Okko is just one of three series I’m totally stoked to be working on for Archaia Studios Press, the publishers of such innovative gems as David Petersen’s Mouse Guard, Alex Sheikman’s Robotika, and co-founder Mark Smylie’s own Artesia. Release dates, description, and preview pages here.
I turned these pages in back in August, and am currently deep into the second French volume—stuff you’ll be seeing in the April 2007 issue. This is creator Humbert Chambuel’s first series—among other things, Hub was previously a designer on the Besson film The Fifth Element.
Hub’s an Annecy man—I have fond memories of traveling the Alps with my girlfriend in ’01 and spending New Year’s there in a B&B by the château—the sort of place where summer’s withered roses still cling to the railing of the steps beneath the hanging sign. Our ground floor room in the stone house overlooked a small garden, the chairs stacked for winter. In the morning the tiled floors were frigid and the castle courtyard sweepingly bare. The street just outside gave a view supervising the brown rooftops of the old town before twisting its way down among them, to the stone roots of half-timbered buildings. We stuffed ourselves at Taverne Le Fréti—our first real raclette, with the half wheel of cheese impaled on the medieval-looking cast-iron rack. With an air of infinite forbearance the waiter said, “Il ne faut jamais creuser la raclette, mais la racler.” That night, our bellies bursting, we barely made it back up the hill.
Hub’s art is immediately arresting—moody colors, dynamic compositions, careful details, and a gallery of Japanese mugs. The man’s clearly watched his Kurosawa. I can only hope my rendering of the dialogue will do it justice. For French readers out there, the Okko series site is loaded with goodies: a guide to the universe; sketches, pages, and covers; and links to the artist’s portfolio.