TKO Studios celebrates the return of Scales & Scoundrels – one of the comic’s most beloved all-ages series – in newly revised and expanded definitive editions that are available now in-print and digitally. This is the story of a girl who liked to wander…
Written by acclaimed comics writer Sebastian Girner (SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER!) and the lush, vibranat artwork by French comic artist and animator, Galaad. This gorgeous, multicultural fantasy adventure follows young treasure hunter Luvander in her search for gold and glory. Along with her companions – a prince, his stern bodyguard, and a plucky young dwarf – Lu dives into an epic journey and discovers a secret that will bring light to a world encroached upon by an ancient darkness.
SCALES & SCOUNDRELS BOOK 1: WHERE DRAGONS WANDER contains material previously collected in the Image Comics edition of Scales & Scoundrels Vols. 1 & 2, but with reworked artwork for this new TKO Studios release. Lu’s adventure continues in SCALES & SCOUNDRELS BOOK 2: THE FESTIVAL OF LIFE, with more than 250 pages of original content.
Tell us about Scales & Scoundrels!
SG: Scales & Scoundrels is an all-ages fantasyadventure comic created by the artist Galaad and myself, with lettering and design by Jeff Powell. It follows the adventures of Luvander, a mysterious vagabond and treasure hunter, who joins a motley crew of scoundrels on a quest to reach the bottom of a legendary dungeon, where she expects to find fabulous riches. But she also harbors a dark secret, and all of that may or may not have something with the big ol’ dragon on the cover!
Tell us a bit about yourselves. How did you come to work together? Why this particular project?
SG: I’ve been a comic book editor and writer and writer for about 13 years now. I was interviewed by a French comic website about my work and Galaad saw that and reached out to me out of the blue.That’s how we started talking.
G: I was curious about the comics industry and Sebastian seemed like the best person to learn about indie comics and how to publish successful ongoing stories. I had wanted to work on a big, sprawling fantasy adventure series for a while. As we started talking, we realized we had a lot in common, including a love for European classics, 16-bit J-RPGs, manga, and animation.We quickly decided this was the beginning of a beautiful collaboration and friendship.
Galaad, tell us about your artistic background. What made Scales & Scoundrels the comic you set out to draw.
G: Fantasy has become a very serious and gritty genre. I love a good moody fantasy story, but Ialso like adventure and wandering characters. That’s sense of wonder is what I wanted to capture. When Sebastian comes up with a new idea or a new place, I instantaneously want to explore it. He has a unique ability to conjure up enchanting settings and fascinating characters. Also, I wanted to draw a story with a lovable scoundrel! Who doesn’t love a scoundrel with a tragic origin story and a heart of gold?
In a cast of many, what made Luvander the main character for your series? Why her story?
SG: Everything about Lu spun out of Galaad’s first designs for her. Before we had a plot, even before she had that name, we had his first drawing of that iconic scruffy haired scoundrel. We knew she was going to be this gorgeous dragon in her true form but cursed to live life in a puny human body. I loved her design so much; it was so clear that here was a character with whom you could tell any kind of story. The more we talked about her personal journey, the more themes, characters, and places came into focus around her. She’s the beating heart of the world.
We love the character design for Luvander. Can you tell us about what went into creating her, visually?
G: I had a general idea of the character, but when Sebastian described her to me, she just appeared on the page, with her scruffy-hair and her mischievous smile. I needed her to be quite simple to draw, since she would need to appear tough, dangerous, funny, treacherous, vulnerable, and lighthearted, depending on the situation. She’s quite unique, really. And she goes through a lot of emotional range as a character. That’s what makes her interesting in my opinion.
Scales & Scoundrels is a sprawling story with a large cast of characters and often-chasing locals. What do you want readers to take away from the journey through this world?
SG: Scales & Scoundrels is both one big story, like a main highway that snakes through fields and valleys, deserts, and mountains, and also many smaller stories, like detours, and side roads that we explore characters and concepts with. But at its heart Scales is the story of a wandering, of moving forward through whatever obstacles may face us. About the constant of change, and how change is inevitable, even for an immortal dragon. Life is change and all things, good and bad, beautiful, and sad, stem from our struggle to accept this. We wanted to explore a rich, vibrant, and diverse fantasy setting, but have the characters within that world struggle with similar emotions and issues as our readers might.
G: I hope readers have fun and want to explore that next hill over the horizon. Maybe there’s a treasure or a dragon! Or just a nice little town with an inn, a warm hearth and good ale.
This series was originally releases through Image Comics. How did it make its way to be re-released by TKO Studios in 2021?
SG: When Galaad and I started work on the book we thought that a true all-ages comic was really missing from the monthly comic book market, and we managed to get it placed with ImageComics, much to our excitement. And while the critical reception was really encouraging, the readership for this kind of book just didn’t seem to be finding the book in the monthly single-issue market. That changed when we put the first trade paperbacks (collecting what is now in the TKO Definitive Edition Book 1), so clearly the readers for this kind of book were out there, just they were in the bookstores and libraries. Sadly, by the time we realized this, the financial reality of producing, printing, and shipping 12 issues of a comic in a year caught up with us, and to avoid going into debt we had to end the series prematurely. Galaad and I both began other projects, but we never stopped working on Scales & Scoundrels. One of the projects I became involved in lead to me becoming Editor in Chief of TKO Studios. When we started talks there about expanding our line into all-ages and young-readers original graphic novels I knew the time had come for the slumbering dragon to rise again.