The Team Behind THE LYNX Share Their Pitch
The creative team behind THE LYNX shares with us a look at the pitch they put together for prospective publishers and future team members.
Pitching a new series to artists and publishers requires some advance work and a bit of heavy lifting in terms of showing the potential for the project into the foreseeable future. Editors and publishers want a sense of how the story came together, as well as the tip of the iceberg of backstory and unseen elements. Meanwhile, artists need to be fully immersed into the universe if they are going to successfully translate the world inside the writer’s head into compelling and coherent images.
This introduction is placed before the actual script begins. Ideally, you want to build and develop it as you since it is a fair chunk of work.
When the time comes to approach potential publishers, more elements can be added to the intro including character bible, link to an art reference library and fleshing out the story beats for future issues.
In any case, editor Joey Sheehan and I thought the Intro might be of interest to ComixCentral members.
Written by: Michael Lent
Art by: Vittorio Garofoli
Color by: Carmelo Monaco
Lettering, Graphic Design & Editorial contributions by: Marshall Dillon
Cover by: TBD
INTRO for EDITORS: THE LYNX is a three-book arc that tells the saga of GAUPA, a young Norse boy caught between two mythical pagan worlds at war. The title of this series derives from Gaupa’s name, which old Norse for “Lynx.”
Pronunciation IPA(key): /ˈkøyːpa/ (Audio available) | Rhymes: -øyːpa
Gaupa risks everything in pursuit of a mysterious destiny. Set against the pre-Christian, pre-marauding 6th century, this Viking tale recounts the days when two houses of Old Norse mythology, the warrior Aesir (Odinn, Thor and Loki) and the mystical Vanir (Frey and Freya), practitioners of shamanism, sorcery and prophecy, clashed and vied for adherents in the harsh Norse landscapes. Keep in mind that this is a time where gods were not immortal by birth. Often they mingled with humans and for their part, some humans laid claim to godlike powers such as shape-shifting, prophecy, and dark magic. Meanwhile, the “dragons” of this period are unlike any we have encountered before.
The Lynx is an epic drama, fantasy adventure story that’s in good company with other successful stories and series including: THOR (Marvel and Disney), GAME OF THRONES based on A Song of Ice and Fire, VIKINGS (History Channel TV series), Northlanders (Brian Wood’s series that ran for 5 years], Vinland Saga (the Japanese Manga currently in its 15th volume), and Valhalla, the long-running Danish comic that began in 1978, the films BEOWULF and BRAVEHEART.
And while Viking stories are more popular than ever, the pre-marauding Norse world is one we know so very little about. Until now, this a time period rarely told because runes are the only documents that survived. To wit: any school child can give you a dozen gods from the House of Zeus or Apollo whereas from the far more recent and arguably more culturally relevant Norse pantheon you may know Odinn, Thor and Mjolnir, but what about Skadi, Njord, and Freya, not to mention Gerda? THE LYNX will correct this gap. Rest assured: I have read many 6th century runes as well as 19th-century translations of the 10th century Icelandic sagas chronicling the Age of Iron. On the pages that follow you will leap across a 1500-year chasm to feel the power of this rare history finally unleashed in fiction form.
SUMMARY OF THE LYNX THREE BOOK ARC
The Lynx is named for the main character Gaupa, Old Norse for “lynx.” He is the product of an Aesir (warrior clan) chieftain and a Vanir (mystic) woman captured on a raid and taken as wife. Gaupa identifies more with his mother in temperament and lives in the shadow of his father.
Book #1 begins with the death of Gaupa’s father.
Book #1: Ritual
Clan chief Thorvald Hildibrandr has died. He is 15-year old Gaupa’s father. During the funeral, the clan is attacked by Heiðnir, a band of rival warriors and mystics. Thorvald’s mythical sword has been stolen. A revenge war party is formed. It is Gaupa’s first time to be included and everything that could go wrong does.
Book #2: ÞRÆLL Slave
Three years have passed. Thorvald’s sword has changed hands several times before being restored to the Heiðnir. Gaupa is now enslaved on a trading ship headed for the Heiðnir stronghold. Gaupa’s thirst for revenge has grown but so has the power of his rivals. Gaupa exacts his revenge but the sword and some of its newly revealed mystical powers escape his grasp once more.
Book #3: móðr tíð Wrath of Time
The ghosts of Gaupa’s parents, family and friends continue to haunt him. He encounters a mysterious fellow mystic/warrior hybrid who claims she can help Gaupa locate his father’s sword; however, all may not be what it seems.
CREATIVE TEAM BEHIND THE LYNX
Designated Top Writer of 2018 on Quora.com with more than 1.2 million reads, Michael Lent’s trans-media writing and producing experience spans film, fiction and nonfiction books, biographies, graphic novels, animation, video games, and reality television.
As a writer, Lent has adapted both Stephen King and E.M. Forster.
Writer of more than fifteen graphic novels and comics including i, Holmes (currently in development as a television series by veteran producer David Rambo (Empire, Revolution, V, CSI), Prey (Marvel), Brimstone (Zenescope), graphic novel nonfiction bios for Orbit including Keith Richards, Stephen Hawking, Stephen King and JRR Tolkien.
Writer of eight books including On Thin Ice, published by Disney/Hyperion, based on the top-rated reality television series Ice Road Truckers. Research for this project entailed one winter in the Arctic.
Producing credits on seven films including the upcoming animated horror movie MALEVOLENT starring William Shatner, Ray Wise and Morena Baccarin, and IF YOU’RE SERIOUS, shot in Fenghuang, China and nominated by the Academy of Sound Editors for the Verna Fields Golden Reel Award for Sound Design in 2014.
The Lynx is an homage to Lent’s Scandinavian roots.
Garofoli has been a comic book artist seven years, following three years of study at the School of Comics in Palermo.
He began his professional work at for Zenescope Entertainment working on the long-running series Grimm Fairy Tales. He also worked on the well-regarded Dorian Gray series for TidalWave Productions. Garofoli has drawn for independent books and editors including CCTVYLLE, as well as various Kickstarter projects.
Garofoli admires artists such as Brian Hitch (Marvel’s Ultimate series), Alan Davis’ work on the Excalibur series, and French comic book such as Alpha by Yori Jigoumov and Largo Winch. His influences range from artists such as Trevis Charest, Ivan Rais, Mike Perkins, as well and Italian artists such as Sergio Toppi, Massimo Carnevale and Corrado Mastanuomo who helped inspire his style on The Lynx.
Interested in history, Garofoli loves the Viking Age and has studied it extensively, especially in preparation for this project. He is a devoted fan of the Vikings television series.
Lettering, Graphic Design and Editorial Contributions
A comic book industry veteran, Dillon got his start in 1994 during the middle of the indie boom.
Over the years, he’s been everything from an independent self-published writer to an associate publisher working on properties like GI Joe, Voltron, and Street Fighter. Dillon has done just about everything except draw a comic book and has worked for just about every publisher except the “Big Two.”
Primarily a father and letterer these days, he also dabbles in old-school paper & dice RPG game design.
Dillon also has Scandinavian roots and has studied the history, customs, mythology, and language through the online lectures of American scholar and poet Dr. Jackson Crawford of the University of Colorado, an expert on Old Norse. A particular thrill was a recent trip to Iceland with Dillon’s family.
Previously, Dillon and Lent collaborated on I, Holmes (Alterna) and worked at the game company Slime Sandwich.
Carmelo Monaco is an Italian comic-book artist and illustrator. He lives and works in the city of his birth, Catania, Sicily. He studied at School of Comics in Palermo, where he got his degree in 2013, focusing on digital 2-D animation.
He worked as a background artist for Grafimated Cartoon on the feature film ”I Vespri Sicliani’.” (The Sicilian Vespers). The story is adapted from Guiseppe Verdi’s classic grand opera of the same name.
Since 2013, Monaco has worked as both artist and colorist for many comics including the series Totally Spies. Publishing credits include Disney, IDW, Tunuè, and Mondadori.
Since 2015 Monaco has taught anatomy for comic books and visual storytelling in the School of Comics in his Catania.
Carmelo’s interest in the subject matter and desire to work with artist Vittorio Garofoli brought him to this project.
NOTES ON THE ART
Okay, so, a small intro into the pre-Christian Viking world is warranted here. You might be interested to know that our modern idea of the Thor-worshipping, pillaging & marauding “Viking” — literally Old Norse for “to go wandering” — comes from a finite period of about two hundred years, roughly from the 10th to the 12th century. When the Norse, aka “North Men” first raided the Saxon lands we know today as England, Scotland and Ireland starting with a raid on a monastery at Lindisfarne, Britain in 793 AD, they were pagans worshipping the plethora of gods of war from the House of Aesir. Chief among these were Odinn, Loki and, of course, our beloved Thor. They soon discovered that the abbeys and monasteries conveniently located in snatch and grab dragon longboat distance along the Northern Britain coast housed many bejeweled golden relics whose protection was entrusted to pasty-faced Christian monks who never heard of Chuck Norris and instead spent their days in prayer, silence and organic gardening. For decades, the contest of Marauder vs. Monk was akin to Pitbull vs. Pot Roast.
Eventually, the Vikings pushed on to Russia (“Rus” being Old Norse for “men who row”), Normandy “Norse Man” and Constantinople serving as an elite royal guard there and the Age of Vikings was well underway. There were raids deep into Italy, Spain and Portugal. During this time, worship of Thor and the warlike House of Aesir gave the Vikings strength and made them much feared. However, as the Men of the North cut a swath through post-Roman Empire Europe, they began to settle into the lands they had conquered, intermarrying and raising families. It was then that the local practice of Christianity with its carpenter and fisherman seemed more appropriate and conversion to the new religion swelled through the ranks. The conversion was more for practical reasons than anything else: when you’re raping, plundering and pillaging, it goes without saying that a God of War comes in mighty handy; however, when you have a wife, three kids, a house with attached two yak stall, well, “Love thy neighbor” seems like a more actuarially sound game plan. Back in Scandinavia, Harald Bluetooth, converted to Christianity in the 960s before taking the throne as the King of Denmark. A supreme politician, Harald realized that this new religion both unified the many clans, tribes and chieftains under him, as well as gave him protections from other Christian realms that would otherwise attack Denmark as a place of run amuck with heathens to be conquered (i.e. see Native American “conversion”). Thus, Harald Bluetooth consolidated his power by renouncing Paganism and declaring that none other than God himself had anointed him king.
The end of the Viking Age is often marked by the failed invasion attempted by Norwegian King Harald III, who was soundly defeated by Saxon King Harold Godwinson in 1066 at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. More thumping followed in the ensuing decades and by the 12th century, the age of Vikings was over.
This is a thumbnail narrative mostly familiar to even the casual student of History. If not familiar to you, first “you’re welcome” and second, “shame on you.” For crying out loud, the Vikings gave us the days of the week and the practice of divorce, so would it kill you to learn something about these so-called “barbarians?” Yeesh.
Yet, there is another narrative, one from the pre-marauding Viking days before Christianity and even before the House of Aesir (Odinn/Thor/Loki/Valhalla) was solidified in Norse consciousness when the embers of a fierce, Germanic people were just beginning to stir. The sixth century was a time when TWO sects of Norse paganism vied for adherents. In the red corner, we had the Aesir with Odinn and his posse of warrior gangsta Gods geeked out on heavy metal — mainly iron — for hand-to-hand combat. In the blue corner, hailing from the world of mysticism and some very unsettling sex practices, the Vanir with Frey and Freya, practitioners of shamanism, sorcery and prophecy. Mysticism was considered unmanly (“ergi”) and its use less than ethical by the Aesir who saw no irony in worshipping a magic hammer that could manscape mountains. For their part, the Vanir probably brought it on themselves by openly advocating incest and mystical gender reassignment. In the close confines of relatively resource starved Scandinavia (a major reason for the Viking raids that were soon to follow), it was inevitable that the Gods from both houses would fight an epic war. It was the sword vs. the wand.
After a ferocious battle, the Aesir faith prevailed by and large over the magical Vanir, which is why the ensuing Viking raids didn’t consist of legions of Norse Harry Potters and Ron Weasleys. Unlike the warlike house of Aesir, the Vanir were all about the seasons, getting buck wild with fertility rites, love and sex, mysticism and intuition. In fact, even today when we speak of the Rites of Spring, that is Vanir and we are drinking from a well of full moon hookups and more than a thousand years old.
Keep in mind that this is a time where gods were not immortal by birth. Often they mingled with humans and for their part, some humans laid claim to godlike powers such as shape-shifting, prophecy, and dark magic. It was said that the destinies of both gods and men were governed by the same Norn — female beings not unlike the Moirai or Fates of Greek mythology. Along with the Germanic pagans of the same period, our awareness of dragons, giants, and trolls comes from this place and time. Some argue that it was only the advent of Christianity with its emphasis on battles between good and evil that made comingling between the natural and supernatural world impossible.
Apart from a small taste of this world given to us in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem of Beowulf and the monster Grendel, this is a world we know little about and until now, this a story rarely told. To wit: any school child can give you a dozen gods from the House of Zeus or Apollo whereas from the far more recent and arguably more culturally relevant Norse pantheon you may know Odinn, Thor and Mjolnir, but what about Skadi, Njord and Freya, not to mention Gerda? This is the raison d’etre for THE LYNX.
Of course, gods or no gods, the sixth century was a very difficult time to be alive. Uninhabitable wilderness is the predominant feature of this gritty landscape of craggy mountains, deep snows during intensely frozen winters that lasted seven months, and vast dark forests inhabited by trolls, dwarves, elves and the occasional dragon interrupted with swaths of raw earth where the locals cling to their subsistence farms.
When we draw this world, it’s often with a steel grey and blue pallet, or else the rust browns and reds of corroded iron and spilled blood. And yet, because the Vanir were about Spring and lust, we get the occasional exotic shimmers of gold and silver and gems against the otherwise drab backdrop.
Hopefully, your appetite has been whetted and we can get going.
The script begins on the next page.
ComixCentral would like to thank Michael, Marshall, Vittorio, and Carmelo for offering their knowledge to our community. It was a special look behind the scenes that is not always available, especially to new creators.
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