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Interview: Freya Horn, Creator of Retroblade Comic

Posted by Sian, June 2016. Freya Horn owns rights to cartoon imagery on this page.

Continuing the theme for #WomenInComics, it has been a great opportunity to interview Freya Horn. Freya is creator, artist and writer for RetroBlade Comic, through which she channels lots of creative energy!

Freya’s professional background is diverse: she has worked in the games industry, has illustrated for books and also has experience in storyboarding and animation.

Like Deanna Brigman, Freya Horn is also in the stage of creating foundations for the main plot of her story to develop. 

Feel free to check out my review for Retroblade Comic below. I've also provided a link for the official Retroblade Comic website:

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Where did your inspiration arise for RetroBlade?

Freya: RetroBlade is something I've had planned for a *long* time. It's developed loads over the years, but the original inspirations for it came from pop culture of the late 80s and early 90s, especially the cartoons and video games of the time. You know, retro stuff.

Since then, practically everything in my life has been an inspiration
towards it in some way. I've travelled and lived in different countries,
and that inspired the travel and culture shock aspects, I guess. I'm also
heavily influenced by sci-fi and fantasy fiction, such as the works of
Terry Pratchett, Dan Simmons, Neil Gaiman...

How much preparation did it take for you to initially start publishing RetroBlade online?

Freya: Oh wow. If you mean just getting the comic online, it took a few months of re-learning web design (which has changed a lot in the last few years), doing the research on webcomics publishing and learning some more HTML and CSS. But that was the easy part!

If you mean the story and comic itself: Making and publishing a comic
is something I've always wanted to do. I guess I had it on the back-burner
for years and years, ever since the old comics I made as a teenager. I've
only recently started to give this story my full attention again in 2012,
and that's when I realised it was perfectly suited to the webcomic format.

Really love the futuristic world you portray in Chapter 1. What
elements did you feel you have used to make readers feel immersed in a futuristic setting?

Freya: Thank you! To be honest, I wish I'd spent more time on the backgrounds in parts of it. I think the initial pages give a detailed impression of the world and the city of Cosmöbius, but after that the backgrounds get simpler as the plot and action take over. Small details can really make an impression on setting though, even if it's a simple design in the background, texture, lighting and colours.

The year 2112 which you see in Chapter One is very blue, clean and shiny, with neon lights and a focus on electric lighting over natural light. I'm also using panel shapes and border colours to give a different feel to each setting.

What’s the difference between the ‘Reality Crash’ and ‘The Fall’?
 

Freya: Oh, this is a  *very* good question :D Both will be explained in greater detail later in the story, but during the Prologue, the (anonymous) devil guy does say *"...the reason things over there are falling apart...well, it all started here. With this rock."*

Preview: Retroblade Comic

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In the Prologue, what qualities did you feel were important to portray for the Augments, Magnus and Axel?

The Original Augments (not to be confused with Synthetic ones) are described as *a union of opposites, universal forces that kept the world in balance.* I like the Eastern concepts of balance and yin and yang, and I suppose those are the kinds of qualities I wanted the Original Augments to express, that they were equally important and there were no inherently 'good' or 'bad' ones. Only one Original Augment has been named so far, *Eterna*. I can't reveal much else about them yet.


With Magnus, he's an interesting character because he has the qualities of a charismatic villain and hero in one. In any other tale he would quite obviously be the protagonist, some kind of epic hero. He even has a halo-like glow, and the way he appears in the prophecy drawings make it clear he is some kind of chosen one. But despite all these visual cues, he is the one that brings about the disaster (otherwise referred to as 'the fall') and was never even supposed to exist, let alone wield the power he has.


Axel is almost the complete opposite. He's some kind of parody of the leading man in action films, from the far future, and quite literally on a quest to pick up the pieces. He isn't chosen... he's been left with no choice. In many ways he has the qualities of an equal and opposing force to Magnus, action vs reaction, past vs future, scifi vs fantasy. Without guidance Axel is quite lost and neurotic, giving up, where as Magnus is very independent, driven and rebellious. I guess they also help to establish the boundaries and differences of each end of time.

Which characters have you most enjoyed designing?

Freya: All of them! Buuut...I'd have to say Magnus because I re-vamped him quite a bit. He used to have more of a Saxon theme going on, but he is now from a much more distant era, with Egyptian/Sumerian influences. I can't wait to introduce him as an adult, he gets really blinged out.

I also really loved designing the main team and how they're all so
different to each other. I'm really looking forward to introducing Kit.
These characters have been kicking around in my head for a long time, so I've built upon their old designs a few times.

What has been the most challenging part of producing Retroblade?

Freya: When I started out... *everything.* But it gets easier with each new page. The Prologue was especially hard to define. This story is pretty huge and there was so much ground to cover, plus when I write I like to go back and edit the beginning once everything else is completed, so I had so much writing and editing to do before I could decide exactly where and when the story should begin. This is vital when writing a time travel story especially, for adding things like foreshadowing, avoiding (obvious) paradoxes, etc.

Latest News about Retroblade

Are there plans for a crowd-funded print book of Retroblade?

Freya: Hell yeah! I'm planning to release the first Volume this year through a Kickstarter campaign. Stay tuned :)

Chapter One of RetroBlade is almost complete. Chapter Two is going to be really exciting and I can't wait to get to it! There will be a short break
between chapters, and my Patrons will get the first pages of Chapter Two as soon as they're created. You can also access the world-building, concept art and extra behind-the-scenes material on Patreon .

And if you want to see some of my art in a totally different style- I've
recently illustrated a Christmas-themed children's book, written by my
dad. It's hilarious, and I'm not biased at all in saying that ;) There will
(eventually) be a print book, but the ebook is already available on