Local creator's Accursed Dragon ready to launch 0
Ron Thomson/Portage Daily Graphic... Ryan Smith displays the print version of Accursed Dragon in his office at his Portage la Prairie home.
Portage la Prairie's Ryan Smith has left his mark on webcomics starting back in 1999, but it's his current endeavour, Accursed Dragon, he's focused on now.
Smith started Accursed Dragon in 2008 as a webcomic and is now ready to launch a print version, which Smith will launch with a book signing at the Portage Regional Library on Thursday.
"I'm very excited and exhausted," Smith said. "It's a lot of work to get a book printed, but it was definitely worth it. I'm very pleased with the result. It's very professional and very fun to even read myself."
A new page of the comic is published online every Monday through Thursday and can be viewed at www.accurseddragon.com. The new print version contains 256 pages, including 10 pages of bonus content not found online.
Accursed Dragon is a light-hearted fantasy romp through a realm besieged by war and magic. It follows it's protagonist Coven, who is cursed into the form of a dragon and begins his quest to become human again. Along the way Coven meets a young girl, Rawn, who is learning to use her magical powers.
The story maintains a balance of humour, character development and plot development.
"I try to keep the tone light," Smith said. "I don't let it get too graphic or depressing or anything. I want to try to keep it upbeat and entertaining as much possible. My goal is to always try to keep the mood fun and light."
Accursed Dragon isn't Smith's first foray into the world of online comics. He started out with a webcomic called Funny Farm, which ran for about a decade. Its archives can be read at funnyfarmcomics.com. Smith also publishes a sci-fi web comic called Banished!, which Smith writes but hires other artists to illustrate. Banished!, which is online at www.banishedonline.com, has been online since about 2006, Smith said, but it doesn't update as regularly as Accursed Dragon due to the scheduling of the hired artists.
Smith switched his focus to Accursed Dragon in 2008 when Funny Farm wrapped up. With Accursed Dragon, he was looking to tell a more epic tale.
"It's just a different style and story," Smith said. "It's a nice change of pace."
Writing a fantasy story has allowed Smith lots of freedom in weaving his tale. The fantasy genre has allowed him to use his imagination and create a unique world.
"I just liked the thought that if I start a fantasy comic I can make up anything I wish and I won't be tethered to reality," Smith said. "In Funny Farm it was set in more contemporary times, modern day stuff, so basically the material you work with is what already exists, but in a concept like this (Accursed Dragon) you can make up anything you wish. It just seems the fantasy genre lends itself to more imagination."
The Accursed Dragon book will be available through the website, www.accurseddragon.com, late August. The website is going through a redesign and the online store should be up soon.
The website is a work in progress at the moment and looks a little plain, but that will change with the redesign.
"Once it's done it will be something a lot more presentable and easier to navigate, quicker to load," Smith said. "It will be more user friendly."
Thursday at the Library, Smith will be available to sign copies and draw sketches for those in attendance. He'll also talk about the book and answer questions. There will be two sessions, one from 3 p.m. to 4:30 and another from 6:30 p.m. to 8.
There will also be copies of Accursed Dragon available to borrow at the library. Smith is looking forward to library launch.
"It will be a fun experience," he said.