Writer Kel McDonald and artist Tyler Crook have joined together on a new four-part miniseries called The Stone King, an epic story that details the journey of a young woman named Ave and her quest to save her hometown from the evil plans of the title character. The comic comes courtesy of ComiXology, Amazon’s digital comic service.
Ave is a young woman who steals a little bit of this and a little bit of that from unsuspecting locals in Stoneport, a fishing and trading city. One of her favorite scores is taking magic moss from the Stone King, but when she grabs a bit too much for the royalty’s liking, darkness descends upon Stoneport. Now, it’s up to Ave to save the day and the city she holds dear.
Recently, Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with both McDonald and Crook about the miniseries. McDonald is best known for Misfits of Avalon and Cautionary Fables and Fairytales; Crook is best known for Harrow County. Questions and answers have been slightly edited for style.
What inspired you to tell this story about Ave?
Kel McDonald: Well, the inspiration was Tyler’s first image of the story. When I told him I wanted to work together, he explained the Stone King and someone having to climb it. I then sat down and came up with the reasons behind it, so everything came from that starting point.
How would you describe Ave as a character? What do you like most about her?
KM: [She] is resourceful but isn’t old enough or self aware enough to lean into those skills. There is a conflict and dissatisfaction she can’t quiet pinpoint.
What was it like working with Tyler Crook?
KM: It’s great! We can both trust each other to do our part well, so the whole project flows together well.
When did ComiXology get attached to the project?
KM: I wrote the first draft of the script before pitching it to Comixology. Tyler was still working on Harrow County at the time, so I had a lot of time to leisurely work on it before we started pitching stuff.
Will Ave and this world live beyond the four-part series?
KM: Maybe. Tyler and I have a few ideas.
How did you develop the artistic style for The Stone King?
Tyler Crook: It’s not much of a departure from the same watercolor art style I used for Harrow County However, being a fantasy story, we had to do a lot of figuring out how this fantasy world works. Kel recommended that we use Babylonian architecture as a starting point. The Stone King also has some very special moss growing on his shoulders, so I wanted the environment to seem kind of damp like Scotland or Oregon. So most of the design of the world came out of those two ides.
Did you go through many different sketches of what Ave would eventually look like?
TC: Not really. Kel and I sat down over coffee one day and talked about what she would look like, and because she’s also an artist, we kind of doodle[d] some stuff together. And by the end of our coffee, she was basically designed.
What was it like working with Kel McDonald?
TC: Working with Kel is great. She is really good at creating characters and putting together stories that avoid the kinds of tropes that drive me up the wall, and she trusts me to tell the story as well as I can. It’s nice.
By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com
The Stone King is now available from ComiXology. Click here for more information.