Spotlight

Starchild – An alien baby in medieval times!

Athelscop grew up in New England. When he was little, his parents made sure he was exposed to all kinds of books and audio cassette tapes rather than TV and movies. That later gave him a desire to become a storyteller, himself, when he grew up. Since then, he has experimented with different ways of telling his stories: picture-books, prose, film, and webcomics. He is the creator of Starchild.

Synopsis: When an alien baby lands near a medieval abbey, the monks take him in as one of their wards. He seems young and helpless, but he is strong. He can change his shape and he can move things with his mind! Soon he attracts the curiosity of the peasantry and the attention of their ambitious lord. Will the monks be able to stave off the unwanted attentions and still raise the Starchild? And if a baby could fall from the stars what, or who, might be coming next?

Did you go to school for either art or writing? If so, what school?
No. I’ve taken art courses at the different schools I’ve gone to, but I haven’t gone to school for that purpose.

What is the main genre of your comic? What appeals to you about that genre?
Science-fiction. You can do a lot of weird things with the sci-fi and fantasy genres. It give me the freedom to write and draw all sorts of monsters and creatures that you won’t find in other genres.

Are there any other genres that apply to your comic?
I’d say it’s also an action-comedy. I put in gags whenever I can to lighten the mood. Sometimes I get a chuckle out of re-reading the pages myself. I think that’s a good sign. I’ve recently upped the ante about putting more punching and throwing scenes in too.

What was your inspiration for the story?
I had “what if aliens landed in a historical setting” pop into my head a while back. There was a sci-fi contest on webtoons around that time. I wanted to try it with a comic of my own, so I decided to work the idea into “alien baby lands in an abbey,” and Starchild was “born.”

Do you have any favorite artists or writers who influenced your style?
I was inspired by Osamu Tezuka and early manga artists. That’s one of the reasons most of the comic is in black and white. I didn’t end up sticking to the style too closely though. There is some influence from Dragonball as well, particularly in my attempt at an “action-comedy.”

How long does it take you to complete one page?
From three days to a week, depending on the page and the week.

What is your process like for creating comic pages from start to finish? What tools do you use?
I write the script out using Scrivener. From there I do the sketching, the line work, and the shading all on Clip Studio.

Is your comic a finished work? If not, how long do you think you think it’s going to be when it’s complete? Is there a definitive ending or will you just keep going for as long as possible?
Not yet. I do have an ending in mind. I’ll leave it open to a continuation in the future if I feel like it. As of now the story is past the halfway point, approaching the climax. As to how long in real world time it has to finish is difficult to say. Rewrites can add or subtract pages.

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
Because it was originally made for a contest with a deadline, I went from basic idea to drawing it in a couple days. I didn’t finish the script until recently.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the course of making of your comic? If you could go back in time to the point where you just started making it and give yourself a pep talk, what would you say?
I wrote it on the fly for the first couple years. If I could I’d tell myself to sit down and write out what I wanted to do. Also I’d say not to rush myself. Art takes time.

What is your favorite part about working on your comic?
I like seeing the characters that I created develop and the stories that I wrote for them come to life on the page.

It’s also great to see other peoples’ reactions to the story and art that I’ve created.

What is the most difficult part about working on your comic? How do you overcome it?
I’m new to writing and drawing action scenes; blocking, drawing action, and framing the panels. I also have a problem with thinking up really cool scenes that I don’t have the skill to draw.

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
The best character to write for is Baron Gilroy. He’s one of the villain’s of the story so far. He’s ambitious and willing to do anything to get more power. He usually fails in comic fashion. But he’s also got reasons for wanting that power. So expect your impression of him to change as the story goes on.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to write for?
I’d say Kometa, the starchild, himself. He starts off looking and acting like a baby, so not much of a character to go off of. But he seems to grow up rather quickly as a result of his powers. Its hard to think about how one ages mentally when they’re a shape-shifting alien with a huge brain.

Do you have a favorite character to draw?
Gilroy! Again it’s Gilroy. Normally when drawing characters, I don’t want them to look weird or off-putting. I sometimes go too safe and draw rather stiff and generic expressions for them as a result. Not so with Gilroy. I’ve had a lot of fun stretching his face into all kinds of evil and goofy expressions depending on what he’s been plotting or how his plans go wrong. He’s a natural at physical comedy.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to draw?
I’m tempted to say Kometa again. All the lines and bulges on his spacesuit take a while to get right on the page.

But I don’t want to go to easy on myself. Let’s talk about a “person” called Phalanx! They’re a new alien foe that’s come down to throw their weight around. Like Kometa, they’re also wearing a difficult-to-draw spacesuit, and their body is almost completely spherical! How to those lines and cuffs work on a sphere? It’s a struggle for sure.

Where can we find you?
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/Athelscop
My Deviantart: https://www.deviantart.com/athelscop
My Webtoon account: https://www.webtoons.com/en/search?searchMode=AUTHOR&keyword=Athelscop
My Tapas: https://tapas.io/Athelscop

I have another web-comic, this one is a fantasy story set in a fantasy version of ancient Scandinavia. You can find it on my Tapas and Webtoon accounts.

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
Something that keeps me going is knowing that people read and like my work, and seeing how they respond and what they think of it. Starchild is at an exciting place for me. There a lot of drama coming up on the pages and I’m excited to be able to bring it to life for my readers. I hope everyone enjoys!