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Oni Breaths Fire In August By Brian Jacks
If the very mention of dragons and dragonslayers fills your head with images of wizards, warriors and damsels in distress, then you're in for a surprise when Steve Uy's FEATHER debuts at Image this August. Featuring a decidedly different take on the time-honored dragon tale, this six-issue miniseries is Uy's follow-up to EDEN'S TRAIL, the Marvel miniseries that first introduced his unique style to comics fans.
Created, written and drawn by Uy, FEATHER is the story of two close friends, one a full-blooded dragon named Leeka, the other a half-breed named Sehven. There's a catch to their relationship, though: Sehven wishes nothing more than to become a dragonslayer and fulfill a lifelong promise he made to his father. Unfortunately, on the continent of Rakkon, in an age far removed from the medieval times typically associated with some creatures, dragons are believed to be long extinct.
The story of FEATHER revolves around Sehven's efforts to achieve his goal, how Leeka plays a part in his quest and the consequences he must face after finally accomplishing what he has set out to do. Sehven is fully aware that Leeka's a dragon, but she looks like nothing more than a young girl with wings, and her non-threatening appearance has lead others around him to believe her wings are merely the product of mutation. Meanwhile, Leeka has no misconceptions about Sehven; she knows his ultimate goal is to find and slay a dragon. Despite this shared knowledge, they remain friends.
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"FEATHER is a completely character-based story," explained Uy. "It focuses almost entirely upon the conflicting goals of the two main characters. It's not fancy dragons, big power battles or superheroic feats of strength. Which isn't to say those things won't play a part in the series, but with FEATHER, I'm more concerned with the storytelling and pacing than the art.
"My one and only purpose with this story is to make the reader care about the characters, which is probably the most difficult thing to do in this day and age when everybody's so jaded and has already seen everything there is to see in a story."
Originally developed as a 108-page, black-and-white story during Uy's senior year in college, Uy said he has always wanted to revisit FEATHER as a full-color miniseries with a new story and art. What's more, he knew that we wanted to do the book for Image.
"Coming to Image was a no-brainer," said Uy. "From the moment I decided I wanted to do comics for a living, all I knew for a fact was that I had no desire to do creative work-for-hire. Image is the biggest company in terms of creative ownership, and creative freedom is what I needed most after doing EDEN'S TRAIL at Marvel. There's really no better publisher than Image to host my first step into the world of creator-owned comics."
Uy is determined to make his first creator-owned effort special, too. He's crafted FEATHER to appeal to a variety of readers, something that he feels is missing from most comics on the market today.
"FEATHER is accessible to any demographic," he said. "So take it to your girlfriend, take it to your mother. Hopefully everyone will be able to enjoy the story equally, even in this boy’s club we call our industry."
FEATHER #1 will be available for order in the June issue of Diamond Previews and will arrive in stores in August 2003. A five-page preview is available online at www.imagecomics.com.