It is 1929 in New York, and an unlikely friendship is about to be formed between a young American journalist and an old and wary Tasmanian Tiger. Tim O'Neil's editor is sending him to the zoo to get the scoop on a Tasmanian Tiger named Kaii. Times are desperate, for Kaii's people and his kind are vanishing from the earth rapidly. Hunted to near extinction by the spiteful ignorance of mankind. In one last attempt to make the Tiger's voices heard, Kaii takes O'Neill on a journey through his past, and tells his stories of great triumphs, and even greater losses. They fought the most important battle one can fight: the true meaning of life itself. They fought to survive!
From Chapter Six:
From Chapter Ten:
Though animals can't talk, and there was no attack on the human settlers of Tasmania led by a thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger); the other elements of this story are real. The thylacine was a very real animal that was last seen on September 7th, 1936, when the last known member of the species died in a Hobart zoo from illness. The species itself most likely died out some time after the second World War. They were officially declared extinct about a decade later.
Thousands of years ago, when Tasmania was still connected to the main land of Australia, there was a huge amount of mega fauna in Australia that disappeared due to a combination of human introduction by the aboriginals and climate change. This pushed most of the large marsupial carnivores to extinction, except for the thylacine, and eventually the thylacine was pushed to the southern tip. About ten thousand years ago, the Bass Plains flooded, and Tasmania became isolated, providing a sanctuary for the thylacine until Europeans came in 1642.
The species was unfairly accused of destroying livestock in the mid 1800's, and a government bounty scheme was put into place to destroy the thylacine. Our story takes place in the early 1900's when the thylacine was quickly disappearing from the face of the earth. Our story follows the story of one thylacine named Kaii, who would sacrifice much to try and save his race from the terrors of human progress.
Inspired by a trip to East Africa and a crippling virus that made him a prisoner in his Nairobi hotel room, Kevin Smelt got his inspirations for a graphic novel idea then titled “Kaii.” In the winter of 2010 (After recovering from his typhoid), Kevin joined up with James Dillon and Jonathan Rafael, and started outlining and producing some early artwork.
The project was on ice for a while, until Kevin got the idea in 2011 to change the species of the hero into the thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger), and the setting to the island of Tasmania, and started on a manuscript then titled “Three Teeth of the Devil”. After about 6 months of outlining and writing the manuscript, it was complete with a new name... "A Tiger's Last Song.”
Each team member has a specific trait: There is a writer, an environmental artist and a character artist. Generally it is more common to have one to two artists, but this method of three artists will provide a more unique and detailed look to the story. With one artist putting all their focus on the characters and their actions, and another putting all his efforts in making the environments near to lifelike, you will get a graphic novel unlike any other! “We want the readers to almost be able to smell the scenes that are unfolding right before their eyes...” says writer and creator Kevin Smelt. “It's a fairly basic but complicated process” he adds.
Creating A Tiger's Last song will be no walk in the zoological park. First the environments have to be created from all angles before the character artist can make the scene come to life with his creations. “To do a comic like this, we'll need a very long pre-production process, but the payoff will be amazing...if it's done correctly, of course.”
Kevin Smelt - Creator, Writer, Creative Director
- (Kevinus Dutchmanticus)
- Natural Habitat: Port Orchard, WA
- Diet: Omnivorous
Kevin Smelt was born in the Dutch city of Geldrop on September 24th, 1988. when he was six years old he moved to the United States of America with his family. He was given a new beginning in Grand County, Colorado. It is a high elevated town full of bears, wolves, elk and all sorts of beautiful animals...perfect for Kevin.
Kevin has had a lifelong passion for animals and storytelling, so it's no surprise A Tiger's Last Song came into existence. Throughout high school, Kevin wrote short stories for his journalism class while working at an exotic animal sanctuary, where he got hands on training in biology and zoology. Kevin now lives in Port Orchard, Washington. His short stories he wrote are called “Heresy” and “The Addiction of Fear.”
Kevin has not lost his love for writing shorts. In fact, he continues to do so, and publishes his work on the Kindle Store at Amazon. He writes a series called “The Hell Fire Series,” which is an epic fantasy, one story line that is written and released episodically. He releases episodes every two weeks or so. The particular volume of shorts he is working on now is called “Book I – Rise of The Wolf Riders.”
Stephen Kaplan - Character Artist
- (Stephedon Oldmanticus)
- Natural Habitat: Redmond, WA
- Diet: Omnivorous
Stephen Kaplan was born in Tacoma, Washington on March 8th, 1988. Steve always like doing art and making his own stories, but his introduction to movies and video games only made him want to do it more. Funny enough, Stephen and Kevin went to high school together and would some times meet up in an attempt to do some sort of story or comic with no avail...but it planted the seeds.
After high school, Stephen went to DigiPen Institute of Technology to master his craft. His schooling gave him the skills that now allows him to do art for A Tiger's Last Song. Stephen also has a love for music and plays the piano. He sometimes plays at The Three Lions Pub in Redmond, Washington.
"I am really excited and glad to be part of 'A Tiger's Last Song.' It's one thing to get out of college and find a job in your field for the sake of making your life stable, but it's another thing to have the opportunity to do something you're really passionate about, and really believe in. And that is why I would love to see this Kickstarter succeed."
Stephen's personal blog: http://skaploony.blogspot.com
Chris Nau - Sculptor, Concept Designer
- (Nausaurus Chrisi)
- Natural Habitat: Redmond, WA
- Diet: Omnivorous
Chris was born in El Sobrante, California on June 23rd, 1989. He migrated to Washington State at a young age and spent most of his life in the small town of Port Orchard. Chris is a man of many tastes and has acted on many things as he could, ranging from art, culinary arts and gardening. He also likes to collect over the world (hats seem to be his favorite). In terms of artwork, he is particularly good at sculpting and painting.
Chris' role on ATLS is to sculpt 3D sculptures of all the characters as reference for the artist doing the panels. He will also be creating unique chapter introduction images that will give a unique look and atmosphere to the world of "A Tiger's Last Song."
Spar Wilson - Environment Artist
- (Sparaodonicus Sarcasticus)
- Natural Habitat: Small boxes in Seattle, WA
- Diet: Cheeseburgers
Spar was born in Montana, on December 14th, 1988. The elusive Spar is usually found to reside in the sub-levels on his dwelling, spending his waking hours doing everything from painting, programming, video editing, gardening, and making gadgets for his “rocket ship”. Spar studied at the University of Washington where he developed his artistic instincts. Spar is like Darwin's Galapagos finches, changing features to survive the constant changes in its environment, being able to get comfortable and adept to new styles...if he's forced to. ...see, evolution! Spar's role on "A Tiger's Last Song" is to colour, dress, light and stylize the rough 3D maps given to him - to breathe life into the environments. We want the readers to be able to feel the mood of each panel, whether it's sunny and optimistic or dark and depressing. The mood of the characters should reflect in their surroundings.
Risks and challenges
“If we raise our funds from Kickstarter there will be no risks, because part of the funds will go to keeping us alive so we can make this graphic novel our full time job for the better part of 6 months. I suppose the only risk (as with anyone) is releasing this to the world when it is done. I have spent two years of my life on this wonderful project. I've written it, researched for it, found artists for it and traveled to Tasmania for it. This project is my child, and I will do anything for her and never give up on her! With your help, you can provide me with a production where I have 100% creative control, something I could lose were I to get funded by a publisher.
The thylacine has stolen my heart, both as a creature and also as a symbol that fuels an engine of belief I have been using my whole life, and I would be a fool to not try and share it with the world. I thank all who give their support from the bottom of my heart! We will work hard to deliver something unlike you have ever see in a graphic novel, but also make something that will hopefully stick in the human psyche for years to come. My main goal is just to entertain people with a good tale, but if I can move them and make them see the world in a different ways... well, that would be an awesome bonus!”
Creator, Writer and Creative Director of “A Tiger's Last Song”.
- (60 days)