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New RONIN ISLAND art and interview!

I’m still totally blown away by the tremendous response to RONIN ISLAND #1, which hit stores last week. Thank you so much to everyone who’s spread the word — and huge thanks and high fives to artist Giannis Milonogiannis, colorist Irma Kniivila, letterer Simon Bowland, and editors Cameron Chittock, Amanda LaFranco, and Eric Harburn!

Check out the gorgeous issue #2 cover above, with line art by Giannis. And brand new interview with Giannis and me has just been published at Comicon.com. Here’s an excerpt:

Hannah Means-Shannon: How appealing was it to bring together cultural groups who during this period might otherwise have been enemies? (Japan, China, Korea) What does that add to the story from a creative perspective?

Greg Pak: This was always one of the key hooks for me. I was hugely excited about the prospect of telling a samurai story in and of itself — I just love the genre. But when I knuckled down and thought about what I could personally bring to this kind of story as a writer, I found myself thinking about the Asian diaspora, the way folks with family origins in so many different countries come together — or don’t come together — in America and elsewhere. And I thought about the possibility of exploring that kind of thing in a period samurai story, and I got very excited. I’m always excited about stories that dig into diversity within diversity, the very specific ways in which folks within a community grapple with both their similarities and differences. So this idea of telling a samurai/ronin story with Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Thai characters was hugely exciting.

Giannis Milonogiannis: Visually speaking, it’s exciting and refreshing to get to research clothing, weapons, vehicles and so on from a such a wide variety of cultures. Combined with the fantasy elements of the various creatures, the world Greg has given us to design is a joy to work with and a really fresh setting.

HMS: Thinking about the idea of building a new society on a hidden island, I’m reminded of theories of Utopias and the pros and cons of trying to start a new society from scratch. What are the good things and the difficult things about this enterprise for our characters?

GP: I’m intrigued by the way a massive crisis can bind people of different backgrounds together. And concurrently, how certain divisions can endure even when everything else seems to have changed. So in RONIN ISLAND, we have an ostensibly egalitarian community in which people from China, Japan, and Korea have come together in order to survive. At its founding, the community relied on everyone in the face of crisis — democracy and equality of opportunity was the only way forward. But a generation down the line, certain class and racial divisions remain. Everyone’s ostensibly got equal opportunities, but in practice, some folks have inherited much more. So there’s meaty stuff to explore there about the way an idealistic community struggles to live up to its own ideals.

Read the whole thing here!

And if you’re intrigued, please do ask your local comic shop to preorder issue #2 for you — the preorder deadline is March 18!

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