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Living on a Dream

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For Scott Christian Sava, the decision to move from print publication to the web has paid off big time. After formerly publishing his all-ages fantasy epic The Dreamland Chronicles in single-issue format, Sava decided in January 2006 that the best way to keep the story alive was to release it electronically.

Now, over a year later, The Dreamland Chronicles is a hit in the webcomics community—and to celebrate that, Sava packaged the first tome in a huge trade paperback titled The Dreamland Chronicles: Book One released through his Blue Dream Studios.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Earlier this year, it was reported that The Dreamland Chronicles has reached one million unique readers since relaunching as a webcomic around last January. For you, does this news mean that the move paid off as much, or better, than you had hoped?

SCOTT CHRISTIAN SAVA: I think it paid off as much as I’d hoped.

When the comics were being published it was hit or miss with the sales. It’s always so disappointing when you pour your heart and soul into something and hardly anyone knows about it.

The people who had read it loved it. But there were only a few thousand who had actually picked up the comics. As an artist, you just want your work seen. So this was the best way to do it.

My whole point of putting Dreamland online was of course to get that million new readers…hopefully followed by several more million.

BF: For readers who’re about to check out the story for the first time after reading this interview, can you recap what adventures Alex, Nastajia, Kiwi and Paddington have gone through thus far?

Click to enlarge

SCS: Alex has gone back to Dreamland for the first time since he was a kid. He’s reacquainted himself with his childhood friends who’ve all grown up as well. He embarks on an adventure…and I think that’s all I should say if you haven’t read it yet as there are some good twists and turns and I don’t want to spoil it.

BF: What’s the reason to start with and continue on doing The Dreamland Chronicles?

SCS: There are actually several reasons: First, it’s for my boys. While I started Dreamland before they were even conceived…they’re my reason for doing it now. There’re hardly any more all-ages stories anymore in comics. I wanted something that held the same wonderment and adventure as the books I read as a kid.

Second, the challenge. After doing Spider-Man, I wanted to push the medium a bit more. This is a big undertaking.

And last, for the love of storytelling. I just love the story. I want to see it all the way through and I can’t wait to have all 6 books in my hand one day.

BF: How long does it take to create one page of 3D art?

SCS: It’s a long process. It started maybe 7 years ago or so. The story was conceived then written and then the characters were designed. Once the designs are sent to the modellers…they do modelling. Then the approved models are set up with bones (so I can pose them) and facial morphs. The same goes for the environments.

Once I have all the characters and environments, I can do my layouts and start posing characters into the scenes. At that point…I can do about 3 pages a day.

So in total it’s about 2-7 years pre-production…then roughly 15 pages a week.

BF: An interesting note I read on your blog is that you feel the comic book industry is drying up. Yet, sales as a whole have never been as high since the Nineties bust. Are you referring to the indie scene then, when you wrote those comments?

SCS: I don’t know where you’re getting your numbers and comparing them…but sales are horrible. You have to remember…when comics were in their golden age. They were selling 500,000 to a million comics a MONTH. PER TITLE. Everyone was reading them.

And that’s my whole point. Comics were for EVERYONE. The industry has forgotten that. They’ve shrivelled up to a niche market for 40-year-old fanboys. And while those fanboys are of course important in their own way, the industry has turned from being an All Ages affair that can be purchased ANYWHERE to an Adult Only niche that can ONLY be bought in specialty shops.

I can rant on and on about this (and will if asked to…ha ha). I feel very passionate about this. And very angry. I love comics…and hate watching it die.

BF: With the above in mind, do you feel the future of smaller properties lies in the digital realm?

SCS: Yeah. Look at all the great properties online. There’s Earthsong, Inverloch, No Need for Bushido, and so much more. These properties would NEVER make it in comics. But they THRIVE online.

I think there’s definitely a future in it. And it’s a lot cheaper too.

BF: You also produced Ed’s Terrestrials, released this winter alongside the first collected edition of The Dreamland Chronicles. How did the project come to fruition?

SCS: Funny story. Disney was interested in my comic book The Lab . But they couldn’t get the bigwigs to approve it based on the fact that they were lab animals. What would PETA think?

So they asked if I could change it to aliens. My buddy Mike Kunkel and I came up with some ideas and Ed’s Terrestrials  was born.

When Mike and I split the Astonish Factory…I got to keep Ed’s (I won the coin toss). It was only a concept at the time…so I wrote a script I was happy about and contacted artist Diego Jourdan.

Several months later…I had a book.

It’s MUCH easier than doing Dreamland, THAT’S for sure.

BF: The story has a bit of an open ending with Marcello asking Ed to help them come to the aid of other aliens in peril. Was that done deliberately to leave the door open for a follow-up book?

SCS: Well not intentionally. I wasn’t planning on having more Ed’s. But I like to leave my options open.

I remember being asked by one studio if I could tell more stories and I came up with a plot where Ed gets ZAPPED back to the Intergalactic Food Court. They flipped when I told them and asked how long until that book would come out…ha ha.

I had to gently tell them I had no plans and was just pulling that story out of my butt.

BF: How come you’re so fond of telling all-ages stories?

SCS: It didn’t start out that way, but now I think it’s just because I grew up on Bugs Bunny, Speed Racer, the Three Stooges, and Spider-Man.

To me… that’s storytelling. I still like more adult things, but when I tell stories I want to hit the broadest market.

I think it’s part marketing and part preference.

BF: What are your goals for this year?

SCS: Book Two of The Dreamland Chronicles will be published soon. Pet Robots —a new book I’m finishing up with Diego—will be released as well. I have two new toy/maquettes being made, and hopefully some comic conventions to go to.

Any day I get to work on my books is a good day. So my goals are to work on my books as much as possible.

For more on Blue Dream Studios and Scott Christian Sava, go to http://www.bluedreamstudios.com.

 

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