Kickstarter Spotlight: Torchlight Lullaby – An All Ages Adventure Comic by Ryan Fisher
I didn’t sit down to write a comic book. I was in the middle of a webcomic series that had another year’s worth of material to wrap up, I was finishing my last couple quarters of art school, beginning the prep work for job hunting and dealing with the loss of my step-dad to cancer. That’s where this story comes in.
In one of those many nights of insomnia, something like day 10 of not sleeping more than a couple hours at most, I was creating stories in my head. They could be anything, really, and were rarely ever more than a fleeting thought in the early hours of the AM. By the next night, there was a new story, and the same set of thoughts I was trying to ignore. But one night I began creating a story that continued to come back, night after night, building and growing into what is now Torchlight Lullaby.
It’s a story about a little girl named Ella who is forced to cope with her greatest fears when she becomes stuck inside her dream world. Together with her stuffed mouse, Winchell, who comes to life inside her dreams, Ella must find a way to stop the monsters before they invade her waking world. At its core, Torchlight is a story about getting through the things that feel insurmountable. It’s about a story about dealing with those feelings of fear and sadness and grief and of realizing that you are strong enough, and brave enough to handle it. It’s a story that I very much needed for myself at that time, and it was what got me through the grief and loss I was feeling.
Those first thoughts began seeding themselves nearly 3 years ago and as I finished up art school and prepared to enter the “real world”, I knew the story was taking me elsewhere. I’ve spent the last eighteen months working nearly full-time to write, draw, ink, color and letter this book and I’m incredibly proud of it.
When creating Ella, Winchell and the other characters in this book, I referenced favorites of my childhood like Dark Crystal, Never Ending Story and Bone. I sought to infuse the characteristic humor of the 90’s cartoon era that appealed to both children and adults. And while I knew I wanted to write an all-ages book, it was never my intent to write a children’s book. In the same way, as I began writing, I instinctively knew that my lead character would be a little girl, not because I had any direct experience being one myself, I think my robust beard would be evidence of that fact. But instead because there’s no reason she shouldn’t be. The issues I wanted to talk about aren’t ones that you can punch and kick your way out of. A child character puts that in perspective. And a little girl is just as capable of handling it as a little boy. Bravery doesn’t have a gender.
Ella and Winchell face some truly scary things in the stages of their journey and they’re able to grow, change and become stronger as the story goes on. From a visual perspective, the environment changes drastically as well. The art style that I chose was quite a departure from my previous work but I was drawn to the loose, ethereal quality of the lines and watercolor and felt that it captured the energy of a child’s mind. It has been such a fun style to draw in. I’ve been so fortunate to have been able to share the progress of the book through individual issues that I’ve been selling at comic conventions and on my site. The feedback that I’ve gotten has been amazing and I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported the book so far, and I can’t wait for the final book to be produced.
I’ve now taken to Kickstarter in the hopes of funding the complete graphic novel, a 200+ page, softcover book that’s fully colored with a ton of great extras. In addition to the book, I’m offering a whole host of other rewards including original art, , prints, cloisonné pins and guest art from some incredibly talented artists. In addition, I’ve worked with my dad who is a teacher, to create a set of lesson plans that will be available with discounted classroom packs of books. I’m incredibly excited, and of course terrified, but I truly believe in this story and I would love to be able to share it with you all. If I’ve piqued your interest, please head over to the Kicktarter page and check it out. I truly appreciate your support, whether it’s pledges or just sharing the page. Thank you!
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