Warship Jolly Roger

Warship Jolly Roger

Confederation Commander Jon T. Munro was serving a life sentence for a war crime he was forced to commit, left to take the fall for the politicians and brass who were truly to blame. But now he is free, after a jailbreak gone awry, and in possession of the most powerful cruiser in the Confederate Armada, which he renamed “The Jolly Roger.”

On the run with a rag-tag crew of misfit ex-cons, his agenda is simple:

JUSTICE.

Created and Illustrated by Miquel Montllo
Written by Sylvain Runberg

In a gritty, star-spanning future, where mankind has colonized planets throughout the galaxy, former Confederation Commander Jon T. Munro was serving a life sentence for a war crime he was forced to commit. When a prison break runs amok, however, he seizes the opportunity to escape with a ragtag team of cons to form a small crew of pirates with one goal in mind: vengeful justice. And the first step in their plan is to steal the battle cruiser he once commanded, a state-of-the-art warship they call “The Jolly Roger”.

BOOK ONE: NO TURNING BACK contains the first two chapters in this visually stunning sci-fi adventure, with breathtaking artwork by series creator Miquel Montllo and written by Sylvain Runberg (Millennium), this epic tale of space pirates and political intrigue combines the emotional depth and excitement of sci-fi favorites such as “Battlestar Galactica” and “Starship Troopers”, with a visual style that leaps off the page like an animated feature film.

Ivan Brandon

(Drifter, NYC Mech)

“The future is harrowing and bleak but Miquel Montllo’s lush environments will make you want to live there anyway. Absolutely gorgeous.”
David Hine

(X-Men, The Bulletproof Coffin)

“Jolly Roger is a spectacular space opera in the tradition of Star Wars with all the raw brutality of a spaghetti western. Themes of political corruption, loyalty, betrayal and bloody revenge are illustrated with beautifully expressive art that has the production values of big budget animation. Outstanding!”
Donny Cates

(Ghost Fleet, The Paybacks)

“Stone cold beautiful and razor wire sharp. This is as good as comics get.”
  • Pages: 120 pages
  • Format: Hardcover with curved corners and spot-gloss elements
  • Size:  8.5″ x 11″
  • Cover Price: $19.99
  • ISBN:  978-1-942367-23-9
  • DOC:  MAY161625
  • RELEASE DATE: August 3, 2016

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About THE Authors

Miquel Montlló – creator/illustrator

Artist Miki Montlló was born in Barcelona, Spain, but spent much of his childhood moving from city to city. This may explain his state of constant flux, that may be evident in his constantly evolving style, running the gamut from classic cartoon to academic life drawing.  Constantly adapting to new environments, he found a stable universe within his imagination, first inhabited by dinosaurs, giant monkeys, and spaceships, then by Spanish and Franco-Belgian comic characters of the 80s and the 90s, then by American and Japanese superheroes.  An enthusiastic fan of science fiction and horror, he has made his attraction to the unusual a characteristic element in his work.

His professional career has also shown a predilection for diversity. After completing his studies at Escola Joso de Cómic in Barcelona, his first major break was on the cult Spanish animated movie “Nocturna”, which he worked on for over a year. In advertising he has collaborated on projects for brands such as Ikea, Pascual, Evax, Audi, Bimbo, Brugal, Nokia, Vodafone, and Chesterfield, among others. In the video game industry he has collaborated with the Spanish Pendulo Studios and the British Revolution software, creators of the legendary saga Broken Sword. He has also worked on feature films such as the award-winning The Impossible, by director J. Bayona. But it was in 2011 that he abandoned everything to accomplish his childhood dream of becoming a comic book artist, creating his own project, “WARSHIP JOLLY ROGER,” which first attracted the attention of the Belgian publisher Dargaud.  He is now finishing the third book of this saga, with the first two books published in French, Spanish, German, and now English.

He combines his professional career with a semi-nomadic lifestyle, splitting his time between Ireland and Germany, collaborating with the Oscar nominated animation studios Cartoon Saloon in Ireland and Laika in the USA. In his down time he teaches for the online art school CGMA.

Sylvain Runberg – writer

Sylvain Runberg was born in Belgium in 1971, and grew up bouncing between the cities of Stockholm, Marseille, and Paris.  After graduating with a degree in Plastic Arts and an MA in Political History, he began his literary career working for Humanoides Associes Publishing, handling titles by illustration titans such as Moebius and  Enki Bilal.

His first original series, ORBITAL, was released in 2006, quickly spring-boarding a prolific career penning more than 50 original graphic novels published by several of the largest publishers in France, with many of them translated into more than 15 languages.  In total, to date, he has sold over 1 million books worldwide.

He is characterized as one of the brightest and most versatile writers in the field by the variety of worlds he has created.  Preferring not to be confined to any particular genre, often dipping into his own experiences, personal history, or contemporary reality in order to develop his story ideas, be they space opera, social science fiction, psychological thriller, fantasy, horror, crime, or historical fiction.  He has received numerous awards, and has most recently gained widespread acclaim for his adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium” trilogy, a 6 volume series noted for is gripping visual presentation by both the European media, with translations published in 13 others countries.  He is now working on an official exclusive sequel series to the trilogy, focusing on the continuing story of Lisbeth Salander, for release in 2016.

An interview with the creators

WARSHIP JOLLY ROGER is a sprawling space opera filled with the sort of drama and adventure fans of STAR WARS and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA will very likely appreciate, yet it has a very unique look and feel to it. Miki, what first inspired the idea for WARSHIP JOLLY ROGER?

MIKI: Well, the main idea was to bring back the feeling of pure adventure that science fiction had in the 70s and 80s, when the first series of Star Trek were part of the pop culture, and movies like 2001 a Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Blade Runner, just to give a few examples, were big hits on cinemas. I think these movies were giving people the possibility to speculate with different futures for mankind, or the dangers of uncontrolled evolution of technology and genetics. To me it’s really important that we discuss these issues as soon as we can because science fiction of today will be the science of tomorrow.

So, at the same time I was trying to create something that had a strong entertainment element to it, but also to create an ethical and philosophical debate about how we want to build our society.

In developing the story, what elements did you want to do differently to make this feel so original?

MIKI: First of all, creating characters that would not represent the archetype of “the good guys.” The main characters in Jolly Roger are constantly dealing with the mistakes they committed in the past, or they are victims of their own circumstances. They suffer because they were in the wrong place, or other people manipulated them on their own benefit.

In movies like the first Star Wars (which I like, by the way) there is a very simplistic point of view of good and evil, very common in western societies. You can be on the good side or on the bad side, if you are a good guy you will dress white or brown, if you are not, you will dress black or red… even the aliens have the same sense of good and evil as humans! I find this simplification dangerous.

In real life, it’s way more difficult to differentiate what is good or not — where is the truth and where is the lie? We all have both sides, and one cannot exist without the other. If some day we contact an intelligent lifeform, I doubt very much that they will have the same ethics and understanding of the universe that mankind has. I think Sylvain understood that idea perfectly, and probably that’s why it was so easy to connect with his direction for the story.

Sylvain, you have written many, many books of many different genres, including several successful original sci-fi titles, such as ORBITAL. What drew you to WARSHIP?

SYLVAIN:  Actually, this project started in a very different way from how I’m use to working. I usually start to write my own story, creating my own characters, my own universe, storylines, and script, except when it’s an adaptation, from a novel for example. But with “Warship Jolly Roger,” it was actually Dargaud Publishing (the original Belgian publisher of the project) that contacted me. Miki had created the “Warship Jolly roger” universe on his side, he already had a lot of designs and some ideas for characters like Munro, Thirteen, Ook, Alisa, and Kowalski, and he wanted to have a professional scriptwriter develop his universe so he could focus on the graphic side, while continuing to be involved in the storyline. So I wrote a script for the first book from the roots of what he had already created, adding a lot of new elements and characters, which Miki and Dargaud liked, so that’s how I become the writer on “Warship Jolly Roger.”

The story is filled with mystery, betrayal, fantasy, technology, heartbreak, and revenge. What elements of the story do you find the most interesting and exciting to write?

SYLVAIN:  For me, the core of “Warship Jolly Roger” is the “space pirate” theme. When I was a kid, I was a big fan of this Japanese anime, Captain Harlock, and I always had in mind writing my own version of a space pirate.  So I was really excited when I received the proposition to develop “Warship Jolly Roger,” and was also amazed by the fantastic visual universe Miki was creating. But then, it’s really a mature, twisted, and violent version of the myth, as Jon Tiberius Munro becomes a space pirate after escaping from the prison he was serving a 170 years sentence for being a war criminal, having killed more than 10,000 civilians during an attack on a city during a previous civil war. The challenge was to develop a character that actually did that horrible thing he’s guilty of, no doubt about it, because as a military pawn, Munro was simply following orders from his hierarchy, without questioning them. But in the end, he’s the only one convicted for this terrible crime, the politician that gave the order, President Vexton, remains in charge and out of trouble. So Munro becomes a “space pirate” in order to achieve vengeance against Vexton.

I always find it interesting to dig into this kind of character, and what could be the different sides of him. Yes, Munro is a war criminal, but he’s also a family guy, he has a wife, two kids, he loves them, and he has also his own sense of honor that includes the belief that a soldier must always follow orders, which is what brought him into this situation. I guess it’s like with the Tony Soprano character, from the HBO show. As a viewer, you follow him, have empathy for him, because he has some good sides, makes you laugh, or cry, but at the end, he’s still this Mafioso killing people and ruining other’s lives. So, mixing those twisted moral elements with an epic science fiction space pirate story was what made me want to write this story first.

Were there influences that you specifically wanted to pay tribute to with the story?

MIKI: I remember on the early stage of character creation I was reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and I was fascinated by the character of Long John Silver and his relationship with Jim Hawkins. So I used them as an inspiration when I was working on Captain Munro and Thirteen, and I tried to capture that spirit and translate it to science fiction genre.

Miki, your artwork has an extremely dynamic style, like big-budget feature-quality 2D animation. What inspires your work? 

MIKI: Thank you very much! The truth is that this came out as a result of the first years of my career working in animation and video games. Although I read a lot of comics, the classic cartoons and animated movies I watched as a kid had a deep impact on my visual education. The possibility of creating a new world and seeing it in movement totally captured my imagination, and I always dreamed I would be able to do that someday.

The problem: money. Animation costs a lot of money. Then I discovered that comics, being a different language in itself, allowed the reader to fill the blank spaces between frames in a more interactive way than animation, and was also extremely cheap to produce, so here was the solution.

Still, lately my style is evolving in a way that tends to differentiate from animated movies, but I can´t bring it further [in this series] as I need to stick to the style I created for the first WJR.

How did you get into drawing and design as a career?

MIKI: It just happened. I always loved drawing, but I was very conscious that it was a difficult market, full of very talented people. So I tried to work harder than anyone else. When there was an opportunity, I would take it, no doubt. Even if I didn’t know how to accomplish the job, it would be a challenge. For that reason, I was getting small jobs since I was a student. Usually there was very little money involved, and the conditions were terrible. But I didn’t care. Eventually, conditions got better, the salary too, and I would like that to continue exponentially!

What other projects have you worked on, and did they contribute to your vision for WARSHIP?

MIKI: This is my first personal project, and my first comic book. In terms of aesthetics, the style I developed is the result of all I learned in animation, storyboarding, illustrating for advertising companies, etc. These were not personal works, but they had a creative element to them that I used to develop a style.

What contributed to creating the characters and universe of WJR was everything I saw on a screen or printed on paper since I was a kid. From Tom&Jerry to R. Crumb´s comics, from Disney and Warner movies to Alien and Terminator, from Bradbury and Philip K. Dick novels to Alan Moore dystopias… all blended into a unique mix, trying to create a unique flavor.

The story continues beyond the first two chapters featured in BOOK ONE. Without giving away any spoilers, what cam fans look forward to in the next Book?

SYLVAIN:  Things will get harder and harder for everyone until the end, that’s for sure. So you will have at the same time more and more alien creatures, more space battle, but also a political side of the universe that will grow around Vexton’s character and his fight against Munro which will impact his political career. It will be a “House of Cards” mixed with a hardcore version of “Star Wars,” or perhaps a “Battlestar Galactica” mixed with “Captain Harlock” sort of!

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