When coming up with the concept behind Discordia, a secondary world plagued by a veritable kitchen sink worth of monsters, I decided early on that I wanted to approach world-building in a way that a fantasy series would, rather than a traditional horror series. This is why we commissioned a map of the continent of Odessa (now Discordia) so early in the process, and why we started with the six shorts that made up our Issue #0: to give the readers, and ourselves, a glimpse of the scope that we are hoping to achieve.
Now we are finally, four Kickstarters in, starting the journey into our main plotline with Issue #1, live on Kickstarter here.
Discordia wouldn’t exist without my love of comics, and it would read nothing like it does without these twisted tales below.
The Last God – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Riccardo Federici
It makes sense that one of the largest influences on Discordia is a horror/fantasy mashup like the Last God. This twisted 12-part series gripped me from the cover of Issue #1 all of the way to the end of #12. Its focus on world-building in between gore-riddled pages and an enthralling mystery had an immense impact on how I chose to structure Discordia.
Everything from the map in the back, to the cross-cutting between two intertwined narratives – one past, one present – have echoes that show up in the pages of Discordia. Good fantasy builds a world you believe could exist, and good horror ensures that you never want to live there.
Baltimore – Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Ben Stenbeck, Peter Berting, Glen Robins, Dave Stwewart, Michelle Madsen
I could make this really easy and talk about Hellboy for the entire article, mentioning the way it incorporated spin-offs and the like, or even mention how the occult-obsessed nazis of Mignola’s world were a direct inspiration for the fascist Concord of our series, but instead, I see a more direct through-line from Mignola’s other seminal horror work: Baltimore.
One of the things that made this series great was the way that its often silent, steely protagonist traveled through the ruins of a war-torn Europe almost like some twisted voyage of Odysseus. Lord Henry Baltimore fights a horde of undead on an island ravaged by plagued ships, then fights the twisted creations of a mad scientist, all while never losing sight of his quarry, the vampire Haigus.
Our own damaged “hero” Cole Fischer, is getting sent on his own Odyssey through the remnants of Discordia, and he too will find himself in a variety of horrific locales. Hopefully, like the masterful writing in Baltimore, the narrative flow from place to place and adventure to adventure will feel organic, like the rotting tissue of a zombie.
The Plot – Tim Daniel, Michael Moreci, Josh Hixson, Jordan Boyd, Jim Campbell
"Holy $#&@!" was my reaction to the first death in The Plot. I actually looked around my living room and felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I love horror in comics, but usually as an aesthetic or a mood (plus, I’m a horror nut who can’t stomach gore on film, but totally can in comics!) The Plot may have been the first time that I experienced genuine fear and unease between page turns.
The atmosphere and slow-burning dread that follows the Blaine family will stick with me for a long time. It's a reminder that good horror comes from trauma. That can either be personal, familial, or societal. The Plot tackles the first two in a masterful way.
Discordia deals with a world nearly destroyed after a war against fascism. War is trauma. The abuse our characters have experienced is trauma. Sometimes, it just takes a good bog monster to suss that out.