Welcome to the Four Kingdoms Production Blog! Here we will be posting periodic updates about the creation and development of our comic, The Four Kingdoms. If you keep an eye on this blog, you’ll bear witness to page drafts, character bios, history lessons (the fun “300” kind, not the boring “beelyuns and beelyuns of stars…” kind), and a lot of personal musings from both Rachel and myself about the comic overall.
I say that last part as if I expect you all to know who we are. I suppose introductions are in order!
My name is Alex. By day, I’m a video game designer working on titles that you may or may not have heard of, depending on your tastes and platforms of choice. By night, I write! The Four Kingdoms actually began its life as a novel I started in response to my once-love for the venerable “Redwall” series by Brian Jacques. It was a series I adored as a kid, but sadly it did not grow up with me. Poking my nose into recent iterations of the series, I felt like former readers from the early years might be looking for something that delves a bit deeper, asks greater questions, and thrills on a more visceral level. I’ve written The Four Kingdoms so that it will hopefully fit the bill, but I’ll let you readers determine that.
Handling all art duties is Rachel Bennett, though some of you might know her from her online handle – “Kobb”. When I decided that Four Kingdoms absolutely had to be a comic, I absolutely had to ask Rachel first. Her work exudes a bit of that familiar “Redwall” feel, but the characters have more expression, their gestures hold more weight – they feel more real when Rachel handles them, so now, because of that, Four Kingdoms has an art style and character designs wholly unique to any other kind of fantasy comic tale. I’ll let Rachel talk a bit about how she draws inspiration for her artwork and why she ultimately decided to work on the comic – perhaps in a subsequent blog post!
So why is this a comic and not a novel, you ask? The answer is pretty simple: I looked at a recent Redwall tale – “High Rhulain” – then I looked at David Petersen’s “Mouse Guard: Fall 1152”. Clearly one of these things made a tremendous impression on me! The amazing artwork and immediately relatable characters of David’s world give me and Rachel a bar to aspire to as we create The Four Kingdoms. There was something tangible and immediate to the world of “Mouse Guard” that just wasn’t there anymore in “Redwall”. It was a world that not only was thought out and detailed, but looked exactly the way it did in the creator’s head. This kind of artistic honesty is a cornerstone of Four Kingdoms, and Rachel and I are working very hard to bring a new and exciting world for you all to visit, interesting and likable characters for you to befriend, and intriguing plotlines for you to experience.
Now that the introductions and backgrounds are out of the way, I’ll tantalize all you readers with a brief summary of what to expect from our fantastical tale of high adventure…
“Great events like these only occur once every so often. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that every detail be recorded, that every thought be rendered without expense, else the future generations may forget why the world has changed so.”
Many long harvests ago, the seven races of the land fought a terrible and bitter war that ultimately came to shape the Four Kingdoms, each set to a point on the compass.
To the East, the Felis study scrolls and record history as accurately as they can, while simultaneously striving to be the most ‘civilized’ of the kingdoms.
To the South, the Vulpin are at war with themselves – old customs and new ideas clashing in ways they could never have foreseen.
To the West, the Tamian and Lutren races rule as one to defend their home from Polcan invaders from the sea and terrifying ‘crawlers’ that inhabit the dark forests of the Western Deep.
As each kingdom struggles to keep order, a disillusioned warrior sets out from the lifeless lands to the North, ten of his greatest warriors in tow. Behind him, he leaves a trail of death, destruction, and terror.
Forever following in his wake is a group of warriors – a group of allies – called together by fate to hunt down and defeat these aggressors before the kingdoms fall back into war, a war that the fragile Four Kingdoms would not survive…
Stay tuned as we explore more of this new world – you might even catch a sneak peak of events and characters to come!
For now, signing off!