Book Related Questions:
What stuff do you use to make the comic?
I use Arches 140lbs hot press watercolor paper. (It’s actually cotton, so it can put up with a lot of abuse.) I paint with Winsor&Newton watercolor paint and Golden brand acrylics, and when and where I use masking fluid, it’s Winsor&Newton brand too. Other than that, mechanical pencils, lots of coffee and grey hairs.
What does the comic look like?
Here’s a few pages from Across Thin Ice, Book One:
You can read the first part of Across Thin Ice right here!
How many Nordguard books will there be?
The story unfolds over the course of three books. The first is “Across Thin Ice” and was released in summer 2011. The second is called “Under Dark Skies.”
When will the next book be out?
We’re working on the next book, Under Dark Skies, but they take a ton of time! Each page represents about 40 hours of work, between layout, sketching, inking and painting. Across Thin Ice took about two years to complete, and book two will likely take the same amount of time. We’re shooting to have the book complete by the end of 2013.
What’s the book rated/Is it suitable for kids?
The book is probably best suited for ages 14 and older, due to some violence and a little bit of language. (It is, however, way less gory/violent than many US television shows airing during prime time.)
What’s Book Two called?
Where can I get a copy of Across Thin Ice?
Across Thin Ice is also available online from a variety of places, including Amazon.com
You can also find the title in your local comic book store, and if they don’t have it on hand, ask them to order it!
Here’s more information on getting a copy!
Who’s the publisher?
Sofawolf Press (www.sofawolf.com) is the publisher. They are a privately owned independent publisher, specializing in anthropomorphic works and have been in the business for over a decade.
What’s the comic about?
As part of the Nordguard, Pi and her team are called forward on a seemingly routine rescue mission to one of the northern-most mines, Tartok. In truth, they are racing toward a danger they could never imagine, and ever closer to a betrayal from friend and foe alike. Tartok Mine holds a dark secret: something ancient and terrible pulled from the icy earth. Many will die in an effort to claim it, and many more will fall trying to destroy it. Pi’s team find themselves in the middle, struggling only to escape.
Find out more, here!
What is “The Nordguard” anyway?
As the first permanent establishments took hold in the northern territories, a civilian outfit known as the Nordguard came into being. Their humble start was with only a single team in 1860, lead by the intrepid explorer Albert Kerstof. Their lives were dedicated to keeping trails open to travelers, opening new routes, and running the mail between outposts. Over the last 40 years, the Nordguard has flourished, growing into an elite Search and Recovery organization. In the ever changing and hard northern climate, their job is ceaseless and difficult. Their strength of character is exemplified in their company motto:
Always Running, Never Tiring
So That Others May Live
Will the comic be available to read online?
Some pages of the comic will be up online, posted sporadically as I complete them and in no particular order. You’ll have to pick up the book to get the whole story.
How much does Across Thin Ice cost?
The softcover, full color edition of Across Thin Ice will be $19.95
There will be a smaller run of a hardcover edition for $39. Depending on demand, Sofawolf may decide to print a second edition run of the hardcover books.
How can I get a hardcover?
If you missed out on the online presales of the hardcover books, you have one more chance to snatch up the last of the hard covers at FurtherConfusion in San Jose, January 2012.
Why anthropomorphic animals?
I like to draw animals. I also think animal characters can add new advantages and challenges to story telling in general.
Is this a historical drama?
Nope. If anything, it’s an action-adventure science-fition story set in a parallel universe to our own, where the world is populated by talking animals.
Is it historically accurate?
Aside from that whole talking animal thing I mentioned above, you mean? Yes and no, and mostly no. While some political powers, technology, geography and social events are similar to our world at the turn of the century, they are not the same.
When and where is the story set?
The story takes place in 1903, in the Northern Territories of the United Territories–analogous to what is modern day Nunavut (north east Canada, around the Hudson Bay area.)
Why are they wearing clothing, and where does it come from?
The more civilized, united species of the world–such as those from the New Land who are spreading throughout the United Territories–wear clothing for the same reason people do: for society, identification, work, vanity and protection. In more primitive parts of the world, from the jungles of New Guinea to the northern reaches of the White Lands, the less civilized of animal cultures wear significantly less clothing. Many of these more “feral” animals disdain their softer cousins for doing wearing clothing.
Many materials are natural fibers, such as canvas or cotton. Also, an animal as a species is aware of it’s own strengths and weaknesses. Today, humans farm muskox for their wool, which sheds naturally every winter. In the Nordguard universe, an enterprising muskox can make the deduction to sell it’s own fur, especially to newly arrived “summercoats” who have not adapted to the brutal winters of the north. The same goes for sheep, yak, cashmere goats and so on. Antler is also a “renewable” resource.
In the north, resources are scare. Even in the real world, caribou eat bird chicks in the spring for the added nutrients. No animal will leave behind a useful resource to rot, and it stands to reason cultural norms and religion would conform to the the very basic need for survival. Some tribes in the White Land routinely make use of skins or other parts of ancestors, as it bestows the items more spiritual weight and power.
But they’re all animals, what do they eat?
Well, carnivores still eat meat and herbivores still eat plants. Civilized carnivores will eat fish, birds and reptiles, and some, to varying degrees, have adapted to become omnivores.
However, in some places in the world, animals still eat animals. In the north, for instance, it is considered taboo by most, but a dire necessity at times.
At some point in this world’s history (as with our own) groups and tribes of people decided it wasn’t so advantageous to be killing each other. What they really needed to do was get up together and go kill other people. So, historically, when different species started to ban together, they slowly formed what became modern societies, probably rife with ‘speciesism’ and class systems. Laws and cultural norms adjusted to fit. Eventually they could call killing one another ‘murder,’ rabbits could vote alongside wolves, public institutions were no longer segregated (though, in the 1900′s you might still see a “bison only” country club, for instance,) a bear would go to prison for attempting to eat your pronghorn neighbor, larger cities might have a self proclaimed “cat’s only” district, but everyone could play reindeer games.
At the turn of the 20th century, when the Nordguard’s story takes place, the civilized world is booming with advances to science, technology and culture. In the New Land, the industrial age has swept the nation. Large scale farming sweeps the southern countrysides as the railroad system makes it easier and quicker to move grains, vegetables and other produce into cities and the denser, urban areas of the east. The ability to can and preserve fish has lead to a population boom, as well as stimulated enterprising companies to seek out new fishing grounds in the largely unspoiled and untouched north.
In the Nordguard universe, fish are the main thing on the carnivore’s menu. Reptiles and birds are also seen as ala carte creatures and have evolved to fill more of the “animal” niches in the world.
Some animals, such as seals and other pinnipeds, are seen as a kind of demi-humans. They have their own languages and societies, separated from the modern world by distance as well as culture. Someday in the Nordguard’s timeline, you might see Animals-For-The-Ethical-Treatment-Of-Seals picketing outside a seal-coat store, but for now, people tend to treat them as a less-than-human food, oil and blubber source, right alongside whales and dolphins.
The early 1900’s are not necessarily known for it’s ‘political correctness,’ after all.
Also, the global population of creatures would have to be substantially lower to support multiple species of sentient beings, so much of the world is uninhabited by “civilized nations.” These regions are still primordial, populated by “wild” or “uncivilized” tribes of animals still hunting one another. A few examples would be the deep parts of the world’s jungles, or the Whitelands of the far north.
Exploitation is a quality all sentient species share, and in the Nordguard universe, it’s curbed only by cultural stigma, civilization and it’s moral laws.