One of the highlights of our trip to San Francisco Comic Con was getting to meet so many talented comic creators and writers. One of the talented creators we spoke with was Nathan Peabody, creator of the exciting new comic Boylord. Nathan took some time to answer a few questions for us after the Con. Be sure to check out our review of Boylord Issues 1 and 2 on our REVIEWS page.
1) Tell us a little bit about how Boylord's story was created. What was the inspiration behind the mythology you created?
I enjoy exploring mythology, and spiritual writings, in general. In a scholarly way, like Joseph Campbell. I tried to tie together my beliefs and dreams into a cohesive story for Boylord. One thing I wanted to challenge was the notion of a male gendered creator. It seems like any creator that exists outside of the material world, and is thus bigger than the universe, has no gender. We project ourselves into our belief systems. For humans, this often means that because we live in a man’s world of judgement and violence, then the creator must also act this way. In Boylord I got to create a matriarchal society that functions very well, and is harmonious. There are divine female characters sprinkled throughout the story, because the pranans view the universe through a spiritual female-centric point of view.
I wanted to give readers, specifically younger ones, a happy and positive view of a creator. Things are not diving into apocalypse in Boylord, they are getting better. Although it will take a few issues before this becomes apparent since I start off torturing children. None-the-less, the creator is actively sowing the seeds of goodness and helping the heroes.
When I started practicing Kung Fu and Qigong many years ago, there was a strong Buddhist philosophy behind the martial arts. The Shaolin monks that created the practice centuries ago were known for being forces of peace and righteousness in their homeland. They used violence was a last resort. I made the pranans this way, they are the best fighters in the galaxy, but prefer to avoid conflict. They communicate and resolve issues peacefully if they can. They walk softly but carry a big stick.
2) What was the process like of creating the various species, planets and characters like?
Creating the species was fun because my background is in entomology (insects) and genetics. Pranans, the main species, have many insect characteristics, such as an exoskeleton. In future episodes I will explore how their genetics and biology are different, and I look forward to getting the science correct so readers can be informed in a fun way. As a kid, I was often the dungeon master. Creating new monsters and races was something I really enjoyed.
The two planets currently in the story, Vareenya and Herpetol, represented hope and fear. On Vareenya, I got to create a place where I really want to be. In California, there are 2000-year-old redwood forests that give off a magical vibe, and living amongst these giant, ancient trees would be awesome. People that have never been to coastal redwood forests, or mountain sequoia forests, are really missing out. The primitive planet, Herpetol, is less pure imagination and more metaphorical. In future stories it will feel similar to earth. We only get a brief glimpse of life there in the current story arc. I enjoy fantasy stories with swords and sorcery, so Herpetol is the perfect place for that. Even though I like spirituality, there’s nothing like a bloody medieval fight for entertainment.
The characters started simple, and then grew into a family. I wanted a vibrant, loving and helpful family. Dead parents and evil step-parents is not a fantasy of mine, and it has unfortunately become the norm for every major science fiction and fantasy story. It’s cliché and overused. 15 year-olds are perfectly capable of getting into trouble and creating drama with good parents, and one can become a hero with normal parents. I do not have children, but my friends and family do and I am continuously impressed by their dedication to parenting. The characters honor my friends, and I hope I can entertain my friend’s children in a way that makes them proud.
3) What character would you say was the most fun to develop?
Killjoy the war goddess was the most fun. In the original story she was just a convenient tool to save Ettan, and then she left. But my friends all wanted to know her backstory, and what her motivation is. And when I threatened to kill her off they all complained. So she grew in complexity and importance. To develop her properly, I thought, just what exactly are the job functions of a war goddess? What do they do on a day-to-day basis? It was fun to explore what that would be like, and it seemed like any sane soul working as a war goddess for too long would end up hating it. Killjoy is essentially indestructible and immortal. Yet she is forced to interact with mortals, continuously, which seems like a really boring job after the thrill of unlimited power wears off. Killjoy provides an outlet for my sarcastic and irreverent side.
4) What is more important to you: character development or plot development?
Plot development is the most important thing for me. How do I make a utopia engaging and fun for the reader without eventually destroying the society? What is the whole point of the comic? I want the comic to show progress, the pranans interact with humanoid planets and turn them good. I can’t write the characters until I have the plot fixed. I spent the first 4 years simply writing the plot and story, I didn’t have any character names at first. Once I had the whole plot written, then I needed to carve out exciting parts to put in the limited space of a comic book. That was the hard work, and the most important. I need to know where we are all going.
But after that, the characters just come alive. I put myself in their position for every plot development and see what they would do. Sometimes they write themselves and change the storyline. This happened distinctly in chapter 3 (spoiler alert) when Ettan’s parents land on the rogue planet. His soldier father, Jojaq, gets ready for danger and prepares to cautiously enter the lab. That’s how I wrote it at first. Then I came to his mom, Giulia, and I realized that a mother who thinks her son is in mortal danger might not care at all about protocol, or safety, and she literally rams through any obstacle in her way to find her boy. It’s fun when the characters speak to me and tell me what they would do.
5) What was the process like of working with artist Manuela Soriani on Boylord?
Manuela is just amazing. From the very beginning we have gotten along really well. The dynamics of living on different continents with different native languages turned out to be a non-issue. We talk via Skype and email, and when I really need to get a concept across I make a movie of me drawing out ideas on a whiteboard. What has been so amazing is that she gets my crazy concepts. She played Dungeons and Dragons, so all of those references hit home right away. She is the comic expert, I’m the newbie. She, and her talented husband Mattia, have been excellent teachers. They helped me refine the scripts so that they work well. And her art is stunning. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.
6) Tell us a bit about your experience working on the Kickstarter campaigns. What made you decide to use a Kickstarter campaign for your story?
I think Kim Herbst, the cover artist for chapter 3, suggested it when I met her years ago as I was just getting started. I have no previous track record in comic books or science fiction, so I have no fan base. Kickstarter allows me to get fans from all over the world that I would otherwise be unable to reach. And it allows people to support our work before we have a finished product, which is really helpful financially.
7) What social media site or app has been the most fundamental in spreading the word about Boylord and why do you think it has had such a strong impact?
Facebook is probably the best at spreading the word, partially because my Boylord page is tied to my private account. My friends and family have all been super supportive and this allows me to post pictures and updates within my social circles. If I was a little more savvy, or had more time outside of my day job, I would explore other sites as well, but Facebook was already in play.
8) What can fans expect from the next two chapters/issues of Boylord? Any teases you can share for the story or characters?
We get to see the female protagonist, Ettan’s girlfriend Jenya, grow. She is extremely important in the story. I wanted a powerful female lead, one that young women can relate too. She becomes a highly accomplished pilot in the future, and in chapters 3 and 4 we see her awakening.
Enjoy this article about Nathan Peabody from the Saratoga Mercury News:
And here is a link to a free PDF of issue #1 for our readers: