Once Upon Again 1 : The Marriage of Njord & Skadi.
A full-colour comicbook... Norse mythology! Heartbreak! Gender politics! Ink!
There are a lot of comics about gods and the battles they fought. There are even more comics about women and the flesh they've shown. Our comic is not one of them.
Step inside a little-known Norse myth of mismatched mates ~ where the giantess Skadi, bereaved and raging, finds herself unexpectedly united with Njord, god of trade and the seaways. The twists and turns of their tale evoke the push and pull between civilization and the wilderness; land and sea; partners in love.
Once Upon Again is the first collaboration between storyteller and folklorist Jon Mason (http://jonthestoryteller.com) and artist Simon Russell (http://www.boinggraphics.co.uk/projects/illustration). The series brings new interpretations to old stories for a modern audience, each release telling a complete self-contained story. In this first release, lush imagery and poetic language combine in a way that has more in common with picture books than traditional genre comics ~ focusing on characters' thoughts and feelings, rather than on violence and titillation. Explore the worlds and meanings of legends in a space and depth that is quite different to most action adventure stories with swords. (Okay, there's one sword.)
What are we asking you for?
Money, of course, but also your eyes and ears ~ these stories don’t truly exist until they are shared with an audience.
Okay, but what do we want from you NOW?
Money. I'm afraid, it really is your money we need to get this made. The story is written, the illustrations are complete. We need to raise funds for printing and to pay for a calligrapher to do the handlettering (our sample pages use digital fonts but for this project we want to have a handcrafted feel to everything).
How did we make this?
The two creators met through a mutual friend a while back and found they not only shared an interest in comics and folklore, but both were already considering how to tell their own versions of a particular Norse myth! Simon had sketches for an Asterix-inspired short comic (that he intends to draw still) and Jon was thinking about how rare it is to find a female character with true agency in Norse myths (a topic he would explore in his contribution to Locating Women in the Folk conference at Sussex University).
It didn't take long for the two new friends to decide to merge their projects...
That summer, Simon took advantage of a trip to Denmark to soak up inspiration for the Scandinavian landscapes and industries as Jon explored scholarly references to the story for thematic clues.
Jon’s original script was broken down in to thumbnails for a 24-page comic by Simon, and reworked collaboratively before the drawing began. As pages were developed, more script revisions were made to get a balance between artistry and clarity. Type was positioned on digital files to judge the flow of the story and when the script was polished to completion, it was prepared for hand lettering by experienced calligrapher, Katy Rodda.
The pictures themselves have been ‘excavated’ by Simon drawing over accidental marks and found patterns with deliberate lines ~ digging out the right images to add to each page. With the thumbnail of a page in mind, he would mix inks on paper using pine cones or branches, bubblewrap or comic bags, bird feathers or stones. Sometimes these made interesting marks that had nothing to do with the thumbnails but suggested a change in composition. Sometimes they were of no use for this project at all and were put aside.
An individual panel might involve five or more false starts before the dried ink leaves something that suggests the right sort of figure (there’s a lot of process chat on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/folkcomics/).
The marks that looked promising were taken and used as backgrounds over which Simon drew each picture ~ treating the next stage as if he was sketching on the scene of the event in the story.
So, what are we asking for again?
Money. That’s all. We really want you to read this comic, and everyone else to read it too ~ so we want to get it printed. Neither creator is taking money out of this campaign personally. The costs breakdown quite simply as...
- Print: £500
- Lettering: £150
- £50 video and sound recording
We’re putting down a KS goal of £650 and funding post and any extras from money put aside... we like to think there are some cracking rewards on offer for the money we're begging you to send us!
About the creators
Jon Mason, Storyteller (https://jonthestoryteller.com) tells stories to all ages at community events, festivals, gigs, schools, spoken word nights, and more. His solo shows include "Taliesin: A Tale of Power, Class and Environmental Catastrophe" (Brighton Festival Fringe 2017), "All's Fair? Tales of Gender, Equality and Relationships" and repeated runs of a Time Travel Treasure Hunt at Brighton Open Market. This is his first comic script. “I love old stories about magic, mystery and mischief ~ and I'm drawn most to those rooted in the landscape around us, exploring the blurry boundary between history, myth, our dreams and our reality."
Simon Russell, Artist (http://boinggraphics.co.uk) splits his time between illustration and graphic design for ethical companies and charities and making comic-based art. "In the comics world I am probably best known as Managing Editor for David Lloyd’s onscreen comic AcesWeekly or for making my own comics art projects (such as the That's Not My Merkin parody, Nearlymades, or ROY, appropriating Lichtenstein’s paintings for comic book panels). I’ve also done production work for Sequential and designed many books for London’s Cartoon Museum and Ralph Steadman among others.”
Risks and challenges
With all the pages except the cover complete before launching this campaign, the only risk is in production delays on the additional rewards if technology or workload interfere, but Jon's already started recording the audio story and Simon has worked as an illustrator/designer for three decades now and not missed one deadline, so it’s a very small risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)