I love Webcomics. As a lifelong reader of both superhero stories, graphic novels and the daily funny pages I could easily lose whole days to binging a new find. The same freedom that the Internet provides me to inexpensively get up on my soapbox and howl at the moon has allowed a new generation of artists to bypass the publishing gatekeepers and bring their graphic creations straight your eyeballs. I cannot imagine a better place to start this weekly feature than with my best friends creation, Galena.
You can probably guess that I’m related to one of these guys. Tony Doench is the first of my four brothers, who blundered into the world a mere 11 months after me. We’ve shared a whole heck of a lot of our lives and loves together. While I was more the writer, Tony is one of those people who has been drawing since he could hold a crayon. He was our go to illustrator for RPG character sheets (still is actually,) and at the turn of the century he had the chance to hone his craft at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art.
The writer, Chris Dunn is my best friend, a gifted RPG Gamemaster and a natural storyteller. He started the Short Stuff Writing Project a year ago to encourage himself and his friends to write weekly at least, each week with a new prompt. Sometimes memoir, sometimes fiction, the project has become yet another way we all orbit around his creative gravity.
Galena is the story of a refugee, a shipwreck survivor haunted by a mysterious and violent past. She is lost in a strange land, desperate to prove her worth to a master… any master. She catches the eye of Vahn and his band of adventurers; Beatrix, an amazonian purveyor of brute violence, and Eugenie and Xenovia, priest and sorceress and sexy couple. They quickly discover that Galena herself is a dangerous fighter and she sees in Vahn the master that she has apparently lost.
Of course all of these were characters in one of our Pathfinder campaigns. Three of them actually, a sprawling epic that crossed timelines and dimensions and required two talented GM’s, Chris and AJ to craft. It was a multiyear collective storytelling odyssey and some of the most fun we had at the table ever. And I am not at all bitter that none of MY characters made the cut… so far (cameos have been hinted at.)
Besides an art style inspired in part by wuxia comics such as Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword, Galena uses an innovative method of presentation that is only made possible as a webcomic. Each chapter is essentially one long image designed to be scrolled through. Take Chapter 2 for instance. After surviving the shipwreck and making her way to the small port town of Cliff Side, Galena narrates her way through a day trying to survive in this unfamiliar environment. As you scroll right the town is revealed, recurring characters are introduced, including Vahn and his fellows. Keep an eye out for some interesting cameos.
Galena is up to 18 chapters and it gets better every time. I hope you enjoy it reading it as much as the creators enjoy making it.