There's something about the eeriness of a cold winter night.
For me, the perfect setting has always been winter. Maybe it's from my impressions as a young reader devouring Stephen King's The Shining. The winter setting is inviting and sterile and yet its hard and very unforgiving.
Perhaps it's the footprints left behind that's heading to a destination that leaves behind no answers... A cliff, a body of water or maybe fading away as new snow falls.
My darker side likes the spatter of blood, the drag marks as the body is being taken away and the unidentifiable footprints that belong to
a cryptid species that hasn't been discovered yet.
This is some of the ideas put behind White River Monster. Also, I wanted to make sure this new species had a look. As I started to conceptualize the creatures, artist Stephen Cooney took my description and tweaked it until we see what we have today, now drawn by Wolfgang Schwandt (The Devil Tree).
But, (there's always a but), in order to move a story with monsters forward, you need to have a solid supporting cast of humans. Whether or not they're killed off (which, knowing me, they will be just as you start to like them), there needs to be a reason why they exist and a plausible motivator to how their existence has remained so secreted.
Above is a panel from Ice Canyon Monster (hail the monsters!). The story takes place in Greenland. Yes, it's a frozen landscape and has a ton of cool characters as well. What we have going on here is some pretty awesome surf and turf. But in Ice Canyon Monster, I go deep towards the bottom of frigid oceans. Down there, a new threat comes alive with the assistance of a very capable Shaman.
In this page (drawn by Jonnuel Ortega), you can see the Shaman (Akutak) conjuring his monster of vengeance and sending it into the Petermann Ice Shelf. It swirls in the rapids and gets spit into the ocean, creating a war in the waters and on the land!
So, what do these two stories have in common that I love? A few things actually. Although they're VERY different from each other, they both have really strong characters that move the story along rather nicely. They have monsters that aren't just mindless beasts killing for the taste of blood. No, they all have a plight that is rather unique to others monsters you've met in the past. And of course, they have the frozen terrain that I enjoy and deem to be the perfect setting. Please check out both titles and share your feedback. It helps me to know what you think. ~ Keith Rommel