Steve and Lilly Butler talk about FIANNA McCOOL

Steve and Lily Butler are a father and daughter team producing and an epic tale of characters that have epic tails. Steve is well known for his work at Marvel and his work on Sonic the Hedgehog. His latest effort reunites him with the world of funny animals crossed with his personal heritage.

First Comics News: Who is Fianna McCool?

Steve Butler: Fianna McCool is the main character in our new independent, self-published comic book series! She’s a plucky and feisty freedom fighter who fights the bad guys to win back freedom in her land. She’s like Robin Hood meets Disney’s Mulan. She’s based on the hero Finn McCool from Celtic mythology.

1st: Why funny animals?

Steve: As a long time artist on Sonic the Hedgehog for Archie Comics, I felt that it was important to target the same audience with something that felt similar in look and style. It’s also simply the fact that we enjoy drawing “funny animals.” We believe that characters, as we’re portraying them, best fit the story being told.
Does the story draw inspiration from a specific Celtic myth or is it just based on Celtic Mythology in general?
Steve: We’ve drawn inspiration from mainly two Celtic myths. The Fenian Cycle and the Ulster Cycle. All of our main characters are taken from those two myths.

1st: What is Emmrylor?

Lilly Butler: Emmrylor is the location where this epic tale takes place. We basically took a map of Ireland and used it as a basis to create our own fantasy land. The name Emmrylor is just a made-up fantasy word that is similar in feel to “The Emerald Isle,” a nickname that is often used to refer to Ireland due to the lush greenery that tends to grow there.

1st: Who is Queen Maeve?

Steve: Queen Maeve is our main antagonist. Like our two lead characters, Queen Maeve comes straight from Celtic mythology. She was the Queen of the Kingdom of Connaught. She was the main foe of the hero Cú Chulainn in the Ulster Cycle of Celtic mythology.

1st: Who is Koo-Kullen?

Steve: Koo-Kullen is our version of the Celtic hero Cú Chulainn, the “Hound of Ulster,” the greatest warrior of Celtic mythology. Our Koo-Kullen co-stars with Fianna and is her main ally in her fight against Queen Maeve and her dark army. He’s like Hercules and Achilles rolled into one.

1st: Is this an all-ages comic?

Lily: This is most definitely a comic for all ages! This is completely kids friendly but with enough wit, humor, and action to appeal to older readers.

1st: Lily, is this your first comic?

Lily: Yes, this is my first comic to do! The first of many more to come!

1st: How did you come up with the story?

Steve: After Lily and I decided that we wanted to do a comic together, I first chose to use the funny animal genre as the engine to propel the narrative. I settled on doing the Celtic mythology aspect from our mutual love of fantasy storytelling. We also have Irish roots, so that informed our decision as well.

1st: How much research did you do into Celtic Mythology?

Lily: We got our hands on several books concerning Celtic mythology and read through those, as well as listening to audiobooks and watching YouTube videos about the different tales.

1st: Is this planned as a one-shot or will there be an issue 2?

Lily: We plan on making more! As of now, Fianna McCool and the Hound of Ulster will be a four-issue miniseries.

1st: How did you choose Steve for this project?

Lily: I like the idea of collaborating and creating something new with someone I know well and get along with, and, well, my dad is a perfect fit for that.

1st: Steve, you’re working with a new creator and she’s family… did you get paid in advance?

Steve: I get paid in ways that far exceed the monetary; however, we’re hoping the project does well in that regard also.

1st: What’s it like collaborating with your daughter?

Steve: It’s natural and easy collaborating with Lily. It’s like an extension of myself. I don’t have to worry about being on the same page because she’s always already there. There’s also a lot of freedom. It’s exciting to know that we’re among the first of the father-daughter teams that’s working in the business.

1st: Are you working full script or Marvel style?

Steve: HAHA! Actually, neither. I have a loose idea of the story in my head, and then I break the story down visually into thumbnails and give myself ideas or springboards for dialogue between the characters while I’m drawing the thumbnails. Then, when I’m penciling the pages on the actual board (yes, I still work traditionally while Lily works digitally on this project) I write the script on the side of the actual page I’m drawing on. Lily then takes that script and digitally letters it. Sometimes we alter the script in that stage, but by and large, the scripting is done as I draw it. It’s an unorthodox process, but it works for us.

1st: How does this project make you feel connected to your heritage?

Steve: It just makes me feel good to make a contribution to the lore and mythology that I grew up with. Whether we succeed or fail is in the eye of the audience, but the fun and satisfaction for us lies in the doing of it.

1st: What’s the minimum pledge for a PDF?

Lily: The minimum pledge for PDF is Tier 1, which is $10.00 USD.

1st: What’s the minimum pledge for a physical copy?

Lily: The minimum pledge for a physical copy is tier 2, which is $20.00 USD.

1st: How much of the comic is already done?

Lily: We are halfway done with the comic!

1st: When do you expect to ship the comic?

Lily: If everything stays according to plan, then the comic and rewards will ship out in August of 2020.

1st: What type of rewards do you plan on offering?

Lily: We offer several rewards including stickers, trading cards, prints, commissions, and even artisanal soap made by my mom!

1st: What makes Fianna McCool so cool no true comic fan should miss the Kickstarter?

Steve: You’ll be seeing the work of a veteran of the comic book industry with 30 years of experience teaming up with an artist at the very beginning of her career. And we just so happen to be father and daughter, a rare occurrence in this industry. The project that we’re presenting has all the potential to be a classic in the making.

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