HomeBooksSorah Suhng on Karnal Confessions -- Its Creation, Kickstarter & Its Future

Sorah Suhng on Karnal Confessions — Its Creation, Kickstarter & Its Future

Sorah Suhng

Kickstarter is an amazing website. There’s so much content on there for a huge variety of interests that pretty much anyone can find something they’d want to contribute too. One of my favorite things to look at on Kickstarter are the indie comic books. I work part-time in a comic store, so yes, I’m regularly surrounded by new titles and things to read, but I’ve found some of, what I consider, the best new comic series to debut on that website. One of those is, Karnal Confessions, a story from the incredibly talented Sorah Suhng, who I was able to speak with about her new comic series.

Okay, so I like to start off with asking, Can you tell us what Karnal Confessions about?

So, I always wanted to tell a story that was about a villains that was completely unapologetic. No antihero, no redemption, there’s none of that in there. Karnal Sin is simply a bad character, in the sense of, she does bad things and she’s shameless about it. I am a huge fan of science fiction, I grew up with Marvel superheroes, where its much more science fiction. So, I put my own story in the world of science fiction. It’s a universe I created in which there are fourth dimensional beings and trans dimensional travel, but I’m also trying to keep it as grounded as possible, because you don’t want to sit there and explain how somebody in a futuristic society is brushing their teeth.

I’m a huge fan of romance too and I wanted to tell a long form love story. So, Karnal starts off as basically the head of the CIA, but we call it the DIA, the Dominion Intelligence Agency, and she has a massive fall from grace, and she gets demoted to an underling. This story is her journey, it’s her clawing her way back into power, and how that all interacts with all the other characters. Karnal is part of a group that basically goes from planet to planet, dimension to dimension, and their agenda is to purge each planet of the vices and sins, and then replace it with their form of utopia. And they’re very ruthless with it. This actually started out as a prequel to a legit graphic novel that I was working on with a friend of mine – that story is called Broken, and that’ll be coming out in its slotted for 2021.

So what you were going for with her character? What was your creative thought process when coming up with her design and her character?

This is my social commentary. It’s super empowerment. And I get frustrated because I sometimes get feminists walking by who look at the character, they see the name, and they’re like, “Why is sex bad for a woman?”

And that’s not what it’s about. I’m a woman, I’m writing this, I’m putting in my own experience. She goes through the female experience of having to smile through a lot of crap. Or not being invested in a situation or relationship, but thinking, well, “this is safe, this is smart, I need to do this”. There’s a lot of certain survival skills that women have to enact living in the modern world, be it with work or personal life. Hilariously, she she stemmed from a different character who I had created this character named Star of America, which my boyfriend at the time wanted me to create.

I was not a Captain America fan at the time and he had this character he created and he just begged me to create the girlfriend for him. So I created the most stereotypical character I could think of – she had the spangled cheerleader outfit, blonde big hair, big boobs – and then Karnal ended up being the reverse manifestation of that, which is why she ended up being more sexualized. I never thought of her as being the main character of a story. I thought of her as a secondary, tertiary character. And then I realized how much I liked her and how interesting her whole path could be. I don’t think that my intention was ever. “oh, I’m going to make her this feminist icon”, but hilariously, all my my female readers have told me that I basically accidentally created a female power fantasy.

You mentioned that you like sci-fi and that Marvel was kind of a big influence. What are your other influences for this story and this Karnal Sin? Like specific writers or artists, or movies would you say influenced you the most?

Well, hilariously, the feminist tilt of it actually a little bit of a middle finger to Joss Whedon. I know, that might irritate some people. I really liked Buffy growing up, I mean, I really watched Buffy. I grew up overseas, basically on a military base, and I was always surrounded by very strong women. Even girls my age, we were all very independent. But we were also very limited in what we were exposed to for American culture, just because it was overseas pre-internet. So we had like one American TV station, and it was the AFM network, and Buffy was one of the shows that we all watched.

There was an episode of Buffy, who was a very strong, independent, female character and lead, and I hated the way that they depicted her mother. Every strong woman that I know, has a very strong mother, for good or bad. My mother, grew up in Korea, where women were not going to go to college, her father, my grandfather, was very, very conservative, very traditional. Even though she made the best grades school, he was like, “No, you’re getting married, you’re not going to go to college”. And she eventually did go to college, she graduated and went on, got her Master’s. We as women have to have to adopt to thrive against a pro male society. There’s also Star Trek. With Star Trek there were lots of very strong females. As much as I hate Voyager, Janeway was a great.

My foray into comics started with the X-Men cartoon in the 90s, which I loved. And it’s still the best theme song ever. And again, in the X-Men, it was never treated as a big deal that there were powerful, strong women in leadership positions, or just existing in general. There was a writer by the name of Mercedes Lackey, who I’ve been blessed enough to actually get to know, her style of writing was always very progressive. And Diana Gabaldon and who writes the Outlander series, which I love.

What made you go with this storytelling style? Why illustrated prose instead of the standard graphic novel design?

It was literally the fact that I had no time. I type 140 words a minute. I grew up playing text based RPG and if you’re in a fight on the in those games, and you don’t type fast enough, your character dies, so I learned to type incredibly fast. But I’m also doing all the artwork, plus I go to all these cons, and I’m doing all these covers and other work for people, it doesn’t leave me with the time I need to draw my own thing right now.

It was literally a time crunch. I just didn’t have the time to do an actual comic book, but with the success of the Kickstarter and everything and the fact that I’ve pulled back from some of my workload, I can start putting more artwork into the next arc and then after that I’m going to transition this from being illustrated pros into an actual comic book.

For those of us like myself that missed out on the Kickstarter, when can we expect Karnal Confessions to be out and where can we find it?

The Kickstarter is going to be going out in June. We have to get the books, then get all the all the stretch goals, put them all together, and mail them out – we’re going to mail them out all at once so everyone gets him at the same time so nobody feels cheated. After that point, we will have hard copies of the non-Kickstarter exclusive editions with us going from show to show. I’ll be going to Boston Comic Con, New York Comic Con, and Baltimore Comic Con with the book. If you can’t make it to any of those shows, we will have the regular retail cover and other con exclusive stuff available online.

What are you going to be working on in the future that we can be on the lookout for?

The Karnal Confessions story is going to be continuing into part two, which is coming, it’ll be bi-monthly instead of monthly. So, you’ll get two chapters a month with more artwork starting in August. We’ll be running a Kickstarter for putting it all together, like this one, in January of next year. I can’t give too much information, but there’s also a super secret project that I’m working on right now and I’ve got an amazing team working with me on.

I’ve got West Knipe helping me write it – I’m co plotting and he’s writing, because it’s going to be an actual comic book. I can write prose all day, but I don’t know about writing scripts. I’m still working on that. We have this great artist, Giorgia Sposito, and Kate Colors, naturally, will be coloring it. It’s going to be a traditional comic book that’s 48 pages, graphic novel style. We will be teasing that and giving out information regarding it later, but the actual launch of the Kickstarter will be end of October of this year.

And where can we find you online and on social media?

Okay, so I have my website, https://www.sorahsuhng.com/, and I’m on Twitter and Instagram @SorahSuhng. There’s also the book website, https://www.karnalconfessions.com/

Rachel Freeman
Rachel Freeman
Rachel Freeman is a staff writer and comic review editor at Pop Break. She regularly contributes comic book reviews, such as The Power of the Dark Crystal, Savage Things, Mother Panic, Dark Nights: Metal, Rose, and more. She also contributes anime reviews, such as Berserk, Garo: Vanishing Line and Attack on Titan as well as TV reviews. She has been part of The BreakCast for the Definitive Defenders Podcast. Outside of her writing for Pop Break, Rachel is currently a pre-school teacher. She is a college graduate with her BA in History and MAED. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @Raychikinesis.

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