Revolve: An Interview With Nathan Donnel and Danny McLaughlin

Nathan Donnel and Danny McLaughlin at the Solstice Launch

Nathan Donnel and Danny McLaughlin at the Solstice Launch

About two seconds after writer Danny McLaughlin handed me a copy of Solstice, I was impressed. Nathan Donnel’s art popped off the page. After reading the book, I was captivated by the story too (check out my review here). I asked the creative team about the book and what else we should expect from Revolve Comics.

Do you have a mission statement for Revolve Comics? What kind of books you want to produce. That kind of thing. 

Revolve Comics’ mission statement is “Storytelling is our Jam!” We want to create strong engaging stories that build a loyal fanbase and that fans actually want. We want to up the ante and create a strong professional brand for our comics and stories. We want to create books that are a little bit different from the mainstream- we want to be revolutionary (hence Revolve) and work with as many artists and writers (ie Revolving Door lol) down the line. Revolve has been working with other organisations to help them communicate their ideas and goals etc using visual literacy ie a comic for kids who has just being diagnosed with diabetes, educational resources in historical subjects and a lot more- we want to use the strengths of comics to help have a more social impact and help as many charities and organisations along the way.
Moving on to Solstice. When I opened the book I was immediately mesmerised by the energy of the art. I was wondering about some of your artistic influences. The striking thing for me was the colour choices. It seems like you put a lot of thought into the look of the book. 

Danny McLaughlin: Yeah from the get go we knew we wanted something that was not run of the mill. It is cheaper to do black and white and kinda started thinking about how to make it different and because we both love colour storytelling and talked about it at length previously. So when we decided to do it in colour we wanted a strong visual theme. When people do colour books they perhaps sometimes “over colour” it and so coming at it from a different angle gives us a chance to use it with extra “oomph” and also to carry a stylistic theme throughout the series. We even dropped an extra layer of concept with the main character being “finn” which means “pale” in Gaelige- the book is pale and as we learn about the world it will become more colourful just like the story.

Nathan Donnel: Whenever anyone asks me about influences my mind always jumps back to the first time I read a comic and loving the art, that comic was amazing Spider-man drawn by John Romita Jr, more recent influences I would say for panel layout I aspire to be more like J.H. Williams III, his free flowing panel style creates a great visual style.
Solstice Texting 1-3-04
From a story point of view, I thought the mythology felt very authentic. Were you influenced by existing mythologies?

DM: My first love is mythology so everything I do has elements but in Solstice is where I let the dogs of their leads with mythology. We wanted it to feel homely and therefore we wanted to start with a more Celtic and Nordic feel as we knew the first issue was to be winter (it seems like winter forever in Ireland lol) and use the mythology that is on our doorstep, and this helped us create the mythological cosmology of the Solstice world. But don’t think that’s where the mythological spectrum and influence ends. I can’t say too much #Spoilers lol 😉

ND: Visually I tried to capture a Celtic/Norse winter look to the costume choice and atmosphere but i suppose that feel only will run for winter, get ready for big changes to Finn’s style in spring.

Solstice Texting 4-6-02
How would you describe the plot to someone who hasn’t read it?

Ahem… here’s one prepared earlier 🙂
A fantastical world of mythical grandeur and charm that will take your breath away. Gods, both benevolent and malevolent, interfere with their “Wars Celestial”. In the face of all death, one girl has to live up to her family’s legacy.

Do I get a Blue Peter Badge?? 🙂

But I will add that the story and art will move and explore a personal journey. If you think of the solstice; it both describes the abundance of light in the day and yet a day with a lack of light too- this is that journey.
Solstice Texting 10-13-01
The second issue “Spring” is coming soon. Can you tell us what to expect in that issue?

DM: So looking forward to this issue- we will see more of the world that Finn, our protagonist, inhabits in many ways. We will meet a few new characters and even find out the goals and motivations of the Seasonal Gods and perhaps learn of something that may make the readers of the first issue question what they learned in previous instalment. And I’ll not say too much about the stylistic approach- that is all to be soaked up by the eyes (I may not be able to do it much justice with words). But Spring may just plant the seed of intrigue if issue one didn’t already.

ND: I suppose from my end, the art, you’re going to see a lot more vibrancy in the world and we’re going to see more of the place that Finn inhabits as well as the introduction of some new characters.
Solstice Texting 14-17-04
What else should we expect from Revolve Comics?

Revolution! Well that’s the goal- change the landscape of what comics are and the indie comic scene! But in next while we will see an untitled Irish sci-fi comic being released, and see the blood sweat and tears of some of the social impact projects come to light, and one of the major initiatives that we want to launch will be an “anthology” of sorts for some of the up-and-coming talent in and around Ireland. So any writers and artists who want a stab at collaborating keep an ear to the ground for news of that coming in the next while. And of course we got a whole lot more stuff we are backburnering but can’t say too much about that either #Spoilers.

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