We had the pleasure of chatting with Arechan all about Señorita Cometa!
“In the crime ridden city of Yoalco, two mafias dictate the law, and while the rest of the citizens still place their hopes in the police, Alex will not wait for an indifferent system to deliver justice. Feeling ignored and powerless over the disappearance of her best friend, Alex decides to take justice in her own hands by becoming the Phantom Thief Cometa, uncovering a net of corruption and crime that goes deeper than she ever imagined. Will Alex be able to find Lola before it’s too late?”
Now let’s get to the interview:
1. What inspired you to create Señorita Cometa?
I was born and raised in Mexico, and I saw my hometown go from being a peaceful, sleepy city to being torn between two Cartels fighting for the territory. Not only that, but I also saw the horrible increase of gender violence, and how most of it went unpunished and unsolved. It was very scary, and even more frustrating just how fast people get used to a level of violence, myself included. It felt like I had to do something, anything, but the only thing I know how to do is tell stories. Señorita Cometa went from a story I told myself for catharsis, to a story I can share with everyone!
2. Is it true you drew inspiration from real-life, crime-ridden cities for the setting of Yoalco? How and why?
The stories shared in Señorita Cometa are sadly inspired by real-life situations that happen all over Mexico. They are things we see in real life, in social media, in journalism books, and sometimes even on mainstream news when things are too big to ignore. The Mafia war was inspired by my own personal experience of being caught between two fighting cartels, and how the people in the middle basically have to learn to live with it. However, Yoalco as a place is heavily inspired by Mexico City. Alex, Puig, Adal, Sofía, and even Lottie, all live in addresses that exist in the real world! Even the police station is real! Although I recently learned it’s an academy, and not a station…
3. Were there any specific events or experiences that influenced the creation of the character Alex?
There was a huge Anime boom in Mexico when I was a child. TV stations would license everything and anything they could get their hands on, and you can bet I watched them all! That was my introduction to the Phantom Thief trope. I already had a liking for Robin Hood thanks to Disney’s charming fox, but when I saw St. Tail stealing things off bad guys’ hands to return them to good people, I was hooked! She also has a crush on the Junior Detective chasing her, who happens to be her classmate and doesn’t know her secret identity. At first, it was all about the “cool factor,” but when I grew up and realized the failures and limitations of the Justice System, I knew I needed a heroine who could operate from outside of it, so I made a Phantom Thief of my own!
4. What challenges or difficulties did you face in bringing your vision for Señorita Cometa to life?
The backgrounds are a struggle! While there are a lot of resources for 3D backgrounds specifically made to aid artists, almost none of them are created with Latin America in mind. Our streets and buildings have a really specific look to them, so I will often have to recreate places in Mexico City from scratch, “Frankensteining” free models to make them look believably Mexican in the tight deadline that I have. That’s why I decided to keep the story in a fictional world—an alternate universe Mexico City, if you will—so I wouldn’t have to be so precise in recreating it.
The other thing I struggle a lot with is writing smart characters, because that means I have to be smart too! The amount of planning that has to be done to get a smart character from point A to point Z is so draining and time-consuming!
5. Can you provide any hints about what themes or storylines carry over for the remaining season of Señorita Cometa? Without spoilers of course.
In this latter half of the season, we’ll see more of the hidden players behind this Mafia War, and some characters that have already been introduced will take more of the spotlight!
6. Can you tease any exciting plot twists or unexpected turns that readers can look forward to with Señorita Cometa coming back?
One of the characters will die! It’s not a spoiler if I don’t say who, right?
7. Your series is on the longer side with 54 episodes up to this point. How do you pace your narrative? Tell us about your process of developing chapters.
I’ve always been a planner. People in the past have wondered if I change my plot points because of reader theories or expectations, but the truth is that when I start a story, I usually know exactly how it’s going to end. This time around, I have a corkboard full of post-its with all the plot points I want to touch on in the story. They’re color coded between plot-driven and character-driven, and I try to strike a balance between them to the best of my ability (that is to say, I move them around a lot!). I guess after years of making on WEBTOONs, you kind of develop a sense of how long each plot point is going to take, so you try to pace your hooks and cliffhangers accordingly. I don’t always nail it, but I try!
8. How would you pitch your Señorita Cometa to new readers in one sentence?
When the people are caught between two warring mafias and the police don’t do anything to help, it’s up to Phantom Thief Cometa to steal back the peace!
9. What are your goals for yourself as a creator on Webtoon?
I created Señorita Cometa out of frustration. I wanted the catharsis you get when seeing a bully in a movie get what’s coming for them. There are a lot of stories about cartel wars and human trafficking, but they’re all so emotionally draining to watch that by the end you don’t even enjoy whatever justice the characters might have gotten—if any. I want to give the readers an exciting story that won’t feel heavy, along with the catharsis of justice, even if the only way we can have it is make-believe. If I can give a single reader that, then I’ll consider myself a successful creator.
10. Where can people support your work?
I have an Instagram account, a Twitter account, and a Tiktok account, all of them @arechanga. I also have a twitch channel (twitch.tv/LottieXolo), and a Youtube Channel (https://youtube.com/@lottiexolo) where me and my husband stream from time to time using Lottie as an avatar, but the best way to support my work is to read, like, and share Señorita Cometa with your friends! Read it on WEBTOON every Friday night!