Breather is a new full-color graphic novel, coming soon. It’s conceived by Graeme Base (creator of Animalia), written by Sean Patrick O’Reilly, and illustrated by Asta Gunn. “On the distant planet of Otarius, invaders from the Birshh Dynasty have captured and enslaved the native Otarans. Pushed on by the ruthless Governor, timid Dr. Bjrork conducts horrific experiments to create a superior breed of slave. Years later, Birshh-Otaran hybrids are raised in captivity, dependent on ‘breathers’ – life-saving gas-masks that filter the Otarian air they, as hybrids, cannot tolerate. Two siblings, Dhrmmn and Lilli, strive to prove worthy of the Dynasty, to earn privileges for their half-breed kind.” No political allegory here, nope nope. Breather is coming in softcover from Arcana Studio this April, and you can check out a preview over at Graphic Policy.
Volume 1 of a planned three-volume trilogy focuses on Amon and the circle of characters that surround him as he lives out his days on the chain of islands known as the Matta’atel Shanivaar (or String of Tears) as a professional male prostitute.
The work alludes to racial tensions between two warring nations and the conflicts that inevitably arise from such a situation. It is on sale at Sofawolf’s website for $29.95.
At Anthrocon this year, I was able to get a brief time with Rukis (while she was busy manning her dealer’s booth) to discuss her most recent publication; Red Lantern, Vol. 1: The Crimson Divine, out now as a graphic novel for $29.95 from Sofawolf. Among plot and time zone complications, we were able to discuss Bollywood, slavery and chance meetings.
Earl: Again, thanks for this.
Rukis: No problem.
Earl: Appreciate it; we’ll start with a simple one. Where did the idea for Red Lantern come from? What was the idea for that story?
Rukis: Um, I am really fond of documentaries and NatGeo programming and History channel programming and stuff like that. And, um, I was actually watching a documentary on a slum, in India, that’s on an island where this sort of prostitution ring actually exists, today. And it’s the type of ring that’s been around for a really long time and people don’t actually realize this still exists in the world, now. And a lot of the time, the reason they have them on islands is because escape is, uh, very difficult that way.
So, I’d seen this and knew I wanted to do a comic with really, with a really serious storyline. And I’ve always had, I guess, kind of a morbid fascination with the sex trade, so it just kind of spoke to me...and it’s kind of how the whole idea came about.