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DF Interview: Stjepan Sejic shines a light on Sunstone
By Byron Brewer
A webcomic sensation and #1 bestseller on Amazon, Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic is being published as a graphic novel in December by Image Comics/Top Cow.
The story of two women who find love through their shared passion for bondage, Sunstone is poised to introduce readers to a new kind of S&M story, one that will surprise readers with the heart and humanity of its story.
Dynamic Forces wanted to explore this phenom further, and so sat down with Sejic. This is what we learned.
Dynamic Forces: Stjepan, tell us how Sunstone was conceived and came to be the sensational webcomic that it is.
Stjepan Sejic: I drew a few pictures... and then made the mistake of adding in a few text balloons... then my storytelling OCD kicked in. This has been pretty much the process of every single creator-owned or conceived project. Same was for Ravine, Death Vigil, Hell, even Teen Witchblade.
What makes Sunstone special is the fact that it was created as a response to a complete creative block. It was supposed to be completely different from my usual work. This was a callback to old times before I got into painting comics and used to draw them. This was before my U.S. comics career started.
Back then, I almost made my break in the European comics scene when I got offered a chance to draw a fetishistic erotic comic. I still remember the energy with which I started drawing sample works.
And no, it wasn't for the reasons you may think. This was the energy of someone who has struggled to get into the industry and was given their first chance.
I lost that vigor for a long time. I was running on fumes...
Then Sunstone started and... well...
DF: Your comic has certainly had a great reception, and especially for a comic which has not seen print: #1 seller on Amazon, millions of views on DeviantArt. How does all that interest make you as a creator feel?
Stjepan Sejic: Happy, yet dumbfound at times. This comic wasn't even supposed to exist. For my other projects, there was a sense of deliberate intent. Not for Sunstone. That one just ... happened
DF: What are some of the comments you have heard from fans?
Stjepan Sejic: They range from overwhelmingly positive to at times hilarious. It is a great bunch of fans, I must admit.
DF: How did Sunstone come to be in print at Image Comics, and what does that mean for your, Stjepan?
Stjepan Sejic: I planned to get it printed for a long while. Don't get me wrong, print wasn't my idea. It was the fans. Image/Top Cow seemed like a logical choice. Both creator-owned and willing to publish books that defied the mold.
And let's face it, at this point I'm so deeply rooted in Top Cow that they are stuck with both me and my crazy comics.
DF: OK, tell us a little about the storyline behind Sunstone, certainly an unusual comic.
Stjepan Sejic: Story is about a bunch of fetishists. Genrewise it is a slice of sexually nerdy life. It's a romantic comedy that handles themes of sexuality, relationships, fetishism and communication.
It is a story about two online friends that decide to help each other out with their fetishistic tendencies, but end up falling for each other. Ironically, while their sexual fetish of BDSM is based on trust and communication, they are incapable of expanding this to their emotional lives. Both worry that the risk of admitting their emotions would chase the other person away and ruin a good thing.
DF: Do you have any personal inspirations you use for Ally and Lisa?
Stjepan Sejic: Nah, they are characters, they do their own thing...
Okay maybe my wife a bit, but that is by now kind of a standard for me.
DF: Is there any type of difficulty that comes with producing a comic like Sunstone?
Stjepan Sejic: Free time. I need more of it.
DF: What would you like readers to take away from this unique graphic novel?
Stjepan Sejic: Whatever they feel like taking away from it. In the end, any story has two points of view. That of an author and that of a reader...
They rarely see eye to eye.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Stjepan Sejic for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Sunstone the graphic novel hits shelves this Wednesday, December 24th from Top Cow!
You can pre-order your copy of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Down Town #1 Rare Stjepan Sejic Virgin Art Edition here.
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