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 #5!
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
The Autumnlands #5: The conspirators make their move, but the Champion has a few surprises for them.
1. Sandorst the great horned owl stirs up a lot of trouble in this issue as a puppet of Goodfoot. Is his animal form indicative of wisdom or a deliberate play against that archetype?
Kurt Busiek: Neither, really. When we were cooking up Sandorst, I told Ben we needed him to be an animal that could look pompous, condescending and lordly, who could look down his nose (beak?) at others…but he also needed to have a cute and sympathetic daughter. So we batted ideas around. I think I’m the guy who suggested an owl, and Ben liked it and came up with a great design. But I wasn’t actually thinking about owls as symbols of wisdom, or if I was I don’t remember it. It fits quite nicely, though, in that he’s got an image he projects, so if he’s playing off a hollow stereotype, that works just fine for me.
Ben did have to cheat a little —while great horned owls look as majestic as all get out, their chicks are apparently kind of scruffy-looking. So he made Enna an owlet, but not quite a great horned owlet, more of a snowy owlet. So maybe Sandorst’s blindness to all things that aren’t himself have kept him from noticing problems at home, maybe?
2. Was Learoyd’s immunity to Sandorst’sJavv’s Boltattack due to something technological that he brought over from his own world? Does it have anything to do with the markings we’ve seen on his skin in the past?
Kurt Busiek: I…can’t tell you. This is a mystery to be explored as the story unfolds, so I can’t give it away here. But it’s certainly a possibility, at least.
As for “brought over from his own world”… I can confirm that the spell Gharta and the others cast worked. They brought Learoyd to the present from the far-distant past, not from another world. What that says about their world remains to be explored, though…
3. Would you state that deception is a strong theme in this issue? Goodfoot is betraying Sandorst and Seven-Scars, Learoyd is keeping his work secret from Dunstan and Gharta would seem to be leading Affa into more and more danger.
Kurt Busiek: There’s plenty of deception, sure. Goodfoot is a player, Sandorst is a manipulator…I don’t think Gharta’s keeping anything from Affa, though. Affa knows what she’s gotten herself into, and chooses to travel with Gharta out of love, not because she’s being fooled.
And Learoyd isn’t deceiving Dunstan, though he’s not sharing much, either. Whether he’s deceiving anyone else, mind you, that remains to be seen.
4. Are we ever going to get a chance to see some of the other great cities inthe Autumnlands?Are they all suspended by magic?
Kurt Busiek: The Seventeen Cities Above the Plain and all suspended by magic, yes, but not all the cities of the Autumnlands. There’s a lot to explore, and we’ll be seeing quite a variety of stuff over time. Different nations, different tribes, different living arrangements, from mercantile empires to undersea nomads to the denizens of the Frozen Lands. Even, if our plans don’t change, the strangest boarding school ever.
So yes, we’ll see the world, and we’ll see more of the Seventeen Cities, too. Just give us some time to get around to it…there’s a lot to see!
5. How did Goodfoot get the wings in her cap?
I’d say “Same place Seven-Scars got the wings on his belt,” but on second thought, that’s probably not the case.
We’ve seen that there are some breeds of insect in this world that serve as beasts of burden, and presumably, there are wild insects as well. Seven-Scars and the other bison folk probably got theirs from the insects themselves, after bringing them down for food or other needs. Goodfoot isn’t the bug-fighter type, so she probably traded for hers with either the bison tribes or some other tribes on her trade route.
Insect wings are apparently a decorative item among the plains people, and may have other uses as well, so whether Goodfoot is wearing them purely as frippery or to advertise her stock, we’ll have to wait to find out…
Ashley Victoria Robinson is a Canadian girl by day and Robin by night. She lives in Los Angeles now and stars as Ensign Williams in THE RED SHIRT DIARIES, co-hosts the GEEK HISTORY LESSON podcast and writes for Top Cow.
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