With only a few days remaining on his Kickstarter campaign, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point alumnus Joseph Collard hopes to bring his story to life.
For as long as he can remember, Collard has held a love of writing and comics. Although he graduated from UWSP with a degree in Forestry Management, he pursued his passion of writing by working as a writing consultant in the Tutoring and Learning Center. By assisting others, Collard was able to sharpen his own writing abilities, providing him with the skills to bring his ideas to life.
Collard’s latest project is titled “Solon” and combines the storytelling elements of prose with the dynamic visuals graphic novels provide. The final product will feature 300 pages of prose and at least 35 full pages of original artwork.
This hybrid graphic novel follows Carolyn Solon, a microbiologist who uncovers a hidden virus locked away within the human genome. By reconstructing and manipulating the virus, Solon unlocks the ability to achieve fiery, superhuman energy. The story follows Solon as she discovers the many mysteries hidden away in deserted areas of the world.
During his time at UWSP, Collard was inspired by his passion for writing and comics to create a work of his own. He also developed a love of biology from his botany professor, Professor Robert Bell, which ended up playing a large part in Solon’s story.
Collard also sees a part of himself reflected in his own writing.
“I’m very passionate about storytelling,” Collard said. “The heroine of my story is a very passionate person…it comes through in her science, the manifestation of her fiery superpowers, and her strong sense of ethics.”
While the story contains elements of magic, fantasy and science fiction, the foundations of the story are based on many different aspects of microbiology and genetic engineering. Collard spent many hours researching topics such as cell biology and gene splicing to add factual accuracy to the plot.
Collard’s aim has been to create a thought-provoking story which will allow audiences to be entertained and also learn about real scientific concepts. To engage readers even further, the illustrations will contain many Easter eggs and mysteries that readers can solve. Collard says that it will take multiple times rereading it to uncover all of the secrets and interpretations that the story has to offer.
“I want the reader to feel they can read this, look at the pictures several times and still notice something new each time,” Collard says.
The prose portion of the book is complete as well as the storyboarding for the illustrations. Since Collard’s skills lie primarily in writing, he has commissioned Brain Bridgeforth of Bridgeforth Design Studio to digitally paint the graphic novel portion of “Solon.”
With a successful funding of his Kickstarter campaign, Collard will be able to commission the professional art necessary to bring the novel to life. By contributing $30 or more, backers will receive a signed hard copy book as well as an ebook version. There are also various other tiers of rewards for contributing amounts to the project.
To learn more about “Solon” and to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, visit www.solonexperiment.com.