Thursday, March 7, 2013

To Prevent World Peace

So, introduce yourself! 
Hello!  My name is Emily Martha Sorensen, and I write and draw To Prevent World Peace.  I also have a book I've recently published, and another webcomic that is now complete.
Where is your comic posted?
To Prevent World Peace is available at  A Magical Roommate, my first webcomic, can be found at  You can find links to my book on my main website,
When does it update?
To Prevent World Peace updates with a new page every Friday.
What category is your comic in, and why?
I guess you might say it's "action," but it's not really the action scenes that drive the story.  (And there's a lot more character interaction than action scenes, anyway.)  It might also fit in "comedy," since it's a bit of a genre-parody.  Is there a place for "magical girl series"?  ^_-

What is your story about?
Think a magical series from the point of view of the villains.

What inspired you to write this comic?
Believe it or not, a little bit of inspiration came from the 2002 Birds of Prey TV series.  (I loved that thing.)  Another smidgen came from the (very horrible) anime series Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge (specifically, the half called Gedou Otome Tai).  Mostly, I had been wanting to do my own magical girl series for a long time, and I have a funny habit of trying to look at stories from unusual points of view to see how that changes things.
For those of us who aren't familiar with them, what are these shows like? Birds of Prey is based on a DC comic book about an all-female superhero team. The main character is Helena Kyle, Batman's daughter. Another main character is Oracle, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl before her major injuries. The TV show was not particularly faithful to the original, from what I understand, but it WAS really fun -- kind of like Charmed with superheroes. I loved the dynamic between these characters. Gedou Otome Tai was about five sisters who all wanted to be villains, but were always doing nice things (because they were all such nice people) instead. The other half of Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge was Love Pheromone, and I LOATHED that half of the story -- it was about two girls who claimed they were heroes, but were always doing horrible things. (Also, while both halves of the show could be annoyingly dirty, Love Pheromone was significantly worse.) But the two halves were supposed to show silly opposites -- heroes who thought they were villains, and villains who thought they were heroes.

What kind of world does your comic take place in?
I actually spend a lot of time with the worldbuilding.  I've tried to create a world where magical girls are everywhere and all the genre cliches are commonplace, yet I want it to feel realistic and believable.  To that end, I've made their world an alternate universe, with a specific schism point away from our history.  Our world is identical to theirs until the 1910s -- which is when the first magical girl singlehandedly ended the first World War in a stalemate.  Since then, our worlds' histories have divided a great deal: you can read more about the worldbuilding at  Or you can read the commentary pages, which frequently contain worldbuilding details.

I've noticed there are also several text-only pages peppered throughout the comic. What do you call these? Those are the commentary pages. There's a page of commentary after the end of every chapter, both to give me a place to talk about the story and to make the chapter breaks more distinct.

Do they say anything special that you can't find in the other worldbuilding pages? Well, there is a page with general worldbuilding information (the "about" page), but I can't overload readers with ridiculous quantities of details in one huge chunk; if I did, it would get boring. Plus, there are plenty of details that are only interesting when you're seeing that specific setting in play. I also use the commentary pages to talk about magic system details, character backstories, and sometimes even behind-the-scene things.
Who are your main characters?
Kendra is the main character.  She used to be a magical girl named Cream Angel, but she quit when she found out her most likely future included destroying the world.  Now she's a villain, out to take down corrupt magical girls before they can do harm, like she would have.

 Chronos is a sort-of-villain who considers herself "neutral."  She was raised in a powerful villain family, but has always been disgusted by their goals.  She isn't particularly on the side of magical girls either; she has no real love for them, but she isn't out to get them, either.  She's providing Kendra with the information she needs, since she can see the future and has been badgered into helping Kendra do things.

 Tiffany used to be a magical girl, but she was kidnapped by a villain at a very young age, and has been raised by villains (as a prisoner in their dungeons) ever since.  She's cute and bouncy and happy-go-lucky, and yet has a somewhat evil side because nobody ever really, er, did much to teach her about morality.

The main villain is Rhea.  She's a fashion designer who specializes in creating villain outfits to tempt magical girls to turn evil (because villains *always* look cooler than magical girls, and a lot of girls in their age range are fashion-conscious).  She's very subtle, quiet, and manipulative, and extremely easy to underestimate.  Like a snake, she hides silently, almost invisible, until she suddenly decides to strike -- and the victim's dead before they realize she hit it.

The final two important characters are Florence and Felicity.  Both Kendra's former teammates, and one of them Kendra's best friend, they are dealing with her betrayal and trying to figure out what this means for their plans for the future.
Florence, especially, seems to have some big plans for the future of all magic girls. What's she cooking up, and why? Florence has become increasingly aware that magical girls are extremely powerful, and starting to become too much so. While the magic system is mostly self-regulating, it's not so good at that that it's a good idea to blindly trust everyone with power. She's hoping to create what amounts to a government for magical girls -- to protect their interests, to provide resources to help them, to educate people about them, and to police those who need to be watched more carefully.
What do you think makes your comic unique?
Well, the "point of view of the villains," for starters!  But I've also never seen a magical girl series set in a world that was a fully-realized alternate history.  I've been trying very hard to unify the whole genre into one cohesive worldbuilding.  Not as easy as you might think.

How would you describe the style in which your comic is drawn? (Or rendered, or arranged, etc.) Manga-style, naturally.

How do you make a page? I do my scripting on the same pages I will eventually use for drawing.  I lay out pages extremely sloppy, with barely-more-than-vague-stick-figures, and I write out dialogue in the extremely rough paneling.  Generally I rewrite each page three to five times, and I usually end up erasing and redrawing the rough version at least twice for each page.

When I'm finished scripting, which actually takes as long as the drawing stage, I begin the drawing phase. I usually spend around two hours drawing each page. When I'm finished with this, I begin the inking stage. 

This usually takes around one hour for each page.

When I'm finished with drawing and inking, it's time for scanning. I usually scan in pages in clumps of five to fifteen. Because my scanner no longer works with my computer, I need to use my husband's, and then I transfer the files over to mine to do lettering.

I use Photoshop 7 for lettering. I take the scans, I clean them up, I redraw the panel lines to be perfectly straight, and I fix any mistakes. (There are usually a lot of mistakes.) I sometimes draw the backgrounds separately, which means I insert them in this stage; this is something I've been doing more and more recently. 

Cleaning and lettering can take two to three hours per page. If dialogue-heavy, or special effects are needed, three or four hours per page.

Overall, I usually spend around ten hours on each page.

Here are two images of page one of Chapter Nine, so you can see the difference. The first shows how a page looks right after scanning in; the second shows the whole thing finished. As you can see, I do a whole lot of fixing of mistakes in the process of lettering.

Do you have any plans to sell your comic in print or e-book form? (Or anything similar) 
Yes!  I have print editions of each chapter.  I also plan to make e-book versions available eventually.  Each print / e-book edition comes with extra pages, how many depending on the chapter's length.  There are always at least two: the one-page bonus comic for each chapter (canon, but unnecessary), and a colored back cover page.

Are you part of any comics networks or groups? (Aside from this one)
I have links to my site on TopWebComics, Belfry, Piperka, and probably many others I'm forgetting.  I also have a TV Tropes page, which I think is neat.

Have you worked on any other comics?
Yes, a lot of them.  This is my second that I've worked on seriously; the first was A Magical Roommate, which is now complete.  Before them, I had many that I played with, particularly as a kid; I've always loved the comic art form as a fun way to tell stories
Can you give us a short description of what A Magical Roommate was about? A Magical Roommate is about a wizard-in-training who gets forced to go to college in our world. It's a G-rated, slice-of-life, four-panel fantasy comic strip. You can find it at

Do you have any advice for fellow comics writers?
You need to have two of three things to get a strong readership: great writing, great art, and a great update schedule.  Pick two of these and do not deviate from them.  If you want popularity, you're going to need all three.

Do you have a message for your fans?
I love you guys!  Thank you for reading my story!

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