Otherworld is an interesting experiment. I come from the games industry where creating new IP these days is next to impossible.
The problem is, a game can only stand up with the big dogs if it cost upwards of $40 million, has a team of more than a hundred very talented people and several years of development time. Trying to sell in new ideas (as I tried to when pitching Otherworld as a game) is extremely difficult because the risk that publishers are taking is so enormously high. This is why the games industry is drowning in sequels, leaving only the absolute largest and richest studios able to try out building new franchises.
So I decided I would choose another medium I love, comics, one where a single person can create a story and explore a world, and use it to try to build up a following large enough that I can pitch the idea again as an established IP. (Wish me luck with that!)
I came up with the idea of Otherworld in 2008 when I wrote a novel for NANOWRIMO. I liked it so much I went through two full edits in 2009 and ended up with a novel some 120k words long. An epic adventure of a very gifted girl thrust into another world where almost everyone wanted to use or dispose of her based on their own complex political agendas.
While it was a fantastic world building exercise, the novel wasn't very good for (at least) the following reasons:
1 The Otherworld is a complex and unfamiliar place and the main character did not have a very useful guide, so it took an enormously long time to really understand what was really going on.
2 It was a milieu, so the main character was not motivated by much more than the need to survive and understand her surroundings, which doesn't make for a very compelling character.
3 it took place almost solely in the Otherworld and didn't return to the 'real' world until the very end, which meant that most of the really interesting stuff was never explored.
When I approached writing the outline for the Otherworld comic I addressed all these issues and made it a story about two characters who had a sort of Dr Who and Assistant dynamic, but with a fairly significant difference. That was how Katlyn and Eden came into being.
Otherworld is not like Narnia or Wonderland (other than that all three worlds are a fantasy other-dimension parallel to our own) because Narnia and Wonderland are entirely made up, while Otherworld is based on folk myth.
Otherworld is not standard fantasy like Middle Earth or the glut of other DnD-like worlds out there, but it is based on similar source material.
Otherworld is not like normal Urban fantasy story, which asks the reader to believe that there are really vampires, werewolves and such like in this world, but we somehow have never caught, dissected or experimented on one.
Otherworld is based on the real world with one single "What if?"
What if the Sidhe, the Tuatha De Danann really did return to the Otherworld centuries ago and they took what we call magic with them. If you are unfamiliar with these older folk tales, I'm talking about the Book of Invasions and things like WB Yeats Celtic Twilight.
So I approached this story from a sci-fi perspective, trying to logic out all the repercussions of that one difference. Funnily, history fits together surprisingly neatly. So neatly in fact, that as I slowly reveal all the pieces of the puzzle over the course of the comic, I hope that it strikes enough chords and answers enough questions that people will begin to look at the real world in a new light. Because at it's heart, Otherworld is a conspiracy theory, just one that is bigger and about a different subject matter than people are used to reading.
Over the course of the comic, the two main characters explore a politically rich new world populated by some familiar but differently interpreted versions of mythological beings. They get to understand the points where that world and ours collide and have collided throughout our history and learn of the frictions and results that came with those interactions. They will also explore the dark underside of our world where the people who know the truth pull the strings and shape the only reality we are aware of.
As a universe built to function as a game, I've strived to create magic that has very concrete rules, and powers that have been carefully balanced to stop any one creature or magical effect from being so strong that it cannot somehow be countered. Fundamentally I have tried to create creatures and characters with powers that are cool enough that you'd want to play as one of them.
Having said that, one of advantages of telling this story in comic form, is that I can explore story arcs that I could never explore in games. I can have characters who are more flawed, who struggle with much greater internal demons, have more compelling (or even conflicting) motivations and who have relationships that simply would not work if I was expecting someone else to play as them. Being that extra step removed gives me an amazing new freedom to tell this story and I can't wait to share it with you.
Please checkout the first hundred or so pages that makes up only the intro to the story here.