Cloudscape Comics to publish graphic novel of online comic series
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Vancouver’s Cloudscape Comics has successfully funded several anthology graphic novels by multiple authors through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. This time, the society is fundraising for a graphic novel by a single artist, Last Night at Wyrmwood High by Kathleen Gros.
The Kickstarter campaign has a fundraising goal of $1,000, but it has already raised more than double that from over 50 backers. For their donations, campaign backers can receive rewards of Gros’ work, including digital and print copies of Last Night at Wyrmwood High; print copies of her illustrated novella New Divinations and the Cloudscape Comics’ graphic novel anthology Waterlogged: Tales from the Seventh Sea; an original ink sketch; and an illustration of the backer as a monster in the yearbook section of the graphic novel. One of the most popular rewards is the 84-page print copy of the graphic novel.
The Other Press spoke with Gros about Last Night at Wyrmwood High, discussing where the story came from and what will happen next in the series.
What inspired the online comic series Last Night at Wyrmwood High?
About a year prior to starting the comic that became Last Night at Wyrmwood High, I made a short story about a witch and her werewolf best friend going to a high school dance. I had so much fun working with those characters that I started imagining the wider world around them, their families, and the logic that applied to the world, which planted the seed for the story of Last Night at Wyrmwood High.
How did you decide which type of monster each of the characters would be?
I love werewolves a lot. There’s just something about them. They’re my favourite monster, which is why Amber, the protagonist, is one. Vampires are fun too, hence Tiffany being one. And for Steph, the last girl in our trio of protagonists, I went with a lizard girl because—despite not being a classic monster—she seemed like she’d be fun to draw.
Did you have an overall plan for the story when you started writing and illustrating it? Or did you write and illustrate the story from comic-to-comic?
I had the whole thing planned pretty much from the beginning. Initially I was writing Wyrmwood High page-by-page without any structure or planning, but I got about 12 pages in and realized that the path I was on wasn’t going to work out. So I put aside that first attempt and decided to start over.
How did you start over?
I had the good fortune to be in a Graphic Novels class taught by Durwin Talon at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. The goal of the course was to have a minimum 72-page graphic novel written and thumbnailed by the end of the semester. It was a great course. It helped me a lot with figuring out how exactly I wanted the story to work. By the end of the semester I had the thing written, thumbnailed, and ready to be pencilled. I think I drew the book in about four months over the summer vacation between the third and fourth year of my program. So, by the time it was being posted online, I’d actually finished the whole thing.
How did you feel when you heard Cloudscape Comics would be publishing your book?
I was so thrilled they wanted to publish it. I kind of didn’t believe it at first. It’s been such a great experience. Getting to work with Jonathan Dalton, my editor, has been wonderful. He really knows what he’s doing and has helped me make the book the best it can be.
How did you feel when the Kickstarter campaign raised more than double the original funding goal?
I’m so grateful. I don’t even have words for it. It’s so wonderful.
Will there be any more Wyrmwood High comics?
There may be. I enjoy writing and drawing the Wyrmwood universe and I’ve got a couple of ideas for other stories set in that world. But right now I’m focusing on some other projects.
In October, you were involved in the Cloudscape Comics project Comics in Transit, which placed artists’ comics on transit shelters across Vancouver. What was it like to take part in that?
That was so fun. I was glad Oliver McTavish-Wisden, Cloudscape’s president, asked me to participate. I loved getting to see what everyone else created. There were such different approaches, all equally fascinating. I spent an afternoon travelling around the city to look at them all. It was the best scavenger hunt.
For more information on Last Night at Wyrmwood High, check out WyrmwoodHigh.com.
To check out the graphic novel’s Kickstarter campaign, go to Kickstarter.com