For our next to two posts series and starting today with this first post, we will not talk about one artist as we use to but about a project. STAR-FALL.
STAR-FALL is an original Science Fiction/Fantasy Webcomic written by S. J. Dann and illustrated by J. S. Loomis. Set in the Altarus Starcluster, the comic chronicles the adventures of Rrrouthaan and J’Vaadus Nu, two V’Saah Vao Warriors as they seek a sacred text that might hold the key to saving the Universe. The concepts for the main characters in the series are based on original custom action figure artwork created by S. J. Dann as reference material for J. S. Loomis’ illustrations.
And how did this project begin?
In the spring of 2013, S. J. Dann was down in his father’s basement sculpture studio in upstate New York. He was busy taking apart preexisting action figures and reassembling their pieces into new figures. It was down in that very basement that Dann’s father had worked as a sculptor during the hologram craze of the 80s and 90s. He had sculpted officially licensed models for Spider-Man trading cards and comic book covers, Batman trading cards, Superman comic book covers and trading cards and countless others. He also did original sculpts for toys and action figures for The Inhumanoids toy line, GI-Joe, Littlest Pet Shop, and My Little Pony. It was within these hallowed walls that Star-Fall was born. S. J. Dann began building a new figure from spare parts that he had in his collection. As the figure began to take shape he began to consider who she was. Where was she from? What universe or storyline did she belong to? What was she doing? How did she wind up with a robotic leg and a robotic arm? Early on he decided she wasn’t part of any preexisting story. She needed her own story and her own universe, but first she needed a name.
Nef’Fenya Naa Amantra became the first character that would be a part of the Star-Fall universe. Shortly after, more characters began to emerge and take shape. The second Star-Fall character he designed was the robot Aves, Nef’s manservant and caretaker. After that, the story was off and running and ideas for new characters kept emerging. Some characters started as figures that then needed their own backstories, and some started as concepts that then needed figures.
Initially Star-Fall was set to be a limited run of independently produced action figures based on the custom figures Dann was making. The Star-Fall action figure line was originally intended to be an homage to 70s and 80s toy lines like The Visionaries or Masters of The Universe. Featuring 80s color schemes and over exaggerated concepts of right and wrong, the Star-Fall figures fought a never-ending battle of good vs. evil in space.
As he was looking for someone to sculpt the production mock-ups for the line, Dann realized that the backstory for the toyline was growing larger and faster than he could keep up. Star-Fall couldn’t be contained to a series of short blurbs on the backs of action figure packaging. The more characters and concepts Dann created and incorporated, the more he knew he needed to focus on getting the story written. Star-Fall: The Novel Series will center on Nef’Fenya Naa and her allies as they explore the Altarus Star-Cluster and fight to save their universe from impending evil.
Why a Webcomic?
Once he had created enough characters for Star-Fall, Dann approached the incredibly talented artist, J. S. Loomis about doing some concept sketches based on the custom action figures he was making. The beautiful art that Loomis produced captured the essence of each character and added a new dimension to the story. Because they both enjoyed the work and the characters, Dann suggested the idea of doing a comic series and asked if Loomis would do the art.
He said yes, and thus began an exhilaratingly intensive 4 and half month process of getting everything ready from the ground up. With the writer and artist in place it was time to assemble the rest of the Star-Fall Webcomic team that now includes their webhost, web designer/graphic artist, PR fairy, and several guest artists and writers.
As a huge fan of the sequential art medium, Dann wanted to pay homage to the amazing stories and art that has touched his life over the years. The webcomic has added a visual storytelling component to the rich and diverse universe that Star-Fall encompasses. Because Star-Fall is such a massively lore-driven universe, having a regularly published webcomic will allow the creative team to explore its history and mythos in a nearly infinite capacity.
A webcomic also affords its creators more freedom in storytelling and allows for a much larger cast of characters and a wide variety of stories to tell. This way, they have more room to play and that means less of their ideas have to end up on the cutting room floor. The events that transpire in the webcomic take place roughly 1,000 years in the past and tie directly into the plot of the novel series. The novel series and the webcomic can be enjoyed separately from each other, as there is no need to read one to understand the other, however, to get a deeper, richer, Star-Fall experience, it is recommended reading both. The webcomic series functions as an indirect prequel to the novel series.
If you want to find out more about the Star Fall project and about its creators, we encourage you to read our soon to come interview where they will talk with us about their project.
If you have some questions that you want to ask to them, use the comments section below. The Star Fall crew will be very happy to answer them! And that is not all, one person among those commenting this post will be awarded with an original character sketch from Star Fall! The winner will be randomly chosen short before the publication of the interview.