Spotlight

A Teddy Bear Monk Sets Out to Save the World from Mind Control – The Adventures of Baba Bhalu

Stephanie Chateau is an artist whose residence is in Orlando, Florida and (usually) regularly travels around the United States. She is primarily self taught although she feels her time attending the Alabama School of Fine Arts in her youth helped create a foundation for her to grow from. Lately she has been working on a new comic project with a small team or artists and writers, titled “The Adventures of Baba Bhalu” that will feature stories primarily inspired by Hindu, Celtic, Norse and Native American legends and traditions.

They are the creators behind The Adventures of Baba Bhalu.

Synopsis: Hiding under the urban straitjacket of London City is the mysterious Swami Bhalunath (aka Baba Bhalu). At first glance, he may look like a teddy bear but don’t be fooled… He happens to be a warrior monk from a mystical land somewhere far beyond the Himalayan peaks of India, known as Śambhala: A spiritual realm in an alternative reality shrouded by an icy labyrinth with secret pathways that rotate in alignment with star constellations making it nigh impossible to find by ordinary http://men. As a new time cycle (Yuga) dawns, Bhalu is sent forth on a secret mission by his Guru to fulfill his destiny, guided by the Earth Goddess (Gaia) and her many manifestations.The lone wanderer Bhalu survives his long quest by ducking and diving in our present mechanical world. It’s a world that rusts slowly through a time cycle of karmic sequences decoded and foretold by enlightened masters aeons ago.

Bhalu is joined by Guthrie Gale (AKA Gothy) a talented and eccentric tech prodigy (and wannabe rebel) and his cat AI assistant Rupert who together form an unlikely trio. Together they embark on adventures in their space-time shifting underground temple via hidden ancient energy grids and hunt down the dark forces that lure mankind into a web of algorithmic mind control and zombification to end in a ecological dystopia.

Is your comic available in any other languages? If so, what language(s)?
Currently we only have plans to release it in English but we would love to offer it in multiple languages in the future.

Did you go to school for either art or writing? If so, what school?
No College but Art Magnet classes in Middle and High School

What is the main genre of your comic? What appeals to you about that genre?
Adventure… I think it’s what we all live for but risk vs. reward, responsibilities and obligations hold us back in the material world.. in stories, we get many of the psychological benefits of adventure without so much worry about loss or death that can occur from going on adventures.

Are there any other genres that apply to your comic?
Yes. There are elements of mystery, fantasy and sci-fi mixed in

What was your inspiration for the story?
Baba Bhalu started very simple. It was just ideas for our comic’s writer Arjun X’s teddy bear alter ego doing silly things at first. After many nights of tossing ideas back and forth we realized we had a message we wanted to get out to the world in the form of a graphic novel.

Do you have any favorite artists or writers who influenced your style?
Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Rumiko Takahashi, Shigeru Miyamoto, Naoko Takeuchi

How long does it take you to complete one page?
Penciling and inking only takes about a day or two depending on how complex the illustration is but the coloring can take up to a week per page. It’s why this project has taken almost 5 years to complete.

What is your process like for creating comic pages from start to finish? What tools do you use?
First Arjun X. types up an outline to work off of. Then Stephanie Chateau pencils and inks the page. After letting the ink dry she colors the characters and foreground objects by first putting marker on top as a base and then color pencil for highlight and shadow. Then the image is scanned and Heather Scott adds in the text/font, special effects and digitally colors the backgrounds.

Is your comic a finished work? If no, 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?
We have an Ash Can version we debuted at SPX Con and Realms Con 2019. We are currently working on revisions to release a graphic novel when the Pandemic dies down and stores are open for business again.

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
The planning stage lasted about a year.

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?
Communication Issues between the team on understanding how long the project would take. As for the pep talk it might be like “The things your pining for now might seem small, petty, insignificant, even repulsive later so just stay focused on using art to tell stories. It’s the only real power you can count on to make change.”

What is your favorite part about working on your comic?
Watching the characters come to life and their personality develop in ways that weren’t pre-meditated.. little truths popping up on the pages separate from the script from seemingly nowhere.

What is the most difficult part about working on your comic? How do you overcome it?
The amount of time it takes. We just take it one day at a time.

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
Bhalu is the main hero but Gothy is the most fun for Arjun and Stephanie because he is so flawed and quirky. The majority of the humor comes from his antics.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to write for?
Mathew Hopkins (The Witchfinder General) who appears as one of the Villains. I find him repulsive and since he’s based on a real character in history it’s more disturbing then to just come up with traits are typically villainous. This person actually existed at one point in history and did truly horrific monstrous things to innocent people. It makes my skin crawl.

Do you have a favorite character to draw?
Mr. K, Ruby and Frankie Steinberg… They have not appeared in the Ash Can issues of the comic that have been released so far but we’ve made loads of storyboards and concept art with them and I can’t wait until they appear because all 3 are fashion “chameleons” changing up their look constantly. It’s also fun to draw Bhalu and Gothy but they are dealing with just surviving up until they meet Ruby so their wardrobe is limited for the first few chapters.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to draw?
Matthew Hopkins (The Witchfinder General) For similar reasons to why it’s difficult to write for him. I don’t want to practice drawing him. It’s not fun. He just creeps me out. He’s a necessary element in the story telling though so we suck it up and get through it.

Where can we find you?
www.bababhalu.com

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
We currently have 5 stores in 5 different states interested in carrying our graphic novel when it is complete. If you are a retailer or distributer for comic books or metaphysical themed books and are interested in carrying our books please feel free to contact us at contact@stephaniechateau.com