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This article was published 28/5/2018 (534 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A story, that for years, has only existed inside Scott A. Ford’s imagination and sketchbooks is ready to be shared with the world.
Ford, 26, is the creator and author of Ark Land, a new 260-page, full colour graphic novel published by ChiGraphic, an imprint of ChiZine Publications.
Ark Land is Ford’s first feature length publication and a project that’s been nearly four years in the making. A graphic designer and illustrator originally from Fort Richmond, Ford said the premise for Ark Land came to him during the final year of his fine arts degree at the University of Manitoba.
"I wanted to do something more light-hearted and something more young adult, or all-ages target audience, than my previous works that were a little darker," Ford said. "I wanted to do something that had a bunch of fun simple ideas and make a story about a central female protagonist who has a cool mask and a big sword, and I wanted to make a story that had aliens and robots, and colourful lush environments.
"All of those little bullet points came together into a story."
Ark Land is a sci-fi, fantasy world, not unlike The Legend of Zelda or Adventure Time, Ford explained, that is turned on its head by the arrival of alien arks. The story begins 100 years after first contact, and readers are taken on an adventure coloured by the amalgamation of two distinct cultures and the tense relationship of colliding worlds.
Ford, who is a regular at comic conventions across the country, said while promoting his previous projects, Giants’ Well and Romulus + Remus, and plugging away at Ark Land, he met the editors at ChiZine. That initial meeting developed into a relationship and a unexpected book deal.
"It was incredible that they just offered to publish this and I accepted," Ford said.
Like many of Ford’s projects, Ark Land started as a series of illustrated landscapes which he gradually populated with characters and creatures. Over time, the story followed as he imagined what kinds of scenarios would play out beneath a pale blue sky dotted by alien ships.
"There were very simple goals from the start which is how a lot of my ideas begin; they start very visually oriented. It’s a mood or an aesthetic or a specific character design or environment design," Ford said.
"It (Ark Land) evolved into something more meaningful and in the end it turned into a story about faith and contrasting cultures and beliefs, and I wanted it to take an agnostic standpoint," he continued.
"It’s a book that talks about religion in a fictitious universe, but I didn’t want it to be preachy in one way or the other. I wanted it to be an open discussion and show diversity more than show an answer to any one pointed question."
Ark Land retails for $25 and will be launched in Winnipeg on June 15 at McNally Robinson Booksellers at 7 p.m. It is currently available on shelves at McNally and the University of Manitoba Bookstore.
Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou'wester
Danielle Da Silva is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org