Writer, Erik Bear of the Foreworld Saga's comic book spin-off mini-series, The Dead God, talks about the things that only the comic book medium can do with a story and world like The Foreworld Saga.
The line between myth and history is pretty thin. It starts with regular people doing fairly regular things (or at least as regular as founding nations and fighting wars and all that tends to be). Then, over the years, the stories just get embellished more and more and eventually these people who (presumably) used to be real are off fighting hydras and raising the dead and all the stuff of your stock fantasy epics.
Which is where The Dead God comes in. Because Foreworld is a fantasy epic, but it’s one set in our world, where magic is not real. Or is it? Because that’s the thing, you can’t really know the entirety of what’s out there, especially not in the Dark Ages. There’s a reason we call this era of Foreworld the “Age of Myth and Mist”. The Roman Empire has fallen and western civilization has gone with it. The world is getting colder, bandits are everywhere, and it’s basically, as I described it, medieval post-apocalyptic.
So into this bleak landscape ride these three heroes, Coll the bowman, Eadhild the axe-wielding warrior-woman, and Valens, the handsome and dashing bard who happens to be the one who’s telling the story. They’re sent out on a quest to find the still-living severed head of the sky god Yvrnn, which legend says whispers powerful wisdom to those who find it. To get to it, they’ll have to pass three trials, and defeat the evil spirits who are following at their heels…
...At least, that’s the way the story goes. The Dead God is about that intersection between the mythic and the real. One of the things I wanted to do that you can only really do in a comic book is seamlessly transition from the real world to the mythic world, panel-to-panel. Which Haiwei Hou really does amazingly well, by the way, she’s equally adept both at the grungy medieval look and the illuminated-manuscripty style. If you see things a certain way it’s all magic and demons and bandit kings, and if you see things another way it’s just a bunch of very cold, very dirty people scrabbling at each other over this old head in a box.
But sometimes there is truth in the old tales. Sometimes these myths and stories and rhymes are just disguised versions of the real truth. As regular readers of The Mongoliad and all the other Foreworld stories will know, we built a lot of secret history and mysticism into the world that we only began to hint at. Dead God has a few more pieces of the puzzle - a few more branches of the tree, if you will. In fact, there’s a lot of secrets in here, if you dare to see how deep the roots go...
Also, a woman fights a bear. So I don’t know what more you’d want out of a comic.
This guest blog was written by Erik Bear and presented by Amazon Publishing's Jet City Comics. Interested in comics and graphic novels? Sign up for Comics Delivers, a weekly email featuring the best in comics each week - from weekly booklists to deals and exclusive content from creators.