Creating Starside: Issue 5
Hi Starside readers! We hope spring has been treating you all well.
Now that the Kickstarter campaign for Starside #5 has concluded, we are happy to announce it is available to purchase, in digital and physical form, on starsidecomic.com! If you missed the campaign, you can pick up the issue and limited rewards from our store here.
With the new issue out in the world, we’d like to give you a deep look behind the scenes, from our inspiration for Hakko-Baaz to creating a written language, and lots of details in between. Warning: there will be minor spoilers!
One of our favorite things to do when working on a new issue is to dive into the details of the location the issue takes place in. We’ve discussed a bit in previous updates about our new location, Hakko-Baaz, but now we want to go a little more in depth on certain aspects of the city that we couldn't share before the issue came out!
It’s no surprise that the team is heavily influenced by video games. So when we set out to create a bustling metropolitan city floating in space, we immediately jumped to the city of Rapture from the Bioshock series for some inspiration!
The underwater city of Rapture from the Bioshock game series
We really wanted this new location to differ drastically from the rugged, sketchy vibe of Aven market, and what better way to do that than by making this city a shiny, art deco style metropolis? ...At least on the surface.
The further down you travel in the city, the more the aesthetic and vibe begin to change. Hakko-Baaz was built on a large asteroid, and all of its foundational businesses were crafted using the ore that hid within the asteroid. Through years and years of excavation, the once large rock is now a shell of its former self.
With the use of the asteroid's ore for construction, we wanted the lower districts of Hakko-Baaz to have a more old-school, brick built style.
Under the shadow of the skyscrapers above, the lower districts tend to be ideal dwellings for gangs and organized crime. Some of these crime syndicates even have an established connection with the seemingly utopian world above. Unfortunately, Jack and Riggs find themselves entangled in one such organization.
Once galactic investors took an interest in the city and decided to expand it even more, the new upper districts were designed to promote a chic and luxurious lifestyle in order to attract famous and wealthy clientele, which would in turn bring in tourists. And, with the addition of one of the known universe’s largest high-end space ports, Hakko-Baaz has achieved a status beyond what even its founders imagined. To elaborate on Hakko-Baaz being a high-end city, we’d like to introduce Celleva, the city’s AI.
Celleva was created to act as the brain of Hakko-Baaz, with versions of her AI being used to take up major jobs throughout the city like air space coordinator, surveillance, and tourism concierge.
During Jack and Riggs’s time in Hakko-Baaz, Celleva aided in finding a parking spot for the Novo, greeted them upon landing, and led them to their destination.
In the images above, you’ll notice that Jack has a new look! After all he’d been through, we thought he deserved a clean shirt, at least. His only source would be to borrow one from Riggs, so we thought about what spare clothing Riggs would have that would fit Jack. Since Riggs lives aboard the Novo, like his parents before him, the clothing that he has are, for the most part, handmade. The shirt Riggs gives Jack was one of his older, less successful projects.
When Jordan drew Jack’s new look in the issue, Lane liked that he kept it in Jack’s green and gray color scheme. But then Jordan corrected her and said it was… dark grey and purple!? What color IS this sweater??!
Bringing our story to a metropolitan area meant signage. The structure where Riggs lands the Novo is numbered. The Erzema Techworks building features a sign with the company’s name on it, as most businesses do. But we’re out in space - people aren’t speaking or reading English!* So we needed to create a common language for the people of this universe. We call it Solskif.
*How does Jack understand them if they’re not speaking English??? Time will tell… ;)
To design Solskif, we did a lot of research on written languages - current, ancient, and fictional. We spent a lot of time making sure the alphabet was functional, felt unique, looked cohesive, and would be natural to write. You can see the results of our efforts on some signs in issue 5, the Takto and Kodara patches, and the bounty poster which we designed for our Kickstarter campaigns!
That wraps up this update! It was great to be able to share all this information with everyone. We always want to give readers a bit of a head start before diving too deep into an issue’s development and lore. Stay tuned for updates about which conventions we’ll be tabling at this year, and our progress on issues 6 and 7!
As always, thank you SO much for your continued support, and we’ll see you in the next update!
-Dylan & Lane