Internet Comics Presents: Nine Twilights!
What’s this? A team-up? What is this “Nine Twilights” you speak of, Comics Person on the Internet? These are good questions, and I have answers to them.
As we know…or should know…Wednesday is Comics Shipping Day, every @#$% week. New comics come in, and no matter how down on the industry I am, there is a tangible delight in this weekly shipping day. Today, I am bringing that straight to my classroom, as we are having our first Comics discussion day, as usual for Comics, on a Wednesday. It will be odd for the slinging of opinions to be outside a Comic Book Store, but I will adjust.
This post has nothing to do with that, however. Instead, it has to do with me bringing you Comics you don’t know anything about, just like I used to. That comic is called “Nine Twilights” and it is on the Internet. Want proof? Click the link in the last sentence, True Believers.
See? That was the first page of the teaser, from Rose City Comic Con. You need to start trusting me, Gentle Readers.
“Nine Twilights” is brought to you by Anne Agnew (Writer/Creator), Chris Hansbrough (Editor) and Andrea Rosales (the Artist). You’d think, with all the drawing, that this issue of Adequacy would feature an interview with the artist, but…no. Nope. Instead, we will be asking some questions to Anne Mortensen-Agnew, who has worked as a staff critic for KaBooooom! and an editor for Nerdstock. A lifelong fan of Norse mythology, superheroes, and magical girls, she is excited to combine her passions in “Nine Twilights”…which she writes.
See…what with the writing…I’m an English teacher? Fits together? Sigh. Whatever. The interview starts after with look at the “black and white” variant to the cover art for today. Which involves pirates getting their @#$es kicked, which is always great.
Adequacy: Aside from Norse Mythology, what are some of the major influences on “Nine Twilights”?
Agnew: Sailor Moon, definitely. Some of 9T’s central themes – reincarnation, second chances, and exceeding (or succumbing to) your past – are directly inspired by the first arc of the original comics. 9T also has an international cast, which was something I always wanted the show to do when I was a kid. I mean, if the Negaverse needs to gather energy but Sailor Moon keeps whomping them every episode, why not just leave and get energy somewhere else? But if they did that, Sailor Moon would have to chase them around the globe and make new friends and find new Sailor Scouts, which would have been pretty exciting! There’s actually a good reason in-show they don’t go anywhere else, but I apparently missed when they explained it.
In terms of tone, it’s a little bit of Buffy/Angel, or Avatar: The Last Airbender, stories that found a great balance between heavy subject matter and fun adventures and featured big ensemble casts.
There’s also another show that’s an influence, though largely out of spite. It had so much potential and then just totally blew it! I won’t name it because if I do I think I’ll be giving away too much about the direction the story is going… but it’s definitely present in my mind.
Adequacy: How long has Nine Twilights been in development? What have been some of the major milestones in that process?
Agnew: It’s been in development for about two to three years. I came up with the idea for a Norse mythology magical girl series at work in either fall 2012 or spring 2013. I had two ideas around that concept – either the nine girls would be reincarnated gods (like Sailor Moon) or they would be given powers by the gods (like Wedding Peach). I saw more potential in the first idea, and couldn’t figure out how to really make a story for the second one work anyway. (Though if I had gone with that second one, Tyr would have taken Baldur’s place as the Giles of the group).
I developed it on my own for 2013, and by the end of that year I had finalized the almost the entire cast, the backstory, the general themes, the first arc and the end of the final arc. I brought on my friend Chris, who was previously the senior editor for Septagon Studios, and we worked on it together from there. I had the first script for chapter one done mid-last year. Early this year we brought on our artist, Andrea Rosales. And that’s been the development process.
Adequacy: Is it intended to be a finite story, or an ongoing plotline, ad infinitum?
Agnew: It’s going to end. I have three arcs planned, each with about ten chapters each. Chapters tend to be super long and structured like a TV show so it’s going to take forever to get to that end, but it exists.
Adequacy: How were the artistic choices made? In the design of characters, settings, and the overall “look and feel”, what was the creative process?
(By the way, the answer to this question is LONG. Actually pretty interesting about the creative process.)
Agnew: I assembled a look book for all of the settings off-Midgard, and some specific ones on it. Since a lot of our story takes place on Midgard and the day to day locations are based off of actual places – Wanda and her family live in Chanov panelaks – I also research and take pictures of apartments, city streets, buses, schools, buildings, and more to make everything look and feel as authentically real-world as possible.
The biggest challenge has been designing the other nine worlds – new Asgard specifically. I want Asgard to have a distinctive look and aesthetic, feel mythological and grand, but also feel… mythologically futuristic. We looked at a lot of cutting edge skyscrapers and places like Dubai and the UAE for inspiration. I don’t think we’ve fully figured it out, but we have time since we don’t go to Asgard for awhile.
With regards to the characters: I designed them and gave notes to Andrea as she’s drawn them. We worked together for a few of the designs for the girls’ magical girl outfits. Andrea loves color, so she made sure to make everything eye-catching in that way.
I used a lot of online dollmakers and websites like Polyvore to assemble the day-to-day outfits for most of the main cast. Each of the characters has a different look based on their personality and their backgrounds.
Wanda, our hero, grew up incredibly poor. Her clothes are from donation bins and are in poor condition from overuse. She dresses pretty modestly, as she comes from a moderately conservative family. Her battle outfit is a little anachronistic for a viking god, but #aesthetic. The instructions were “armored tunic with design + overskirt, pants/tights, boots (more viking than roman). ansuz rune… and a valknut, should maybe factor into the design on her armor”. Her main color is royal blue – she has a cool demeanor, and she’s secretly king of the gods.
Baldur, current King of the Gods, has unintentionally flashy on-Earth wear to show that he’s a) rich as Hel and b) a fish out of water. His casual wear is all from the Balmain men’s catalog, fall 2014. Very casual, B, you’re crushing this inconspicuous thing.
Sari, Wanda’s best friend, also dresses modestly because she is from a Muslim country. Her clothes are nicer than Wanda’s because she steals them. Her main color is red because she’s livelier than everyone else.
Aish’s outfit was assembled on polyvore. She has a very cute and casual style. Yellow/saffron is her main color for two reasons. First because because Freyja, who she secretly is, was associated with gold and amber. Second, yellow and saffron have important meanings (at least according to a comment on a HONY post from a few months ago and also sanskritmagazine.com). Saffron is a sacred color, meaning holiness and purity, worn by the warrior caste, and symbolizes “the quest for light;” yellow is the color of knowledge and learning. Freyja was the goddess who taught seidr – magic – to the other gods, was foremost amongst the goddesses, and was associated with war and death. As Aish, she has a lot of growing and maturing to do. Her battle outfit was directly inspired by Arthur Rackham’s illustration of Brynhilde, minus cape and helmet.
Sofia has icy blue as a main color, since she has ice powers and is a withdrawn person. She has the most varied wardrobe because she’s a practical person and planned ahead for globetrotting adventures, but usually wears shorts and a nice blouse because she’s from a warm climate. Her battle outfit is a combination of Viking archer wear, with some inspiration from Puerto Rican cultural costumes.
Adequacy: The teaser art, in black and white, is very much “in media res” or in the middle of the story. What can readers expect from the fist story arc of “Nine Twilights”?
Agnew: The minicomic (online right now) takes place after chapter five, which is the midpoint of “Arc 1.” By that point we’ll have introduced five of our heroes, our villain, and a wildcard character I’m very excited about. After that we’ll have two more heroes introduced later in the arc. In total, we’ll have assembled most of the total cast, established the “big threat” for all of the story, and shown what each of the characters has to struggle with and grow from (or succumb to) in their character arcs.
That was the last interview question, which I thought brought things together, in terms of what a reader would be looking at. You can support the project at their Patreon page as soon as it goes live. I think the teaser mini comic is pretty good, and its a webcomic well worth a look.
Permalink to be added on your right, True Believers.
With all that text, let’s look at the pencils without any logo treatments.
That sword that the protagonist grubbed from someplace is pretty @#$%ing huge. Considering that she can throw people directly into the sun, I wouldn’t want to be a pirate today. And…oh yeah…that chick in the blue has the magic powers of Tho9r’s Dad…so pretty much Double Down on generic super powers.
Hope those pirates have a pretty cool boat. And maybe some superpowers.
Next Issue: New Characters!