The Chronicles of Era is my custom playground. I see something I like–a Michael Whelan painting, a piece of Dune, a theme of Princess Mononoke, the Iron Giant–and I throw it into my pot. Stir it up, and play with the stuff I like the most. It is a world where I explore my own feelings about the world we live in. I examine the relationships between cultures. There are many things that I’ve thrown into this pot luck playground.
Part of the reason that I started to create The Chronicles of Era was because I recognized a niche in comics that was relatively small (at the time at least). I used to think comics=superheroes–which I like too, don’t get me wrong. But I also love fantasy. And science fiction. And Mythology. After reading books like Understanding Comics this awareness was heightened. One aspect of that diversity that I tried to address was Gender Diversity, and in particular giving female characters a sense of agency and strength of their own (the term Agency is a new one to me, but I think I was still trying to give the women of Era this personality and personal drive before I read the term at Chuck Wendig’s Terrible minds).
Ripley, Hermione, Lisbeth Salander, Rapunzel (Tangled), Leia, Starbuck (2000-something, not 1970-something). I’ve long liked a good, strong female character. Especially in recent years I’ve become that much more conscious of their roles. They don’t always have to be good characters, or have redeeming qualities, or even likeable, cute or sexy. They can be all or none, because that’s the way the world is.
Here are a few of the women that show up in my new graphic novel, The Chronicles of Era: Whispers of Redemption (Book 1):
Sarah is Seth’s protective sister. She took over the role of mother and father after the death of their parents. She provides shelter and food through her trade on the labyrinth of rivers surrounding their village. She is independent, strong willed and fiercely protective of her family. She had to be, to live and work in a man’s world. Sarah has determined that the West Men, the Illiam Imperium, will press even harder and that the Joshians will press back. She doesn’t want to see her brother used as a pawn in their conflict, but where can you go when your back is already pressed against the wall?
While Sarah acts as Seth’s strong, paternal influence, Lyllyth delves into the mysteries–the world of spirits and old gods. While she can’t quite make sense of Seth’s dreaming episodes, she is trained to deal with the immaterial world. She is the holy woman for the Heberon: a teacher, healer and priestess. She senses that higher powers are at work, but is unsure of her role in the coming conflict and whether she will be able to assist Seth in his own journey.
Caitleth is a dreamer, not unlike Seth. She fancies herself a romantic heroine, like her idol Arella. Like Seth, she is an explorer of the world, but from the opposite end of the world of men. She hails from an affluent state in the Core of the Imperium. There are complexities and secrets to the Illiam Imperium that Caitleth is only just starting to learn about. She is naive, idealistic and unprepared for what the uncivilized Wild Lands have in store for her. Will her imagination and dreams live up to what the real world has in store for her?
The Chronicles of Era is coming to print at the end of October. It is an epic fantasy world where mankind tried to live as a god and was brought down low. In a world where the borders of civilization are savage and wild, three youths–Seth, Sidrich and Caitleth–are caught between the conflicts of a powerful empire and the simple farmers on the fridge of the world.
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