The following is an interview with creator Peter Ricq on the recent release of his mini-series, Once Our Land 2. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Ricq about the inspiration behind the sequel series, his creative process in balancing the writing and artistic duties, what he is working on next, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your 4-part mini-series, Once Our Land 2, from Scout Comics! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this sequel story to your previous work, Once Our Land?
Peter Ricq: Thank you! Once Our Land is somehow kind of a mix between Miyazaki and Mad Max sprinkled with Lovecraftian creatures on top. It is a story set in a post-apocalyptic 1830s Germany. An adventure, horror, sci-fi, period piece with comedy and ACTION! It’s all made it in there somehow.
We follow two survivors, Ingrid and Fritz, as they try to keep alive and help others in this mad world.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in writing and illustrating the graphic novel, and what have been some of your creative influences?
PR: I basically started right after the completion of the first book. The story ended with so many possibilities, and I really liked our two main characters. I was curious and excited to see what was going to happen next.
I spoke with my bandmate, Robbie Slade, while on tour (9-hour drive), and I told him where I was thinking of taking the story for the sequel. We basically came up with part of its premise in the car. When I got home, I wrote the script to the whole book, I was hoping it would be 60 pages, but it ended at twice that. I decided to just do it anyways.
Just like in the first book, with work and all (musician, film director, art director, writer) I needed some help illustrating the book. I did most of the designs and did all the page layouts, some more detailed than others. After finding 3 potential illustrator candidates, I asked each of them to do a sample/test page based off of a layout I had done and Jake Bilbao’s work fitted the book style the best. He would send me the roughs based off of my layouts, I’d send notes, get the final back then edit the final tweaks myself. If it wasn’t for that, the book would’ve taken most likely about 6 years to complete.
The coloring I did mostly myself, because I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to do it. The coloring in OOL takes forever, so I totally get it. I did find some help with color flats which helped me a lot in seeing the book to its completion.
You can see some behind the scenes videos here.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
PR: With my work, I want to entertain my audience first and foremost and give them an experience they haven’t had before. Although OOL has a lot of obvious influences, I believe the final outcome is something original and exciting.
BD: Once Our Land has also been optioned to become an animated feature film. What can you tell us about your experience with this process, and what are you most looking forward to about bringing this story to a different entertainment medium?
PR: The script is completed; we are talking with a studio that we are really really stoked about. The movie is basically the first book but it is more developed. We had the chance to add a couple characters, expand on the two main characters, the world, and their background which I couldn’t do with the page count of the first book.
I was planning on doing a OOL book that shows Fritz growing up in the alien world, but now it’s made its way in the film which is very exciting to me. We also have a couple of new different creepy invaders that I can’t wait to see animated.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
PR: I’m working on several movie projects. I did my first in 2016, a horror/dark comedy called Dead Shack, and am planning on doing a lot more like the Once Our Land film.
My band, HUMANS, released an album in November, so I’m touring a bit these days, and my other band, Gang Signs, started releasing singles and videos for the new album which is dropping in the summer.
I’m working on a new new comic that I’m doing pretty much everything myself. I found a style inspired by Mike Mignola’s work where it takes 1/5 of the time to complete a page in comparison to OOL and it looks awesome!
It’s a story Davila LeBlanc and I did about 10 years ago. I’ve had 10 years to think about it and develop it. It’s a lot darker and a hell of a lot more violent than OOL. You can see the cover and a ton of my other work on my website.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Once Our Land 2?
PR: I post a ton about it on Instagram through @pricq or @onceourland, but if you want to order the hardcover limited edition OOL2 book of all 4 books in one, you can do that at OnceOurLand.com. You can also find more info about OOL and see a 5-page sample there. For the Scout Comics edition, you can head over to ScoutComics.com. You can also purchase the first Once Our Land book at ScoutComics.com.