The central characters in my new comic series, Toil and Trouble are the three witches of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth. In the play, these women function as supernatural seers delivering two prophecies to Macbeth that inspire Macbeth’s treachery and eventually lead to his downfall. The premise behind the series is to retell the story of Macbeth from the point of view of these three witches to uncover the true motivation behind their role in Macbeth’s fate.

Smertae rough design

Initial Character Sketch by Sarah Stone

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be looking at the design process for the witches and the thoughts that went into both their look and their characterization in the book. In our initial pitch, all of the witches were going to be completely nude as they are supernatural beings with no need for clothes and a lack of clothes would underscore when our “normal” characters can and can’t see them. (Also, while the entertainment industry seems to almost require partial female nudity, there’s something about non-sexual, full-frontal female nudity that still makes many people uncomfortable. We toyed with the idea of nudity to essentially put our audience on an uneasy footing right from the start). This was later changed to help the book get a teen rating and be more appropriate for schools and libraries. So fair warning, there will be some nudity in these posts.

Our lead character is Smertae who in the play is known as the “Third Witch”. Smertae is sort of the middle sister in our trio of witches and looks like she is in her late twenties. All of the witches are tied to an element and Smertae’s is water. We also wanted to play with the idea of the maiden-mother-crone cycle, so Smertae is representative of the mother. Here were my initial character design directions:

Smertae: the main character.

Element: Water

Smertae design

Final Colored Design by Sarah Stone

Type: Mother

Colors: Red Hair, white skin, blue tattoos. Her tattoos should be almost bruised into her skin. Smertae should have slighty rounded features with wild hair. Her hair should always look like beach hair, like it just dried.

Her familiar, Harpier, is a white crab and frequently put upon, fidgeting constantly.

All of the witches are meant to have supernatural elements that set them apart from the mortal characters in the book. They each have tattoos or magical markings with Smertae’s being done in woad, a blue dye made from plants that the Picts were known to paint themselves with. Smertae also has spikes like a crab that pierce her skin and grow when she uses her magic.

When artist Sarah Stone designed the witches, these were her thoughts behind the design:

Smertae: red hair, loose flowing curls, angular but perhaps the most ‘curvy’, middle height of the three sisters. pale hazel or gray eyes. tiger claw necklace “piercings” built into and around spiral tattoos that look like bruises instead of ink. old scars. Her silhouette is broken by small sharp thorns (like the tiger claws), similarly to a crab they come in threes.

Smertae kyla

Art by Kyla Vanderklugt

Later when we added clothes, we researched how the early Picts wore simple dresses and tunics. Sarah wanted to make sure the dress still felt stylish so she added the cutaways on the arms and legs to show off Smertae’s spikes and tattoos. we also thought it gave her a tattered, more realistic look. If you had spikes coming out of your hips, your skirt wouldn’t last very long either.

One of the coolest things about a character design is seeing how other artists interpret it. After Sarah designed the three witches, cover artist Kyla Vanderklugt and interior artists Kelly and Nichole Matthews had to bring that design to life on the page. The strong elements that were important to us from the start (her hair, her spikes, her dress), are all noticeable in every incarnation even as little aspects may change with each artists’s style.

Smertae preview

Art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews

When the series opens, Smertae is returning to Alba (aka Scotland) after years in exile. She will have to come to terms her fellow witches, Cait and Riata, who have very different plans for the fate of their homeland. Smertae confronts the mistakes of her past, even as she battles for the soul of the man she believes should be Scotland’s king.

Stay tuned for future posts about the designs of Cait, Riata, and some of our other characters. Toil and Trouble will be available in stores and digitally on September 2nd and can be pre-ordered at your local comic shop with the form below.


My creator-owned series The Third Witch is now called Toil and Trouble. Same great book written by me with amazing art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews, but with a new title.

If you’ve already pre-ordered Toil and Trouble under its old title, have no fear. The order code is the same, so your request will still go through. For those of you that haven’t ordered Toil and Trouble yet, we have an updated order form just for you. Procrastinators!Toil_and_Trouble_order_form

Click here for a printable version of the pre-order form.

“But Mairghread,” you might be wondering, “what is this comic all about?”

Toil and Trouble is a perspective adaptation of the classic play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. This comic series tells the story of Macbeth from the perspective of the three witches who appear early in the play to deliver a prophecy that Macbeth will soon become king of Scotland. In this story, readers follow Smertae, Cait, and Riata, the fates of Scotland, as they battle each other for the soul of Macbeth and the future of their nation. This is a supernatural horror tale that utilizes the comics medium to delve deeper into Shakespeare’s play and tell an entirely new story.

Pre-ordering is a great way to make sure you get the book, but it also tells stores that this will be a popular book. So if you are looking to support books that you enjoy, make sure to pre-order.

Toil and Trouble will be available on September 2nd. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting some cool behind the scenes looks at the characters, art and writing process, so stay tuned.

Thank You,

Hello, it’s March and what an awesome month it is going to be!

I have a lot of great work coming out this month and I thought I’d share it with you.


Transformers Robots in Disguise Season Premiere
tf rid 2015Saturday, March 14th, 2015 at 6pm Eastern Time

I am a series writer for this new Transformers show. I’ll be livetweeting the premiere with the cast and crew on Saturday. Follow me on twitter here. 



Marvel Universe: Guardians of the Galaxy #2Marvel guardians 2
Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 – $2.99
10-page original story written by Mairghread Scott with art by Adam Archer.

My second Marvel story stars Groot and the Guardians in a brand new adventure! Check out a preview on Comicosity!


Transformers #39 Combiner Wars Opening Salvotf 39
Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 – $3.99
Story by Mairghread Scott and John Barber – Written by John Barber – Art by Livio Ramondelli

OPENING SALVO! The Autobots and Decepticons’ uneasy peace is threatened by the flames of war! Starscream, ruler of Cybertron, makes contact with Windblade’s homeworld, Caminus, and the only defense against a new Cybertronian Empire are Combiners: multiple Cybertronians forming together into huge, dangerous forms!


Transformers Windblade #1 Combiner Wars Part 1
windblade 1Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 – $3.99
Story by Mairghread Scott and John Barber – Written by Mairghread Scott – Art by Sarah Stone

THE WAR BEGINS! The first strike in Combiner Wars is against Windblade’s homeworld, Caminus, and she’s not happy about it! Her long-lost Cybertronian colony is found… and the only thing that can protect it is Superion.

This year’s biggest Tranformers event crosses over John Barber’s “Transformers” book with my “Windblade” series. You’ll want to read both series to get the whole story.


Available for Pre-order:

Swords of Sorrow: Chaos Special
Written by Mairghread Scott – Art by Mirka Andolfo
Coming this May! Diamond Order Code: MAR151183


A team-up set up by SWORDS OF SORROW’s Gail Simone, featuring the writer that she hand-picked: Mairghread Scott! Who are the villains behind the epic SWORDS OF SORROW event? Discover the darkest minds in Dynamite’s roster, the kind of ladies who are fond of how bloodstains look on six-inch heels. To quote writer Mairghread Scott, “SWORDS OF SORROW is going to be a hell of a party, and CHAOS is your blood-soaked invitation. Take a ride with some of the deadliest women in the Dynamite universe as they prove the only thing you have to fear… is them!

See what happens when Gail Simone asked me to make the evil ladies of Chaos Comics seem like they could kick the snot out of the rest of the Swords of Sorrow heroes!

Have a great March everyone! I’ll see you in April!

SoS-Chaos-Cov-A-Chin-60ce5So do you ever have that dream where one of your professional heroes emails you and asks you to write a book for them? Well, a few months ago that dream came true for me when Gail Simone asked me to write the Chaos special for her upcoming Swords of Sorrow series. Of course, my head exploded, but once I gathered all the pieces I wrote a really cool and nonchalant response email as I secretly said “Yes, Yes, YES!!!”

Swords of Sorrow is a 6-issue event where Gail brings together the coolest heroes of the Dynamite Universe. There will also be special tie-in issues by awesome ladies like Marguerite Bennett, G.Willow Wilson, Erica Schultz, Leah Moore, Emma Beeby, Mikki Kendall, and Nancy A. Collins. I get to write the Chaos special with art by Mirka Andolfo which introduces the antagonists of Gail’s series, Chastity, Purgatori, Mistress Hel, and Bad Kitty. These ladies are deadly and totally out of f*cks to give. They will rip your heart out and smile as they show it you.

Check out the awesome cover by Joyce Chin to the right and check out the full Swords of Sorrow announcement here.

So excited!