As soon as I saw the artwork for Grinidon on Kickstarter, I was interested. After reading about half of the description I was already thinking of how far this story could go, in distance and in breadth. There was definitely something about this project that made an immediate impression, and it was not just the fantastic artwork.
Well, it came from the artwork, actually. For every close up of a face there was also the wide, expansive shot showing the mountains or forests… the sample pages told me that the very land in this tale would be like a character unto itself, with it’s own story to tell. Like any good fantasy world, this one seemed to have it’s own flavor, it’s own story.
Of course, Moby could be wrong. So, I figured why not just ask the writer? I approached Grinidon Creator J. Miles Dunn with a few questions about the project and he was very gracious and took the time to answer every question, for which I cannot thank him enough.
Grinidon: A Fantasy Graphic Novel on Kickstarter
Grinidon is an epic saga of kingdoms and factions fighting for control of a newly discovered island, Calaway. You join the story fifty years into this conflict, after its lords and people have successfully won their independence from their homeland – and now wage war against each other.
Lords and families from the old lands have risked everything to come here and find their fortune. Alliances have been formed and broken, guilds and kingdoms have risen and fallen, and heroes have come from the most unlikely of places.
In Volume 1, the southern kingdom of Carnasus is preparing its capital for an attack from the north. The council has sent word for all those loyal to the realm to aid them, but they know that this is a battle they cannot hope to win. The northern army is impossibly large and their king has taken steps to ensure victory.
All appears lost until a figure from Carnasus’ past reemerges – but the slim hope he offers comes with great risk, for he knows a dark secret that must never be told. The council must decide if they will place their lives into the hands of those they cannot trust, or risk annihilation on the battlefield and leave their end to fate.
Moby’s! – Grinidon is ‘A Fantasy Graphic Novel’, but what more is it? From what I can tell, Grinidon promises war, adventure, mystery…but there’s more to it than that, isn’t there?
J. Miles Dunn – This is definitely a story with all of those elements, but I can quickly name a few things that may separate it from similar works in this genre.
One, I have been working on this story for more than twenty years. This has allowed me to really delve deeply into this world and create a place that truly feels authentic. There are reasons why the people and kingdoms look and behave the way they do, having differing cultures and motivations.
Secondly, the island where the book takes place, Calaway, has only been settled by humans within the last fifty years. I can talk more about this later, but I love this aspect of the series. You are not just part of a struggle between people and kingdoms; you are in a place with endless opportunities for new discoveries. There are already mysteries that they cannot explain, and many of the answers they find will only create new questions and added dangers.
Thirdly, I would have to say the characters. You can’t have a great story without great characters, and to achieve this, they need to have genuine reasons for why they act the way they do and what has brought them into the situation they are in. Just as with people in our world, Grinidon’s characters have complex backgrounds and personalities, and they continue to evolve through their relationships with other people and the changing world around them. Their actions will have consequences, and the reader will be able to see how these ripple and affect one another.
Erwin (Arroza) is such a great person – and I couldn’t mean that more sincerely. I have been lucky to have worked with many great people along the way, which is an absolute necessity when you’re setting out to do something as involved and demanding as creating a new company and series from the ground up.
I made the decision to issue a refund to our supporters from a previously successful Kickstarter campaign after Erwin came on board. His style was very different from what we had done before, much darker and grittier, and we had moved away from color and were essentially starting the book over.
Even though it was the same story, the differences were undeniable, and I wanted our contributors to make the decision whether or not they would support this new approach. Believe me, when you’re in the difficult position of being a start-up company with little money and no revenue coming in, this decision came with a great deal of personal sacrifice.
I am grateful that it has worked out thus far and that my original artist, Jasmine Monterroso (Kikiface), has passed on her approval and admiration for Erwin’s work. This really meant a lot to me because I know how much this project meant to her, and she was pleased that it was in good hands.
The style is eye-catching, and those splash pages showing the landscapes and vistas give the sense that the land, the island of Calaway itself, will play a large role in the tale. Perhaps the land still has many secrets hidden in its valleys and forests?
That statement couldn’t be any truer. In a sense, Calaway is a character of its own. It has a history that extends beyond what its inhabitants know, and each race, kingdom and location holds secrets that will continuously come into play. The more the readers come to understand the lore and mysteries of the island, the more they will begin to form opinions of their own as to what things mean and where the story is headed.
Is Calaway a place of magic?
Magic is one of the greatest components of Grinidon. The series is actually named after a tower that houses a secret assembly of wizards – the most powerful magic users in the realm. During the story, you find out who these characters are and why they have come together. Each is very unique in both personality, and how they have chosen to use their power. Some know each other well, others have even been enemies, and one particular wizard of interest is a stranger of completely unknown origin. This makes for a very interesting dynamic and allows the reader to learn more about magic and the realm through the character’s interactions.
You’ve spent three years working on turning this story into a graphic novel. What inspired Grinidon?
When I was about thirteen-years-old, I began to slowly piece this world together. I had originally wanted to be an illustrator, but over time, I fell more-and-more in love with writing. I had wanted to try making a novel out of this place I had created but I just couldn’t find the right story to do it. It took about five or six years before I finally came up with an idea that I truly believed in and could really pour myself into.
Ultimately, I found the more I was willing to express myself through my characters, the easier the story became to write. Symptomatically, as I became more personally invested in the story, it also made it much more interesting and meaningful to work on.
This is why I am so passionate about this story and project, because it is very much a part of who I am. This has kept me from taking shortcuts in regards to plot and development, and really stay true to my vision and remain loyal to the reader. I hope people are able to identify with these characters and circumstances, and find value and meaning as well as entertainment.
As the author, is there anything in particular about the series that you would like the readers to be aware of?
I think one of the greatest strengths of this series is that since I have written so much of the story already, I have been able to include small clues and various pieces of information in earlier volumes that won’t immediately be obvious – or even recognizable at all. This was one of the most challenging aspects of writing the books because I had to change so many things throughout the series simultaneously, but the benefit is, as you progress through it, you can reread any of the volumes at any time and see things that you may have missed before. To me, this makes the series infinitely more enjoyable because you will always be finding something new as you revisit it.
Thank you so much to J. Miles Dunn for taking the time to answer those questions, and for this great look into Grinidon. You can get more info on Grinidon, or help out the project, by checking out the
One of the things Moby looks for when recommending a Kickstarter is value, and I can tell you that the Grinidon Graphic Novel is a very good deal for those helping make this project a reality.
- There are of course prints and T-Shirts and other great rewards, but you can also get just the Graphic novel in digital for a few bucks, or have the printed 150+ page book sent to you or as a gift for only $20 (plus $5 Shipping). That’s a great deal, and a good way to make new fans.