Andrew Wheeler and Paulina Ganucheau are bringing a different kind of fairy tale to comic shops with their new series Another Castle (JAN161582). Fans of Nimona (MAR151387) and Zodiac Starforce (NOV150085) or mangas like Slayers and Fushigi Yugi (OCT084450) will love Princess Misty, who wishes to defend her kingdom against the evil Lord Badlug. The ruler of the neighboring kingdom of Grimoire, Lord Badlug plans to marry Princess Misty and conquer her kingdom; but not if she can destroy him first!
PREVIEWSworld had a chance to talk to writer Andrew Wheeler and artist Paulina Ganucheau about Another Castle, its world, and the characters who live there.
Preview pages are now available in the Oni Press Coming Soon to a Comic Shop Near You (NOV151538) preview book, and the first issue is set to release March 2nd.
PREVIEWSworld: This series seems like a fresh take on the traditional fairy tale style story. What lead you to explore this idea of telling the story from the damsel’s point of view?
Andrew Wheeler: You sort of nailed it in your question; the damsel must have a point of view, right? That's where it all starts; accepting that the damsel has a lot more going on in her head than 'distress'. So what's going through her mind when she's captive in the villain's castle, and what reason could she have for staying there when she might be tough enough to save herself? The idea that drives the story is that the princess has her own agenda, her own skills, her own desires. She's not going to be a bit part in someone else's story. She's going to take control of her own.
PREVIEWSworld: The design for the characters and the world they inhabit is bright and full of action. What inspired the look of the series?
Paulina Ganucheau: I think the brightness just comes out naturally in my art! I’m not shy about color or bold designs. It’s also a perfect story to house these visual elements. There are serious themes that travel throughout the whole book, but it’s also a lot of fun and frankly hilarious. But to break down my actual design inspirations for this story you’ll mostly find classic Disney films, Dragon Age: Inquisition and 80’s fantasy manga.
PREVIEWSworld: Misty definitely comes off as a “take charge and kick butt heroine.” What made you want to create such a fun and fierce character?
Andrew Wheeler: I wanted to create a hero worthy of the reader's admiration and time. She's as tough as the story demands, but she faces the same tough choices that any hero would face, and she has a lot to learn along the way. But you're right, she's fierce, she's very confident about who she is, and hopefully she's an inspiration to people who want a different kind of princess story.
Paulina Ganucheau: She’s definitely an inspiration to me. I love her so much and I feel so lucky to be able to help shape this amazing character into who she is!
PREVIEWSworld: All three of the Oni Press titles that were featured in the Coming Soon to a Comic Shop Near You preview book have female protagonists. What is it like to work with a publisher that encourages such progressive and diverse series?
Andrew Wheeler: It's wonderful! I think this is a great time for comics, because the audiences for books like ours are bringing vital energy and excitement to the medium. Comics are for everyone, and that shouldn't be a new or controversial idea. Girls and boys, kids and grown-ups; everyone should be able to escape into a comic and find heroes to inspire them. The folks at Oni understand that, and I couldn't have asked for a more supportive team for this book!
Paulina Ganucheau: Agreed tenfold. Oni is the best. All the people we work with there are amazing and thoughtful to the pulse of where media is headed and what fans really want. Andrew said it right; it’s a really exciting time for comics. It’s all changing and it’s so fantastic.
PREVIEWSworld: The title of the series is a nod to the famous line from Super Mario Bros., so did you slip any other fun pop culture Easter Eggs into the series for fans to find?
Andrew Wheeler: It's a nod to Super Mario Bros, but I swear it makes sense in the context of the story as well! And there are a couple of other references here and there, but I didn't want to turn the book into an Easter egg hunt, so don't expect to have to pick over every panel looking for in-jokes! Video games and fairy tales provide the backbone of the story, but Another Castle is its own world, and Misty is her own hero!
PREVIEWSworld: Paulina, you’re also working on the Dark Horse series Zodiac Starforce which also features powerful female characters that can take care of themselves. How important is it to you that there’s a place for stories like these in comics?
Paulina Ganucheau: It’s honestly the most important thing to me. I’ve always known I wanted to make comics about powerful diverse well-rounded women. Women who I would want to know. Women who I would want to be. Misty is one of those women. She’s strong, she’s feminine, she’s bossy, she’s far from perfect, she’s wonderful. She’s a character we all need in our lives. She’s a character I need in my life. Knowing that books like Another Castle, Zodiac Starforce, Batgirl, Jem and the Holograms, Ms. Marvel, Hellcat, etc. are on the shelves out there for everyone to experience starring these amazing women is everything that I ever wanted comics to be.