between the busy-ness of our lives, the myriad of digital distractions and the unsettling state of today’s world, it’s easy to let those things go. I, for one, am trying to make more of an effort to reach out where I’ve lapsed, and to reinforce the bonds of those special friends whom I hold near and dear.

I’m excited for those of you who are about to enter this singular and breathtaking story by two storytellers at the top of their game. Get ready to be transported in both mind and spirit. Get ready for the twists and turns of this part-wacky, part-cerebral, supernatural joyride. And if it gives you a touch of vertigo, hey, you’re certainly in the right place.

–Karen Berger
August 2022

Published by AHOY Comics, the collected edition of G.I.L.T. is available in stores now.

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