Fox Fires creator Emilia ”Pipilia” Ojala has created a webcomic that has deep roots in Finnish folklore and is accessible to readers everywhere. And it’s no wonder as to why. In addition to be a comic rife with high adventure and rollicking energy, filled with anthropomorphic animals and sprawling vistas that draw that eyes in and keep them there. Fox Fires is truly a delight, chapter after chapter.

Ojala recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring the second volume of Fox Fires to life, partnering with Rocketship Entertainment, with the book to be published under Rocketship’s young readers imprint Bottlerocket. I spoke with Emilia Ojala recently about the idea behind Fox Fires, what we can expect to see in Book Two, the Kickstarter campaign itself, and the value of adventure stories starring animals. Fox Fires is a delightful, engagaing comic that is a comforting balm when you might need a warm story. The Kickstarter is well worth a look.


FOX FIRE Book Two page proof


FreakSugar: For folks who aren’t familiar with the comic, what can you tell us about the idea behind Fox Fires?

Emilia Ojala: Fox Fires is a fantasy adventure comic from the perspective of animals. It takes inspiration from Finnish mythology. When the northern lights (or as they’re called in the story: Fox Fires) disappear, a young raccoon dog named Raate goes on a journey to find answers. She must find a flaming fox, Repo, who she believes is the only one who could return them. On her journey she meets many new friends and mythological creatures.

FS: The cast of Fox Fires is so rich. What can you us about the characters we meet?

EO: In volume 2 of Fox Fires, Raate meets many otters. The main ones she gets to know are Vehka and her mother, Lumme. Vehka has bit of an attitude towards strangers, and it takes some time until she’ll accept you. Lumme is total opposite of her daughter, she is very gentle, even for those that you could see as enemies. She has a lot of experience and wisdom due to her old age.

We also meet the first official antagonists in this book: Tuhka and Ruska, the wolf brothers. We still don’t know much about their past, or why they’re without a wolf pack. They’re struggling to survive, which makes them make desperate decisions. But they care about each other, since they’re the only family they got right now.


FOX FIRES Book Two page proof


FS: The story of the comic is a rich in myth. What is the inspiration behind the series?

EO: The huge inspiration I have for this series comes from my country’s myths and folklore. I also like to look at nature, and imagine all kinds of scenarios that could be happening in there, when humans are not around to see it.

FS: Are there any particular influences that have impacted your tales?

EO: Oh, there are many! Most of them are stories I loved as a kid, I watched/read anything with animals in them. I think Fox Fires‘ biggest influences are things like The Animals of Farthing Wood, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, Watership Down, Bambi, and as a Finn, I must mention Moomins. I love these slow phased stories with animals/creatures in them, that have some kind of philosophical message in them or just stories about life in general. I also like them, because even though some of these series are aimed for younger audiences, they still have things in them that adults can enjoy and relate to. Something I’m trying to accomplish with Fox Fires too.


Characters from FOX FIRES Book Two


FS: How has the series changed over the years? What kind of unexpected turns has the story taken?

EO: There hasn’t been too many changes, but some characters ended up getting bigger roles than I was planning in the begining of the series. Tuike, for example, was supposed to be an one-off character in the story. But I loved him too much! So luckily I had an idea how to put him into the story as more recurring side character. And, if we want to go to the very beginning, before I even started to actually draw the comic, Raate‘s little brother, Otava, was supposed to be the main character. I can’t remember why I chose not to use him. But, he still has an important role in the story, so he is still very present!

FS: On to the Kickstarter, what can you tell us about the campaign?

EO: This is the second volume of Fox Fires, which was possible after a successful campaign with the Volume 1 a few years ago! This one is much more orange themed, I loved working on the rewards when I tried to keep the color theme with them too! So they make very nice sets. You’re up for some very fresh art!


“Jump and Swim” print available in the FOX FIRES Book Two Kickstarter


FS: What kind of backer rewards are available to campaign contributors?

EO: We have so much stuff planned! Some of them are still hidden in the stretch goals, but! We have exclusive prints, pins, bookplates signed by me and even a Repo plushie that I’m very excited about! Don’t worry if you weren’t part of the Volume 1 campaign, since we have plenty of stuff available from that one too! Like the coloring and activity book for example!

FS: Besides being entertained, what do you hope readers get from the series?

EO: I think one thing I want to give to the readers is to just have a little breather from their everyday lives. Just look at cute animals and their adventures in the middle of life’s problems, especially adult life can get a bit hectic at times. I’m not a philosopher, but I’m very glad if someone finds any life lessons in the story as well. Or maybe see the nature in a more magical way. If nothing else, then at least learn something about the Finnish myths! I also want to leave some things for the readers’ own interpretation. People see different themes in stories, usually something that is or has been present in their own life journeys. These are things us authors can never predict, and I don’t want to just tell the readers what they’re supposed to see in the story. I love this element in art and storytelling!



FS: How do approach the art and plotting process of creating a Fox Fires story?

EO: There are some mythology stuff and plot points that I’ve decided to include in the story, and basically I just use those as my guidelines. For example, I want to tell about some mythological thing, and then I plan how to include it in the story in a way that it fits the overall plot. I want every arc to either be going forward in the story, or serve as character development. Those are the main things I focus on when planning the little stories within the main plot.

FS: If you had one last pitch for potential backers, what would it be?

EO: I just want to say, that this world still needs more animal comics and adventure stories about animals. When I was a kid I loved everything animal related, but back then there were so few stories about them. I just wanted four-legged, talking animals. So, this comic is for the child-me and to everyone who has this same kind of crawing towards animal adventure stories, and thinks there should be more of them available in comic form!

As of press time, the Kickstarter for Fox Fires Book Two has already hit its goal more than five times over. There are still two weeks left in the campaign and you can still check it out and get on backer rewards and kits here.