Ethan Schneier presents the icy survival thriller Blood in the Land, bringing audiences a desperate, frozen world with warring factions scrambling for resources. We were fortunate enough to interview Schneier on the inspiration behind Blood in the Land and what it is all about as the graphic novel’s Kickstarter campaign begins! Here are his responses.
What is Blood in the Land all about? What are the central themes in the story?
Schneier: Blood in the Land is a post-apocalyptic graphic novel set in a frozen wasteland filled with ruthless factions and hostile monsters. It’s not just about surviving to see another day, it’s also about your impact on the world and how you play into the bigger picture of things and can change everyone’s future for the better…or worse.
What was the inspiration behind this comic? Did you draw on any personal experiences?
Schneier: I thought of a snowpocalypse idea back in 2012 with sci-fi elements to help bring the story and its conflict to something straight out of a superhero blockbuster. It wasn’t until seeing trailers for Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us that same year I realized there needed to be a harder focus on the apocalyptic tone to contrast the bombastic story I had planned.
What is the comic’s style of art and why did you want to give it that style?
Schneier: I’ve been told my style reminds people of Avatar the Last Airbender, which is definitely an influence. Growing up on manga has also shaped how I design characters and action sequences. Jeff Smith‘s BONE, however, is the series that has stuck with me since I was a kid. I constantly reference his work when tackling my own panel composition or spotting blacks.
What do you want readers to get out of Blood in the Land?
Schneier: I want to create the same lasting impact the stories I grew up with gave me. When the reader closes this book, they should be conflicted. They’re impressed with how much the story satisfied them yet disappointed the fun of experiencing it for the first time is already over.
I want to create that itch for more, but the only thing that can scratch it is going back to read it again. The cool thing is I feel a reread will still be an experience because you return to these characters and catch things you didn’t notice before. By the time you close the book again, you’ve experienced the story with a whole new perspective.
What can you tell us about the characters in Blood in the Land?
Schneier: Kelsey is a young girl desperate to prove to her faction she can make a difference. Her plan to take down the most powerful faction around brings her to Gavin, a former member who has long removed himself from the fight. This unlikely pair challenges each other’s sense of self-worth, especially when pushed to their respective extremes that could alter their place in the world.
This is your first comic, right? What made you want to start creating this type of art?
Schneier: Despite growing up drawing and making comics, I graduated college with a film background and was set on pitching and selling my scripts to studios. I am still interested in pursuing that, but I was ready to tell the story of Blood in the Land now!
The 113-page feature I wrote became my blueprint for the graphic novel and finally self-publishing it is an immensely satisfying feeling. I’m chasing that high and already trying to figure out how to adapt other scripts I wrote into comic form!
Any plans for Blood in the Land going forward?
Schneier: I originally planned to complete the entire story of Blood in the Land in one go, which was very ambitious. Breaking it up into two parts felt like the right choice, which I may do for future volumes in this series.
Part II is currently in development, making the entirety of Blood in the Land the first of a trilogy. I have ideas to expand even further, but it’s still too early to set anything in stone.
What projects are you working on now and/or plan on working on in the future?
Schneier: I submitted the first installment of a superhero series I developed for screenwriting competitions, making some high placements. I’ve learned so much with Blood in the Land that I already have new revisions and edits I’d like to make to the superhero idea.
I have a handful of other stories I’d love to get started on, but there’s too much I want to do with Blood in the Land at the moment!