Th3rd World Studio, the publisher of the surprisingly successful The Stuff of Legend, is hoping to tap into the same type of magic for this year's Free Comic Book Day debut, Finding Gossamyr.
"The story was described by one retailer as A Beautiful Mind meets The Chronicles of Narnia, which is very fitting," said Michael DeVito, Th3rd World's publisher.
Created by two darlings of the indie webcomics world — David Rodriguez (Shadowgirls) and Sarah Ellerton (Phoenix Requiem) — Finding Gossamyr tells the story of the land of Gossamyr, where math is the language of magic and one boy's unique condition gives him incredible power.
The comic will debut on May 5th with a preview for the Free Comic Book Day event in comic shops across the country. Then the first issue of the bi-monthly series will be available in July.
Rodriguez, the video game designer and webcomic creator who wrote the story, said he got the idea for Gossamyr after considering one of Arthur C. Clarke's laws: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.""That quote made me think," Rodriguez said, "what if there was an entire magic system that was based on people being able to do all the things we do by hand, like all the formulas and mathematics, and just being able to just project them through the air?
"And all the things we imagine magicians doing to cast a spell — that finger waving — is actually them solving the problem," he explained. "And when it's complete, they're able to create a fireball, but they used science to get there. It just looks like magic to anyone else.
"That's what started the idea."
The story of Finding Gossamyr begins in the real world with Jenna, a girl of about 19 or 20, who serves as guardian of her 10-year-old brother, Denny. "It has this family dynamic of a young girl trying to take care of her brother who has a lot of unique demands," Rodriguez said. "Denny is both brilliant and very vulnerable.
"He's a very gifted boy, and he's testing to get into a mathematics program at a PhD level. In the test, they're exploring this theorem that has never been proven," the writer said. "But Denny actually does solve this theorem, and that opens the door to a fantasy world that he and his sister end up going to."
Finding Gossamyr ends up uniting a little bit of science fiction with its fantasy, since math is part of the spell-casting. But Rodriguez said that doesn't mean he's a math whiz. "I am not!" he laughed. "Math hates me so much."I guess it's both science fiction and fantasy, because when they're in the real world, the math gets a little science-y," Rodriguez said. "But Gossamyr is very much like a fantasy world, even though the language is grounded in mathematics, which is an interesting combination."
The story of Gossamyr also evolved out of the stories he enjoys with his son. "My favorite stories as a kid were always those books where a kid in the real world got to go to a fantasy world, and they're now my son's favorite type of story," he said. "So I wanted to write something that he'd be able to read and enjoy."Although Rodriguez has done most of his creative work in video games, his success with Shadowgirls caught the eye of DeVito at Th3rd World. "They ended up publishing the hardcover of Shadowgirls," Rodriguez said. "So I pitched them the idea behind Gossamyr, and they liked the idea of it." "When David pitched the story to us we couldn't help but see something really special," DeVito said. "The sibling relationship between the two main characters, Denny and Jenna, is really special, and you could really tell a lot of thought and care went into developing them properly."
Eventually, Ellerton signed onto the project, deciding it was a good follow-up for her webcomic. "I knew Sarah through the webcomic community and heard through the grapevine that she might be available," Rodriguez said. "She did the Phoenix Requiem webcomic, which was super popular. But I heard she was winding down on that, hoping to do other things, and it lined up."Once Sarah and I started talking, she became invested in the story and the characters, and she decided it was something she wanted to do," Rodriguez said. "And her art speaks for itself. It's been a joy working with her to create this world."
DeVito decided to launch the comic in July after a kick-off story on Free Comic Book Day. "The whole project — from the world the team has created to the characters — has a nice, fresh feel to it," DeVito said.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!