Creating Starside: The Novo
Welcome to another Starside update! We got a lengthy one for ya! In this month's email, we wanted to give you an inside look at our world-building process, focusing on one element in particular: Riggs's ship, the Novo. You'll want to keep reading, because you'll get a first look at the cover of Starside #5!
Now, onward and upward!
You first met the Novo at the beginning of issue 3, when Riggs arrived at Aven Market. We love how Jordan depicted the ship's arrival, soaring over the trees alongside the dragon-like serruks before gracefully hovering to land.
The Novo's design itself was inspired by dragons. Well, first it was inspired by this image of the Sydney Opera House and its reflection:
We discussed the inspiration with Jordan, and he came up with some concept sketches for how the shape could become a ship (without looking literally like the Sydney Opera House). Our favorite of the bunch was the "baby dragon" concept. We worked with it a little more, and ended up with the version of the Novo that you see in the books today.
The next part of the design phase was the interior. We discussed what the ship was originally built for, and how its previous owners, Riggs's parents, redesigned it as a space to live and work. We came up with the below as its layout.
It has a large loading bay for transporting shipments of all sizes, and storing spare parts and supplies. As you head toward the nose of the ship, you find a practical and cozy living space, with all of the basic necessities. Riggs lives and works on this ship full-time, so it's kind of like a space-RV with a large garage attached.
We show the interior of the Novo for the first time in issue 4, so before then we needed to have a good idea of not only its layout, but also its decor. We looked all over for inspiration: sets and props from sci-fi movies like Alien, other artists' concept designs that we found online, and even an interior design book from the 1970s. We didn't find a lot of inspiration from that last source, but there was one picture of a kitchen that I hope we'll use in the future ;)
Below you'll see some of the images that inspired us:
In universe, the Novo was constructed on Riggs's home world of Takto. The ship itself is a Kasiri-class Star Hopper, modeled and named after a bird native to Takto - the kasiri. Built as a light and nimble ship that could manage moderate distances between star systems, the Novo was once considered an adequate vessel for the average spacefarer. By today's standards however, the Novo is a severely outdated ship. It was even considered outdated years ago when Riggs's parents saved the ship from a scrap yard. They didn't let that stigma ruin the big plans they had for it, though. With some hard work, dedication, patience, and skill, they rejuvenated the old Star Hopper into a ship that now pushes the boundaries of what it was originally capable of doing.
The Novo is important to Riggs for many reasons. His parents purchased and restored the ship before Riggs was born, and he was raised there, traveling through and between the countless galaxies of the universe his entire life. The ship was also their livelihood. They made their living transporting and delivering shipments through space.
Riggs's parents died when he was very young, so he took what they had taught him about the universe, about flying, and about making it on your own, and now he makes his living doing what they did. The Novo is more than a ship and more than a place to sleep. It's what connects Riggs back to his parents.
Now, what you've scrolled all this way to see: the cover of Starside #5! The Novo is the star of this cover. It glides over Riggs and Jack's next destination, the bustling port city of Hakko-Baaz.
Issue 5 is pretty much finished, and we're looking forward to sharing it with you all. For an update on when you can expect to read it, read our latest Kickstarter update here.
Next up, we recently were invited to be guests on a really cool web show hosted by Bitten Apple TV called Apple Bites. We met the host, Rafael Tavares, at POW Con back in the very beginning of 2020 and he expressed interest in having us on the show. We're glad he offered because we had a blast talking about the origins of Starside, our writing process, the state of the pandemic, and about the triumphant return of conventions... It was quite the array of subjects. If you're interested in the interview or the show itself, you can check it out here!
Lastly, if any of you are interested in seeing Jordan's non-Starside art, he has an Instagram account to follow! This is personally exciting to us since we just love the original art that he does, so being able to have a direct feed of it really excites us! :)
Wow, did you read that whole email??? There will be a quiz.
Just kidding. But seriously, thank you for being interested in our little space adventure! Feel free to reach out with any comments or questions, and we'll see you in the next update!
- Lane & Dylan