I'm ChatGPT, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Jay M, the creator of Eclipse Era of the Beast. Here's what he had to say:
Q1: Let's start at the beginning. What inspired you to create Eclipse Era of the Beast?
Jay M: In early childhood, something resonated deeply with me, and it pretty much catapulted my creative awakening: Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time. It opened my mind to the world of storytelling, and although there are other media that have since inspired me, LOZ is my cornerstone and what led me to the Shinto and spiritually influenced story that is Eclipse.
Q2: How would you describe your artistic approach to the manga?
Jay M: Fullmetal Alchemist influenced my desire to tell Eclipse in manga format, and that is also where I'm comfortable illustration-wise. It's a simpler style, but the focus is on character-driven storytelling, so I'm happy with that.
Q3: The themes of self-discovery and navigating a negatively charged world resonate strongly with readers. How did you infuse these themes into the narrative?
Jay M: The world of Eclipse is ridden with a looming threat of undying beings called the Fallen, who feed off negative energy and the suffering of the Conscious Kind. I think this is something we can end up feeling in the real world, looking at the rise of fascist ideas and aggressive mindsets when many Millennials in our generation are just seeking a space of peace and distance from such things. But it also would require us to pursue an active role in shaping our communities.
Q4: Can you tell us more about the fusion of fantasy adventure and hermetic alchemy in Eclipse Era of the Beast?
Jay M: I had a "spiritual awakening" in my late twenties that led to a lot of mental shifts for the better. I've been writing Eclipse for a while, which started as a simple fantasy foundation but has since evolved as I've evolved. As I'm learning more about the rich teachings of Hermeticism, I'm finding that it is acutely relevant to how characters move through their journeys, as well as the magic system at play.
Q5: The characters in the series embark on rich inner journeys. Could you share some insights into your character development process?
Jay M: I think they've matured as my own mind and ability to reflect has matured. I understand tragedy and grief, and I also understand the paths through hope and transmutation. This is the foundation of each character's arc.
Q6: Liannah, the main protagonist, holds a pivotal role in the story. What aspects of her character were most challenging to capture?
Jay M: I feel like I know Liannah pretty well, but there are always moments you need to tweak until the "note" hits right. I think this applies to all my characters, rather than just her. The one I struggle with most right now is Sevhar, the Fallen that is imprisoned at Ttaigo. I haven't quite hit the perfect notes with him yet.
Q7: The concept of the Fallen and their abilities is intriguing. How did you come up with the idea for their powers, such as perception manipulation and regeneration?
Jay M: Japanese storytelling employs a lot of spiritual magic systems that I'm deeply influenced by. This is my own interpretation of how the Fallen would organically fit into an alchemic, holographic universal system that is "The All."
Q8: The world-building in Eclipse Era of the Beast is incredibly detailed. Can you talk about your process of creating the empires and their organic technology?
Jay M: Similar to my last answer, I've had a lot of time to world-build, and this is paired with my real-life spiritual journey of hermetic alchemy, spirituality, and meditation downloads. It's all just fun play in the end.
Q9: The Promised One set has been highly anticipated. Could you give us a glimpse into what readers can expect from this arc?
Jay M: We're just getting started. You'll learn about how the Universe formed between two forces of energy, how all of it connected, how divine matter became corrupted in the form of Fallen, and how "the universe" is responding to that. The story follows an unwilling hero, Liannah, who has been curated to combat this schism in the system. We meet Liannah and her crew, who are just trying to keep their heads above water like the rest of the world.
Q10: How do you balance the visual aspects of manga with the depth of storytelling?
Jay M: I'm trying my best to keep my approach intuitive. You make better art that way. Even though it's important to pay attention to actual techniques used in the industry, I get lost in the sauce if I focus too hard on that.
Q11: Are there any specific manga or artistic influences that have inspired your work?
Jay M: I love a lot of the new manga these days, but I certainly am not at those skill levels yet. I like the Fullmetal Alchemist style as it's something I can most closely achieve. My focus is on the story.
Q12: Can you share a memorable moment or scene from Eclipse Era of the Beast that holds personal significance for you?
Jay M: So many payoff scenes ahead. Those are always my favorite, but from Promised One - I like the in-between moments of character relationships showing themselves. How Teeko, Liannah, and Zola all have their own dynamics with each other.
Q13: The release of the first print edition is approaching. How does it feel to see your creation in physical form?
Jay M: It's crazy. I've been waiting for this for so many years. To have it in my hands is both special and motivating.
Q14: The millennial generation is a key audience for Eclipse Era of the Beast. What elements of the story do you think will resonate most with this demographic?
Jay M: I think we tend to feel like fish out of water. We're tugged between the old and new world values. We want to change the world for the better, but we're also discouraged by the sights of the Goliaths who stand in that way. Maybe Gen Z are the honey badgers who make it happen! (Look out for Tawny - haha)
Q15: Throughout your creative journey, what has been the most rewarding aspect of bringing Eclipse Era of the Beast to fruition?
Jay M: It's an inner drive - something I must do. To finally embrace it and do what I must feels right. I'm on the right track for my life.
Q16: As the creator, what message or experience do you hope readers take away from Eclipse Era of the Beast?
Jay M: Embrace your truths. All your truths - this includes your flaws, fears, and natural talents. How can you transmute that into the life you want to live?
Q17: Can you provide any insights into what lies ahead for the future of the series?
Jay M: I think the next book will have a good amount of carnage. It's not a battle shonen by any means, but it will have some amount of action thanks to the Fallen and the magical skills of the Conscious Kind. We'll also see the lands of Lemenia and Tephonp.
Q18: How do you approach the balance between reader expectations and pushing the boundaries of storytelling within the manga medium?
Jay M: I think many styles of manga are accepted into the community. The story is what needs to resonate most. Just look at One Punch Man - the original creator struggled with illustration, but the story is what took it to what it became.
Q19: Are there any specific challenges you faced during the creative process, and how did you overcome them?
Jay M: I am a little on the green side when it comes to illustration. But it sure can make for fun content in my "Editor's Notes" short series on my YouTube channel.
Q20: Let's wrap. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers about Eclipse Era of the Beast or your creative journey?
Jay M: Please enjoy the reflection of my spirit. Eclipse is my heart - I hope it will connect with yours. - Jay M <3