Marc Bernardin Shares His Influences Behind New YA Graphic Novel ‘Adora And The Distance’

by Olly MacNamee

Marc Bernardin debuting his new digital graphic novel through comiXology Original recently;  Adora and the Distance is a YA hero’s quest full of ghosts, pirates and other fantastical beasties, allies and enemies to throw up obstacles into Adora’s path:

Adora and the Distance is a YA fantasy graphic novel following the epic adventures of Adora, a brave young woman of color who lives in a fantastical world with underground pirates, ghosts, and a mysterious force called “The Distance” which threatens to destroy it all.

Bernardin is joined by colourist Bryan Valenza, letterer Bernardo Brice, and award-winning editor Will Dennis on this new publication that is brimming with inspirations and influences from across the pop cultural landscape. Influences he wanted share with readers of to give you all an insight into the graphic novel from a writer who has worked on Star Trek: Picard, Carnival Row, Treadstone, Castle Rock, Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina, the forthcoming Masters of the Universe: Revelations, and more:

That and a ten page preview too! I mean, what more can you ask for?

The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien

“Anyone sitting down to write a quest story owes a little something to Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. And there’s that feeling you get when Frodo and the fellowship of the Ring set out from Rivendell to start the long, fraught journey to Mordor — “we’re on the precipice of a grand adventure” — that I wanted to conjure in Adora.”

Coraline and The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

“There’s a line in Coraline, where Gaiman’s young female protagonist explains “Because . . . when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.” In Adora and the Distance, I wanted to play homage to that idea, that courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s action in spite of fear. And when I was first talking to art wizard Ariela Kristantina about how the world should feel, I kept referring to issue 50 of Gaiman’s Sandman comic, “Ramadan,” drawn by P. Craig Russell, which depicts the Baghdad that exists in fable.”

The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas

“These are just rollicking adventures, with large casts of characters, full of derring-do and arch heroics. They’re fun. Even when they’re about legacy, as the Three Musketeers is, or revenge, as Monte Cristo is. They move, breathlessly, from encounter to encounter.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Once More With Feeling”

“At the time this episode aired, the titular vampire slayer had sacrificed herself to save the world. It was, in Klingon parlance, a good death. But her friends were bereft without her, so they worked tirelessly to bring her back from the great beyond. And, because this was a musical episode, Buffy could sing what she’d never say to her friends. Namely: “I think I was in heaven. You pulled me out of heaven.” That concept really stuck with me, the idea that we do what we think is best for the people we love…even if it might not be what they’d want.”

And finally…

Hellboy II: The Golden Army, directed by Guillermo del Toro

“Del Toro is a man who loves, LOVES monsters. He’s sympathetic towards them. He wants the viewer to understand them. And there are some monstrous things in Adora — but our main character can see through what might present as horror to find the humanity, for lack of a better word, instead a gigantic heart.”

Adora and the Distance is available now on comiXology Originals.

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