Welcome to this Inside the Autumnlands, a column focusing on the Image Comics series the Autumnlands written by: Kurt Busiek with art by Benjamin Dewey and colours by Jordie Bellaire. Every month we’ll read the current issue and ask Kurt Busiek some questions about the look. Now, onto issue #4!
Be aware that this column will contain SPOILERS for the specific issue and the Autumnlands series. If you are looking for this issue you can find it at your local comic book shop or on comixology
1. The world The Autumnlands feels very lived in with a rich mythos and culture to support it. How did you go about creating a fantasy world that feels like a truly established civilization? Was the process of creating the Autumnlands at all similar to creating Astro City?
Kurt Busiek: I’m sure there are similarities, but it doesn’t feel all that similar to me. ASTRO CITY is designed to feel like a big mess of history, the kind of thing you’d get if dozens of writers and artists were contributing to a shared universe over the decades, and this big ol’ spaghetti plate of history is the result. THE AUTUMNLANDS is a world with a specific history, a coherent backstory, not just a mess of happenstance. So everything in it is guided by that backstory, by the forces that shaped it.
2. Why call it “the Autumnlands”? Is this at all suggestive of a world approaching the winter of its existence?
Kurt Busiek: It is. We weren’t going to bring up the term until later, but when we had to change the title, we fastened on this. So it’s telling readers a little more about the world than they’d have ordinarily known, if we’d been proceeding with the original title. But we’ll be exploring it as we go, learning what it means.
3. Each issue of the Autumnlands has an accompanying prose excerpt – are we ever going to meet any of these characters in future issues or are they simply meant to provide deeper shape and meaning to the events of each issue?
Kurt Busiek: I’m not 100% sure what characters you mean. The characters in the excerpts? We’ve already met some — the first excerpt was all about Keniel on the day all the big stuff happened. The second was a legend of the Great Champion, although he turned out to be unlike the legend. The third was about a soldier in a hi-tech war, and I think readers know who he is. And the fourth was about a guy wandering around the foothills in a walking chair.
4. What is it about Dunstan that allows Learoyd to trust him above anyone else? Is this their bond derivative of the “dog is man’s best friend” adage?
Kurt Busiek: Well, Learoyd didn’t get along too well with Bhord the blacksmith, and he’s a dog too.
5. Why have a bear be your avatar in the letters column?
Kurt Busiek: I asked Ben to draw the two of us as animals for a fun promo thing, but I let him pick the animals. My one contribution was that when I saw it was a bear, I asked Jordie to color it gray, because I’m pretty solidly gray these days, no longer brown.