The world is currently going Dark Souls mad.
Not only has the latest iteration of the gaming series arrived on Xbox One, PS4 and PC to rather critical acclaim, but if you prefer the slower paced nature of a comic book series, then Titan Comics have got you sorted with their new Dark Souls series.
We thought it would be therefore be a good time to grab both the writer and the artist behind the series with an exclusive Q&A interview. George Mann and Alan Quah were more than happy to take some time out to answer our questions.
Could you please introduce yourselves? What are your roles on the Dark Souls comic?
Hi! I’m George Mann, and I’m the writer behind the new Dark Souls comic series.
Thank you for having us, Tobias. I’m Alan Quah, artist of the Dark Souls miniseries and owner of Komikaki Studio who is handling the color chores of the book.
Are you both big fans of the games?
Most definitely. I’ve played both of the first two games on my Xbox 360, although I confess that I don’t often survive for very long. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into Dark Souls 3 once my scripting duties are done!
Honestly I don’t play much games in particular, though I get a kick from watching my son play them. My drawing schedule is way too gruelling for me to devote any time to gaming and association to Dark Souls is mainly through my son and friends who “complain” to me how difficult and frustrating it was to level up.
The comics really capture the environments we’re used to seeing in the Souls series, and a lot of that comes from your artwork. How did you go about keeping that sense of familiarity while still bringing a unique and fresh feeling to the art?
When I was assigned on the project I spent many days exploring the gameplay, studying the environments, the fight scenes, main character designs, the bosses and sub-bosses etc. I also sketched tons of drawings and panels designs that might work for the comic even before the script arrived. I believe at that point my mission is to get the mood and feel of the environment right into the comic medium, which is dark and gritty. It helps that I am a big fan of sword and sorcery comics and Dark Souls is right up that alley. Hopefully I have achieved that and the fans of the game will approve.
Was there any inspiration – outside the Dark Souls series – for the worlds or characters? Maybe it was just the red tattoos on a pale complexion, but something about Scryer’s looks reminded me of Kratos’.
My original design of Aldrich was a little off, maybe too fantasy looking of a wizard and was pointed to the right direction by George and my Editor Tom. I’m glad I took their advice. As for Fira, my interpretation of her could very much be like a badass Red Sonja in armour. I enjoyed drawing her though I wished I had made her sword larger and “heavier” 😛
On that note, we’ve never seen actually any real characterisation in the Dark Souls universe; the closest the series has are the brief interactions with NPC’s, and the occasional side-quest. Will the comic series be focussing exclusively on the stories of Fira and Scryer? Or are there more characters to come?
The comic is very much Fira and Aldrich’s story, but you definitely do get to meet a few NPCs too, particularly as the first arc continues, and things from Fira’s past start to come to light.
On a similar note. The protagonist of the games has always been a ‘Chosen Undead’ and the goal has very much been to turn the tides of the world. Without giving too much away, will Fira and Scryer be dealing with more personal plotlines? Or, like the games, will the focus be on how their actions shape the universe around them?
A bit of both! I can’t say too much without giving things away, but this is both a very personal journey for Fira, and one with repercussions for all of Ishra. There are going to be difficulties along the way, emerging secrets, and hard decisions to be made.
If issue one is anything to go by, we’ll be seeing all sorts of tie-ins to the lore of the games. But I think the big question is: do you plan to tie the comics into any of the time periods seen in the games?
I think overall the story of this arc, The Breath of Andolus, is anchored in Dark Souls lore, with the spreading undead curse, and the guttering Flame of Life. As to other cameos and appearances – well, we’ll have to see how things develop!
In terms of time period, well – people are already asking if the cameo in issue #1 places the story in the same time period as the first game, and for now I’m leaving it for people to make up their own minds!
Finally, Solaire has become a fan favourite in the Souls universe. We saw his brief Cameo – as Fira’s hallucination – in the comic. Her reaction upon seeing him made it seem like there was some history between the two. Am I right in thinking we’ll be seeing much more from Solaire as the series elapses?
There’s definitely history there. But as to whether we’ll explore it any further – well, first you’ll have to see if Fira survives beyond issue #2! After that, it’ll really depend on whether readers like and support the book, to see whether we get to do more. So spread the word! Get people reading.
Our thanks go out to both George and Alan for sparing their time in order for us to let you know more about the comics. The first issue of Dark Souls is out right now and can be picked up from Titan Comics. If you would like a review of it, then we can help you out with that too.
I’m already looking forward to the next issue and I hope you check it out soon.