Society throws around the phrase “soul mate” and places great importance on each of us finding that single person meant for us. The concept puts pressure on meeting people. And Legendary Comics’ The Heart Hunter places a whole other level of pressure on the concept. The story from writer Mickey George and artist V. Gagnon takes place on Envecor, a cursed island. Each person who lives on the island is immortal, wearing their hearts outside of their bodies, until they find their soul mate. Then they can actually change and grow. But some on the island want to remain immortal forever so they hire Heart Hunters to kill their soul mates… Heart Hunters like Psyche, who’s at the center of the narrative.
Kinda brutal, right? But also, a magical and enthralling tale.
We talked with George and Ganon via email about the story inspiration, the gorgeous designs, and their collaboration. We also have some exclusive pages from the graphic novel.
Nerdist: Soul mate can have different meanings to different people. How did you define it for The Heart Hunter?
Mickey George: For me, and in The Heart Hunter, a soul mate is more than just someone you feel deep romantic chemistry with. The concept of “change” is a big part of the story, and that’s how I think of soul mates. Anyone who is a key pillar in your life. You can’t go around them or ignore them; for better or worse, contact with them changes you. They were meant to be in your life, and in that way, their souls are tied up in yours.
When did you first come up with the idea for the story and how has it changed since then?
George: The Heart Hunter was unique for me in that the concept of it came before the characters. The premise of the novel has never changed for me, but once I put the characters in, they gained more life and personality and the story shifted to accommodate their decisions as they became more real.
The Heart Hunter has fairy tale and Greek mythology vibes. What kind of stories influenced the graphic novel?
George: I’m so glad you picked up on that! I wanted it to come across almost as an allegory. There’s one story happening on the surface, and underneath that is a labyrinth of abstract lessons and feelings. V’s art also reflects that. To me, the pages almost feel like an extended tarot card. You can read it for the fun story, but there are things to be parsed out that will be individual to each reader.
V. Gagnon: Visually the graphic novel was hugely inspired by classical fairy tale illustration, especially Ivan Bilibin’s Vasilisa the Beautiful and the work of Kay Nielsen.
Anatomical hearts are actually beautiful and you’ve made them so elegant here. Can you tell me a little about developing the look of the hearts and also everyone’s heart containers?
Gagnon: For the hearts, I really wanted them to feel like extensions of their owner’s emotional wellbeing, some people have healthy hearts, some have full hearts of gold, some have hearts falling apart and stitched together, other’s hearts of steel. We played a lot with literal interpretations of common sayings. For the containers I spent a lot of time perusing antique stores and researching historical glassware.
Tell me a little about your collaboration process.
George: We brought V on to start on the artwork when I was about halfway through fleshing out the script. For the character designs and first pages, I provided so many references and notes, but when I saw those finished pages, it influenced the execution of the script’s ending. The story didn’t change, per se, but I wrote it specifically to lean into V’s strengths. There were also pages where I’d be like, “This is generally what needs to be conveyed, have fun and do what you want!” and I was never disappointed. V invented the magical aesthetic of the story. I feel really honored to have made this story together with V, I think they are phenomenally talented.
Gagnon: The collaboration project was excellent! We were very in sync about what the project should be. We worked chapter by chapter, so we were able to adapt aspects of each other’s work into future chapters and playing to both of our strengths!
The Heart Hunter is available today from wherever you buy books. The following exclusive pages tell the story of how the curse
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