Mouse Guard: Legends of the Most Dedicated Creative Team of All Time
Elizabeth Heyman wrote for Bleeding Cool from NYCC
When I first sat down at this past weekend's "The Year of Mouse Guard" panel, I did not at all expect to sit through a slideshow of perfectly accurate to scale models of all the mythical locations from the series. That's not to say that I was disappointed. If anything, it was like getting to view the story through two different mediums for the price of one.
Some comic book creators will claim they've created a whole other world of their own but David Petersen LITERALLY created the world of Mouse Guard before ever even finishing the book.
What flashed before me were photos of the real June Alley Inn, Darkheather, and the mouse marionettes. Petersen claimed that he couldn't draw anything unless he knew what it looked like from every angle and the result of his obsession was a collection of mouse sized villages and structures that the author constructed himself.
But this is only one example of how completely dedicated to detail the Mouse Guard team actually is. Jeremy Bastian, one of the original contributors for Legends of Mouse Guard (a collection stories done by different writers branching off from the original book) admitted that his artwork was all drawn at the size that it appears in the graphic novel, as opposed to drawing it larger then shrinking it down to fit the panels. This means that even the nearly microscopic mouse skulls that were incorporated into the hawk's nest in "The Battle of the Hawk's Mouse & the Fox's Mouse" were painted with a single brush at the size that they appear.
Bastian even revealed the meaning of the small skulls, explaining them as all the mice that were sacrificed in order for their families to retrieve lost social standing with the hawk. "That's not even said anywhere in the story!" Petersen exclaimed very proudly of his friend. Bastian is apparently similar in mentality to Petersen in that way because he likes to know all facets of his story regardless of whether or not they are explicitly shown in the book.
But the construction of this fictional world doesn't end with the novels. At the panel, Petersen talked about the success of the accompanying Mouse Guard roleplaying game which allows fans of all ages to explore the realm of Kenzie, Saxon, and Rand. In addition to this, a new line of collectable replica weapons and figurines was announced to be available for purchase from in the near future. Fans will now be able to own their own mouse sized Black Axe and Rand's signature shield along with larger sized mouse marionettes.
However, at the inevitable audience question of whether or not a movie deal has been made, Petersen comments that that's where the expanding franchise currently meets its limits. Although he may remain in talks with multiple studios, Petersen has been frustrated by too many false starts in the past to willingly distract himself from his actual writing in order to make a film happen.
His refusal was not without good justification as the creator revealed that he has begun work on writing the much alluded to Weasel War of 1149. The book is meant to be a prequel to many of the already published stories and therefore is said to see the return of some of the lost characters as well as the original mouse trio. It'll even be released as a series of eight issues as opposed to the expected six.
Petersen could not have appeared to be more pleased with what he explained began as a series of sketches he made while attending community college so many years ago. It's the absolute completeness of the concept that won Legends of the Guard its Eisner Award and which continues to distinguish it from other fantasy stories on the market. It can also be argued that no other comic book creator would have had the ability (or truly the patience) to pull off such an amazing feat.