Kicksmarter- Sovereigns Dread

by jessequickrincon on June 23, 2016


Greetings readers! We'd like to welcome you to a new segment we're starting on Comics The Gathering where we interview comic book kickstarters to give you additional information about the comic. Today we're interviewing James Wilkinson, creator of Sovereigns Dread who can be found by clicking this link. 

Jesse Quick-Rincon: You mention that you’ve been working on Sovereign’s Dread for 3 years now, what has that process looked like?

James Wilkinson: Haha, yeah that has been a very gradual process. I always used to pace in my backyard as a kid coming up with imaginary characters and worlds, it would have looked very strange I’m sure, heck I still do it now. Anyway it was just a natural progression growing up to sketch the characters. Eventually after years of these different ideas I said, “that’s enough let’s do something with one of these and stick with it.” Sovereign’s Dread was first world I enjoyed revisiting so I went with that one. Then it was just drawing practice through University and story plotting when bored (waiting for buses etc) but I didn’t tell anybody about it for most of that time. It gradually morphed into something I thought was unique and could stick with, but I lacked the time and honestly the confidence to actually make it. It was only getting back from Japan in January and seeing the thriving freelance scene there that I really was like, “yep, this is the time. It’s now or never.” And for about three months I worked on it full time, in my own time, to get issue #1 done. But yeah I thought about this sucker for about three years.

You mention that this is, “somewhere in between a Japanese manga and superhero graphic novel” yet it also plays with fantasy themes as well. How will Sovereign’s Dread balance and/or blend these varying genre influences?
I’m so glad I get to expand on this here haha! Well what I mean by that, the genre is certainly dark fantasy, but the pacing and method of storytelling is more like a Japanese manga. I find manga has this element of immersion from the exposition of conversation between characters that just gets you totally absorbed. There’s no narrator, and so you don’t take some mystical voices word for it that the things are happening, you see it yourself and make the sense out of it yourself. You speculate, and if it’s done well, you want more. I mention it being influenced by Dark Souls in this way too; in that game you decipher the lore through obscure item descriptions, not even conversations! I really want the reader to decipher this world and speculate about certain aspects without having it all laid out by Mr.Mystical Voice. That’s just my preference by the way; I know narration has been done wondrously in the past. I do sometimes use thought bubbles to give some insight though, like you might for a superhero novel, to allude to things.

One of the themes for the piece is addiction, what kind of addiction will the characters have to face?

Well, I don’t want to give too much away as it’s one of the key plot lines that runs throughout the series, but it is to a magical substance that in its liquid form can be injected and gives a burst of super strength and heightened senses. It’s also addictive. In its solid form it can be used as an energy source for spellcasting. So it’s use is different in the different countries throughout the world. In the country in which the story starts everyone is hooked on it as it’s used by the military to help wage war. In which it has, but addicts are dying in the streets. In a neighbouring country it is outlawed in its liquid state but still used for spell casting… In yet another they are built on an anti-magic ideology in which it is punishable by death… Which is right, which is wrong? There are various pros and cons. It’s supposed to be analogous for things like the firearm law debate; always two sides to an argument. And also of course certain illicit drugs. I just thought it’d be whacky to dump these issues in a fantasy environment. I’m not really trying to take sides, just observe and explore to highlight the issues.


A thing I thought was interesting was your mentioning of the theme of slavery. It’s kind of  an old standing trope to D & D nerds that druids and such can simply manifest or control beasts to do their bidding. How are you planning on playing with those kind of tropes?

Yeah you’re right on with that one. Well that is another central theme, this one I’m going to bring to the forefront a bit more later on… Can’t have too many highlighted themes all at once or it gets preachy and forced. But yeah, it was exactly my intention that the viewer takes the monsters as essentially conjured automatons at first, as is the case in so many fantasy stories. This one I’m going to have to keep zipped for now, but I’m definitely hoping for an ‘oh snap!’ moment when the reader discovers their origins, and hopefully questions their assumptions. I wanted to address slavery but in a less obvious way than the traditional sense.

Another thing that stuck out to me was the idea that magic is a new technology. Traditionally in fantasy stories magic sort of implies long standing traditions with great mages who have knowledge passed down to them through years of learning. What will it mean for your world that magic is relatively new?

 Mostly bad things haha. I think in history technological advancement has been exponential. This appears slow at first, your grandpa had a club, now you have a wheel. Whoop! (Obviously I’m joking on the time scale a bit.) But we are getting into the realm where advancements throw us into complete unknowns and can be potentially huge. The impact of the A-bomb was one. A.I. and the singularity will likely be another. That one is super scary because then it can take on a life of its own and the bell curve just soars and soars. I don’t want to mess around with science fiction concepts too much, but to me exponential growth as a concept is extremely interesting. Give a bunch of otherwise medieval folk the ability to shoot a decent sized fireball and you’ve probably won yourself a war. Or the world, if others can’t keep up. If in most fantasy magic has had its impact and people have adapted I think it looses so much weight to the concept; situating my story at its near conception is more exciting, I think.

How soon can people expect the pdf of the first issue of Sovereign’s Dread if they pledge at the 8 dollar amount?

 The first issue is done besides perhaps a thank you page and some bells and whistles. The Kickstarter finishes early July, so within the first week after the Kickstarter is over I’d say! Anyone else who has pledged higher and wants the first issue in pdf form then too I would be happy to send it to then.

How long did the first issue take to complete?

About two months storyboarding and rendering. I had other commitments though; the idea is that for the next two issues it’ll be all I’m doing, so I think I can get two issues done in two months as the storyboards are done already. A page a day keeps the stress away I think will be my motto haha. Then unforseen bad days here and there won’t be the end of the world.

Each one of these panels are beautifully painted, what artists or styles influenced your graphic novel?  

Oooo wow thank you. Well Frank Frazetta got me into fantasy as a kid. Before him I thought imitating real life was as good as you could get, then I was like, “that looks better than real life!” when I saw his work, which jump-started my imagination. Otherwise Kentaro Miura the illustrator and author of Berserk, with his compositions and panel flow, and probably Kekai Kotaki, the main concept artist for Guild Wars 2 if we’re talking technique, although I can’t compare to him haha.

Finally, what kind of party can we expect if we take you up for the 300$ package which promises a Sovereign Dread party if we can make it to Adelaide? 
Oh man hahaha. Well, you’ve kind of got me there. I didn’t plan anything too specific, suffice to say I love a good yarn and drink, and know Adelaide pretty well. I’d tailor it to whoever was interested, show them around town and to some nice food, but the main thing would be a massive chat about the novel, going over where I see it going (so insider secrets I suppose) and your chance to offer up thoughts on direction.
Thanks very much for the interview! And if anyone wants to stay tuned to Sovereign’S Dread after the kickstarter heres a link to the facebook:



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