The upcoming comiXology Originals series The Final Girls is an irreverent deconstruction of the superhero genre (and the superhero job description), but part of the charm of this working-class superhero drama is its primary setting - particularly the real world of Scotland.
Most of The Final Girls is based in and around Scotland, with several real-life locations popping up for those that live in (or have visited) the nation most famous for mountains and whisky. Not that there aren't mountains of whisky in The Final Girls - but expect the unexpected more often than not.
"The Final Girls is about a group of ex-work-for-hire superheroes navigating through the fall-out and harm caused by their superhero colleagues," says artist Sally Cantirino. "It's a comic about what abuse of power, reparative justice, and real change could look like."
Part dark comedic superhero story and part dystopian political thriller, The Final Girls is also a love letter to Scotland from Cantirino, writer Cara Ellison, colorist Gab Contreras, letterer Joamette Gil, and editor Katie West.
Cloisters pub, Edinburgh
Letterer Joamette Girl has jokingly labeled The Final Girls' Styx pub as "the arse end of nowhere," as it's meant to be somewhere in the rambling countryside villages of Scotland. It's actually based on Cloisters Pub, which is in a parsonage next to a Catholic church in Edinburgh.
"I used to live right behind it, and there's a secret alleyway by that bush Sally has drawn rather accurately that you can use to get back to my old apartment," says Ellison. "The Secret Alley can be hazardous to navigate when drunk. I constantly got old condoms stuck to my shoes by using it too. And yet, I did not stop using the shortcut.
"Personally I think that putting a pub inside an old religious building, a Scottish habit at this point, rather implies how one pastime has overtaken the other in Scotland," she adds.
Royal Circus, Edinburgh
"I don't know whether it's true or not, but locals used to say that Sean Connery had a townhouse on this street that Sally has drawn at a masterful angle to show its curve," Ellison says.
Edinburgh's Royal Circus is home to some of the most expensive townhouses in the city. Americans might see the streets and be reminded of a classic BBC period piece or even Mary Poppins, but you'd need a salary much bigger than that of a governess to afford living there.
"When I was in my early twenties, I knew one of Scotland's Most Eligible Bachelors and he had a place here," says Ellison. "The parties were out of control. He had a grand piano in the ‘drawing room' in his townhouse here."
In The Final Girls, Ash and Claymore live in this area - and thats meant to say something about how rich they are, and how removed they are from the majority of Scots and superheroes in general.
"Ash at this point has become more of a symbol or social media star than a working superhero; 'work' has become more about image and performance for her," Ellison says. "Claymore just gets the Silicon Valley money: he's the shadow Tony Stark."
Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow
The Glasgow Royal Infirmary isn't restricted to the rich, but if you come into some health troubles while in the area it's a necessity.
"I've never had the pleasure of visiting here, but my longtime friend from university Naomi works in emergency medicine, and Osua is based on her (with permission!)," says Ellison. "Osua, just like Naomi, doesn't have time for timewasters, but she is an extremely good doctor. I don't know if Naomi has the power to control rainclouds. If she does she has been pranking my house for the last three days."
This locale from The Final Girls required a bit of 'artistic license' as they say, as there aren't actual oil rigs this close to the beach. This bit of fiction is to help the story, but also pulls from Ellison's real-life experiences growing up about 40 miles south in Aberdeen, which is off the North Sea.
"The North Sea was home to an oil boom in the '80s, and a lot of people flocked there, including my family, to work in the oil business," she explains. "A few years after I was born, in 1988, the Piper Alpha disaster happened. An explosion on the oil platform killed 167 men and cost Occidental Petroleum £1.7 billion. The fallout of this tragedy dominated my childhood and the memorials feature heavily in my memories of Aberdeen.
"Many people who grew up in that part of Scotland knew of someone who had died on the platform," Ellison continues. "Even though there hasn't been a disaster of this magnitude since, I still think about the way capitalism endangers people who don't have much choice in their line of work, and so the oil platforms around Scotland still feature heavily in the way I think about the Scottish working class."
Loch Lomond, Scotland
"Gab Contreras, The Final Girls' colorist, knocked this out of the park. Didn't she?" Ellison says. "These are the colors of Scotland. Sally Cantirino and Gab together are a force.
"This is how Loch Lomond feels. It feels like an expanse of water where the sky participates. Anyone, especially superheroes, would be lucky to contemplate their existence here."