As a big fan of Tolkien, Redwall, and most things fantasy, coming across Squarriors is a bit of a dream come true. The comic is created by Team Ash, which consists of Ash Maczko and Ashley Marie Witter. It follows the story of the Tin Kin tribe that struggles to build their new life in a post-human world. I got the chance to chat with Team Ash about this ambitious project and you can check out the interview below.
1) Let’s get the obvious question out of the way first, why Squirrels?
AMW: Why not squirrels?
Ash: In all other fantasy stories, man lives in a world where everything is at an epic scale; dragons, giants, massive structures built by ancient beings. An animal’s world is already like that. They exist everyday in what would be a fantastic fantasy world to us. I’ve always thought that was a great angle for a story.
AMW: When we first came up with Squarriors we’d gotten a few offers from various places but Devils Due hunted us down. It seemed like a good fit. They understood what we needed to be able to do with Squarriors. Plus, they’re my kind of people.
Ash: Yeah, out of the people talking to us about publishing Squarriors as a comic book, Josh at Devil’s Due seemed to have the vision that best matched where we wanted to go with the series.
3) what’s the Kickstarter experience like? What have been the challenges and benefits of doing crowd funding?
AMW: I imagine it’s like having your first child for most kickstarters. You’re constantly fretting over it, checking every minute to make sure it’s still breathing. Some days have been phenomenal and there have been a few moments of anxiety. Sometimes I just had to take a break and focus on my artwork.
Ash: I check it’s progress 72 times a day.
4) The main characters are from the Tin Kin tribe and they must take on the Maw tribe in the first issue. Just how many other tribes are there and just how big does this world get?
AMW: It’s massive.
Ash: Squarriors starts with focusing on the two neighboring tribes, the Tin Kin and Maw. There is an incredibly large clan that they live just out of reach of, the empire of the Amoni. Beyond that, the Earth is full of thousands of tribes, clans, armies, religious groups, kingdoms, and empires. And believe me, we plan on going BIG.
AMW: The first image took like three months! I was just beginning to experiment with the look of Squarriors. Some of the earlier designs were rather cartoony and I wanted to challenge myself, so I went towards a more classical art style. From there I was able to create a method for the style and upgrade my tools. Now pages take 2-3 days.
Ash: The images I make take about 4 minutes.
6) You’ve mentioned that Ash has had this idea in his head a long time, what was the final push to get Squarriors off the ground?
AMW: It needed to be done, and this is just the beginning you know.
Ash: As I said earlier, I’ve always been fascinated with the way our ordinary world must seem to a small creature. How a mouse perceives a cat. Or how overwhelming and mystical a man-made city must be to dog. Things just lined up so I could finally tell this story. And I couldn’t be more excited!
7) You mentioned going to C2E2 to spread the word, any other conventions coming up to get Squarriors out to the masses?
Ash: I created and host my own retro/pop culture event called Count-I-Con. So we did that recently. We intend on hitting all the usual big events, but right now we have been too busy to take a weekend off to do a show. Once the Kickstarter is complete and this first issue is done, I imagine we will be hitting the road.