The Skull Of Agarash

THE SKULL OF AGARASH is a rarity - a Lone Wolf graphic novel. A tale of mystery and high adventure illustrated by artists Cyril Julien and Brian Williams. This full-color edition also features a Magnamund Archive packed with lore and new information, compiled by Ben Dever, August Hahn, and Vincent Lazzari.

But this is not all...

Way back in 1986, Joe Dever released a mini-gamebook DAWN OF THE DARKLORDS featuring fan-favorite character Banedon. Now, this story has been adapted as a fully playable branching graphic novel, illustrated and adapted by award-winning graphic novelist Shane Walsh-Smith.

Available now — exclusively from Magnamund.com

WATCH THE TRAILER

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INTERVIEW WITH CYRIL JULIEN

Cyril Julien is a comics artist who has illustrated Judge Dredd and 2000 AD, but is best known to our community for illustrating Lone Wolf: The Skull of Agarash. Last month, Florent Haro from Scriptarium took the time to interview Cyril in preparation for their own French reissue.
Here, Cyril Julien talks in-depth about his career, his work with Joe Dever, and his experiences while creating art for the Lone Wolf graphic novel Skull of Agarash.

We'd like to thank Cyril for this interview, and for his incredible generosity in allowing us to color and republish his work in this brand new edition.


Thank you for speaking with us, Cyril.  Can you tell us some about you and explain what brought you to draw comics?
That's an easy one, I grew up the youngest in a house of 5 siblings, 2 brothers, and 3 sisters. Both of my older brothers could draw well, and I merely followed them by copying whatever they did. We all watched sci-fi and fantasy movies and TV shows as an inspiration, as well as read many comics.
My eldest brother bought Marvel superhero comics, but my older brother and I were more into sci-fi; him Star Trek and me Star Wars, so we collected 2000AD religiously. That comic debuted around the same time as Star Wars, here in the UK in 1978, and was a major inspiration in continuing to draw our own strips.

Could you describe your career as an artist and bookseller?
In a word, traumatic! Around 1987, A friend I knew from school visited a shop I was working in. He was currently drawing a strip for 2000AD and couldn't believe I was working in retail when I could be doing the dream job like him. He and a mutual friend got me back into reading comics during what became the 80's comic boom.
I eventually found regular work with a RPG monthly magazine, but I went months without getting paid for anything I had produced, especially after the publishers went into administration. The editors restarted the magazine under another publisher, and I eventually started getting paid for whatever work they could throw my way. The pay was low and infrequent, but the experience was a learning process, forever trying to juggle regularly paid part time work in retail, while trying to stick to deadlines for irregular and low paid commissioned art. Then came the opportunity to do the Lone Wolf Graphic Novel!

How did you come to work on Skull of Agarash?
After the first GM magazine publishers had gone into administration, one of the editors who ran the newly relaunched RPG Magazine happened to also be close friends with Joe Dever.
I had been commissioned to draw a poster for an event Joe was going to be at, and suggested I meet with him there, as he liked the poster I had drawn, and was looking for a fresh new artist to draw his graphic novel. I brought some of my other unpublished art and strips to the event to show him, and he was impressed enough to offer me the job.

Were there a character, place, or scene you preferred to draw in Skull of Agarash? A favorite?
I guess I would be biased towards the characters I designed for the project like Mazrah or Azara. Lone Wolf in his ornate robes, with the wolf's head belt, was one I remember enjoying designing a lot. Joe liked the original sketch and talked of plans to get it made into a collectable statuette.
As for a place or scene, I was really looking forward to doing the big fight scenes at the end, combat scenes were always my favourite thing to draw. The Giak in the forest would be one, and the first page inlay, with Lone Wolf on his knees in front of the actual Skull of Agarash would be another. It was a prelude to the fight scene I was already formulating ideas for. I had done a great conceptual sketch of what the Agarash would have looked like when it was a live beast. It was a gorgeous landscape spread with the wings out, flying majestically.

You shared art duties on this book with Brian Williams. Did you know Brian Williams' art before that?
Only from the books Joe gave me in that initial year. Joe was the only collaborator I had ever had any contact with, or met in person from the other Lone Wolf productions. His world of Lone Wolf was completely new to me, as I explained before. All the artists I knew beforehand, drew comics.
Brian was a book illustrator, so when they approached him to finish the strip, I think he found it quite difficult to adjust. He gave me a call totally out of the blue, shortly after he had finished the strip. He told me how he couldn't believe how hard it was to do, especially while also trying best to mimic my style as opposed to just doing his own; and how he never wanted to attempt anything like it again.
We laughed about it, and I explained to him what people don't understand about the complexities of being a comic illustrator; is that it's not just working on a picture to encapsulate a chapter in a story, or an entire book. It's like a mini film production with a crew of one person. You become the casting director, the set designer, the costume and prop designer, the cinematographer, the lighting director, the film editor and the director with every project you illustrate.

You are not currently working as an illustrator. Would you like to draw again one day? If so, what would you like to work on?
I had two projects I had started on before I stopped illustrating. The first was a card game based on organised crime families. The second was a graphic novel that was hoped to offer to 2000AD to be produced as a Strontium Dog strip, or developed as a stand alone homage to Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai movie.
The recent pandemic was the single greatest gift to a comic illustrator wanting to develop his own projects. If I had the motivation and zeal back then, I could have finished at least two graphic novels. I was classified as high risk due to my long term conditions like diabetes and asthma, not to mention weakened immunity from chemo. So I had to spend nearly two years isolating myself from friends and family even when the various lockdowns ended.
My ultimate dream would be doing any work for a Star Wars project. It's not something I could possibly turn down, not in any state, even if I only had use of one eye and a foot! Everyone who knows me can confirm Star Wars is in my DNA. But the future is an open book for me right now, the pandemic forced me into redundancy, and I'm still searching for some new role or opportunity. I guess anything after surviving for years with a cancerous mass, 6 months of chemotherapy, and being hit by three cars; has to be considered as a blessing to pursue something!

Thanks for the opportunity to recount the old days. I hope you all continue to enjoy the strip and keep Joe's world of Lone Wolf alive!

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