Interview: Grant Gould, Creator of The Wolves of Odin
Last year we talked with Grant Gould about his graphic novel The Wolves of Odin, in which vikings and werewolves square off for the mother of all Nordic battles. Now Grant has talked with us again, this time about the continuation of his story as an ongoing webcomic.
Fandomania: The Wolves of Odin webcomic will be building on the original graphic novel. Can you bring folks up to speed with the essentials that they need to know to jump into the webcomic?
Grant Gould: In the graphic novel, Odin, Father of the Norse Gods, is angry with humanity. His once-loyal followers are starting to abandon the old ways and embrace new religions. Out of frustration, Odin transforms three of his most loyal berserkers into werewolves and sets them loose upon the northlands. Thor, Odin’s Son, sees this as an act of madness, and in turn he aids a warrior named Tyr in defeating these creatures.
Ultimately things work out for humanity, but Tyr has met his fate and there’s a new darkness coming; things have been set in motion that Odin did not foresee. Bergthora, the witch who once aided Tyr, feels abandoned and bitter, like her new ally, the surviving wolf Skoll. These are the key points to where the webcomic begins.
GG: It’s definitely a different experience, because I realize that each page has to do a much better job of holding people’s attention. When you create a physical comic book, you can sort of get away with giant close-ups of people’s faces (one of the things I did way too much in the graphic novel). But in a webcomic, you have to find a good balance of pacing and substance, and hopefully keep the reader interested in coming back to the website to see what happens next. No one wants to look at a webcomic page and see a giant close-up of an eyeball.
On the flip side of that, I think webcomics are a lot more freeing, too, in terms of writing and planning it out. I think there’s more room to evolve and change during the process. I imagine it’s a lot like comparing movie writers to TV writers. When you’re dealing with an ongoing TV series, you can change your mind and develop new ideas as you go. You can stretch your legs a little more.
Anyway, ask me again in a few months. Right now writing webcomics is still pretty new to me and I’m figuring it out as I go. I have a basic story structure for this next chapter of The Wolves of Odin – I know what I want to have happen and where I want it to end – but I’ll be filling in a lot of details as I go.
FM: I know from personal attempts that making a webcomic can be pretty daunting. How far ahead are you creating the comics before they post?
GG: I like to have the script written and thumbnail layouts drawn up pretty early on — preferably a month or two beforehand so that I have time to think about things and make changes if need be. But as far as the actual drawing and coloring of each page, I’ll be doing that pretty close to actual posting times – probably a few days before each one goes live on the site. I’m sure it’ll fluctuate, depending on how busy I get with my paying jobs, but I suspect that will be my regular schedule.
FM: What made you decide to go the webcomic route, and how has the experience been so far?
GG: I really wanted to continue the Wolves of Odin story, but I knew it was going to be impossible to find a two-month chunk of time to devote to drawing a second graphic novel. Webcomics always intrigued me, and it just started to sound like a good idea — an interesting new path to take, you know? I like to try new things and new media, and I follow my instincts as much as I can. My instincts told me that I should give this crazy webcomic thing a shot!
I was also very attracted to the notion of spending more time on the illustrations. I’ll be able to focus on two pages a week. Only time will tell, of course, but right now I feel like the webcomic format will strengthen both my storytelling and the artwork.
GG: Thanks! You can expect the webcomic to focus strongly on the new female character Sif, who I think will surprise people. At first, a lot of readers will think “standard hot tough comic chick” when they see her, but I think when all is said and done, she’ll have the most interesting and unexpected character arc.
The webcomic will also have a lot of mystical, supernatural craziness. A lot of shapeshifting. A lot of ghosts. And, of course, a lot of viking on werewolf action. In all ways imaginable.
FM: How often will you be posting new installments, and what sort of framing / dimensional format will you be using for each one?
GG: Right now the plan is to have a new page up every Monday and Friday, starting July 31st. The pages will be a horizontal format and easy to read. You won’t need to zoom in on anything to figure out what’s happening, you won’t have to scroll, you won’t have to worry about dealing with some funky online reader. I’m setting it up with basic HTML and it won’t be fancy. I’ll be letting the pages do all the speaking for themselves.
FM: Who are the characters in the promo art (featured at the top of this article)?
GG: The two human characters featured in the promo art are Sif, daughter of the witch Bergthora, and Vidar, a viking warrior who – along with Sif – will take center stage in the new webcomic.
FM: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us again, and best of luck with the new webcomic!
Grant is on his way to San Diego for Comic-Con next week and will be at the Super Real Graphics booth. Look him up at Booth #5331 and tell him you saw him on Fandomania. Once the Wolves of Odin webcomic is live (starting July 31), you’ll be able to find two new pages every week.