Q&A: Cartoonist Ken Garing Embarks on an Epic Fantasy Journey in Gogor

Ken Garing's new ongoing fantasy series, Gogor, follows young student Armano as he works with a mythical figure to repel an invading army.

Ken Garing doesn’t craft small tales. The creator behind the sci-fi revelation Planetoid and its sequel, Planetoid: Praxis, concocts vast fictions overflowing with characters, creatures, and environments. His latest fiction, Gogor, is a testament to the California-based cartoonist’s ambitions. The new ongoing series takes place in the realm of Altara, a floating ring of islands perched in a powder-blue sky.

Within that surreal merry-go-round of rock and flora, a young Natural Arts student named Armano faces an overwhelming force. The Domus, a totalitarian army that rides dung beetles, has occupied his school. His only hope to fight this seemingly overwhelming force lies in an ancient scroll that mentions a mythic figure—Gogor.

That seed of a tale grows into an epic, sweet-hearted quest with action and intrigue designed for fantasy lovers of every age. Gogor #1 debuts in comic book stores on May 1st, 2019. An edited version of the following Q&A can be found in the May 2019 edition of Previews.

Gogor Cover Art by Ken Garing

Can you describe the world of Gogor?

The world is called Altara. It's a massive, rotating ring of floating islands upon which many different people, creatures, and environments are situated. It has a long and mostly unknown history.

How would you describe your protagonist, Armano?

He's a young student of the Natural Arts. He hasn't seen much of Altara, but of course that's about to change as he starts his quest after his school is attacked.

There’s a purity and innocence to this project; who do you envision as the series’ primary audience?

It's a great comic for young adults, although I created it to be accessible to everyone, including non-comic readers. As for the tone, I wanted to do something that deals with serious themes but with a sense of sincerity and heart rather than the sarcasm that I see in a lot of current popular culture.

Gogor also reads like an evolution of ‘70s fantasy pioneers Moebius and Richard Corben—and some of Jack Kirby’s latter adventure comics. Are they an influence?

Absolutely, those are three of my favorite artists. There's much to say about all three, but one point I tried to incorporate into Gogor is the openness and clarity of their work. Modern artists tend to zoom in on the details too much, and the images lose their power and directional thrust. With Gogor, I wanted to make big, strong, clear images with a focus on shape, direction, and color.

Who (or what) is Gogor?

Gogor is a mystical creature. But I can't say much more because discovering the nature of Gogor is one of the central mysteries that Armano must piece together.

The first issue hints at an exploration of environmentalism and colonialism. What themes are you excited to articulate in these pages?

The series will address many political themes but in an open-ended, exploratory way. Our own world is clearly in a state of flux, and definitive solutions aren't as forthcoming as we would like to believe. So my approach is to question and explore possibilities rather than articulate any prescriptions. The best science fiction and fantasy manages to do this.

The world of Gogor and its ring of floating islands are massive. What was your process for developing this new universe?

In preparing the series, I established a few rules for how things in work in Altara and a history that makes sense. Outside of that, I left things open so that I can create as I proceed. Otherwise it becomes too cumbersome, and you wind up telling the audience about your world rather than showing them.

What can fans expect from the first issue of Gogor?

It's a dense first issue (28 pages) filled with a lot of colorful action and characters. There's also fair amount of mystery. It's the beginning of a quest, so there's a lot to discover, and I've sprinkled in some early clues to reward readers who stick with the series.

Gogor #1 Interior Art by Ken Garing
Gogor #1 Interior Art by Ken Garing
Gogor #1 Interior Art by Ken Garing
Gogor #1 Interior Art by Ken Garing
Gogor #1 Interior Art by Ken Garing