It’s now less than two weeks until the release of Top Cow’s latest project, Ravine. The book is an epic fantasy project from the mind of artist, Stjepan Sejic and is scripted by Ron Marz, who also works with Sejic on the Artifacts series. Here at Comic Booked, we were lucky enough to catch Sejic with a few questions, which he was more than happy to answer and supply us with some exciting sneak peeks into the upcoming book. Check out what he had to say below.
CB: First up, for any of our readers who haven’t heard yet, what’s Ravine all about?
SS: Many things, but it is in a way a coming of age story versus a coming to terms story. Honestly I think I could write an answer to this from a hundred different angles and each would be correct.
But ultimately, let’s say that it is a story about a man who wishes to save everyone by killing an ancient god, and bringing his family to life…. and a group of heroes who might try to stop him.
See, problem with answering this question is unbreakably bound to the nature of the story. For instance, Lord of the Rings is more of a quest driven story. As such it can be easily summarized to the point where you can say that it’s a story about a few guys on a journey to destroy a ring in a volcano. Ravine is by its nature more character orientated. By that I mean, characters are a bunch of people who get pulled into the maelstrom that is unleashed. They become the wildcards in the carefully stacked deck . It is an epic fantasy, it is a high fantasy with prevalent magic and fantastic races. There are no elves , dwarves orcs or goblins. Ravine has a cast of its own. Ultimately, Ravine is what the reader makes of it.
CB: Ravine seems pretty close to your heart. How long has this been in the making and what does it mean to you to see it in print now?
SS: So one day, eleven years ago, I was a guy in love with a girl. Just for my own amusement, I decided to draw her wearing armor. And then I decided to draw another panel… and another panel……and so on.
Eleven years later, I am happily married to that girl, and somewhere along that timeline, a world was created. A story was born within the confines of that world, and after over six hundred discarded pages that have been changed, drawn and redrawn as I was gaining the skill needed to make this a reality… it is finally on its way.
Issue 1 is being printed right now, issue 2 nearing completion, issue 3 being laid out, and all twelve issues planned out.
Over 1500 pages to tell the story we want to tell. Because now, there are two of us. Me the architect of it all, and Ron the guy who makes me look good-by polishing it all with his delicious word fu!
CB: You’ve worked pretty closely with Ron Marz before – most recently in Artifacts – seeing as these are characters and stories you’ve been developing for quite a while, how does it feel, working with Ron on this one?
SS: Fantastic! We have had a very organic interaction on all of the projects, often pitching in on ideas to each other. This was a no brainer for me. And after seeing how finely he polished all my sketched writing..Well..This was just meant to be.
CB: The preview on Top Cow’s site looks spectacular. There are elements that seem very similar to the work you’ve done on Artifacts. Can we expect to see the big, double-page spreads we’ve been seeing in the Artifacts comics or are you aiming for something different?
SS: Sure. Ravine is an epic fantasy. But it is not art driven. Sure, it does feature my best work. That is what a labor of love is after all. But it does not rely on art to carry it all. So expect aaaaaaaalot of character development. Those who read Sunstone know that character development is kind of my obsession so past the initial setup nature of issue one i get to really have fun with that.
CB: Why did you choose to go for a graphic novel format, rather than monthly comic books?
SS: I hate comic format. 20 pages? Please! I like to read my comics while relaxing, not while on the toilet!…well…ehm.. There too… but you get my point! I am not trying to get rich with this, I want to tell a good story. And for fantasy genre, graphic novel is the way to go…but that is merely my opinion.
CB: Are there any characters to watch out for?
SS: The vegetable seller, that guy is shifty! Of course, joking aside, all of them. It is a layered character driven story. So only real answer is all of them.
CB: We’ll all be very sad to see you leave Artifacts. Was this to give you more time to focus on Ravine or was it just time to move on?
SS: Time to move on. Switching to Aphrodite 9. For probably about 12 issues, then we will see, there are many toys in the Top Cow toy chest and I am quite playful hehe.
CB: And finally, what are you hoping that readers will take away from this series?
SS: That fantasy comics are far from gone! That and hopefully a love for the story and characters that will keep them reading.
Sejic has also treated us to a sneak peek at 2 exclusive pages from Ravine issue #2. Check them out below and keep an eye out on the creator of Ravine’s Facebook page for more up to date pages, images and cover sneak peeks.
What excites you most about Ravine? Are you a fan of epic fantasy? Let us know below: