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Scales and Scoundrels: A Chat with Girner and Galaad

GateCrashers had the pleasure to talk to writer Sebastian Girner and artist Galaad of TKO’s comic series ‘’Scales and Scoundrels’’, in celebration of the Definitive Edition of the book. 

TKO’s ‘Scales and Scoundrels’, co-created by writer Sebastian Girner and artist Galaad, depicts the colorful journey of Luvander, an adventurous and fierce girl, wandering through a medieval fantasy setting, trying to make sense of who she is and her place in the world as she meets with all kinds of unforgettable characters that would impact her life forever.

Written and edited by Girner, drawn and colored by Galaad and designed and lettered by Jeff Powell, Scales and Scoundrels tells a story that feels fresh in its tone and storytelling, that doesn’t limit itself by common boundaries of the genre, while enjoying everything it does, creating a lovely journey to those who decide to wander in its world. In this interview with GateCrashers, they examine the creative process used for the creation of the book and the possible ideas for the future.

What’s your favorite sandwich?

SG: This is clearly an impossible interview question designed to rattle me, but I’d have to say either a good turkey sandwich or a grilled cheese. 

G: Tuna, of course, as any fan of Calvin & Hobbes would tell you.

Which culture was the most visually exciting for you to bring to life? And did you have a particular process for it, like researching real-life cultures? 

G: I researched old European fashion, Mediterranean cultures, and African fashion. I love the sense of color. It’s bold, beautiful, and full of life. So much of our modern fantasy was inspired by Northern European myths and cultures. Sebastian and I wanted this fantasy series to be a big splash of joy and colors in a genre that has become quite monochromatic over the years.

Which side character would you do a one-shot for?

SG: I’d love to check in on the Mermaid at some point and see what she’s been up to. But really the Houndmaster is the character I’d love to dig into deeper. He’s always been on the periphery of the story so far but clearly, there’s more to him than meets the eye.

G: I agree with Sebastian. We need to do the Houndmaster’s origin story at some point. Readers might be surprised.

Do you feel more comfortable drawing an action sequence or landscapes for a splash page? 

G: I love drawing action, due to my background in animation, and I wanted to draw adventure comics to draw those big action scenes. Drawing backgrounds in comics can be frustrating because the background is rarely the focal point. More often than not it’s filling up space in a panel and ends up covered in speech bubbles. So, for a big splash, I think a big, lush landscape is my favorite thing to draw. You finally have the time and space to make the world come alive.

Which character felt the most rewarding and fun after creating them?

SG: I feel like all things Scales revolve around Lu. She was the first design Galaad did, and her look and personality are what drove the whole creation of the world. But I’m also quite pleased with our core cast of characters, Aki, Koro, and Dorma. All of whom came together mainly to help define Lu by contrasting her at first, but all of whom went on to have stories of their own, and could now easily star in their own adventures (and maybe they will!)

What type of character would you be if you were inside the world of S&S?

SG: Maybe a shopkeeper who sells items and gear scavenged from a nearby cave to eager Level 1 heroes, and then explain my strict no-refund policy when they complain that the healing potions they bought from me just gave them an allergic reaction. 

G: I would probably be a wandering bard or an artist of some sort. I will sing you a ballad if you buy me a pint.

With which character of the presented cast would you have a tavern fight?

SG: Maybe Aki’s twin brothers Tanto and Tonta because they seem like it’d be all in good fun, and we’d have a beer afterwards and laugh it off. 

G: My mom told me never to get into a tavern fight.

Which character felt more complicated to write in terms of their arcs, layers, etc?

SG: Without spoiling anything, I think Koro’s journey from when we first meet her to where we leave her at the end of Book 2 really surprised me. With Lu, I always kind of knew where she’d be going and how she’d get there, but Koro came into her own in front of our eyes, and her struggles and hardships and how she had to change both inside and out to meet them surprised even me. It was definitely one of the most challenging characters for me to write. I think she’s come the furthest in many ways of all our characters.

With S&S being a blend of comedy, drama and adventure, which other genre would you like to experiment with inside this world?

SG: So many! We already have plans for a heist story and some romance, and I’ve had some ideas for a bit of a spooky ghost story as well. There’s really no limit to what is possible in this world and these characters, and I think part of the fun we’re having with the book is melding fantasy with other genres. But comedy, drama, and adventure will always be the core ingredients of every Scales & Scoundrels story, those are the three suns that light up our comic’s sky. 

G: I love heist stories and romance, and this is something we already have plans for, so I have to say ghost story too. I know that’s what Sebastian just said, but that’s one of the reasons we make such a good team. We always agree on the destination!

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