SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS is a new ongoing series from Image Comics. In this high fantasy tale, readers follow Luvander, a mysterious young adventurer, as she journeys to The Dragon’s Maw dungeon. Recently, ComicsVerse had the opportunity to speak with the series’ writer and artist: Sebastian Girner and Galaad. Girner, co-writer of Image’s SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER, and former storyboard artist Galaad sat down with us to discuss the future and process behind this lighthearted fantasy tale.

ComicsVerse (CV): In your own words, could you give us a rundown on what SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS is about?

Sebastian Girner (SG): SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS is an all-ages, all-readers fantasy adventure comic, following the adventures of a hot-headed treasure hunter Luvander on her quest for gold and glory. When we open the story in #1 Luvander and a group of fellow scoundrels are attempting an expedition into a fabled dungeon to unearth the riches legends promise at the very deepest level.

READ: Want to check out some of Girner’s other work? Check out this review of his creator-owned series SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER!

Galaad (G): SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS starts as a treasure hunt. Every character is looking for something, but what they find might not be what they came for. If the premise is classic fantasy RPG, it evolves into a tale about the meaning of worth and riches, featuring characters that, beyond that fabled treasure, are searching for themselves. As we start the series, they all have a bit of an identity crisis.

Courtesy of Image Comics

CV: Where did the inspiration for SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS come from?

SG: Galaad and I both draw from a childhood reading fantasy novels, games, and comics. We both love the works of Hayao Miyazaki, 16-bit JRPGs and the kind of ageless comics that all readers of all ages enjoy, like Asterix or Dragon Ball.

G: What Sebastian said. Our inspiration range from Tolkien, more specifically the Hobbit and the beginning of TLotR, where adventure beckons and things aren’t so desperate, to the fun and silliness of Dragon Ball.

CV: How did you two start collaborating on this story?

Courtesy of Image Comics

G: We started collaborating back in 2015, after I contacted Sebastian and we started to exchange what we’d want for a modern fantasy story, going back to our roots and influences as artist/writer. We took our time to flesh out a fully-fledged world and finish the first arc before publication. I saw the first arc (7 issues) as a proof of concept. If we liked the result, if we fell in love with the characters, then there was matter to continue on and do something big with. I’m happy to report that we LOVED every minute spent working on the series and intend to make SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS a series that evolves and grows for the years to come into a bright shiny star in the comics universe.

READ: Looking for your next fantasy read? Take a look at these 5 YA fantasy series recommendations from ComicsVerse!

CV: Sebastian, you are already writing SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER for Image Comics, which is raucous in the best way. While SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS is grounded in high fantasy, the tone is wholly unique. There is a lot of fun and humor embedded in this story. What drove you to craft SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS this way, and do you approach it differently than you do SHIRTLESS BEAR FIGHTER?

SG: SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER was a collaboration with my longtime colleague and friend Jody Leheup. It grew in our heads as a result of living and working together for years, and when the scripts were written we started looking for artists and found the great Nil Vendrell. The tone and style of SBF was more cemented in the script and characters, as a result of Jody and I knowing each other so well before, and that was the great challenge for Nil (which he surpassed with skill and grace): to nail a specific tone of voice from two writers who have known each other for years.

With SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS, Galaad and I worked together on every aspect of the book right from the start, but we also never met before. We learned about each other BY working together, and through the characters and world we created. I would write some ideas for characters, Galaad would sketch them, that would give me ideas and impetus to tweak the writing, or something he drew would inspire a little story over here, fleshing out a character’s backstory or inspiring a new location of the fantasy world, and bit by bit we worked together on the puzzle of cracking this series, and we also became friends. It’s a very unique experience, learning about another person, their beliefs and dreams and ambitions, even when they’re on the other side of the world, by putting hours after hours into a piece of art together.

CV: A lot of that lightheartedness comes from the art. Galaad, how does SCALES & SCOUNDRELS compare to some of your past work?

Courtesy of Image Comics

G: SCALES has little to do with my previous work, which consisted mainly of doing animatics and storyboards for big companies, as well as the occasional concepts and design. I’ve dabbled in fantasy before, but never had the chance to build something from the ground up. After getting a taste of comic storytelling, I’m telling you this is the best! I’m having a blast and I try to pour that energy into my art every day. Sebastian’s scripts are so much fun to illustrate. His characters are so lively.

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CV: Tell me how you went about the world building. Sebastian, was this a vision you’d had for a while, or did the overall look and feel of the world only find a foothold through your work with Galaad?

SG: Like I said above, all aspects of this book were born from collaboration with Galaad. Building the world became very, I don’t want to say “easy” but natural to me, once Galaad was designing and sketching the core cast of characters. His art has an effect on me, like I’m exploring a world that is already a real place, and rather than having to “come up” with it, I’m excavating it, I need to explore every corner and creepy dungeon. I’ll be looking at pages and something will click, and I’ll have an idea for another little story or element or a bit of lore.

CV: One of my favorite sequences in this issue is Luvander’s dream sequence. In this two page splash, the collage of Luvander’s memories and thoughts is beautifully constructed. From a scripting and an artistic point of view, how did you conceive and tackle this really trippy but powerful moment?

G: The dream sequence was a good way of foreshadowing some of the future beats of the story, but also hint at Lu’s past in a more abstract way. We’re not telling it right away, and they may be a few details there that will throw the readers off. We really wanted this splash page to be something special, an insight into Lu’s character that stays with the reader as we unveil more about her true self. A flashback would have been too obvious, so we blurred it into the realm of dreams… So a few things might be off!

SG: The dream sequence in #1 is one of my favorite pages that Galaad has drawn so far, and it’s also the most important bit of lore, probably in the first few issues. Before writing that scene, Galaad and I had to be firm in our story and our leading heroine. We said this is who she is, this is her story… but we’re not gonna show the reader all that right from the start.

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CV: In this opening issue, there is a lot of mystery surrounding Luvander’s past. She, herself, is obviously tied to something supernatural, and the cover and dream sequence would suggest there is draconic ancestry. Sebastian, what led to your decision to keep her history somewhat secretive at the start?

SG: I love a good mystery, it’s fun to have your own theories and ideas (especially in a fantasy world) and we wanted readers to get to know Lu as if they were traveling with her. Spend enough time with a person and they’ll show their true colors, even if they are trying to hide them most of the time.

But you’re right, there’s something special about her, as is evident from the very first scene of the book. We don’t want to spoil anything, since the truth about who Lu is and what she’s looking for is the very core of the first story, but that dream sequence will be a page we hope readers will come back to time and again to try and puzzle out what exactly is being shown there.

Courtesy of Image Comics

CV: We end the issue on the path to adventure. What is coming up next for Luvander and your band of heroes?

G: They’ll enter Dened Lewen, “the Dragon’s Maw”, a place of legend where it is rumored a fabled treasure lies.

SG: That’s right! Prince Aki, his shadow Koro have hired the plucky Dorma Ironweed to lead them to the ruins of a mysterious dungeon, that has been home to many ancient civilizations. It just so happens Lu was on her way there as well, so she accepts the offer to join the party. It all sounds so fun and simple, but of course things won’t go quite as smooth as they hope. And there’s still that grim and dangerous man from the final page of the issue, who seems to have a bone to pick with Lu specifically…

CV: For both of you, what other projects are you working on?

Courtesy of Image Comics

G: SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS is my full time job right now.

SG: We’re still working on the final issue of Shirtless Bear-Fighter! and #3 is printing this week. I am also the editor of a series of creator-owned books published by Image, like DEADLY CLASS, SEVEN TO ETERNITY, SOUTHERN BASTARDS, and RENATO JONES, and though I want to concentrate more on writing, I’m definitely going to straddle the line between writing and editing for the near future, as I love doing them both.

But SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS is my big passion project, and I put every free minute I have into it, and I hope to do so for a long time.

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Want to Know More about SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS?

SCALES AND SCOUNDRELS #1 launches on September 6. If you want to learn more about Sebastian Girner, you can follow his Twitter @SGirner or head over to his website. For more on Galaad, follow him on Twitter @Knightofpaper.

One Comment

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