Behind-the-Sheets Issue 1 Page 10

The Soul of Suw_Issue01_010

After creation myths, the tree of life may be the most common story/symbol in all mythos/religions. A certain version or idea of the tree of life can be found in Abrahamic, Norse, Chinese, Persian, Egyptian and also Native American cultures. Science even uses the symbol of a tree to represent genealogy and the evolution of life on this planet which is akin to a Family Tree. Due to its prevalence in other cultures I knew I had to include some form of the tree of life in my own mythos.

The scene including the rise of the tree of life was heavily amended for the purpose of the comic. In the initial story, the land of the tree of life is where the female and male principles meet after the death of Amage. A great change engulfs the barren land where the volcanic fires of the male principle intermingle with the fertile waters of the feminine valley to give birth to the tree of life. The roots of the tree dig deep into the fertile soil where the gems of Amage’s shattered heart reside as minerals in the earth. The roots take hold of the minerals as they eventually become seeds of life.

Another alteration in the story is the actual birth of souls. Souls are supposed to be directly formed from the soil of the earth and they gain life when a piece of Amage’s heart falls and is buried like a seed into the soil. This concept was inspired by the Genesis story of Adam in the Bible and also, the theory of evolution in which life potentially came from the water and soil of the earth to evolve into the various creatures and plants that grace this planet.

Because the comic had to be edited for the sake of constraint, one of my favorite early lines in the story had to be cut out, “from soil to soul”. This is a brief description that sums up the origins of life regardless of your own scientific or religious views. It is also the title of a chapter in the Book of Existence which is the book chronicling the entire history and back stories to the Soul of Suw.

Soul of Suw is a story I was first inspired to write in 1997 when I heard the OutKast album ATLiens. OutKast is a hip hop group I relate to on many levels artistically & geographically. Their musical style resonates with me and I love the creativity expressed not only in their music videos but in the CD booklet for the ATLiens album.

In the album booklet is a comic story that portrays OutKast as intergalactic heroes destined to protect the city of Atlantis. This story was so unique in its presentation of an album that it would become the initial spark of inspiration for the concepts in Soul of Suw.

If you’d like to get into deeper detail on how OutKast was the source of inspiration for the entire Soul of Suw series then check out chapter 3 in my first book Echoes of a Whisper. The entire chapter is dedicated to chronicling the development of the seven books that would eventually become the Soul of Suw series.

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