North Rhine-Westphalia is not Wyoming and Germany not the USA. So why do a comic about a place so far afar?
Because I’ve been there.
In 2002/2003 I went abroad to the United States as an exchange student. While I spent most of my months in Buffalo NY (go Bills!), I had the opportunity to travel to some interesting places: Boston, Maine, New York City, Washington D.C. … and yes, Yellowstone!
With a bunch of other exchange students I witnessed the beauty of Yellowstone National Park: it’s Geysers and hot wells, Buffalos crossing the road, thundering waterfalls and high mountains.
Inside a geological museum I first heard about the sleeping supervolcano underneath Yellowstone. It was this danger of another eruption and what it could mean to the U.S. (and even the world) that captured my imagination. The first seed was planted.
Years passed. I went back to Germany, finished school and went to Münster to study English and History. Since tinkering with fiction is one of my hobbies (hello pen & paper RPG!), I sometimes went back to that Yellowstone idea. At this stage, there was no story, just worldbuilding. At one time, it wasn’t even science fiction but alternate history – 09/11 not as a terrorist attack but as a volcanic tragedy. Over the years one thing became more and more clear: It would be a story about a post-apocalyptic society. I didn’t want to tell a story about people escaping Armageddon but rather how Armageddon changed the surviving society. To compare it with Roland Emmerich’s movie “2012”: What happens after those well-armed, high-tech, western refugees get to Africa? How would the remaining Africans react? That’s what got me, not the other 99% of the movie.
In the summer of 2015 the world building got more and more detailed. But it wasn’t until I teamed up with Dave in January 2016 that our main character Noah took form.
While finishing up the first chapter of Yellow Stone, my partner in crime postet quite a few teasers on Instagram. Teasers, I wouldn’t want to hide from you guys.
1. Sometimes you have to jump into the unknown.
2. What’s all the fuzz about?
3. Waking up and there is nothing in the fridge…
4. First Page preview!
5. What happened at Yellowstone?
Sometimes you have to be lucky. So when Jens Peters from Treetop Media asked, if he and his colleagues could do a documentary about Yellow Stone, Dave and I said “hell yeah!”
Check out the article and gallery on treetop-media.de. (German)
And don’t miss the video on Vimeo (with subtitles).
This time it’s Dave (the artist of Yellow Stone) at the mic talking about his working process:
“Time to get this monster done. Yellowstone in the making, ideas becoming real.
Noah’s journey is my journey
Noah’s journey is also my journey. Our main character Noah, is in the move, and so am I. Moving and packing things is currently my everyday work. I’m in the move like Noah, reaching out to new adventures, trying to start a new life in another city, getting new inspirations.
The city is my studio
Storyboard and inking-time is quite fun for me. I get my inspiration in bars, cafes and other places I can sit and draw. My workplace at home gives me headaches, the internet is screaming for attention and it is quiet there. Drawing a comic whose main plot is about ordinary people we met every day needs to be done where people gather, in public. So if you want a quick glimpse of an everyday illustrator’s life, keep an eye out to spot them (or me) in cafes, bars or everyday places.”
Yellow Stone: storyboard of the first chapter
No post, no work? Not really. We are still working on putting together a strong pitch for publishers in Germany and abroad.
Writing for Yellow Stone is complete
Story-wise we are done for the moment. The script for the first chapter of Yellow Stone is finished, so is the synopsis and the elevator pitch. Thus if a publisher would appear on our doorstep today and ask what the hell Yellow Stone is about, we would have some nice answers to give. Of course there will be some dialogue-trimming once Dave is done with chapter one but for now the docs on my laptop can get some rest.
Art of chapter one is in the making
Speaking of which. Even if a hand full of pages would be enough to pitch our comic to the publishers, we decided to finish the whole first chapter of Yellow Stone. This way even if there isn’t a book deal yet we can print the first chapter and bring it to Conventions for you to look at.
Postscript, Prescript … Porn Bear?
So tumble weeds, long sleeps and Margaritas in the typing department? No sir. Writing for our second project has already started. For now, I can only give you the working title:
A really sad but true story.”
Last time we showed you the preliminary cover with our protagonist Noah on it. This time you get a sneak peak at the world and the story of “Yellow Stone”. Enjoy!
The future. After a fraction of the Yellowstone-supervolcano has erupted, the US-government deports all citizens of the Midwest to the coasts. To avoid economic chaos, the evacuated states are leased to corporations. They call it the Zone.
Ten years later: Noah is a Midwest-refugee like many in the D.C.-area: poor, unemployed and discriminated. Instead of fighting for his rights he keeps his head down, until one day he receives a disc with classified data on it. Information so important every police in the state is now on the hunt for him …
2025: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho are devastated by the Yellowstone-breakout. Evacuation to the coasts follows. Establishment of the Zone.
The following years: To keep refugees from crossing into the Zone, construction of the wall begins. Finding of rare earths within the Zone. Another volcanic eruption destroys Salt Lake City within hours.
2035 / today: First election since 2023. Refugee-candidate William Hill declares his candidacy in Little Texas, Washington D.C.
The map was done by graphic designer James Hubbell. Thanks James! This is his Tublr.
Here is the news: I am doing a comic! 😎 So instead of reviews, essays and interviews you’ll see some texts and pictures about our “Yellow Stone”-project on this blog.
Our? At the end of 2015 I teamed up with Comic-artist Dave Scheffel (some of you might recognize him from this interview). So while I am responsible for the story and the script he is doing all the artwork.
Our plan is to put together a strong pitch that will attract publishers in Germany and abroad. (That’s where the switch to English is comic from.) But we are still in the early stages of the project.
If you can’t wait for the teasers – from time to time both Dave and I will post some sneak peaks on Twitter and Instagram via #YellowstoneComic.
Comic Con Germany
And if that’s not enough the Comic Con Germany (Stuttgart) is the place to be this weekend (June 25th & 26th). You can pay Dave a visit and look over his shoulder while he is doing character designs for the Comic. You will find find him at table 111: