RICH INTERVIEWS: Zephyr Z. Comic Design “Split Earth”
First Comics News: How did you become involved with “Split Earth”?
Zephyr Z: A few years ago I went through a period of major illness, staring at life and death in the face. I started meditation and some mental training. It was then that I realized what life should be about. As an artist, I’ve been doing commissioned works for a long time. When you draw and paint enough of other people’s works, you start wanting to do something original, something that has story and world in a systematic way. A good world-setting could serve as a vessel for life ideas, philosophies and appreciation for the real world. It would also allow me to design stuff that I truly liked. Miraculously, it was at that time that Joey approached us, thus the birth of Split Earth.
1st: How important is one’s imagination in creating a comic?
Zephyr: Super important, but there are two other elements equally significant: Emotion and Logic. I’ve always been contemplating about their roles in creative endeavors, but there doesn’t seem to be a rank of what’s the most important. Therefore I’d say, imagination, emotion, and logic are all important and integral parts of comic creation.
1st: Where did the inspiration come from to create this comic?
Zephyr: The Tao philosophy from Eastern civilization serves. It’s something I’ve been studying since very young.
One thing worth mentioning is the other artist, Monica – with her passion for art and her highly acute sense toward aesthetics – became my guide in some way, allowing me to get in touch with the sentimental side of artistic creation. This opened up something, allowing even a rational like me to create better. And Joey with his storytelling science sheds new lights on things too.
The three of us inspire each other to come up with a cool piece like Split Earth.
1st: How is each warrior made unique?
Zephyr: They all started out with blades, but with some minor differences.
Sprite uses the typical arm blades. Captain Lotus too, but she carries 3 in each arm (and that’s 6 in total). Mai’s blades are huge and devastating, attached to her backside. Scythe is the only one with a throwing weapon. Later on in the story, we will also introduce Helen Frost, whose Dark Stone weapon is shaped into a bow with unique power.
Of course, all the warriors’ personalities are different too.
Sprite is timid. Captain is assertive. Mai is gentle and caring (a big contrast to her codename Beserkress) and Ivy is cynical.
1st: What is the world outlook in “Split Earth”?
Zephyr: Well, we’re only creating our first graphic novel at the moment. It’s the discovery stage for our readers. The mist of many questions you have when you first approach this world setting will be cleared by the time you finish reading the first book. But of course, we have many deeper elements waiting to unravel in the future. All depends on how well this first book does.
1st: How would you describe the genre of “Split Earth”?
Zephyr: It’s a combination of science fiction and fantasy. So let’s call it futuristic fantasy.
1st: What about the Alabaster beings do you like and why will others like them?
Zephyr: Alabaster signifies desires and sins. People often say that desire isn’t a good thing, but it’s a precondition for an exciting (and sometimes meaningful) life. Alabaster is the manifestation of human desires gone extreme, and you can see a lot of eerie visual elements signifying such. For example, there’s that beautiful image of a boss-level Alabaster on a throne of monstrous tentacles. Or the horns protruding from some lesser Alabaster. It’s so strange, and surreal. But it’s engaging.
1st: What is your favorite part of “Split Earth”?
Zephyr: I like the relation between the hemispheres. In this world, the two sides are so different, so disconnected. But the humans that come and go between them, the threads of their relations are complicated and inseparable. It’s both profound and intricate in a world gone so wrong.
1st: Besides “Split Earth” have you ever worked on any comics before and would you like to work on more?
Zephyr: Yes I’ve drawn other comics in Asia. But they were mostly for jobs and bosses. Less emotionally attached. So I won’t elaborate too much here.
In the future, I’ll try something related to films if possible. Conception phase is heavily related to my career. We hope our project will win over enough support that someday we can make many original things based on it, so I don’t need to keep on working on other people’s projects.
1st: What exactly does a Comic Designer do?
Zephyr: For Split Earth, I design the characters and place them in the story panels. It’s easier since both steps come from the same person essentially.
And in terms of design, my principle is to present the images in simplicity and fluency. These are the conditions to deliver a strong first impression. So our characters are all easily discernable. The designs center around story possibilities, that is the overarching goal.
1st: What is MMORPG?
Zephyr: Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. I’ve worked on a few of these.
1st: What do you enjoy about archery?
Zephyr: It’s a very unique sport, connecting your body to your inner state. So the concept of “Ying-Yang Balance” can be felt through this exercise. It forces me to run physical and mental self-examination every time I nock an arrow onto a bow. Archery is essential a training for the mind.
1st: You are using Kickstarter for “Split Earth” how is it doing so far and where can we find it?
Zephyr: We are super grateful for our supporters. Many super backers also came on board, showing us the support of the community. As first-time campaign runners, we felt… a mix of emotions. Relieved, touched, thankful, appreciative. We hope we will be able to contribute more to the KS community in the future, whatever outcome it may be for the campaign. kickstarter.com
1st: What would you like to say to those who order “Split Earth”?
Zephyr: Thank you. We will do everything we can to present to you a world that is unique, and never before seen.