Now On Kickstarter: On the Coast of Dreams (Graphic Novel) – With Creator Interview

cd602f684fce2dc03ea71ce4f63a4398_largeBarely over a month ago Kickstarter began operations in the Netherlands, allowing creators in another corner of the EU a chance to see make their dreams a reality.

Before the Netherlands, Kickstarter first ventured into the U.K., then Canada followed by Australia and New Zealand. With each new expansion, the legions of creative minds that Kickstarter has sought to empower have leapt at the chance of reaching an audience with their unique talents and ideas.

One creative team hails from the Czech Republic, currently outside Kickstarter’s operational sphere. It is the teams first attempt at crowd-funding a project, but it is also the first graphic novel from their country to be offered on Kickstarter. ‘On the Coast of Dreams‘ is the title and it is currently in funding mode.

While their Kickstarter is a bit sparse on details, the graphic novel of this fledgling group of artists is promoted as being centered around a man who must journey into the mind of his daughter, tragically stuck in a coma. The tone and story-telling immediately reminded me of the European stories I’ve come across in pages of the world-famous Heavy Metal magazine.

The panels are chocked full of empty and tense emotional sequences, less action-oriented story-telling and geared much more towards evocative introspection. It’s a style of graphic story-telling that appeals to me in ways that garish super-heroes and thin plots typical of American comics generally don’t. It’s also a style I find can be hit or miss within the pages of Heavy Metal due to the shortness and sparseness of the stories themselves considering they have to be told in generally twenty pages or less. On the Coast of Dreams however is promoted to be coming in at roughly 90 pages so I can only assume that a thorough plot with well developed characters will be fully executed.

The artwork reminds me of a rougher Garrie Gastonny. Like Gastonny, you can see in the characters a pained, constant deliberation of action.

Illustrations-by-Garrie-Gastonny5

Garrie Gastonny’s similar artistic style to On the Coast of Dreams

After seeing only  a few pages of the comic, I have to admit that I am intrigued, both by the art and the story.

In one panel, an elephant with red markings is shown talking to the main character while in another,  a three-headed monstrous Buddha-looking guardian serves up an apparent warning to the protagonist of the novel.

Clearly from the limited images (which on the Kickstarter page itself could definitely stand to be enlarged) thus far revealed the story  is one that takes a hard and fast intellectual romp through all manner of cross-pollinated cultural iconography and blends myth with self-awareness. Its roots firmly extend from the classic Epic tale– Gilgamesh to Orpheus, a hero who journeys into a forbidden land on a quest to save his beloved.

What really makes this Kickstarter even more interesting though is its Czech-American collaboration.

With the creative minds of Viktor Šauer and Michael Petrus serving as writer and illustrator, the pair has enlisted the aid of an American project manager named Tomas Holub.

This global coordination appears to be required because apparently  in order to fund a Kickstarter project one needs to be physically present in one of the countries the site operates in– the U.K., the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand or in this project’s case, the U.S.

To work around this, creators can and do enlist the aid of foreign project managers, who in turn set up shop in their  native country, including handling all the legal matters inherent in a Kickstarter project, a strategy clearly followed in this case.

But apart from this legal setup, the creators of On the Coast of Dreams have a more primary concern, chiefly getting  their creation out and into the hands of the world at large.

In the pursuit of these dreams, they were gracious enough to share further details about their on-going campaign, and I had a cool opportunity to reach out across the Atlantic and get a feel for creators from the other side of the globe.

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(1) Why a graphic novel? Why Kickstarter? What makes your graphic novel different over others on KS?

The answer is the urge and desire to create. Kickstarter is a great opportunity for indie authors and we resonate with this way of supporting.

Our graphic novel is the first Czech comics project on Kickstarter and on the same time is quite unique story about freeing your spiritual state from the materialistic world.

(2) What’s the price breakdown of your KS amount roughly?

Well the goal is quite high because of the several factors – if we reach the $9000 goal we will see just around 60% – 40% go off directly (KS and other fees, taxes, fee to our “project supervisor” in US) – thus we’ll have just around $6000 to print it ($3000) and ship it (that’s the big part – as we are shipping from the Czech Republic it’s very expensive – approx. $2500-3000) and we also have to produce the other rewards as t-shirts, posters etc.

(3) What other work have you guys done?

 

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(4) How did you guys put together your KS team?

We were talking about our passion and people passing by were interested in helping us. Viktor and Michael works already together for several years and we are friends for more than a decade.

(5) What is the story about? Is it a personal story? How do you relate to the characters?

‘On the Coast of Dreams’ is an original fantasy story set in the fictional mysterious world, inspired by our dreams. It is about abandoning the material world that we live in and accepting other dimensions around us.

In the story we will follow a journey of a man, whose daughter is trapped in a coma and he has to travel into the world of dreams to get a chance to fight for her life.  In the world of dreams they call him “The Seeker”. He encounters a wide variety of individuals and intelligent entities. While some of them try to help him on his way, others want to destroy him. It is a story of hope, determination and an overcoming of personal limits.

It’s all fiction but on the other hand, we want to show people the possibility of astral travel and lucid dreaming which can happen in the real world too and then you’re limited just by your imagination.

(6) So you guys are from the Czech Republic, would you say this story is uniquely Czech? If so, how?

It depends on what do you mean “uniquely Czech”. I think we have this kind of different thinking about the story and visuals thanks to the development of not only Czech comics but also the Czech culture itself. On other hand it isn’t located in any specific location so it can work anywhere.

 (7) What artists/writers inspire your work?

Michael: Cary Nord and his Conan had its impact on how my art has changed during the last years and On the Coast of Dreams reflects it in a way.

Viktor: I can’t say that this work is inspired by some specific artists but for many years I am interested in fantasy, sci-fi and mystery stories so it’s probably mixture of all different kinds of genres.

(8) If you had 1 artist in the world come and critique your work who would it be and why?

Michael: Never thought about that. Mr. Bryan Talbot had a look at my work at one of the comics cons in the Czech Republic, maybe I would like to talk to him longer and deeper. He is the founder of the graphic novel after all.

Viktor: It’s quite difficult question for me as well but for me it would be really interesting to hear what Hayao Miyazaki would say. I really resonate with his work.

(9) What comics do you read regularly, what movies and games do you play regularly? Do you prefer European comics/American/Japanese or some other style of comics? What about music genres? Do you create to any tunes?

Michael: In fact, I don’t read comic books regularly. My comics reading is more studying the art. But I watch some TV shows like Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, Vikings or Game of Thrones. I love post-apocalyptic or sci-fi movies I would go to see every new film of this genre in the cinema. And music? Something harder, melodic and something with lots of bass. I listen to music during drawing a lot. I can’t work with silence.

Viktor: I just read some graphic novels time to time but not much. I don’t have any specific preferences as long as it’s good story. Much more I read normal books as by now The Malazan Book of the Fallen.

I am big movie fan and I’ve seen really a lot of movies… but I am not so strong with TV shows and series. If I should name few pieces which I like in past couple of months it would be Her, Blue Is the Warmest Color, Dallas Buyers Club and The Great Beauty.

In music I love lot of different genres but during writing I usually listen to movie soundtracks and scores so I am not disturbed by the lyrics.

(10) Have you ever been out of your home country? Where?

Michael: There are some other countries?

Viktor: I love to travel and I’ve been lucky that I traveled quite a lot… like 40+ countries by now mostly in Europe, North America and South East Asia – I loved it there!

(11) What would you say your most inspiring moment in life thus far has been as it relates to your creativity?

Michael: When I connected my computer to internet for the first time.

Viktor: It was one summer when I read a few fantasy books like The Lord of the Rings, some volume of Harry Potter and The Riftwar Saga. In that time I realized that I would love to invent my worlds, lore and write my own stories. I was fifteen years old and since then I started to focus more on creative writing  in my free time.

(12) What future projects do you see for yourselves on the horizon?

We have several comics projects regarding our job in front of us but we would like to continue to create stories in the world of dreams we created for On the Coast of Dreams.

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GS Blogger: JesseB
Source:On the Coast of Dreams

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