Tomorrow sees the release of the Short story collection Baldwin the Brave & Other Tales. This Mouse Guard book collects my last 4 Free Comic Book Day stories as well as 2 new stories written specifically for the collection. Today I'm going to share a bit about one of those stories: Service to Seyan.
Here is the title card for Service to Seyan...and it doesn't give too much away. Longtime readers of Mouse Guard probably have some understanding of the word "Seyan" as it's referenced as some sort of afterlife for Guardmice. This story is a cautionary tale about how access to that place is granted. Show in this image, the axe & the cauldron belong to two mice who arrive at the gates of that mythic afterlife and discover what it takes to get in....or at least what it takes according to this tale.
I've designed some locations and buildings in Mouse Guard that I think are pretty grand and designs I'm proud of....but if I was going to visualize an afterlife that is sought after, I needed to up my game and really design the most glorious mouse architecture I could think of. To the left you can see my rough for the page where Seyan as a whole (or mostly) is shown all at once. Unlike me, I did this without building a model (and resisting the urge the whole time) I looked at several existing castle and citadel photos and then was heavily inspired by the grandeur Mike Mignola drew into the city of Pandemonium in Hellboy in Hell.
However, I was only able to resist building a model for so long. Most of the story takes place at the gates of Seyan rather than inside it, so I built a model of the gatehouse. I did this after drawing the first page where it's shown, so I had to retro-model it to fit what I'd already drawn. I made a few alterations even still and ended up with this piece. It's made of a cardboard mailing tube, printed paper, chipboard, and wooden dowels left over from a piece of IKEA furniture....oh and lots of hot melt glue.
To add some fun call back reference, I made the gatekeeper of Seyan a character from one of my favorite Legends of the Guard stories: The Battle of the Hawk's Mouse & the Fox's Mouse by Jeremy Bastian. Jeremy's story dealt with a possible backstory of the first two guardmice and the first matriarch. So who better to watch over Seyan than those two mice...and the gate keeper is one of their sons, who is all grown up, but from so long ago that he too has passed on.
The best way to get an instant update of when it's available is to follow me on Twitter @Mouseguard
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