The wildly popular, Ringo Award-nominated webcomic The Croaking by Megan Grey has become a fan-favorite over the years, and it’s no wonder. The series focuses on Avians, human/bird hybrids and the inhabitants of mysterious island which has a dark secret that may not stay uncovered. The Croaking is populated by these Avians who are part of a hierarchical structure rooted in which bird species is blended with a particular human. It’s a fascinating comic blending fantasy, science fiction, romance, and intrigue, all under this insightful look into class and societal status.
Grey recently launched a Kickstarter in partnership with Rocketship Entertainment for pre-order of The Croaking Volume 2, as well as to make backer rewards available to campaign contributors. I spoke with Megan Grey about the conceit of The Croaking, where we find the cast in Volume 2, the backer rewards themselves, and what crafting The Croaking means to her.
FreakSugar: For folks who might not be familiar with the series, what is the concept of The Croaking?
Megan Grey: The Croaking explores the world of Avians (human/bird hybrids) whose society is centered around a hierarchical structure based on the bird species you’re spliced with – with Eagles and other Raptors at the top, and Corvids (especially Crows) at the very bottom. The story surrounds Scra, the first Crow to be accepted into the prestigious military academy The Roost, and his roommate Ky, an Osprey. As Ky, Scra, and their Kestrel friend Ree work together to uncover more mysteries on their island and the three of them grow closer, it’s soon apparent that they’re in way over their heads, and those who seem the most open hide the largest secrets of them all.
FS: Over the years of the comic, you’ve constructed a rich world of characters. What can you tell us about the cast?
MG: The cast is…extensive at this point! What started as a single storyline has expanded into about 8, all intertwined with everyone’s scheming, and an action for one has consequences for others.
FS: You bring in so many storytelling techniques and genres. What have been some of your influences on the series?
MG: I like consuming all genres and media and draw from those stories, as well as my own life experiences probably! I know what I enjoy reading/watching and what I find entertaining or meaningful, so try to find ways of weaving that into my own work. Shows like Avatar the Last Airbender were big influences on me.
FS: Has the comic taken turns that you didn’t expect when you started the series?
MG: 100% – the comic was just meant to be a short story initially, something cute and quick that I would work on for a little bit, then ultimately put down. It’s been 4 years now and I still haven’t put it down! So many twists and turns have written themselves in, and characters who were meant to stay in the background have decided to take center-stage. I’m thankful that the long-comic format allows me the time to explore those characters, and see the ripple effects of their decisions as the story progresses.
FS: What comics are you reading right now?
MG: On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden.
FS: Where do we find the characters at the beginning of Volume 2?
MG: Hungover! At least Ree is – Scra and Ky are recovering from a night of fighting off Magpies and pulling flight feathers, completing Scra’s initiation into the Murder he’s been resisting joining all of Volume 1. With the process complete, he desperately tries to avoid his new boss for fear of being given a mission, but as more and more questions crop up, he knows the only person with answers is the one he wants to stay away from the most.
FS: Is there a particular character or characters who feel most akin to or that feels close to who you are?
MG: I think all of my characters have a bit of myself in them, I’m selfish that way. For the most part the main three’s personalities are probably just exaggerated versions of different aspects of my own that I’m never able to fully commit to – Ree is feisty and fearless and doesn’t worry what others think, but also doesn’t always consider other people’s feelings before acting. Ky is loyal to the people he thinks deserve it, but always worries about the little things. Scra’s more of a quiet observer, who’s personality comes out the more he gets to know someone. Some days I relate to one, others I related to all three.
FS: On to the Kickstarter itself, what can you tell us about the campaign?
MG: The latest campaign compiles episodes 26-49 of the Webtoon series into printed book format, with the options between hard or soft cover.
FS: What kind of backer rewards can contributors expect?
MG: We’ve got plush, pins, prints, books, bookmarks, stickers, magnets and more – as well as the chance to snag an exclusive commission from me, or for yourself to appear as your favorite bird species in the background of the comic!
FS: This is your second time partnering with Rocketship. What makes the company a fit for you to work with?
MG: I can’t fault them, honestly. The team really goes out of their way to listen and make sure I’m happy with everything, and put a lot of care into the products they create and the stories they help put out there.
FS: What has working on The Croaking meant to you over the years, both personally and creatively?
MG: Freedom, mostly. It’s given me the opportunity to work wherever I need to and travel a lot while doing so, I also think it’s pretty rare to be able to do what you love full time and I’m so extremely grateful to be able to put all my time and energy into making something that fulfills me creatively and tells the story I want to.
FS: Are there any other projects that you’re currently working on?
MG: Always! I’m currently focusing on the next volume of Sonder, a dark fairytale magical realism comic I create with writer Adam Hayter.
FS: If you had a final pitch for anyone considering checking out the Kickstarter, what would it be?
MG: If you enjoy soft fantasy, world-building, sassy characters, slow-burn romance, mystery, and BIRDS, then check out my comic The Croaking!
As of press time, the Kickstarter for The Croaking Volume 2 has reached its initial goal almost TEN TIMES OVER! You still have three days to get in on all the backer rewards available!