Few places seem more fitting to daydream about a Lovecraft apocalypse, than at a telemarketing job. And it was here, many years ago, when the then-19-year-old Peter Ricq began to pen his upcoming graphic novel, “Once Our Land.”
As many a project will, “Once Our Land” remained little more than a half-finished dream—that is until nine years later when Ricq was approached by a Montreal publishing company about releasing it. They asked him to write and draw another 40 pages to finish the story.
The problem, Ricq said in an email interview, was “their deal was pretty awful.” Yet, that awful deal carried with it a gleam of inspiration. He said, “If that big company was interested, then it meant my little book could possibly be a success, so that motivated me.”
He decided to take up the project on his own, publish it, and keep the rights to his work.
“Once Our Land” is an apocalypse story that veers a slightly different path than the ever-popular zombie apocalypse. Ricq’s world isn’t one populated by shambling, dumb, re-animated corpses, but rather by the strange manifestations of insanity itself that arise from the ever-looming doom of Lovecraft lore.
The 110-page graphic novel recently went live on Kickstarter, and is already well on its way to reaching its funding goal.
Ricq said he chose a different setting than often comes to mind with the word “apocalypse.” He said, “I love post-Apocalyptic stories like most people do but it had never been done with a storyline that takes place in history. I thought it would be interesting to see that, a zombie story that takes place in the 1830’s and replace the Zombies with HP. Lovecraft type of monsters.”
The story, however, also isn’t purely about horror. It’s an action-adventure with “mild horror,” and it’s not a meant to be some depressing romp through a withering world, either. “Once Our Land” is a story, as Ricq explains, about characters who don’t lose faith and about the fight for the well-being of friends.
In his story, these friends are a burly German dude with a massive club-spear, and a young girl armed with a slingshot. Ricq said the two characters, Fritz and Ingrid, live in a world where “it’s important to surround yourself with the right people, individuals who you can trust.” Both are brave, and both were loners until they met each other.
He said, “It’s a nice dynamic too to see a friendship and not a daughter/father relationship between an ol’man and a kid.”
The nature of the story changes along the way. Ricq said the first chapter begins as more of a horror story, while the second leans more towards action. He said, “Think of the first chapter as ‘ALIEN’ and the second as ‘ALIENS.'”
The art style also leans more towards a cartoony look than the gritty appearance we’ve come to associate with the monster-filled post-apocalypse. With the visual style, he said, “I wanted everything to be clear, I want the viewer to not question what he’s seeing on each page, but clearly understand the story and get into the narrative fast so they can flip through the pages and see what happens next.”
He noted that one of his favorite books is “PREACHER,” which as he said, “wasn’t drawn in a creepy way but was very clear with a lot of colours.” This lends to his direction. Ricq said, “I prefer reading a book with good story telling as opposed to something confusing and weird.”
“Once Our Land” is expected to release in May 2016, and if all goes well, Ricq said “I will be doing more.” He said just like the “WALKING DEAD” books are still coming along, “I think ‘Once Our Land’ can be somewhat similar in that way. Each book will be a little more mature as the characters themselves get older.”