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A look at GILGAMESH - the world's oldest superhero tale - with Cam Kerkau & Kostas Pantoulas

For this sneak peek at the Gobli Prin cover for Gilgamesh: Eternal volume #3, we've got an opportune moment for a brief chat in the Yeti Cave with Cam Kerkau and Kostas Pantoulas as the vol. #3 Zoop campaign is underway!

 

COMIC BOOK YETI: Thanks for joining us on short notice, Cam! A third volume of Gilgamesh: Eternal is now on offer. There have been numerous artists involved in the first two releases, so how'd you and Gobli Prin meet and end up in creative alignment for the absolutely splendid cover of this edition?

CAM KERKAU: I found Gobli's art on the website formerly known as Twitter and instantly fell in love with his style. There's something about his line work and design that evokes nostalgia while remaining timeless, and that's what Gilgamesh is all about. As far as being in creative alignment, my policy is to leave the composition of our covers up to the artist. I may have some minor input (or even a full prompt if the artist requests it), but I think the best covers are the ones where the artist is allowed to go crazy with the sandbox we've set up for them. CBY: The Epic of Gilgamesh has, arguably, existed in the public domain longer than any other stories on the written record. What elements ring eternal, and what elements are hardest to visualize or encapsulate in an adaptation? CK: In my mind, the thing that's eternal about the Epic of Gilgamesh is the way that it frames grief and mortality as its central conflict. I think a lot about the way death ties humanity together. It's our one true universal experience. No matter who you are or where you come from, we're all heading in the same direction. And obviously that's morbid, but in a strange way it's also a bit comforting. We're all on this ride together, and to me, that's what makes it worthwhile. I think that’s what Gilgamesh comes to realize at the end of the epic. KOSTAS PANTOULAS: Bringing Gilgamesh into a comic feels strangely familiar and metaphysical in a way. Drawing Gilgamesh: Eternal feels like drawing a superhero story. Superheroes are a modern mythology, and just like ancient mythology, they are a reflection of the people. As for the visual aspect, the hardest part is to time travel with your imagination through Mesopotamian culture, especially when photo references are not easy to find. CBY: The translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh has continued improving as additional related texts have been discovered and pieced into the narrative over recent decades. What elements are you drawing from which version, and how are you weaving together the narrative differently from prior iterations?


CK: The interesting thing about the Epic of Gilgamesh is that we've never found the whole thing written down from beginning to end. It's written in all these fragmentary tablets that have been collected and pieced together to form a narrative whole. In a silly way, it's sort of like a comic series. The spine of our comic is built from the Standard Babylonian version of the text, which is what people likely encountered in high school, but we've also looked at some of the tablets which aren't necessarily included in that version, as well as other Mesopotamian myths, to inform our characters and world. I'm no historian though, and Gilgamesh: Eternal isn't meant to be a graphic history book. Our first and foremost priority has always been to deliver a compelling fantasy-action comic. And I'd say while our first and second issues have been fairly accurate to the original myth, we're going completely off the rails with issue #3.

CBY: This is volume #3 -- what do you expect as the total length of this version of the tale? What project appeals next once Gilgamesh has been given this updated visual treatment?


CK: This is our third and final issue, and the whole story is available on our campaign page now, possibly for the final time! Fitting the epic into three issues while building a world that felt expansive and ancient has been a decent challenge, but I think we've met it admirably and are delivering something that will stay with readers long after they've read it. As for next projects, we began crowdfunding this series all the way back in 2021 and I've written quite a few scripts since then, and I'm still deciding which one will be the next to pursue. One thing is for sure though, after spending so much time in the ancient past, I'm looking forward to the future. KP: In a few weeks, I am going to publish here in Greece the sequel to my first comic book, which I did many years ago. It's a 104-page story about a dystopian Europe and a rebel team of super soldiers that have decided to overthrow the dictator of the EU and bring back democracy and freedom to the citizens of Europe. I'm already in talks for an English adaptation with US publishers, and I'm really confident that soon it will also be published in the US. CBY: Fantastic to hear the story will all be encapsulated in this final volume! Also, please share any links associated with your portfolio or social media where our readers can engage with you and your work, and let us know what you'd recommend everyone check out once they've given Gilgamesh a read!

CK: You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @CamKerkau! I’m also easy to find on Facebook and I'm on BlueSky at @camkerkau.bsky.social! Kostas is on Instagram at @k.pantoulas.art, so follow him there to stay updated on his upcoming series! Gobli Prin is on Twitter and Instagram @Gobli_Prin. As for recommendations, right now I’m going through my collection of Scott McCloud’s Zot! and I’d recommend that to anyone. I’m also always telling everyone to read Michel Fiffe’s Copra and, of course, I think Chainsaw Man is one of the best comics running right now. There are also some other really great-looking looking comics campaigns running right now. The Fabled Offering and Glarien of White Ash are looking great on Kickstarter, and I’m really excited for The Feeding on Zoop.

KP: Big Game from Mark Millar and Pepe Lazzar makes me wanna read and draw comics 24/7. Recently I started reading the 70s series from Golden Key, Doctor Spektor. Those short, old horror-suspense stories are really fun! And my favorite that I'm close to completing is the Black Hood from Dark Circles Comics. The character development on that one is almost addictive, the suspense is at really high stakes with a dark tone.

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