Jenna Fowler

Artist & Illustrator

(Web)comic Idea! And mini rant.

I’ve been wanting to do a (web)comic for a long time. To create a visual story. I finally feel confident that I can dedicate the time and resources to it. I need something to do in between things I get paid for. Me and my fiancee, Will Rotenberry, have come up with a basic idea. He’ll be doing a lot of the writing and research, while I draw it and design characters and such. I say (web)comic because I’m not 100% sure if it’ll be an actual webcomic, but since I hiiiighly doubt it’ll be published, we’ll probably put it online.

I always knew that I wanted to do a story with a heroine as the main character. I also wanted to do something historical. As I’ve been thinking about this for a while, a lot of thoughts have come to me. Whenever I think back to period stories (mostly movies), there’s always some strong, smart, rebellious female. Despite the time being a male dominated society, she somehow comes off as a woman that just doesn’t give a damn. All of the men end up falling for her because of it, and all the women want to be like her, or are jealous of her. And why is she like that? Because her father let her be, or let her become “educated”. I honestly cannot think of any historical story that doesn’t have that set up. That she’s only that way because her father wanted a boy, or her father let her learn and do what she wants, marry who she wants. And hey, that’s fine. I’m not saying those stories are invalid. But it just seems a little counterproductive to depict a strong independent woman that was created by a male figure.

Especially when you look at real history. There were plenty of women that went out there and faced the world, and were not only independent, but heros. And they didn’t do it because their fathers “said it was okay”. They did it because they discovered that they could. I’ve read a lot of stories about women in various wars the past few days. Real women that defended themselves, their familes, land, and country.

I think it’d really be interesting to explore the development of a heroine that felt real. A girl who overcomes not only the dangers threatening her, but the society that is trying to push her down. And why does she do it? Because she somehow discovers her own strength, and realizes that she is strong enough, no matter what anyone else says.

…Anyway. That’s my kinda feminist rant. Let’s get back to the actual comic.

So, it’s set during the American Revolution. So early/mid 1700s, not sure the exact date yet. The over arching story will likely be divided up into shorter ones. It’ll revolve along this small group of militia that travels around. The heroine isn’t the leader of the group (her brother is), but the stories will mostly revolve around her. The first short story will be about her joining the group and going to save her brother. (We’re still working out the story, that could very likely change.)

I know what you’re thinking. American history, what a bore. But there will be some supernatural elements to it as well. Nothing big. Very very low fantasy elements. Basically, the fantasy elements will revolve around various regional myths and urban legends. As they travel around they’ll encounter various things. Sometimes it’ll aid them, sometimes serve as an antagonist. I’d love for this to be a social story. We have the first few ideas worked out, but once it gets more popular (hopefully), I’d love for people to send in their local myths, urban legends, and ghost stories. I’m always a fan of group story telling and people collaborating on something. Plus it’d  be cool to find out those lesser known stories! And I don’t just mean native american folklore. It could be anything, and very likely will have other cultural references as well. Stories that came from the settlers that traveled there. (Thank you for the inspiration, American Gods!) The stories will mostly focus around the Appalachian region, though. We want to keep it as realistic as possible, and not hop around from Virginia in one story, and California the next. But yeah. Hopefully it’ll be pretty interesting. We haven’t worked out the story very much yet, as I said. We’re still considering antagonists.

I already see some potential issues people might have with it. One being the depiction of Native Americans, and then slavery… Really, they won’t play a huge part in the story. And when they do, it’ll be in a pretty vague sense. We want to keep this pretty accurate, as far as how settlers at the time saw and understood things. (Things they don’t understand seeming “supernatural,” which fits into the low fantasy setting anyway.) As accurate as possible without coming off as offensive. I think it’ll be a thin line we’ll have to walk, when the time comes. But I think we’ll work it out. As I said, it’ll mostly just focus on the militia.

Anyway! So here are some test sketches I’ve done of the main character. I don’t have a name yet. But I have a fairly clear image of her in my head, so wanted to get it down at least. I want her to seem very natural and realistically proportioned, but still beautiful and strong.


Hopefully people will be interested in the idea. I think it has a lot of potential. It probably won’t be realized for a while, though. It’s still in the baby stages of development. But I wanted to put it out there to get people’s feed back anyway. 🙂 Let me know what you think. Want to see more? Think it’s a stupid idea? Concerns? Things you want to see?

6 Responses to “(Web)comic Idea! And mini rant.”

    • Jenna

      Woohoo! I was hoping that you would like it. 😀 You’re actually a big inspiration for it. And especially for the main character.

  1. Jeremy Kostiew

    To be honest, I was a little sad initially.

    “But Jenna!” I thought, “Your art is so good; why American History?”

    But then “urban myth” stole me back into the light, and I remembered this AMAZING Lakota statue of the Mothman, and how UTTERLY creepy and powerful this single piece of Native American art was.

    I can’t imagine seeing that statue in person. I can’t imagine seeing it in a era where I couldn’t turn a day-bright light on in the middle of the night.

    And that’s ONE legend. One instance of an old tale that captivated me like a good book.

    My enthusiasm just needed to read to the end of the page.

    • Jenna

      Actually, years ago when I first thought of this idea, it started with the group of militia being in Europe, and it set during Napoleonic Wars. But… it just didn’t seem authentic. I didn’t know anything about it, and I wanted it to mean something to me, and be fairly authentic. I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of American History as well, it’s always bored me… But really, it’s all in how you present it, and what you’re looking for.
      I think that statue is a really good example. Stories and myths we here about now might seem silly or not very scary to us… But think back to how people in the past saw them. I imagine they’d be pretty horrifying. So yeah, that’s a good example. Though we want to focus on other things, not just Native American folklore.


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