Starburns Industries, the studio that has brought us the science fiction insanity of RICK AND MORTY and the stop-motion animated drama of ANOMALISA is once again breaching traditional conventions and genres with a brand new Kickstarter campaign in order to publish a pitch black fantasy horror graphic novel, THE CRAWLING KING.
An anthology of horror stories set in the fantasy world of Gyldenbrae as eldritch forces twist the kingdom into terrors. The book, from award-winning Icelandic animation director Einar Baldvin, sounds and looks grimmer than even Grimm’s Fairy Tales! The book will be released as a physical tome, complete with aged, worn pages as well as hand drawn, horrifying illustrations that appear like fables from The Necronomicon.
We asked Einar Baldvin, the author and creator, a few questions to get more arcane details about himself and his work.
iHorror: What were your influences in making The Crawling King?
Einar Baldvin: H.P Lovecraft was the biggest influence, The project evolved after I revisited all his stories a few years back, after not having read him since I was a kid. I was really surprised how firmly he had latched himself onto my brain and influenced me subconsciously. I was also influenced by various European folk tales, particularly the Icelandic ones I grew up with.
For visual inspiration I looked at various sources, mostly ranging from early to late medieval art but also artists closer to our time. William Blake, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Francisco Goya, fantasy artist John Blanche, the horror illustrator Lee Brown Coye, and finally painter Francis Bacon were major influences. I am sure I am forgetting some but this is a taste.
About half way through the project my brother Emil, who was also the inspiration for a very important character in The Crawling King, introduced me to the Japanese video game Dark Souls 3. I had not really played games for a long time but this one really sucked me in. It hypnotized me in a way I have not felt by any game since playing the first Diablo or Majora’s Mask when I was much younger. The world of Dark Souls is desolate, very dark but also extremely beautiful which is something I wanted to depict in The Crawling King. What fascinated me the most about that game was the way it refused to spell out a story. It’s a fragmented narrative presented in a way you that you become completely lost in that world, something I also aspired to achieve in my book.
iH: How would you describe your art style?
iH: What are your experiences as an artist?
EB: I have always drawn and written stories, but prior to this project I was only involved in animation. I made an animated horror film a few years back called ‘The Pride of Strathmoor‘ which faired very well at festivals around the world. That project led directly to The Crawling King.
iH: Why are the pages of the book stylized as though from an ancient tome?
EB: The book is designed to represent actual manuscripts, letters and journals collected from the world it is set in. I love stories and art that feel like the actual remnants of a place. Centering that around a story of an ancient ruined kingdom seemed natural to me.
iH: What can you tell us about the doomed world of Gyldenbrae?
It was a beautiful kingdom centered around a tree bearing golden leaves, then something terrible took place. A black serpent made a bargain with a young prince deep in the ground and now only The Hideous Tree remains.
Do you have any plans for stories after The Crawling King, possibly set in the same dark world?
EB: Absolutely, there is a great deal more to this world that I want to explore.
THE CRAWLING KING Kickstarter Campaign runs until September 15th. So if you want to pre-order the tome and take a journey into the cursed world of Gyldenbrae, do it before it’s too late!