Inverloch (webcomic)

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Inverloch
Inverloch volume 01.jpeg
Volume 1
Author(s) Sarah Ellerton
Website http://inverloch.seraph-inn.com/
Current status / schedule Complete
Launch date 2003
End date 2007
Publisher(s) Seven Seas Entertainment (dropped)
Genre(s) Fantasy

Inverloch is a series of five fantasy graphic novels authored by Sarah Ellerton drawn in a cel-shaded manga style. Inverloch was initially published as a webcomic with new content introduced several pages at a time from 2003 to 2007. Three volumes have seen print with the first three volumes currently available from IndyPlanet and with the first two originally published by Seven Seas Entertainment. Inverloch received several nominations in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards, winning the Outstanding Fantasy Comic category in 2005. During its web publication Inverloch was highly rated at both Topwebcomics and buzzComix online comic rating sites.

The story of Inverloch follows the journey of Acheron and his companions to find the whereabouts of the elf Kayn'dar. It was scripted in December 2003, although it was constantly edited and refined throughout its production.[1]

Background, production and style[edit]

Background[edit]

Inverloch author Sarah Ellerton was already an experienced artist before she began the project,[1] and says she chose to create a webcomic as a means of improving her art.[2] Ellerton wrote out the script for the entire comic ahead of time, in December 2003,[1] as a five-volume series. She began illustrating the comic in June 2004,[1][3] updating twice a week[4] with several new pages uploaded per update,[5][6] and finished the comic in 2007.[3]

After finishing Inverloch, Ellerton began work on a second webcomic (the plot and setting of which are unrelated to those of Inverloch), called The Phoenix Requiem. That comic, like Inverloch, consists of five volumes and has a total of 800 pages; the last page was published on March 17, 2011.[7]

Production[edit]

To create each page of Inverloch, Ellerton planned out the panels with sketches on paper and then drew and colored them in Adobe Photoshop using a Wacom graphics tablet.[6] She drew each panel individually, rearranging, resizing, and organizing them in Photoshop.[1] Each page is in book format, and the size and shapes of the panels within each page varies.[4]

Volume 1 of Inverloch was published in print form on May 15, 2006.[8] Ellerton redrew the first five pages for the published version, saying that the artistic style had changed since those pages were originally produced.[9] Volume 2 was published on November 15, 2006.

Synopsis[edit]

Plot[edit]

Volume 1[edit]

The story begins when Acheron, a young da'kor, forms an unlikely friendship with Shiara, an elf. When Shiara reveals to him that her childhood love, Kayn'dar, disappeared twelve years earlier, Acheron promises to find him for her. When he explains to his mother that he will be leaving, it becomes apparent to him that his mother, brother, and uncle all know something about Kayn'dar, but are unwilling to tell him. Before leaving, Acheron also visits his uncle Selak, who gives him a pendant that was once owned by Kayn'dar.

Volume 2[edit]

Acheron first sets out to find Lei'ella, an elven woman whom one of the da'kor says can help him find Kayn'dar. While searching for her in the human town of Strathwood, he is assaulted by Berard, a human criminal who captures da'kor to use in gladiatorial fighting rings. At that moment Lei'ella appears and rescues him, after which he explains his goal and she agrees to join him. From there they travel to Rhyll, where Acheron catches a thief named Varden trying to steal from him; Varden claims that he must now serve Acheron, according to the "thieves' code," and Acheron allows him to join their group. At Lei'ella's suggestion, they go to Aydensfell, a city inhabited by humans who have traces of elven blood and study magic. The Archmage of Aydensfell tells Acheron that he should seek someone named Silvah, rather than Kayn'dar, and allows a young mage named Neirren to join them.

Volume 3[edit]

The group then travels to a city called Muirfold to search for Silvah. In the city they split up to ask about his whereabouts, and Acheron is captured by Berard, who had been following them. To rescue Acheron and prevent Berard from following them in the future, Varden approaches Berard and requests to fight Acheron in the gladiatorial ring. There, Varden wounds Acheron with a poisoned blade to make him appear dead, and kills Berard. They then take Acheron out of the city, where he eventually reawakens.

Volume 4[edit]

From there, the group finds an old watchtower and enters it, ultimately finding Silvah, a white-haired elf, inside. Silvah explains to them that Kayn'dar had been killed, and that he is living in the watchtower to perfect his magical abilities in order to avenge Kayn'dar. The groups leaves the watchtower, and then Lei'ella explains to the group that because Silvah is a white-haired and golden-eyed elf like her but can still use magic (whereas Lei'ella, like most elves of that variety, have no magical abilities), then "Silvah" must be Kayn'dar, since before disappearing Kayn'dar had been famous as the only white-haired elf to possess magical powers. They return to the watchtower to confront Silvah, and Lei'ella accuses him of throwing away the only hope for elves such as them. Angered, and worried about his secret getting out, Silvah stabs Lei'ella, and then flees with Raul, the former archmage who is now involved in Silvah's plan. Acheron is able to heal her, however, using Kayn'dar's pendant, which possesses the memories and spirit of Kayn'dar.

Once recovered, Lei'ella explains to the group that both she and Kayn'dar are "severed elves": elves who were born without their connection to nature, and thus are mortal like humans and unable to use magic. Kayn'dar, however, was able to use magic as a child, and thus had been seen as a savior for the severed elves.

Volume 5[edit]

The group returns to Aydensfell, the city of mages, and the Archmage explains to them that the kidnapping of Kayn'dar had, in fact, been orchestrated by himself and Raul, as an attempt to learn more about elven healing magic. When the experiment had failed, Raul and "Silvah," the personality that inhabited Kayn'dar's body, had left and become recluses. Acheron, Lei'ella, Varden and Neirren decide to go back to the forest of Inverloch and seek aid from the elves. They determine that, if there is a way overcome Silvah and restore Kayn'dar's soul, they will first have to get him away from Raul's influence.

In the forest, Lei'ella soon feels the presence of Raul, alone, and Neirren goes out to face him, telling the rest of the group to continue on without her. They go on and find Silvah at the ruins of Inverloch, preparing a spell that will sever all elves from nature. Also at the ruins is Shiara, powerless to stop Silvah. Together, they begin to fight Silvah, hoping to wear him down to the point that he is unable to cast the spell. Meanwhile, Neirren defeats Raul, and before he dies she absorbs his memories and knowledge into herself. She goes to where the others are fighting Silvah, and helps Silvah kill Acheron.

When Acheron dies, Silvah suddenly stops fighting, and collapses. When he awakens, he identifies himself as Kayn'dar, and has all of Acheron's memories. He reveals to the others the details of his kidnapping twelve years before: Raul had, as an experiment, caused Kayn'dar's spirit and the spirit of Silvah, a da'kor, to exchange bodies. Kayn'dar's spirit had entered Silvah's body and become Acheron. Silvah, the da'kor whose spirit had taken Kayn'dar's body, desired revenge against the elves who had killed his father, which is why he had ultimately desired to sever all the elves. When he killed Acheron, Silvah's spirit had also died, allowing Kayn'dar's spirit to return to its elven body and thus restoring Kayn'dar.

With Silvah and Raul dead, the group retires to the elven city. Varden and Lei'ella eventually leave for Muirfold to start a life together, and Neirren, armed with Raul's knowledge, returns to Aydensfell to pursue her magical studies. Shiara is, at first, angry at Kayn'dar for killing Acheron, for whom she had had strong feelings, but eventually realizes Kayn'dar still is Acheron.

Characters[edit]

Acheron[edit]

Acheron is a young da'kor and the main protagonist in Inverloch. He lived with his older brother and mother in the small da'kor village of Kiadho. Though da'kor are stereotyped as being violent and brutish, Acheron is peaceful and always tries to avoid conflict. He has a tendency to trust anyone, even criminals, and is hesitant to judge people based on their race or lifestyle.

In the conclusion of the story, it is revealed that Acheron was actually the spirit of Kayn'dar in Acheron's body.

Lei'ella[edit]

Lei'ella is a "severed elf" who has been expelled from the elven lands. She spent two years with a small community of other Severed elves, and eventually decided to join the humans as a thief-catcher. Ashamed of her heritage, Lei'ella spends most of the comic wearing a hooded cloak to conceal her distinctive ears, hair, and eyes.

In the early parts of the comic Lei'ella appears aggressive; furthermore, because of the nature of her job, she bears a particular hatred for thieves and other criminals.

Varden[edit]

Varden is a renowned thief in the city of Rhyll. Before joining Acheron, he had made his living off of thieving commissions, stealing valuable items for wealthy noblemen. When his face became known and Rhyll became too dangerous for him, he joined Acheron's group merely as a ruse to escape the city; as the story progresses, however, he befriends his companions and remains with the group of his own accord.

Varden claims to dislike elves, and eventually explains that he feels this way because his mother abandoned his family to marry an elf.

Neirenn[edit]

Neirenn is part of a population of humans who have some elven blood and are able to use magic. She attends the magic school at Aydensfell, and is very precocious, learning quickly without much need for practice.[10] She is only fifteen years old, and sometimes becomes frustrated with Lei'ella and Varden for treating her like a child.[11]

Kayn'dar[edit]

Kayn'dar is a "severed elf" who vanished, twelve years before the beginning of the events in the comic, at the age of six. He was betrothed to Shiara before his disappearance. Acheron and his companions eventually find him living in a secluded watchtower, studying dark magic under the name "Silvah." He bears a deep resentment for elves and wants to sever their ties with nature once and for all, thus making them mortal and taking away their magical abilities.

In the story's denouement, it is revealed that Kayn'dar's true spirit was actually within Acheron: when he was kidnapped, his spirit and the spirit of Silvah, a da'kor, had exchanged bodies. The atrocities Kayn'dar commits in the story were actually carried out by Silvah, and when Silvah kills Acheron then Kayn'dar's spirit, which is one and the same as Acheron's, returns to Kayn'dar's body.

Other characters[edit]

Berard formerly worked as a thiefcatcher with Lei'ella, and seems to have been in a relationship with her. At the time of the story, he is a criminal and is involved with the underground gladiatorial rings that pit humans and da'kor against one another in fights to the death. He is killed by Varden in Muirfold.

Shiara is a young elf whom Acheron meets early in the story and falls in love with. Despite her feelings for Acheron, she still has obligations to Kayn'dar, her betrothed who disappeared twelve years earlier and who she does not know is alive or dead.

Raul is the former archmage of the magic academy at Aydensfell. He was ousted from the academy when, many years before the start of the story, his attempts to understand elven healing magic failed and he was ridiculed by the mages.[12] Neirren claims that his magic skills are poor.[13] When Acheron and his companions find Raul, he is working with Silvah to sever the elves' ties with nature.

Races of Inverloch[edit]

The world in which Inverloch takes place is populated by several races, described below.

Da’kor[edit]

A race of mammalian bi-pedal humanoids, da’kor have canine facial features, as well as short, pointed horns located near the rear of the skull, and large, low, triangular ears. Their eyes are similar to humans'. Their bodies are covered with neutral-colored fur, and they are shorter than humans, their height being comparable to that of a human child.[14] Males have a distinctive crest-like tuft of coarse, dark brown hair between their horns.

Among the other races, da'kor have a reputation for being violent and brutish, and are generally feared by humans,[15] to the point that many da'kor found in human cities are captured and forced into gladiatorial spectacles.[16]

Elves[edit]

The elves' purpose was originally to care for the world around them with their magic; by the time the story takes place, however, they have largely withdrawn from the outside world.[17] They are described as an arrogant race, one that feels superior to all other races and sees them as short-lived pests. Elves are immortal and have magical abilities, and a few possess healing powers which "can heal any wound and leave no scar."[18]

There are two types of elves: normal elves, and "the Severed," identifiable by their characteristic golden eyes and silver hair. Severed elves can't use magic,[19] and eventually grow old and die like humans.[20] They do, however, retain some elvish traits, such as the ability to sense individuals when in proximity to them. Severed elves are banished when still young because the others elves think of them as "infected" with a disease which rapidly was becoming more and more common.[21]

Humans[edit]

Humans are considered neither good nor evil. Many humans fear the da'kor, because their stereotype as being violent and dangerous. According to Lei'ella, they are also very prejudiced against the elves.

Mages[edit]

Mages are humans with small traces of elven blood. Mages do not have a direct connection to the spirit realm like elves do, so they are unable to use healing magic; rather, they draw energy from the natural world around them.[22]

Translations[edit]

  • Inverloch has been translated into seven languages: Finnish, French, Polish, Spanish, Arabic, Italian and German.

Awards[edit]

Inverloch has been nominated for and has won a number of Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards,[23] shown in the table below.

Inverloch at the Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards
Wins Nominations
2005
  • Outstanding Art
  • Outstanding Environment Design
  • Outstanding Website Design
  • Outstanding Character Art (honorable mention)
2006
  • Outstanding Long Form Comic
  • Outstanding Comic
  • Outstanding Artist
  • Outstanding Character Art
  • Outstanding Environment Design
  • Outstanding Layout
  • Outstanding Web Design
  • Outstanding Writer
  • Outstanding Character Writing
  • Outstanding Dramatic Comic
  • Outstanding Story Concept
  • Outstanding Fantasy Comic
2007
  • Outstanding Use of Color
  • Outstanding Dramatic Comic
  • Outstanding Long Form Comic
  • Outstanding Fantasy Comic

Books[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Houck, Janet. "Inverloch's Sarah Ellerton Tells All". gomanga.com. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  2. ^ Schroeder, Al. "Invariably Inverloch: Al Schroeder interviews Sarah Ellerton". ComixTalk. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  3. ^ a b Ellerton, Sarah. "Inverloch: About". Inverloch. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  4. ^ a b Alverson, Brigid (November 14, 2007). "Review: Inverloch". Digital Strips. 
  5. ^ "Inverloch Review". KillBoredom.com. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  6. ^ a b "Inverloch: Interview". KillBoredom.com. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  7. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. "The Phoenix Requiem: Frequently Asked Questions". The Phoenix Requiem. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  8. ^ "Inverloch: manga volumes". Seven Seas Entertainment, LLC. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  9. ^ "Inverloch volumes 1 & 2: Inkspot review". Pulp Faction. June 21, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  10. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 12, Scene 2. Inverloch.
  11. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 16, Scene 1. Inverloch.
  12. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 18, Scene 1. Inverloch.
  13. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 18, Scene 1. Inverloch.
  14. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 7, Scene 1. Inverloch.
  15. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 4, Scene 3. Inverloch.
  16. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 6, Scene 1. Inverloch.
  17. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 20, Scene 1. Inverloch.
  18. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 16, Scene 3. Inverloch.
  19. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 20, Scene 1. Inverloch.
  20. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 20, Scene 1. Inverloch.
  21. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. "Chapter 20, Scene 1." Inverloch.
  22. ^ Ellerton, Sarah. Chapter 22, Scene 3. Inverloch.
  23. ^ "WCCA Awards". Retrieved 2008-09-13. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Count Your Sheep
Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards: Outstanding Fantasy Comic
2005
Succeeded by
The Order of the Stick
Preceded by
Alpha Shade
Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards: Outstanding Long Form Comic
2006
Succeeded by
The Order of the Stick
Preceded by
Copper
Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards: Outstanding Environment Design
2007
Succeeded by
Girl Genius