Grasspeople Quite some time ago I had the privilege of interviewing Allan Linder about his graphic novel, Prisoner Of The Mind. And now, all these years later, I spoke to Allan again, this time about his new book, 'Grasspeople'. Want to know more? Then you know the score. Click-Click. And please enjoy.

1) For those people who didn't get to read our last interview, Allan, please tell us a little about yourself?   I’m a 4th generation artist in my family, and I even won my first drawing contest at age 5, progressing to an art scholarship at 17.

Over the past 20 years I worked for Disney, WB, Sony, Klasky Csupo, and many others as a freelance artist. Primarily I worked in animation, doing character design and storyboards for film and television. Yet comic books have always been in my life as a way to escape, and I feel they are one of the few methods of visual storytelling that only requires imagination, pencil, and paper. You don’t need a big budget to develop an idea.

2) What inspired you to create your comic book, ‘Grasspeople’?   I used to draw my own superhero comics while sitting in our church as a kid to the dismay of my mother. Of course, I always knew that I wanted to make my own stories, but didn’t really have the know-how for many years, although that didn’t stop me from trying.

GrasspeopleEventually, technology and my skill level caught up, as I had already been working on Grasspeople for a long time. I wrote the story in the late 90s, while sitting in a park, and I noticed insects just living their own lives, oblivious to what we humans were doing. I thought what would it be like to shrink myself down and see what’s going on down there. (This was before “A Bugs Life” or “Arthur and the Invisibles” came out). Anyway, that thought process inspired the idea for this story and I have always been a fan of “Conan the Barbarian”, so I knew I wanted a tough gut wrenching fantasy environment like that.

3) Can you briefly tell us what this comic is all about?   Monk is the son of an alchemist and the archivist of his people’s history. On his thirteenth birthday, following the tradition of his people, Monk sets off on an inner journey to find himself on the way to becoming a man.

Along his spiritual odyssey, he discovers his worst nightmares that challenge his inner strength. Using the knowledge of his people that was passed down through generations, he learns who he really is, but at great personal sacrifice.

4) What song would you say best represents your story and why?   'The Crystal Returns' by Klaus Schulze. I think the ethereal element of his music encapsulates the story of Grasspeople in issue number 1. If you put your headphones on and listen to this while reading Grasspeople at the same time, it’s pretty immersive.

Patrick Stewart
5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   I think the main character, Monk, could be played by Kyle Agnew H. Not only because he looks like him, but he acts like him too. Then I think Monk’s father, Bixane, could be played by Patrick Stewart. He’s smart and physically fit and looks much like my character. Plus, he’s just such a cool dude. 

6) What have you learned about yourself through this endeavor? And were there any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   The main thing that I have learned after doing the first volume of Prisoner of the Mind, and now Grasspeople, is not to give up. My first graphic novel took me 16 years to complete. Grasspeople almost as many, but each one I work on is getting better and shorter. If I gave up, this idea would still be in a box in my studio.

As for any unforeseen obstacles. yeah, I face those at every step of the way. A good example would be the process of creating the layout for this story. I started drawing Grasspeople on 8 x 10 sheets of paper back in 1997, yet those don’t scale so well to fit the comic book format, so I had to improvise. Part of what every artist does is solve problems that arise, it’s not all writing or drawing.

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   My next story idea! I keep a master book filled with ideas that I am just hitting out one at a time. I am already working on two completely different stories that will come out next year.

8) If ‘Grass People’ had a motto, what would it be?   Be careful where you step, because you never know who you’re going to step on.

Now if you want to know any more about Allan's great work, please feel free to check out his website, twitter, instagram, and comixology pages.

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