Friday, 16 July 2010

Shades - five thousand years in the making!

If you've been reading this blog, you'll know by now that Shades is the graphic novel we've been working on for, oooh, simply ages! And, if you've been following Shades at any of the sites where it's been serialised, you'll also know that it's now finished. (Hooray!) This is a press release we've circulated to a number of comic news sites to spread the news!

Broken Voice Comics is pleased to announce that its graphic novel Shades is now complete and available to read online in its entirety, at the Broken Voice Comics website.

Written by David A J Berner and illustrated in full colour, Shades is a contemporary action/adventure fantasy, in which a small group of quasi-historical British heroes, struggle to find their sense of purpose in the modern world. The action takes place both in the physical and the spirit worlds as the story unfolds against a backdrop of five thousand years of British history.

“I’ve been working on Shades for around seven years now,” Berner told us. “We’ve had a great reaction to the individual instalments we’ve released online during that time, but this was always a graphic novel with the emphasis on the word “novel”. The story works on a number of levels and is therefore best appreciated when it’s read through from beginning to end in one sitting. Now readers are finally able to do that!”

Central to the story is retired tailor Stanley Miller. As he tries to repair his fractured relationship with his daughter, Miller is reluctantly drawn into a sequence of events that threatens to strike at the very soul of the nation. His allies in facing this threat will include the First Century warrior queen Boudicca, a WW2 fighter pilot and a prehistoric shaman.

It’s a very British collection of characters and, it seems, they’ve been responsible for much of the book’s appeal amongst its online fans. “Most of the characters are inevitably larger than life – part mythical and, in modern terms, even superheroic,” explains Berner. “My concern as the writer, therefore, was to make their individual personalities as credible as possible. I didn’t want them to be generic action heroes.”

The feedback from fans suggests that this approach has been appreciated. “Readers have said they’ve really been able to empathise and identify with the characters; that – even when the story is at its most fantastic – they still come across as real people. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the project’s artists have made them look pretty terrific too!”

Artwork on the first half of the book (up to and including Chapter 8) is by Harsho Mohan Chattoraj. Chapters 9 onwards were pencilled and inked by E.C. Nickel with colours by Muamal Khairi. “All the artists on Shades have done a brilliant job,” says Berner. “There can’t be many projects that require the artists to be equally proficient at drawing Spitfires engaged in aerial combat, prehistoric villages, cobbled Victorian streets and fantastical demon landscapes. But – whatever my scripts threw at them – these guys were always exceeding my expectations!”

So, now that it’s finished, is Shades ever going to appear in print? Berner says yes. “Some of our online fans have already expressed an interest in one, so we will be looking at ways to make that happen. Of course, given the very British nature of the story, we’d ideally like to find a UK publisher, but that remains to be seen.”

Shades is available to read online now at the Broken Voice Comics website.

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