Kratos may have a legendary reputation for raging against the gods themselves, but an upcoming book from Insight Editions is turning the battle-hardened warrior into an adorable character for all ages.
Written by Andrea Robinson and drawn by Romina Tempest, God of War: B Is for Boy (on sale next month) is an illustrated storybook that finds Kratos passing life lessons onto his young son, Atreus, via "the ABC's of the nine realms." Below, SYFY WIRE has your exclusive first look at the sections for C, D, E, and F.
"Once my initial character designs were approved, I was provided with very clear descriptions of the scenes and character emotions," Tempest tells us. "I was given real freedom to illustrate my own representations of those events ... I started with planning out the general character positions and how best to place the story elements the characters were interacting with. After this, I'd work on the character poses and facial expressions to try and inject humor or personality into the scenes. Finally, I would place additional elements in the backgrounds (or foregrounds) that I thought would add a little more of the lore to the scenes."
When it came to softening the gritty characters of the best-selling video game series with a cuter aesthetic, the artist explains that "it really helped that there are two main characters, as I was able to create some lightheartedness and humor with their interactions. Even on violent pages, there's usually a little humorous expression or physical action to help juxtapose with the gore and help soften the violence. This wasn't possible for every violent scene, though, so some are a lot less soft than others!"
A big fan of the franchise (and overall "hack-and-slash genre") from way back, Tempest was extremely well-equipped to tackle this project from a visual standpoint. That said, there were certain difficulties involved with the process, like nailing down the look of the eponymous soldier.
"I think that Kratos offered the most challenge," the illustrator admits. "I, like many others, am a huge fan of his character and I really wanted to represent him in a way that would please fans. His personality is very different in the latest game, so I needed to try and get his emotions across clearly. Although he was the biggest challenge, he was also so enjoyable to draw. I absolutely love the character and I really wanted that to come across in my illustrations."
On the other end of the difficulty spectrum, Tempest had Atreus, whose "funny and innocent expressions" were a real high point of the job. "His personality is so different from his father's, so I was always trying to give him expressions and body language that really contrasted with Kratos," the artist adds. "Wherever Kratos looked tired or fed up, I tried to make Atreus look wide-eyed and full of energy."
Summing things up, Tempest says, "Andrea Robinson did such an incredible job writing this book and it was an amazing experience working with Insight Editions to add illustrations to her fantastic work. As a big fan of God of War, I put a lot of my passion for the franchise into the images and I hope that they will be enjoyed by fellow fans."
God of War: B is for Boy goes on sale on Sept. 1. You can pre-order a copy here.