“Less exposition and more awesome!” Nich Angell talks 7String volume 3

For the third track of his epic musical fantasy series 7String, creator Nich Angell has changed key mid-track and gone off in a new digital direction. Now available online as well as via webcomic portal Tapastic, we tune up the band and aim to strike a chord with the continuing adventures of sword wielding maestro Zach Briarpatch and co.

“Its an opportunity to get to new readers who are used to reading their comics online and don’t necessarily attend conventions.”

The fabled third volume of 7String is now live on your website (www.7string.co.uk) and on Tapastic, what made you choose to go down this route rather than your usual mix of Kickstarter/Print and ComiXology? Will they be available via those channels in the future? And will it continue to follow the same ‘track’ structure of previous volumes?

Nich Angell: Its all about wanting to build a bit of community and engagement around the comic, and to make it more accessible for anyone who wants to read it. 7STRING wasn’t born as a webcomic but I feel it suits the transition. Its an opportunity to get to new readers who are used to reading their comics online and don’t necessarily attend conventions which has been the biggest vehicle for getting 7STRING out there up until now. And with platforms like Tapastic, which sends you a notification when a new episode goes up, we are in a golden age for digital comic reading! As for Kickstarter, ABSOLUTELY! I will run a kickstarter for the printing of the graphic novel to collect Volume 3 when it has serialised online. And Comixology will continue to get its track by track updates. Nothing will change except for the addition of the weekly updates!

For those new to 7String, or those looking to catch up, can you update us on all all the characters and where they currently are in the story? And can you give us any indication of what is set to happen to them in the coming weeks and months?

NA: Sure thing! Zach, the hero and wielder of the legendary 7STRING guitar sword is still searching for strength. He knows he needs to be stronger to get his revenge but is still utterly cut off from any emotion. At the end of Volume 2 he discovers he can channel both Sharp and Flat energy, something that should tear his body apart. Now in the new Volume he has had some time to perfect his Discord techniques so you can expect some new and awesome special moves! Efex’s search for Zach has brought her to the jungle continent of Nocturne, where Zach is! But first she will discover the secret of the Record, a colossal spinning stone disc that records the world’s history.

Nette and Liph have met up and along with a new friend will take to the sky to deliver the evidence that Liph collected, but it won’t all go to plan and they’ll end up teaming up with Zach and Efex and the whole team will finally assemble! On top of all of that, Kitt, the Drum-kit man, enters the scene. A villain on a whole new level for our heroes to fight, and for us to hear the tragic story of. This is an action packed volume with some MAJOR revelations for the world of Melodia’s history and our heroes!

Double page spreads like this one can be uploaded to Tapastic as a single episode, meaning Nich doesnt have to change the format of his story-telling

You’re releasing it weekly, (is that a full page each week, or just a few panels) has this changed how you produce your pages? Have you had to change your writing style to put in more cliffhangers and have you had to dial back the double page spreads?!
NA: The beauty of Tapastic is that a single ‘episode’ can consist of any number of pages. So although most of the time an episode will be just the one page, if its a double page spread I will upload both pages as one ‘episode’. And the same with sections I don’t want to break up, like action sequences and battles, to keep the flow. At the end of the day I want to stay true to the book format as that is the eventual home for the comic.

“I want to push the characters and plot forward in a big way with this volume. Less exposition and more awesome! “

Has working on different stories with BPM helped sharpen your skills for this new volume and given you a new desire to work on 7String – if so which areas do you think are stronger in after working on other titles? 
NA: Absolutely. Working on Jon’s scripts has forced me out of my comfort zone many many times and improved my art skills. Not only that, but working with Jon, and seeing firsthand how he constructs a story has really improved my own storytelling. On top of that, the Big Punch multiverse, The Extraverse, has had an effect on the overall story of 7STRING, tying it in even more firmly to our shared world.

You’re notorious for your complex world building, with 7String featuring everything from an entire global history, to card games within the series. Have you got any planned for these volumes that you can let us into? 
NA: Haha! I do love some hefty world building. The theme for Vol 3 however is much more feet to the ground, breakneck story. I want to push the characters and plot forward in a big way with this volume. Less exposition and more awesome! That said, I do introduce the spirit world of Melodia, the B-Side, in this volume and along with that I have had an idea for a ‘guide to the spirit world’ as a separate book… so we’ll see!

And what’s next for you? More BPM obviously? But any more card games or Cat and Meringue on the horizon?
NA: There’s always more comics to draw! Cuckoos and BPM are really ramping up this year to a major event in Year 4. This year is going to be awesome and I feel my artwork has taken some significant steps forward in recent weeks. But also, there is a major project in the works for Cat and Meringue… I can’t say too much yet but I can say that the duo will be coming alive in a whole new medium! Big big plans!