ACTION - Imbolc 2007 - Article 4

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Creating A Pagan Culture: Part II
By Christopher Blackwell

I was alerted to a second Pagan comic series, “American Gothic Daily ( http://americangothic.comicgenesis.com )

I am interviewing Sky, the creator.

Christopher: How long have you been creating cartoons and what art training do you have?

Sky: I started doing cartoon work when I was a teenager, but gave up on it to go into printing and illustration in the military. Once I got out, I went into art education, so now I'm going back to my first love after a long hiatus. Back when I was a teen, there was no internet comic publishing, so I had very little hope of getting my work out to the public, but now with companies like Comic Genesis, Drunk Duck and WebcomicsNation, anyone can publish for free.

Christopher: So what are you trying to do with this cartoon series? Where and when is it happening?

Sky: For the last several years, I have been very influenced by paranormal romance authors like Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlene Harris and Christine Feehan. When I started looking at webcomics, I realized there was a big void-- there were no paranormal romance ones and all of the vampire/werewolf/witch ones did not deal with daily living issues. My concept is about a modern day Witch who must juggle the real world with the supernatural one. It takes place in modern day in the Bible Belt of America, so she has much to consider. Either live completely in the “normal” world inside the broom closet, or delve deeply into the world of the supernatural.

Christopher: Care to give a brief description of a few of the main characters?

Sky: The main character is Millia Forrest, a Pagan and genetic witch with “the sight.” She teaches art in a country high school and has become a midwife's apprentice in an effort to develop her natural talents further. Her teacher introduces her to the supernatural families she will some day have to be doctor to. The first family she meets are werewolves who own a large cattle farm.

The other main character is Luke Whitson, a vampire who has been hiding in the werewolf's basement for decades. He lies to just about everyone, telling them he is a shapeshifter, knowing that his kind are not very appreciated. He falls in love with Millia, but has lots of choices to make too. If he comes out of his “broom closet”, the family he has grown to love may just disown him.

Christopher: Any particular reason for your location of the story?

Sky: I picked middle Tennessee because I am familiar with it. Since I moved here, we have had the India Tracy case happen in Union County, and several of the local schools have had issues with allowing students to wear pentacles. It can be a very unforgiving state, but also a very beautiful one. It still has many wild places, lots of trees and forests, gorgeous mountainsides and much wildlife. If I really were a werewolf or shapeshifter, Tennessee would be in the top ten places to live.

Christopher: You deal with some popular archetypes. Have you always had an interest in them and were your views colored by any particular reference material or authors?

Sky: I have always loved shifters and vampires. I feel they are extensions of naturally occurring conditions. As a Pagan and magickian, I have seen others exhibit psychic vampirism, animal totems, spirit guides and being “ridden by the beasts”. Vampires and werewolves are just that one step further.

As for literary influences, I think Anne Rice has always been a big influence on the whole vampire culture, but the most inspiring to me was Montague Summers. While everyone else was reading fiction, I was reading his accounts of folklore and sightings. I'm not saying that old Monty was telling the full truth, but the history of vampires, werewolves, witches and otherkin is much more interesting than modern stories.

Christopher: I notice you bring some modern Pagan issues into your story. So what are your plans for this series?

Sky: My big plan is for each of the characters to be challenged on all three levels: the real, the soul, and the spirit. Millia will eventually be found out as a witch and be harassed at work, Luke will be found out as a vampire and be assaulted, the werewolves will be challenged, too. The big question will be if they all band together to help each other out or will they all start tearing each other apart as the real world assaults them as well. I plan to put these characters though many of the situations we Pagans and Wiccans go through and have them come out stronger.

Millia will question her choices, her sanity, her religion. Luke will challenge his family, his background, his lot in life. The werewolves will have to decide what they are willing to put up with, what is best for their survival, and what they must do to ensure the future for their children. I think it will be a deep and intellectual journey for everyone.

Christopher: I think our readers will be checking up on your progress.

Sky: I hope so. It has been a pleasure talking with you, Christopher.

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