ICN presents the first in what we hope will a series of interviews, where we aim to bring to the forefront those comic creators plying their trade in Ireland who may not yet be household names but have the drive and talent to produce comics not because they have to but because they have the desire and the will to do so. We want to put the spotlight on those creators and let you, the reader, know that these works exist and are out there to be discovered.
Our first creator to be spotlighted is Anthea West. You may have seen several posts on ICN that have shown character development stills from her upcoming book The Earthbound God. Well, ICN caught up with the third year college student to get the inside story on this interesting looking project and to get to know this driven creator a little bit. So read on…
David O’Leary: Hi Anthea, thanks for joining us.
Anthea West: No problem, thanks for getting in contact with me!
DO’L: Our pleasure! I firstly wanted to ask you about your upcoming new book, The Earthbound God. We have seen some character development stills, but little is known about the story. What is the overarching plot?
AW: An Earthbound God is exactly what the name suggests, a god that is bound to our earth. Being neither immortal nor mortal, people believe killing one, and eating one even, can bring miracles. One such duke believes this and is willing to pay anyone to bring back the heart of the Earthbound God, Mij the dweller of the mountains of the Forest lands. Yaeya and Eusha are two nomadic hunters, who are travelling the world trying to find a place to settle and live happily, but mainly comfortably. This mean money, land deeds and many other things they don’t own. So when the young duke ask them to put their hunting skills to use, they are not likely to refuse.
I hope that tells you guys enough without revealing anything spoiler-ific! I’m terrible at summarizing my own stories.
DO’L: The character of Mij is one of the most visually arresting characters I have seen in a long time. Can you explain to us firstly his look and his role in The Earthbound God?
AW: Firstly he is a she. No antlers! I came up with Mij back in June 2010 as a digital painting, I think I may have just recently watch Princess Mononoke for what was probably the millionth time as it’s one of my favourite animated films and I wanted to take a whack at making my own deer creature. This first Mij drawing had weird legs and feet, making her look more lion-like than deer. That change in March 2011 when I did another, changing her design making her the Mij we all know and love now! She’s sort of mixed up of things that I really enjoy drawing: deer, long swishy hair and skulls. I’ve always found skulls so interesting and enjoyable to draw. They’re supposed to be scary but I find that odd seeing as we all have one but I guess it locks into our shared human fear of death. Oh look at me sounding deep. Ha! Anyway I wanted Mij’s design to be memorable and maybe a little bit frightful despite her being a benign creature but she’s meant to give the overall sense of the mysterious and the frightfulness of untameable nature.
The aforementioned Mij
Death is a natural part of it, especially during the winter months which is when Mij dons her skull face. Her role in The Earthbound God? I can’t give too much away but Mij lives deep in the mountains of the forest lands doing deer things and now she has two hunters after her heart. It won’t be easy. Oh no. Not by a long shot. What is often said about Mij is that if she does not want to be seen, she won’t. If she does not want to be caught well ya haven’t a hope in hell! Oh actually, funny story behind her name: When I drew her the first time I asked my lovely friend and fellow artist Katie what I should call her. She said Jim. I said not a chance. So she responded with “Mij”. That been her name ever since and I don’t have the heart to change it!
DO’L: Will The Earthbound God, when released, be a digital or paper release and at what stage do you plan on getting it released?
AW: The plan is to get it printed out in book form first (if I get the funding that is!) then later post online as a PDF. It’s going to be released at conventions once it’s completed! The Earthbound God is a one shot comic, hopefully spanning over 40 or so pages. I’m nowhere near ready to make a graphic novel, maybe after college. I certainly have plenty of ideas.
DO’L: The characters of Eusha and Yaeya both appear to be main characters in the book and correct me if I’m wrong, both female. We don’t see enough books that use female characters without using stereotypes when doing so. How important was to you to base your main human characters as females?
AW: Not very. I like writing female characters not just because I find them slightly easier to write/draw, but like you said, there aren’t enough female leads, especially not enough ones that act like real human beings. I write my characters as characters; making them a man or a woman really doesn’t change their development or their roles in the story. They have a story to be a part of, a life of their own to be developed and gosh darn they’re not going to be standing about breaking their spines doing the bum and boob pose!
DO’L: Since September 2010 you have steadily released pages of your online story Desolate Ceremony. What can you tell us about the plot of DC?
AW: Sure! This one is easy because I already have it written down. Cheating time, go:
Desolate Ceremony is a story about a young demon girl called Dee; sweet but pretty useless; she’s the joke of the Dark Realm. Sick of her failings, Ruler of the Dark Realm, Master sends her off on an impossible mission (along with her foulmouthed best friend): To lead the demonic uprising to take over the Human Realm! Follow this unlikely pair as they travel through other worlds (mostly being chased about) meeting impossible people, surviving the darkness, discovering what a moon is and learning what it truly means to be yourself.
There’s also going to be an apocalypse…. But that’s not important right now.
And that’s it. Well, on the surface anyway…
DO’L: Is there an end point to DC?
AW: Oh definitely but it’s going to take many years, I’m estimating 4-5 years. That’s presuming that I won’t have any updating troubles in the future.
DO’L: What has been a motivating factor in being consistent with new pages for DC?
AW: Mainly that it’s a story that I want to tell, with characters that I’ve been developing for quite a long time, randomly giving up on it seems like a terrible thing to me because I’d be abandoning those characters and their stories that are waiting to be told. So I don’t plan on giving up on it anytime soon.
DO’L: You’ve mentioned to me previously that you didn’t consider doing art until your fifth year of secondary school which wasn’t all that long ago. What sort of art training have you done to this point?
AW: Oh I’ve always done art, I just never considered it as a career. Currently I’m in my third year of college, studying animation. It’s a wonderful course and I love it, but man oh man, is it stressful, busy, nightmare inducing, social life (ha!) killing work. Really though, I do love it (I tell myself that everyday) and I’ve grown and learnt a lot from my time in IADT.
DO’L: As with comic creators who are artists and writers, I always ask, which do you prefer?
AW: That’s hard but I guess I’d say drawing as I see things visually in my mind, so pictures often come first to me. Then again there’s so much I can say in written prose that I could just as easily say in a single drawing. That’s the great thing about comics though! I can have the best of both worlds.
DO’L: Are Desolate Ceremony and The Earthbound God all there is on your plate right now or have you anything else lined up?
AW: Oh well, there’s college, thesis, 4th year film, I’m quite a busy person for someone as lazy as me but if you mean comic-wise I was considering making the Earthbound God a series, though I’m still on the fence about that so I won’t say that officially. I won’t be running out of any story ideas at any rate, I have enough material to keep me going to possibly a life time. After Desolate Ceremony my next Webcomic will be Metaphoric (working title) which will be my first stab at a superhero comic about a shape- shifter named Claire who really isn’t interested in stopping robbers.
DO’L: Are there any conventions or appearances on the cards for you this year?
AW: Yes! If all things work out I’ll be at the 2D festival inDerrythat’s happening in June. I will also be at:
- Q-Con – June
- BroCon – July
- hopefully Nom Con in August (I’m still waiting to be confirm on that)
- And Eirtakon in October
- And any other con if I happen to get invited to!
DO’L: Anthea, thanks for joining us, take care.
AW: Oh, I’d never give up the chance to talk about myself and my work so thank you very much for interviewing me. See ya!
We thank Anthea for her time and wish her the very best of luck with all her projects. You can find Anthea online by following the links below and of course by keeping an eye to ICN for future updates.