Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Kickstart the Week with SAFFRON: Spacetime Academy Adventures #1

By: Nicole D’Andria

Experience the colourful all-ages space adventure comic, SAFFRON! In this world, you’ll take part in the daily life of the Spacetime Academy For Fundamental Representatives Of NEXUS (SAFFRON for short), and train to become a spacetime officer! I even spoke with the creative team on the book to learn more about their outer space world.

In SAFFRON, a young woman by the name of Saffron Sizemore falls through a wormhole and appears at her ironic namesake, the Spacetime Academy For Fundamental Representatives Of NEXUS (SAFFRON)! She becomes part of the academy and trains to be a spacetime officer while trying to find her way back to Earth. A planet that no one knows were or when it is.

This project is for the first issue of a four issue story arc that may go on to be an ongoing series with the help of Kickstarter. SAFFRON is being published by Fair Spark Books, a UK publishing house known for its all-ages family friendly books and comics. The creator/writer is Samuel George London, who’s previous comic projects include the Bachelor inspired superhero detective story The S Factor and another sci-fi epic, Milford Green. The artist is Rosie Alexander, whose loves include art history, cinema, and storytelling as well as modern technologies and comics.

The project is trying to raise its goal of $1,935 by May 6, 2019 at 6:59 PM EDT. Get a digital (£2) and physical (£3) copy of SAFFRON #1, as well as a coluring book version (£5)! You can even share the colourful world of SAFFRON with the Hospital Gift Copy level (£12), which means you'll be adding a copy of SAFFRON: Spacetime Academy Adventures #1 to the Little Heroes Comics kit, a group that gives comic making kits to children with long term illnesses who are in hospital. So, help a great cause and check out the rest of the rewards on the SAFFRON Kickstarter.

Now, let’s delve into the world of SAFFRON with writer Samuel George London and artist Rosie Alexander.

Samuel George London

Me: What is a typical day like at the Spacetime Academy For Fundamental Representatives Of NEXUS?

London: The best way to describe it would be varied. A trainee spacetime officer has a lot to learn, from how NOT to interfere with events of the past to how to arrive at the correct time and place you intended. However, although it's varied, like most schools or academies there is a standard structure to their day, which follows the usual schedule of any learning institution.

Me: How would you describe Saffron Sizemore and her friends at the academy?

London: Saffron is very energetic and enthusiastic. She's also very practical, but this can get her into trouble sometimes because she doesn't always think things through.

Her friends at the academy are Flyx, Gren and Uval. Flyx is a technological genius. If you ever have problems with your wormhole wand, he's your guy. Gren is very conscious of being bigger than everyone else, but she covers it up through humour. And finally, Uval is the star student at the academy and is good at everything, but this leads him to be arrogant and overconfident. With someone as capable as Saffron coming into the class, there could be some tension there.

Me: What do you like most about astrophysics and how do they apply to the world of SAFFRON?

London: The best part of astrophysics is discovering new things, of which there is an unlimited source in the universe. For instance, last week they revealed the first photo of a black hole... HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!

In terms of how astrophysics applies to the world of SAFFRON, it's really the scope of space. With SAFFRON, I'll be able to go into the basics of how (theoretically) black holes, spacetime, wormholes and even how Dyson sphere's work, which is a theoretical energy generator that surrounds a star.

Me: One of your reward tiers involves adding a copy of SAFFRON to the Little Heroes Comics kit, which gives comic making kits to children with long term illnesses in the hospital. How did you get involved with this project and what else can you tell us about this great cause?

London: I became aware of Little Heroes Comics at a comic con in the UK last year, and was instantly on board to help because when I was 13, I was in hospital long term for chemotherapy. After I found out about Little Heroes I pitched a story for their second anthology and it was accepted. Since, I've also had another story accepted for the third anthology, which will be published soon.

Me: Another reward is a coloring book of the comic. Why did you feel it was important to include this reward in particular?

London: The coloring book was important because the comic itself is very colourful and because it's all-ages, it's the ideal comic for a coloring book.

Me: You are a collaborator on this project in addition to Fair Spark Books and Aaron Rackley (Dan helps Aaron but it's mostly Aaron). What can you tell us about why you chose this publisher and editor for SAFFRON?

London: Fair Spark Books is a fairly new all-ages publisher based in the UK run by Aaron Rackley, who also runs Little Heroes, and so there was a lot of crossover in terms of working together before. The fact that they're based in the UK and aimed at all-ages, it was an ideal fit for this project.

Me: How did you first meet Rosie Alexander and what about her art made you decide she was the perfect artist for SAFFRON?

London: I first pitched the story to Aaron and he loved it, but we didn't have an artist and so we did what we all do when we're at a loss: we put out a tweet on Twitter for artists and Rosie put her name forward. Her bright and colourful art was absolutely perfect for what I had in mind.

Me: What is the number one reason why you think people should pledge money to your Kickstarter project?

London: The number one reason people should pledge their money to SAFFRON is if they like the idea of a colourful all-ages space adventure comic. Also, if you're into astrophysics and you have children, this is something that you can enjoy together.

Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers in addition to the advice you provided us previously when we talked about The S Factor?

London: On top of reading a variety of subjects, I think aspiring comic book writers should study successful writers. One of my favourite writers to learn from is George R. R. Martin who quotes William Faulkner to say, "The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself." When I heard that for the first time it really resonated with me, and it's something that I always try to keep in mind when I'm writing.

Me: If you could spend the day at the Spacetime Academy For Fundamental Representatives Of NEXUS, what would you want to do most?

Alexander: If I could run around SAFFRON for a whole day, my first (and possibly only) point of business would be to use one of the amazing Warp Wands! I'd suit up and warp all over the galaxy!

Me: Which character was your favourite to design in SAFFRON and why?

ZENTA! Hands down!

All Sam told me about Zenta was... he was the same species as Professor Zarlo, black and red were his main colours AND he was our villain. That kind of freedom for character design is amazing—so I leapt at each character, but most of all Zenta; because I love a villainous bad guy!

Me: What page/panel was your favourite to draw and why? 

Alexander: The wormhole page was pretty hard to plan out, but once I figured how Saffron could travel across the page, it immediately became THE most enjoyable page to colour! Who doesn't love drawing WORMHOLES?! Thinking up dynamic, interesting comic panels is half the thrill of drawing a comic!

Me: List three reasons why you think this comic book is perfect for children.

It’s fun, adventurous and has the potential of bringing real world science into children's life. Enjoying a fantastical story while learning about the universe, you can't get much better than that. What's more? It's popping with colour!

Me: Some of your interests included in your biography are art history, cinema and modern technologies. How do they influence your comic book work?

Alexander: Art history, cinema and modern technologies are truly at the heart of my interests. To me, it's like a weaving tapestry of bringing together the best of the world (across time), and then sharing it! I always believe there is intelligence, imagination, compassion and joy from all these areas, and that taking note of it helps us continue to understand AND create even more great things.

All in all, it's using the knowledge and technologies we have right now, along with all the amazing artistic history we've learnt, to most eloquently and magically describe the world around us, or the worlds in our minds. So, any story or script that I read which makes me feel that way, I jump on. 

Me: What is the number one reason why you think people should pledge money to your Kickstarter project?

Alexander: Because pledging to our Kickstarter will help this comic reach children who are spending too much of their childhood in the hospital. Through the amazing charity Little Heroes (Fair Spark Books), we have the opportunity to bring a new exciting world to each child's imagination. Pledge enough and more charity packs can be sent to hospitals, as well as your own front door! It's a win-win!

Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book artists?

Alexander: Draw every chance you get; but, most importantly, discover the things in the world that truly inspire you. Be interested by everything and have confidence. An eclectic pallet of the world makes for an eclectic art pallet, too.

Me: And what additional inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book colourists?

Alexander: Pay attention to ‘real colour.’ Pick up the object next to you and really look at the hues. Never assume you know. And if you can, always see things face to face, at different times of the day. Your eyes are so much better than any camera or photograph.

What's more—study the great artists of today, the great artists of yesterday, and even the not so great ones throughout history. Colour theory is only ever as strong as your inner colour preference compass, too. What do you think looks good? Question it. Play with it. Enjoy it. Work at it. Colour is a passion, so, GO FOR IT! And when in doubt… put the opposite colour next to it.

Me: Thanks for taking the time to help us travel through the galaxy, Sam and Rosie! If you’re reading this and are interested in learning more about the Spacetime Academy For Fundamental Representatives Of NEXUS, check out the SAFFRON Kickstarter here.

Do you have a Kickstarter? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on "Kickstart the Week?" Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this great interview.
    I'm already a backer, but it's very nice to read more about the comic and the creator/ artist!
    Now I'm even more curious about Saffron! (and about the villainous Zenta of course!)