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Indie Comics Spotlight: Glint has a green message hidden in the fantasy graphic novel
The graphic novel Glint is part of publisher Lion Forge’s new middle-grade imprint Caracal. The first of a trilogy from creators Samuel Sattin (Legends) and Ian McGinty (Adventure Time, Steven Universe), Glint takes place on a dying planet called Mora, which is being strip-mined for its precious energy source — also called Glint — to the detriment of its people. The story centers on Loon, a working-class Morain and wannabe military hero; his hover-bike riding grandma; and her band of Cloud Raiders, who are trying to save their home. Loon is soon thrown into the fray of a conflict among politicians, the military, spiritual leaders, and alien monsters in an epic adventure the creators describe as "Attack on Titan meets fatal Fraggle Rock."
We first sat down with the creators at C2E2, and they've returned to continue the discussion about the next book in the series, how video games inspired them, and how Mora’s fantasy eco-crisis mirrors our own.
Did Lion Forge bring the two of you together on this?
Ian McGinty: Sam was writing this book called Legend (Z2), and I was doing my Welcome to Showside (Z2) book. Both at another publisher when Sam came to me with a couple of different pitches to see if I would be interested in drawing them. One of the pitches [was Glint], but I wanted to help develop the idea as well. So we sort of became co-creators.
The world of Mora is so intricate. How did you design all of it?
McGinty: We spent more time building and designing the world than I've ever spent on anything, ever. Sam literally sent me like a billion-page PDF with every single detail and told me, "Draw this!"
Sattin: It's like this tiny rock floating through space, kind of like Earth but a lot smaller. Because it was dying, it needed to have kind of a Borderlands look to it. We started talking about Fallout, which is kind of like bombed out and kind of like those different aesthetics.
McGinty: Basically any video game that I was playing at the time. We also decided, even though [Glint] is being marketed to YA or all ages, as much as Lion Forge will let us, we were not going to dumb it down. That's why it's so dense.
Let's break down the caste system a bit. There are three classes of Morains, right?
Sattin: Yes — you have this elite group who live in the Citadel in better situations than anybody else. Next are the pit-workers, the miners who do anything that's service-based. The military is the third class, and they are kind of in between the Citadel and the pits. They definitely perform a service, but at the same time, it's looked upon as honorable service.
Is it safe to say that the only way for the miners to move up through society is for them to join the military?
Sattin: Yeah, it's the only real way to get out of a service position.
McGinty: What I worked really hard to express with the art is that the Glint that the miners are digging for kills off males of this alien species. So when you look at the higher-class people, you'll see that there's actually a lot more men. And then if you look at the middle-class people who are in the military, it's slightly more matriarchal. Then when you look at the lower-class miners, it's almost all women.
Sattin: A lot of it also kind of parallels what happens in military families who ship their young men out to fight.
This week is Earth Week, but they really need a Mora Week because they don't seem to be aware that mining on Mora seems to be killing the planet.
Sattin: It's definitely akin to fracking. They are depleting their resources. I don't think that Glint should be completely neglected, however. I think the idea is that it is a limited resource that needs to be respected.
The mine itself seems sentient? Grandma seems to be "talking" to it.
Sattin: Some people on Mora have connections to the Glint because they're part of it. There's also a big reveal that comes in books two and three that gets to the heart of that relationship a little bit more.
McGinty: I've been impressed, actually, with how warmly this book has been received, considering that we made a conscious choice to hold off on a lot of information in the first book. Working on Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and Hello Kitty, you kind of lay everything out because you want people to pick up the book and just get it.
Did Lion Forge ask you to make this a monthly?
McGinty: Lion Forge really let us do whatever we wanted. They said, “We trust you entirely." That is on the shoulders of Andrea Colvin, our incredible editor. There's a lot of people on this team who have really backed us up on this book. They’ve pretty much let us do what we want to do with mild edits.
What is the one thing that you want people to take away from the book?
Sattin: I think that we’re living in a time where there's a lot of cynicism about who we are, the direction our world is going in, even the direction of our planet itself in terms of physical resources. I think that it leads to a lot of people kind of giving up. There's no reason to think about the world as unsalvageable. It's never too late to actually start looking at the world and in a more positive way, and to hopefully help value it.
How would Adventure Time’s Finn do in the army along with Loon?
McGinty: Finn is possibly one of the most complex animated characters I've ever seen. Finn is what I wished that I had been like as a boy of the same age. He's always positive, and he has his best friend, and he never hesitates to like run into battle. Whereas Loon is more of a reluctant type of character. He doesn't really know where he stands in life. If I was going to put Finn in place of Loon, Glint would be like six pages long. He'd take over the entire thing.
Sattin: And the world would fade from existence.
McGinty: And I’ve always envisioned the Morains as really tiny, for some reason. I don't know why. Like if they landed on our planet, they'd be a foot tall or something, and Finn would be super huge.
Sattin: I actually haven't thought about it like that, but you know what? I like it.
McGinty: Well, we literally just came up with a new concept for an upcoming book.