Hello and welcome to another great interview! Today we have KoreanTacos and their wonderful magical-girl inspired comic: Ivolice and the Emissaries. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Koreantacos (I’m not really sure I’m comfortable sharing my real name yet). I am currently a student working on my bachelor’s in human services as with most students I’ve flip-flopped between a lot of degrees. I live in the beautiful state of Misery with my wife and daughter. My hobbies consist of working on my comics, cooking, recently I’ve been learning how to make dolls. When I’m not swamped with school or work I like to play video games when I get the chance to or watch a movie. I’m not that interesting of a person, especially when the most exciting thing I like to do is go driving around town.
I’ve always had a fascination with comics since my issue of Calvin & Hobbes Attack of the Killer Mutant Snow Goons I had just laying around my home in second grade. I’ve been drawing comic strips and making up stories since then which I talk about from time to time. I first started posting my comics online back in 2014 after my wife suggested it to me with JODDAS VAPD a slice of life series I still work on today.
When our cat Rezzin died back in 2016 I realized there wasn’t a lot of time for me to keep pushing back my stories and waiting for an audience or for my art skills to vastly improve, so I just pushed to get my other two ideas out, but ultimately I went with Ivolice because my wife liked the idea, and I was inspired to go through with it thanks to another magical girl comic series I read called Apricot Cookies made by Louistration. In 2018 without feeling completely confident in my skills at the time I released Ivolice and the Emissaries and have been having a blast working on it alongside my other comic.
Tell us about your work?
Ivolice and the Emissaries is a story about a young high school girl set in the US. It tells about her high school life being a modern American teen living with her mother and father along with her three cats Leo, Kirara, and Sango. Something I wanted to do with Ivolice that isn’t seen too often in the magical genre is to have a character who comes with flaws and grows from all her events. This change from being a teenager to a hero is a concept I want to explore more, things can’t remain normal for her anymore, she now has a responsibility that outweighs herself.
Ivolice along with the various other Emissaries fight against Lord Theta an unknown being from another world seeking to consume her world for his own purposes. Along with Theta are his generals who had lost their homes seeking to accomplish Theta’s desires in the hopes they can find their own purpose in living.
Ivolice will always have to run into situations where she will be tested on if what she’s doing really is for the better good of her world. Alongside a refugee of a lost world Piko, she will train herself to become the Emissary she needs to be in order to protect all that she knows and loves. It’s a fun series with fighting, and LOTS of sparkles as my readers will tell you.
I am getting some pretty heavy Sailor Moon/Card Captor Sakura vibes from Ivolice and the Emissaries (Not to mention the affiliation towards the Magical Girl Archive of Aradia). What was your first magical girl story? Which ones do you mostly draw influence factors from?
Oh yeah, Sailor Moon was my jam back in the 90’s. If it wasn’t for Dragonball, Sailor Moon would have been my introduction to anime, but it was my intro to the Mahou Shoujo genre. I was always a Sailor Mars fan growing up because she was always so confident during those first couple seasons, and I think that’s part of what I liked about Sailor moon over other available animes at that time (I could watch before bedtime…). I liked the characters more than the actual action in the show.
A lot of people say Ivolice seems like Sailor Moon, but actually a lot of my inspiration comes from the Precure series, which GLORIFIES the magical girl genre. There’s a splash of Madoka Magica influence as well, mainly in the grounded in some levels of reality. I actually really love the Precure series, it’s a long one, and some seasons aren’t spectacular, but the themes of the series are great, and the characters are quite likable which is something I highly want to have in my own series.
Odd inspiration though, I am a huge Final Fantasy fan, six being my favorite game of all time. There’s bits of Final Fantasy splashed into Ivolice and the Emissaries including some inspirations, easter eggs, and names. Characters’ abilities are also reflected from the job class system from Final Fantasy Tactics, essentially characters will share traits with one or two job classes from the game, Ivolice being a Paladin/Samurai class mix. Also, Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure is an inspiration for some of the later things that happen in the comic. I’m a dork, my apologies.
Tell us about your process?
Something I had to make sure of before committing to Ivolice was ensuring I had an ending planned out that could possibly not be altered for any sort of reason. I don’t want it to last for ages and I want to make sure the ending reflects everything that is leading to it (which I’m sure some moderate changes are likely to change). Ivolice had to be developed and likable, and that one took me a long time to really work out.
When I make a chapter I try to make it structured, and I also try to make sure I’m not going to be predictable throughout the process, I don’t want it to be, Ivolice in school, fight, win, end… I need my audience to know every chapter has a purpose. I follow a basic writing structure: exposition, rising action, climax, fall, and end, pretty basic structure if you ask me. I also like to make sure I look at what I have written and ask the following:
“Ok, is this necessary to the plot?”
“Does this actually show who this character is?”
“Is this just wasting time?”
“How cliché is this, and what can I do to change it?”
I will also ask my wife for her opinion on what she would think, and I will watch internet reviewers such as Ralph the Movie Maker, Red Letter Media, or Your Movie Sucks for ideas of what I could do to make things work. Not to mention I HATE exposition dumps so I try not to add it to the comic if I can.
After the script is done I make a rough draft by hand in my sketchbooks and then transfer them into Clip Studio Paint (all hail glory to the CSP program). I line the work and color and post them on Tapas and Webtoons and like Tom Hanks in Terminal “I Wait!”
I think I’m capable of making my pages like I do since I’ve been working on my other comic for well over five years without feeling burnt out entirely. I like to release my work and let my audience read it.
Ivolice has to find the other Emissaries, how many are there? Are they associated to anything, like the elements? If so, could you give us a break down?
Who gave you a copy of my script?
Actually I’m not really afraid to admit that there are other emissaries, and because some won’t show up for awhile I’m always up for talking about them all, but I have to keep their names silent because all of them have already been revealed already in the first three chapters.
Ivolice: our main protagonist is a photomancer who has the ability to manipulate the light that her body holds. She is able to release fragments of light from her body, right now it’s in the form of snapping her fingers, but she isn’t capable of holding or touching the light without hurting herself. She would be considered a mid to close range fighter utilizing her light skills either offensively or defensively.
Flame Emissary: This is a combination of a pugilist and squire class (yes Final Fantasy tactics nerd still). She’s moderately fast and can produce heat into gauntlets that are measured by her state of mind. She isn’t capable of making flames, but she can produce heat when exerting enough energy, however, she lacks any proper defense, but she makes up for it in her speed making her a great close combat fighter.
Earth Emissary: is a combination of Geomancer and chemist who wields a mallet that can produce seeds that she then uses to plant into a life source. She’s capable of draining an opponent of their energy or trees or bushes to hide behind. She can only do so based on the level of joy she has. She doesn’t have much combat skills, but her defensive and magical skills make her a great mid to far range fighter.
Water Emissary: is a combination of Archer and Ninja class who creates ice arrows based on the moisture in the air. She can use her arrows to freeze or turn them into a dagger if she gets into close combat. If she’s surrounded by enemy fire she’s not capable of producing any arrows and is generally vulnerable. Far range combat is her specialty, but it allows her to view the playing field as the group tactician.
Piko: While not officially an emissary he’s a swordsman who specializes in quick strikes.
Piko sounds like he’s got a Brooklyn accent. What was the inspiration behind that decision? Do any other characters have unique speech dialects?
Two reasons for that, but neither one will really be intelligent responses, also thank you for noticing I was going for a Brooklyn accent:
The first reason is that I wanted his dialogue to reflect his personality of being a bit of a know it all and cocky, which I always thought a person with that accent resonated whenever I would hear it.
Second, it’s so people can tell it’s him talking even when he isn’t on the page visibly. I like my characters to feel diverse and part of getting my audience to know how a character communicates is a way for a character to stick in their head.
What do you find is the hardest part of working on Ivolice and the Emissaries?
Time, finances, and motivation are probably my biggest weaknesses for me at this direct moment, I’m sure there are others like composition or perspective, but as far as getting to work those three are my weakest link.
I lack time to really work on my comics, my family comes first and I’m more inclined to earn money to provide than spend a lot of my time working on pages. I also have school which limits how much time I can study art to improve myself, and the more school progresses the less time I have time to do personal things. It’s a nightmare and it’s one of those things I scream “Why didn’t I start this sooner!?”
Motivation isn’t based on numbers or anything for me, I know people are reading Ivolice that’s already established. My motivation to just sit down and draw sometimes is just not there for me sometimes. I can be easily distracted, it’s part of why I have different hobbies to keep me busy.
Other than that I do enjoy making my comics, I like to see where I started from and watch them grow. Ivolice has forced me to learn new things including how to make fight scenes, character development, and trying different angles and perspectives I couldn’t do in my previous comic.
If the stars aligned and you could do anything you want with Ivolice and the Emissaries, what would you do? Cartoon series? Movie adaptation? Live-Action Musical?
Unfortunately, I try to keep my goals pretty grounded, I see a lot of other indie comic creators shoot for the stars too early only to be let down and stop production as they say, so I never really thought of a “wouldn’t it be cool if… moment.” But I do have some goals or ideas I’m aiming for as far as Ivolice goes that are more likely to happen.
Something I would like to eventually see is a physical copy of Ivolice and the Emissaries first two chapters. There have been times I considered starting a Kickstarter just to get the books made so I can donate them to my local libraries. For me, I always prefer a physical copy over a digital copy, (old school I know…) and the idea of someone holding a physical copy of Ivolice and (hopefully) enjoying it would be a great satisfaction for me.
I would like to see a fan base or community for Ivolice in the far future as well, I think fans of a series can be some of the coolest or creative people ever. It’d be cool to see how into Ivolice people are that they would want to do a fandub of pages or creating a short animation on youtube (which by the way support small animation channels if you can). I’m always ecstatic when I get fanart/fanfiction for Ivolice so filling my work area with fanart is awesome too (Is this all too much to ask for, I’m sorry I’m just being optimistic).
But just for fun since it was mentioned I would love to see someone attempt to make a live-action Hollywood adaptation of Ivolice and the Emissaries made by an incompetent director like Tommy Wiseau, Neil Breen, or whoever it was who make the live-action Death Note movie on Netflix. I’m a fan of entertainingly bad movies and I would love to see Ivolice being miscast with a 30-year-old woman trying to be a high school student. Is that too mean spirited because I’m literally laughing trying to imagine.
Where can we see more of your great work?
Oh my, I hope you don’t mind me going full sell-out mode:
The first is you can always view my series Ivolice and the Emissaries on both Tapas and Webtoons:
I can be voted for on Topwebcomics and you can get a monthly incentive:
I’m also part of Aradia Collective and have participated in the Magical Girl Index:
Magical Girl Index: https://magical-girl-index.wixsite.com/home
I do have a Twitter page (I do commissions and sometimes I participate in projects when I can, and this is where I update that information).
All the kidding aside, I really appreciate the time and effort put into all of this, it can be fairly difficult for indie comic creators, especially the newer ones to get a chance to talk about their works in a public method like this. I genuinely appreciate all of this and giving me the chance to act in a more professional (or not so) manner. I update Ivolice and the Emissaries every Friday so if anyone wants to check it out I more than welcome you to do so.
Have a pleasant day!
Wow! Thanks for that detailed reply! I for one enjoyed reading Ivolice and the Emissaries quite a lot and will be checking in every so often to see how far Ivolice has come on her journey! Thank you for the opportunity to interview you, KoreanTacos. It was an absolute blast!
If any other creatives would like to be interviewed by the Comicadia crew, please do not hesitate to drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to have a list of amazing comics to go through and excellent creative-types to interview.
Do give us a bit of time, as we try our best to read every creator’s comic for the interview, in order to personalize the interview.
With that, we at Comicadia would like to thank you all for joining us and would highly recommend anyone who likes magical girl genre comics to give Ivolice and the Emissaries a read!