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DF Interview: Illustrator Stjepan Sejic talks Death Vigil
By Byron Brewer
The Death Vigil is a team of immortal beings in an ongoing war against the ever-growing power of the Primordial Enemy, a force which threatens destruction of our universe. Like to become a member? Sure. The only catch is you have to die first.
This is the premise of Stjepan Sejic’s new book from Top Cow which he is both illustrating AND writing. To get some more info while keeping our Earthly bodies intact, Dynamic Forces interviewed the writer/artist in the town square. Out in the open. In public, if you will.
Dynamic Forces: Stjepan, how did you become involved with the Death Vigil project?
Stjepan Sejic: Well ... I started making it ... and then I made it ... and that's about that. (laughs)
Joking aside, about five years ago it all kind of started when I started making doodles of these random modern age death knights, and one of the things that made this idea stick to me was a doodle in my sketchbook of Sam pulling out a boat full of draugr.
Idea was kinda left on the backburner as I was facing a personal renaissance to my approach to drawing and writing triggered by my erotic romantic comedy of a webcomic, Sunstone. Fueled by new vigor to my creativity, I started working out several projects, one of them being Teen Witchblade, and another being Death Vigil.
Late last year I pulled the trigger on Death Vigil and started posting designs and page work in progress to deviantART. My watchers, fans and friends there responded to it overwhelmingly positive, so I said I would probably pitch the comic to Image. To which my boss and friend Matt Hawkins asked, “And what are we (Top Cow), chopped liver?”
I initially had no plans on pushing the book through Top Cow because I didn't want to impose, but they asked, and I said yes because them's my peeps!
DF: You are writing AND painting this series. That is a tremendous commitment. Why the dedication?
Stjepan Sejic: Because I am a storyteller. My greatest creative passion in life is telling stories. I have been doing this for a while now, with Ravine and Sunstone, and now we have Death Vigil and soon Teen Witchblade.
I am a storytelling addict, and also the voices ... they compel me!
DF: Tell us a little bit about the world of Death Vigil: its main characters and what type of fantasy battle world we are discussing.
Stjepan Sejic: It is a story about a very old lady with a scythe and her death knights. And pretty much nothing is the way it seems to be
In short, Bernardette the Reaper and her adopted family, the Death Vigil, protect the world from the Enemy, and people who serve him, the necromancers. It is a team book, not unlike X-Men really, but with a different atmosphere and an accent on humor. There is a layered deep story to it but I will keep that a secret for now as I am known to be a spoilery dumbass.
As for characters, the initial cast consists of:
Bernardette, known as "The Reaper," an immortal with a powerful magical scythe of indeterminate age or origin. She knows little of her own purpose, and even less of the scythe itself, but she knows that she has the power to fight the threat that seeks to enter our universe.
Sam, known as "The Digger," a 12-year member of The Vigil. Nice guy if a bit rash and overly competitive, a trait that might get him killed some day ... well, that is what others are saying, at least.
Clara, known as "The Scribe," a girl with a somewhat dark past and bad family memories who finds her first true family in The Vigil, and for the first time she has something in life to fight for, and the strength to win that fight.
Marlene, known as "The Sniper," a relaxed lady with a knack for putting a smile on Bernardette's face, often considered as the big sister of the group. She has a bit of an obsession of making a camera that can capture Bernardette's image for a family photo.
Hugin, also known as "The Raven," is a talking raven that turns into a dinosaur and eats monsters ... moving on…
James, known as “The Cardmaster,” physically youngest of The Vigil. A gamer kid accepted to join The Vigil, he had a sad story but that all ended when he met ...
Mia, known as “The Destroyer of Worlds,” “The Sun Eater,” “The Beast,” “The Devourer,” and the list goes on. A very nice girl once you get to know her, though she rarely acts her age. Her said age being just over 800 years old, she is best friends with James of The Vigil.
Allistor, originally known as “Heinrich.” Father to Mia and a master necromancer of the highest order. He is on speaking terms with The Vigil for the sake of his daughter, but hates Bernardette.
Others come in later, but this should do for now.
DF: Are there any characters you are particularly partial to?
Stjepan Sejic: Mia above all others, and then Bernie and Clara.
DF: What does it mean to be a “Death Knight”?
Stjepan Sejic: It means you get to be theoretically immortal. It means you get a magic weapon. It means you become a part of a very fun family. It also means you sever the ties with your loved ones because your vicinity becomes a threat to them. Necromancers can feel your presence and will engage in combat. Threat is constant and so must be the vigilance, so it is a somewhat endless term of duty.
DF: What can you tell us about the big-bad, the Primordial Enemy?
Stjepan Sejic: As soon as The Vigil members know, so will you. But if that thing comes through … game over, last save, no extra lives.
DF: So how did you get from Kade: Sun of Perdition (Arcana Comics) to Death Vigil? Basically, how did you get in and then rise in the industry?
Stjepan Sejic: Practice and perseverance. It will get you places in this industry.
DF: Death Vigil’s first issue is already out. Can you tell us what we can expect going forward (with or without spoilers, lol)?
Stjepan Sejic: Massive battles, people dying, secrets being revealed, characters growing, and if all goes well and the book justifies the planned three arcs of eight issues each, one insanely cool finale!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Stjepan Sejic for taking time during his busy schedule to answer our questions. Death Vigil #2 hits stores August 13th!
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