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You may like Magic of Myths if you like… May 1, 2011

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Describing a new series is always a tricky thing. People like what they like, but sometimes it’s the problem of getting them to try something new to like it in the first place. A good way to do that is the classic word of mouth method of “it’s a bit like…” – which is what this little post is designed to do.

While Magic of Myths is its own entity, one of the main themes of the miniseries is mythology. Not just classic mythology across various cultures, but that of modern mythology, fictional, urban or otherwise. And as such, it’s a melting pot of different influences that should be clear if you’ve ever read a number of books, watched various films, taken in some comic books, enjoyed TV series’ and so on.

For example, Issue 1 (‘Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be‘) references William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream and Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to name but the two obvious examples, along with other pieces of fiction such as Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. And that’s all just in the first chapter.

So, this is a quick guide to give you an idea of the sort of titles Magic of Myths: season one is similar to, to give you a better idea of the story on a whole. Take in mind, we’re not saying Magic of Myths is the same as or as good as these titles (hubris can be a terrible thing!), merely explaining that they share common elements. It also acts as a reference point for some of the many influences on the series to date. So, without further ado:

You may like Magic of Myths: season one if you like:

These kind of books:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia; Alice Through the Looking Glass (exploring strange new fantasy worlds; themes of growing up)
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales (dark tone; fairy tale elements)
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (use of mythological creatures and lore)
  • The Wizard of Oz (escapism; finding your sense of self while in unfamiliar surroundings)

These kind of films/TV series:

  • Clash of the Titans – both versions – (use of mythological creatures and lore; classic quest structure)
  • Labyrinth (exploring strange new fantasy worlds; themes of growing up)
  • The Never Ending StoryPan’s Labyrinth (the blurring of lines between fiction, fantasy and reality; exploration of story narrative; shaping your own reality)
  • Return to Oz (twisted warping of reality; escapism)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (coming to terms with your own condition/destiny; female empowerment)
  • Sucker Punch (escapism through imagination; exploration of genre motifs and conventions)

These kind of comic books/graphic novels:

  • Fables (use of well-known fantasy archetypes and tales)
  • Promethea (breaking the fourth wall through use of panel border references; existentialism; the blurring of lines between fiction, fantasy and reality; exploration of story narrative; shaping your own reality through the power of imagination)
  • Sandman (exploring the power of story and mythology)

Magic of Myths: season one will be released on May 14th – expect more news on where you can buy it very soon.

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Magic of Myths: season one cover and news January 31, 2011

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There are lots of exciting things going on behind the scenes of Magic of Myths: season one right now, but we’ll get to those in due time. What we can bring you on this sunny, if cold, day is that the Magic of Myths ebook sampler has smashed 10,000 reads. A wonderful surprise and we’re suitably humbled. Thank you so much for your support. And a special thanks goes out to our most recent subscribers. If you’ve not yet subscribed, it’s easy – just put your email address into the box on the right and you’ll get the next update posted to your inbox as soon as it publishes.

Also, Sergio has nearly completed the Magic of Myths: season one cover, so why not take a look at what you’ll be seeing via internet stores and on shop shelves in a couple of months…

Magic of Myths: season one cover

Magic of Myths: season one cover

The shape of things to come September 14, 2010

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What can you expect in the second half of Magic of Myths?

Well, here are a few things to look out for…

– What happens if Eve fails in her tasks?

– Who else is roaming around the land she’s currently in?

– Why is Eve doing all this in the first place?

– Who is Eve doing this for?

– How far is she willing to go to succeed?

These are a few of the various questions which will be answered when the Magic of Myths trade paperback is released in early 2011, with previews coming soon.

And also a massive thank you to everyone who has checked out the Magic of Myths ebook sampler – it’s now climbing towards 2,000 views, which is a  pleasant surprise. If you’ve not yet checked it out, you can read it here: http://www.myebook.com/index.php?option=ebook&id=39996

Thank you for all your support!

Behind the Magic curtain #3 August 23, 2010

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Hello and welcome to the third and final part of brief features looking behind the scenes of Magic of Myths, issue by issue. Sorry for the long delay between this and Issue three (which you can read by clicking on this sentence to go to the season one sampler) – it’s been a very busy month and as we push towards the completion of the final few issues lots of other stuff have been building up on the way. But you’ll hear about that in due time. Right now it’s time to pull back the curtain, and as usual it’s best to read Issue 3 if you haven’t already as there are spoilers ahead…

It’s in the male

You’ll probably have noticed the distinct lack of positive male role models in Magic of Myths so far. The trickster, for the record, is also female (although for a trickster who can change shape, gender isn’t necessarily a fixed thing), and Tink, while far from antagonistic, isn’t exactly the most charismatic of fellows.

A tale of men and frogs. Or frogs and men…

It’s fair to say that Magic of Myths is a very female story, however, the male role is definitely something which will play a large part of the tale, in many more ways than one.

The choice of a new generation

Much of Magic of Myths is about choices – the choices we make for good or bad in our lives and then having to deal with the consequences of them. Issue 3 in particular asks some questions of Eve’s judgment. Her taste in men is clearly suspect with not a single good experience between the history we’ve been shown. This is something that will be explored again soon enough as gender and gender roles become increasingly important to the story.

So, with Eve’s bad choices over the non-fairer sex, it’s strange to see her pick the right apple to progress through the trial. When given the choice of a shining, perfect apple, a slightly mundane and less appetising one, and a rotten one, Eve manages to pick the first – which is curious given the clue (“choose the fate your tastes deserve.”). Is it, as the trickster suggests, luck? Or did Eve truly feel that from all the bad apples of men she’s chosen in her life, she truly deserved a good one? Worse, does she think that the only goodness she deserves exists in fantasy, as her final words hint towards?

Bluff, double bluff, triple bluff

Eve’s choices and ability to choose her own fate is something which will be particularly important by the end of this volume. Take in mind the first choice we see her make is the wrong one (in Issue 1, where she chooses to fight instead of reason), it doesn’t bode too well down the line…

An apple a day

When picking a fruit for Eve’s trial, I was originally going to have three different types rather than just all apples, but for the sake of narrative simplicity three apples made the most sense. For a start, that particular fruit has a lot of symbolic weight to it, and it’s one of the more commonly used fruits in fairy tales, myth, legend and parables (likely because of the symbolic significance).

The apple of your eye

So, what symbolism does the use of apples have here? Well, aside from it being an easy narrative jump from Eve’s bad experience with choosing men (the ‘bad apples’ in her life, as it were), it was the fruit used in one of Hercules Twelve Labours; the apple was also considered in ancient Greece to be sacred to the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite (again, tying to Eve’s bad luck in love); men are unique in their possession of an Adam’s apple and part of this is a tale is about them;  in Latin, the words for “apple” and for “evil” are similar in the singular (malus –apple, malum – evil) which is the reason why the trickster sings “malum, malum”, overlapping her intent; and, of course, there’s the symbolism of a biblical Eve being seduced into taking the forbidden fruit. Although it’s worth noting that even though Eve takes a bite of the apple – and everything that entails – she leaves it behind at the end of the issue…

Hold your colour

Colour is very important to Magic of Myths. Going too much into why would give too much away, but the use of colour in this particular issue should highlight why it’s vital to the story in a more obvious way. While red is often seen as the colour of danger, it’s inverted here along with the colour green (to pass). Along with the colour of gold, there are layers of misdirection employed by the trickster – the red apple is the most appetising, but would red mean death? But also, the magical barrier is red, so would it be a simple matching of colours? The green apple should mean progression (as to turn the red barrier green), but is that a red herring? The golden colour surely would signify the way forward – a colour of success – but it’s the worst looking apple… but if it’s the worst one, then surely it would mean that’s the one to pick as isn’t the goal of a trickster to make the obvious seem hidden? Wouldn’t it be a true test if Eve had to bite into a rancid apple to progress rather than a fresh, pristine ‘too good to be true’ apple?

Purple rain… some stay dry, while others feel the pain

Hmm, what was that about reality vs. perception again…?

Read the Magic of Myths: season one sample here: http://wp.me/PSxcG-d9

Magic of Myths in the press again July 23, 2010

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Magic of Myths has been lucky enough to get a little more exposure this week to bring a smile to our faces.

The first is a mini review from the good people over at Geek SyndicateSyndicate writer and author of the acclaimed novel Fallen Heroes, Barry Nugent, chats about Magic of Myths in Episode 161 of their podcast (it’s around the 37 minute mark if you want to jump straight to it, but the whole thing is worth a listen if you like comics and related comic book chat). You can stream or download it from here: http://geeksyndicate.libsyn.com/geek_syndicate_episode_161.

There’s also been another interview with the artist of Magic of Myths, Sergio Calvet, over at http://www.rockabilly-online.com/?p=766. There you can find out a little more about Sergio, his style, influences and projects (including Magic of Myths, naturally!).

Massive thanks to both Geek Syndicate and Rockabilly Online!

If by Magic… #3 July 1, 2010

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Welcome back to Magic of Myths!

It’s been a busy month for the title, managing to release (and subsequently exhaust) a few free copies of a special paperback edition of the first issue in two comic book shops, on top of us working on the third, fourth and fifth issues and a couple of things behind the scenes which you’ll know about soon enough.

So, what do we have for you on this fine July day? Well, the third issue of the miniseries is now out for your reading pleasure, right here in the season one sample, titled ‘Fairy Tales’.  Half way through the trials and Eve comes to a test of her character in a very traditional fairy tale way: a choice of three apples. One poisoned, one will turn her mad and one will allow her to progress to the next trial. But which is which? With a trickster and disturbing memories muddying the waters, will Eve make the right choice… and for the right reasons?

If you’re new to the site and the miniseries, then we kindly directly you over to reading the first and second issues of Magic of Myths at the season one sample to get you up to speed. Not that you need to – each issue is meant to read as a mini-story to itself, but you’ll get a lot more from it the more you read.

Speaking of more to read, you can also take in the exclusive behind the scenes features on both the first and second issues, here (https://magicofmyths.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/behind-the-magic-curtain-1/) and here (https://magicofmyths.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/behind-the-magic-curtain-2/) respectively.

There’s also the two-part series foreword, which provides a little history behind the conception of the miniseries here and here.

Expect another behind the scenes look at Issue three soon – and as this is the last free online issue before we start working on the forthcoming Magic of Myths graphic novel there won’t be a preview for Issue four at the end of the month, but expect previews for that and the remaining issues (the graphic novel will contain issues 1 to 6) in due time.

Thanks again for visiting and we hope you enjoy Magic of Myths.

Behind the Magic curtain #2 June 22, 2010

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Hello and welcome to the second in an accompanying series of brief features looking behind the scenes of Magic of Myths, issue by issue. This time we’re taking a deeper peek into Issue two, which you can read in the season one sample by clicking on this sentence – which is recommended if you’ve not already read it, as the following contains spoilers…

Thinking happy thoughts

In terms of finding a literary reference for this issue, ‘Lost Echoes’, was a relatively easy job. Peter Pan, a story about self discovery and growing up, was a perfect fit to parallel Eve’s tale of… well, self discovery and growing up. Having Eve talk about herself running away as a child and ending up being in a far distant fantasy world as an adult rounded off the comparison nicely.

Peter Pan is one of Eve’s favourite books…

There are a fair few other parallels to note between this issue and Peter Pan, but one other thing to note is the theme of ‘escape’ in this chapter (although this also runs through the series). In Peter Pan, escape is an adventure which is said to lead to fleeting happiness at the expense of family, growth and safety. Here, Eve has also escaped into a fantasy world at the expense of family and safety, but finds growth. Whether or not she also finds fleeting happiness in this world where danger and challenge is constant is something which will come to a head in the latter issues. There are more clues to be had if you’re familiar with the story of Peter Pan (across its various iterations)…

Lost girls

I struggled with the title to this story for a while, and almost went with ‘Lost Girls’ (in reference to Eve being lost in both the past and present, and obviously a nod to Peter Pan’s lost boys). However, by the time I finished the story it bizarrely coincided with the launch of Alan Moore’s Lost Girls, which was picking up all sorts of polarising press because of its subject matter (I’ll leave it to you to find out what exactly that was). Drawing intentional parallels with one of the medium’s great writers – and one of my larger influences – wasn’t something I particularly felt like indulging at that time, so the title ended up being ‘Lost Echoes’ which, in retrospect, probably works just as well. It makes the reference a little more ambiguous and less obvious, and at the same time plays on the fact Eve is recalling an echo of her life and that this trial is sound based (making sure it all ties in with the use of subverting Eve’s childhood memory of a lullaby into something which is designed to potentially kill her). The fact child-Eve is resistant to listening makes it all the better given the time she finally does listen makes her aware that she’s in a trap.

Being lost is another theme of the series – along with what Eve does to ‘find’ herself…

The walls are closing in

 

The panel borders for this issue were designed to give off a nursery rhyme style feel that acts subconsciously while you read it, but also works with the lullaby sung by Eve’s mother and later the Siren. Sergio’s talent for depicting the likes of Mother Goose and other fairly familiar animals really shone, especially as the borders slowly switch from bright and cheerful into dark and sinister as we get closer to the revelation that the lullaby is no longer being sung in Eve’s head but by a monster looking to draw her in for the kill. We both settled on the use of stars in the border afterwards, to keep the nod towards Peter Pan (which has reference to stars as navigation to Never Land).

A prize to anyone who gets this character reference…

So if Tink isn’t a fairy, then what the hell is he?

…And why does he have those silly fairy wings? Tink is a massive, massive part of the world Eve is in, and in more ways than one. His race, his background and even the reason why he has silly fairy wings are all clues to a wider part of the story that is Magic of Myths. We’ve probably already said too much, but those paying careful attention to some of the seemingly throw-away lines of the series will probably be more aware of Eve’s circumstance and future than Eve herself…

Tink may be hiding more beneath his strange and stuffy exterior

Read the Magic of Myths: season one sample here: http://wp.me/PSxcG-d9

Magic of Myths #1 special edition out of stock! June 16, 2010

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Well, we can’t say we were expecting this.

Our free limited edition paperback of Magic of Myths #1, which was available from comic shops Orbital Comics in London and Nostalgia and Comics in Birmingham have all gone within days of them being on the racks. There wasn’t a massive print run, but it’s been a wonderful surprise to hear they went down so well and so quickly – to the point where we wish we had shipped more comics to them! Thank you so much if you ventured out to get a copy.

So this entry was originally going to be promoting the newest batch of the special edition arriving at Nostalgia and Comics, but they told me all of the issues flew out the shop within the first day.  Apologies if you missed out, although if we have any left over stock from our promotional pile we may do a little competition or something to give away the few left. Keep an eye out…

In any case,  because Nostalgia and Comics‘ supply ran out we didn’t get to promote the shop as planned and promised, so this to make up for it because it’s my favourite comic book shop on the entire planet and deserves your support, as does Orbital Comics.

So, as we did before, here are the details for Nostalgia and Comics, one of the longest running and esteemed comic book shops in the country – check them out:

Nostalgia and Comics

14-16 Smallbrook Queensway,
Birmingham,
B5 4EN

0121 643 0143

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http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=79701585171

http://superfriendsofnostalgiacomics.blogspot.com/

Of course, this won’t be your last chance to read a paper based version of Magic of Myths – we’ll be creating a short graphic novel of the entire story once its done (containing all six issues) later in the year, into 2011.  Make sure you don’t miss that, but in the meantime have you read issue one and two yet? Issue three is just around the corner…

Magic of Myths hits comic book shops! June 4, 2010

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That’s right – Magic of Myths is now in comic book shops, and totally for free.

We’ve created a special limited edition of issue one which you can pick up at two select shops for a short period of time. This special A5 sized edition contains a foreword and never before seen artwork detailing some of the process behind Sergio’s designs for the series, as well as the full issue one story, ‘Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be’.

Where can you pick up this special edition?

Well, the first shop is the good people at Orbital Comics, in London:

  • Orbital Comics
  • 8 Great Newport Street
  • London WC2H 7JA
  • tel: 0207 240 0591

http://www.orbitalcomics.com/

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Head over there and ask for your copy of Magic of Myths – they’ll be totally free to take away with you along with any of other comics out there for your reading pleasure.

The second shop carrying this special limited edition of Magic of Myths will be announced soon – it’s a rather large and impressive one in the second city, so if you’re closer to London make sure you head out to Orbital Comics soon, otherwise you may have trouble picking one up if you’re not based in Birmingham.

Thanks for your support and if you have any problems getting a copy just let us know on this site.

Behind the Magic curtain #1 May 14, 2010

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Hello and welcome to the first in an accompanying series of brief features looking behind the scenes of Magic of Myths, issue by issue.

So here’s Behind the Magic curtain #1 – we hope it provides a little extra depth to the series so far. And if you’ve not read issue one, you can right now by clicking on this sentence before jumping into this commentary (which has spoilers from the start).


Raising the curtain

If there’s one thing which always presents an interesting yet tedious conundrum, it’s opening chapters of serials.

The trick of them is always establishing as much as you can about the series to hand, offering introduction to characters, tone, plot, theme and dilemma, without bowing down to big blocks of exposition, something trickier when there’s only five pages to do it in. Even with the techniques used to cram everything in, it’s a tightrope balancing act that I don’t think I’ve mastered quite yet.

So as a piece of writing, Magic of Myths #1 ‘Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be’ represents me taking tentative steps into fairly unexplored territory with both the story and format. I think, for most of the part, it works – exposition could have been a tad smoother, but I feel we get enough of an idea of what type of character Eve is, what she does, her situation and a relative sting in the tail of the story come its conclusion which suggests that Eve is fairly prone to making mistakes when she doesn’t quite know what she’s doing.

Eve learns the rules of her new ‘classroom’ the hard way

Shakespeare sister

I really wanted to use A Midsummer’s Night Dream as one of the literary references in the series as it’s one of my favourite plays by Shakespeare and fits the tone of MoM perfectly, as well as offering the perfect introduction to proceedings. Perception and reality is a big theme in that play, and as one of my most beloved themes to explore it was also ideal to delve into for the first issue, where things may not be what they seem in this issue or indeed the series. There are a lot of things which don’t immediately appear obvious or will change from their first appearances in the series, so it’s important to establish early so you don’t feel cheated later on.

Perception and reality is a running theme through the whole series…

A Midsummer’s Night Dream isn’t the only external story referenced in the issue, which holds true for the rest of the series – there are usually a few other stories given nods (both visual and verbal) throughout to maintain the theme of mythologies merging together, and also hint towards something else…

Touching the fourth wall

The panel borders were something I was also very keen on from the start, to help give the whole thing a storybook feel, which also hints towards the book/play/text the issue alludes to. I shameless cribbed this idea from the likes of Promethea and later, Fables, both influences on the series in one way or another, and think Sergio’s made it work wonderfully.

Fight fight fight

Always fun to create are fight scenes. Issue one boasts one of the main fight scenes for the whole miniseries as I wanted to put some action early in to give the story a dynamic centrepiece compared to the more emotionally driven trials that follow.

Juxtaposing hardships – what’s trickier, teaching students or fighting shrouds?

Making Eve a student of Aikido was something essential for the rest of the overall story, but also gives her a range of weapons to call upon thanks to her magical armour. Funnily enough, Sergio didn’t quite follow the script exactly for the fight scene but through a happy accident it still turned out nicely to create the sense of punch the scene needed, especially given the crackling Jack Kirby-like energy his artwork portrays. Trying to get that feel of movement in static images isn’t easy (especially when there’s all my dialogue threatening to cover the art up), but Sergio manages it with a deftness that seems far easier than the reality.

Mysteries

So many clues, so little time…

The temptation to pull a Lost and introduce a ton of mysterious questions that are miles off being answered floated around my head for a few minutes, but I shot that down fairly quickly for the sake of everyone’s sanity. Some of the main questions introduced here, such as who Eve is working for and why she’s here, are answered in the epilogue (the sixth issue which sits outside of Eve’s trials), with other questions established as the issues go on given hinted or implicit answers. Not everything is given a clear-cut answer by the time the miniseries ends (after all, if we end up continuing the story past these six issues we’ll need some intrigue left) but consider the six issues an ‘end of book one’, as it were, to be potentially continued at a later date.

Have you spotted anything in Magic of Myths not mentioned here which has caught your attention? Read issue one again, here and let us know what you’ve discovered…