Here at A Place to Hang Your Cape, we love a good tale of myth and magic – especially when the creator has promised an original take on a well-loved mythology. Knight’s Legacy: Awakening of the Pen Ddraig is just such a tale so we jumped at the chance to have a chat with writer Michael Sacal…
AP2HYC: First of all, can you tell us a little about the story of Knight’s Legacy: Awakening of the Pen Ddraig, and the protagonists Ethan and Laurence?
Michael Sacal: Of course, Ethan and Laurence are the modern-day descendants of Uther Pendragon through the children of Uther’s son, Arthur Pendragon. Ethan is a selfish man who only takes action expecting a reward for his efforts, while Laurence is a soulless man who takes great pride in oppressing the people of the European Union.
Ethan’s resolve to find out where he comes from propels him on a journey across the world of magic, while Laurence’s need to find out who he is sends him on a quest across the world of man. Should either one fail to regain their senses of virtue and justice, it would bring about the birth of a Druid Mecca built atop the ruins of the member states of the European Union — the modern-day Kingdoms of Camelot.
AP2HYC: As a fan of Arthurian legend, I was excited to hear about a new take on this mythology. What are you bringing to it that is new, that fans won’t have seen before?
Michael: Awesome; I’m happy to hear that!
Knight’s Legacy: Awakening of The Pen Ddraig is a comprehensive Arthurian saga that gives previously accepted facts about Arthurian lore a fresh interpretation, which allows it to stand on its own merits alongside other tales inspired by the same source material. Everything everyone knows about the lore is open to reinterpretation, from Merlin’s role in Arthur’s birth, training, and coronation, to discerning who the heroes and villains in classic Arthurian tales really were.
AP2HYC: Your Kickstarter page makes it clear this is a topic is very close to your heart. What originally drew you to it all?
Michael: The initial impulse was to create a superhero story that went against the norm of what one finds in superhero comics. I’ve always been interested in the Arthurian legend, since I saw the movies The Sword in The Stone and Excalibur, so I turned to those movies, and later on to their literary sources, for inspiration. That is the reason why this and the seven series that comprise the Majestic Universe skew toward fantasy and science fiction rather than toward superheroes.
What binds me to the story beyond the narrative is the time I’ve spent developing the publishing plan for the Majestic Universe; principally the beginning, middle, end, and back stories that inform the seven series that comprise it. Telling those stories I’ve been living with for the better part of 15 years is my driving goal.
AP2HYC: This project has been a collaboration between multiple people. Can you tell us what it’s been like working with your team and what your process for working together is?
Michael: It’s been fantastic. I’ve been very lucky to find people who like this story enough to help me launch the Kickstarter to raise the funds to finance the production of this graphic novel. Without any of them, this wouldn’t have been possible. The process starts with me sending Andrey Portilla, the penciller, a detailed script with panel layouts and descriptions, as well as several files with references he turns into storyboards, character studies, sketches, and, finally, the penciled pages. From there, the pages go to the inker, Kevin Leverett, colorist, Roberto Torres, and letterer, ET. Dollman. The five of us work together in shaping my vision into finished art, with each one offering their creative input along the way for the betterment of the project.
AP2HYC: Do you have a personal favorite Arthurian legend? What is it and why?
Michael: I like the tale of Arthur, from his conception, to his lifting the sword from the stone, to his becoming king. As for why, I blame Disney’s The Sword In the Stone and John Boorman’s Excalibur, both of which I saw at a young age, heh.
AP2HYC: Your Kickstarter mentions that Knight’s Legacy is just one part of a larger venture called Majestic Universe. Can you tell us more about this series? Are you hoping to release further parts soon?
Michael: The Majestic Universe is a shared science fiction/fantasy universe that tells a vastly-ambitious, yet consistent saga told across seven interconnected series, each one with a unique beginning, middle, and ending. Our approach begins with introducing realism into what are two innately unrealistic genres. The Majestic Universe is a verisimilar place with a rich history that forms a complex tapestry inhabited by average men and women who find themselves in unusual situations that force them to find the heroes within. It is a place of heroic knights and oppressive sorcerers, frail mortality and painful afterlives, captivating tyranny and illuminating freedom, rampant science and fatal phenomena, blood-thirsty revenge and heart-wrenching redemption, vengeful Gods and forgiving mortals, and peace-seeking warriors and warmongering fanatics.
The Majestic Universe has been a passion project ever since I conceived the original concept in 1998. Since then, I’ve worked tirelessly with writers like Ryan McLelland, Trey Wickwire, Aaron Thall, Adam Ferenz, and Robert MacDonald in developing the characters, their arc, and their story until I felt ready to pursue its publication. Without them, or artists like Glenn B. Fleming, Andrey Portilla, Kevin Leverett, Roberto Torres, and Art Gutierrez, and graphic designers like E.T. Dollman and Mark Corpse, or publishers like Larry Jarrell, none of this would be possible. I’m sure I’m missing several names, for that I apologize.
The success of Knight’s Legacy will herald the beginning of the Majestic Universe. What follows is Majestic Genesis, a prelude graphic novel to the six other series in the Majestic Universe that tells the story of a good man of faith whose obsession with saving the Earth from an alien invasion transforms him into a tyrannical man of science. Next is be Enhanced High, which tells the story of a group of high school outcasts that bond over the realization that they posses abilities that set them apart from everyone else, only for them to discover that these powers make them a threat to themselves and others. Aaron Thall, the co-writer of Death Fox from What The Flux Comics, is the co-creator and co-writer of this series. These three make up the first wave of Majestic Universe titles, with five more series to follow them in waves of two. At least that is the intention. Right now, it all hinges on the success of this Kickstarter to finance the first issue of Knight’s Legacy.