A: It’s a webcomic drawn by Silv/Demi with writing collaboration by Ski. It primarily focuses on the characters Nine and Dice, a dragon- and phoenix-shapeshifter living in the fictional corrupt city of Eterno. It’s hard to categorize it, as it contains elements from many genres: crime, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, and comedy. Definitely rated M for violence, language, mild sexual content, and some disturbing themes.
Q: How did Grayscale start? How long have you guys been working on it?
A: Grayscale began three years ago as a thread about a guy escaping from a research lab on on a play-by-post roleplaying forum. We had no intention at the time of it some day becoming a webcomic, but the story and characters became so engrossing we finally concluded that we had to share it with the world. If you want to go back really far, to Grayscale’s primeval roots, Demi (also known as Silvae, and so often called ‘Silv’ by Ski) and Ski met on a gryphon roleplaying forum back in October 2001, so their 10 year friendiversary recently passed.
Q: How long is the comic going to be?
A: We have no clue. Long. We’ve been writing the story for this thing for 3 years and it’s still going.
Q: How often will you update?
A: Once we’ve settled into a regular routine, we’re thinking once a week, on Tuesdays.
Q: Why is almost everything black and white? Will the comic ever be in color?
A: We might have color splash pages from time to time just to shake things up. Grayscale may eventually make the shift to being a full-color comic, but we haven’t decided.
Q: Does this comic contain homosexual themes?
A: It does indeed include a gay couple, yes, but that’s really not the point of the comic.
Q: What are the different species in the comic?
A: Eterno is primarily home to humans and to the three main ‘shifter’ species: phoenixes, draconians, and vampires. The city also contains some werecats and hybrids (offspring of interspecies parents). Werewolves also exist in the world, but most prefer to steer clear of the city.
Q: What are the draconian elements?
A: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Body, and Mind. Nine is a Body elemental.
Q: Where do the events of Grayscale take place?
A: In an alternate universe closely resembling our own. Many centuries ago, mankind made a breakthrough in genetic engineering which they hoped would revolutionize everything from curing disease to ultimately ending world hunger. Unfortunately, it also got loose and began to change plants and animals into violent and venomous mutants, forcing humanity to build walled cities to keep the ravenous beasts at bay. The only creatures strong enough to fight back were the shifter races, which had been living secretly among humans since the dawn of civilization, and were at last free to reveal themselves. Grayscale takes place in one such walled city, called Eterno, located somewhere in what was once North America. Eterno is divided into three sub-cities: Malum (the city of vampires), Cri (the city of draconians) and Siras (the city of phoenixes). It is in the latter that the events of Grayscale so far have taken place.
Q: Is there some kind of war going on?
A: Eterno is in a constant power struggle, so yes, in a manner of speaking. The all-phoenix Insurgi are the city’s military police force, and purportedly fight for justice while mostly just furthering the agenda of phoenix supremacy. They are actively opposed by the Caedo, Eterno’s organized crime ring, which keeps the city’s atypical economy ticking through the trade of drugs, prostitutes, blood, and bodies. The Llorar do all they can to help those caught in the crossfire, but their nonviolent methods are often seen as ineffective. There are several other syndicates in this power-struggle, but you’ll have to wait and see.
Q: How old are Nine and Dice?
A: 466 and 392, respectively. This is very young by the standards of their species. Draconians will easily live beyond 3000 before dying of old age, while phoenixes can live indefinitely as long as they burn and rise from the ashes every century. In a city as dangerous as Eterno, of course, the likelihood of living to old age is slim.
Q: How did Demi/Silvae learn to draw?
A: By drawing every single day since she was five, plus school, plus Ski’s praise. She attends Sheridan College for animation.
Q: How long does it take to draw a page?
A: Between 6 to 12 hours and it’s entirely dependent on the page. Extensive backgrounds or more panels than normal will make it a much longer process, while the opposite is true of pages mostly containing character poses and dialogue in six-seven panels or less.
Q: What kind of tablet does Silvae use to draw? What about the program?
A: It’s a Wacom Intuos 3. She paints in Paint Tool SAI.
Q: Is the science in Grayscale based on real science? Who’s the science person in this operation?
A: Yeah, mostly real science! Although just about everything in Grayscale has a heavy element of fantasy to it, we do our research. The symptoms of tranquilizer withdrawal are real, as is the existence of genetic monochromacy, and most of Dice’s blather about operant conditioning and hematology. Ski is the ‘science person’, she recently graduated with a BA in Biology and is currently working for a neuroscience laboratory at Harvard.
Q: What’s in ‘lab glop’?
A: This is most easily answered with a quote from the original text: “At the labs they feed us a rehydrated paste of protein, carbohydrates, whey, fish oil, flax, coenzyme CoQ10, Secretagogue, DHA, Gamma Linolenic GLA and Pyridoxine, thanks for asking. It’s the breakfast of champions.”
Q: How do you pronounce (any of the unpronounceable names in the comic)?
A: Excellent question, because we use lots of names and pronounce things weirdly. Here are a few:
Cri = Cree
Siras = Sir-rah
Malum = May-lum
Llorar = Lore-rar
Caedo = Kai-doe
Insurgi = In-sir-guy
Elkyone = Ehl-kai-own
Q: Why did Nine kill that guy in the prologue?
A: You will find out, but you’ll have to be patient.
Q: Does Dice always wear glasses?
A: Nope, just for reading, and for looking smart.
Q: What is the significance of ‘Four Fears’?
A: It’s the name of the website! Also it has something to do with Nine. Also there are four of them, and I guess they’re scary. What, you wanted a straight answer? Spoilers, people.
Q: How do you guys feel about Grayscale fanart/fanfic?
A: We’re flattered and honored (and often cracked up) by it, be sure to show us! We humbly request that it not be too graphic in nature, but eh, go nuts.
Q: Can I have your IM/GChat/Skype name?
A: Short answer…no. We both use applications like Skype to talk to our friends and family who are far away (not to mention one another!). If we gave out our contact info to all of our fans we would be bombarded as soon as we logged in. It’s not that we don’t love you guys, because we really really do, it’s strictly a logistics thing. If you want to chat, please drop us a comment on the site, our Tumblr, Twitter, or join us for one of our streams.
Q: Can I make a donation to the comic, or buy some merchandise?
A: We’re absolutely tickled pink that you like Grayscale enough to offer! And we finally have a positive answer to this question: if you’d like to support the comic (and get some awesome perks to boot) please pledge on our Patreon page! http://www.patreon.com/kataraqui