I'm Roman Xenophontos. Writer for the new webcomic series Tree of Life. AMA!

Roman Xenophontos
Jul 28, 2018

Hi guys! 

Tree of Life is a sci-fi/action webcomic created by me and my wife Noy AKA Bakaneko33. I don't really have any formal training in writing or anything. And this is my first time actually putting a story out there. My wife, however, is an amazing artist and has been at it for years. She has a Facebook page where she posts her art here.

The comic takes place in a universe where the production infinite energy is possible due to the discovery of an artefact that called Keter. This artefact, along with producing infinite energy, also grants humanity extended lifespans, upwards of 500 years.

It stars Aida, a young woman who finds herself caught in the middle of a huge conspiracy and decides to get to the bottom of it all.

We post our comic every other Tuesday on LINE Webtoon. So far we have 4 chapters out!

Read it here!

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How often do you write? Do you have any rituals before or after writing your stories for Tree of Life?
Jul 30, 10:04AM EDT0
What is the conspiracy in which Aida finds herself in the middle of?
Jul 30, 7:19AM EDT0
How do the two of you decide about where the story goes, how do you want it to develop, how should the characters look, etc.? What do you do if you disagree on something?
Jul 30, 4:54AM EDT0
What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the right tools for you?
Jul 30, 4:10AM EDT0
What’s one thing you had to learn the hard way while creating your own webcomic?
Jul 30, 12:44AM EDT0
What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
Jul 29, 8:02PM EDT0
What drove you and your wife to create a new webcomic?
Jul 29, 4:19PM EDT0
How would you like your career to evolve in the future? What is your definition of success?
Jul 29, 1:48PM EDT0

I wouldn't exactly call this a career yet. I would hopefully like it to become one at some point though. I think if I can make a living off this story I'll be more than happy. My definition of success is to have enough people following our story so that we have a sort of small fandom. 

Jul 29, 3:24PM EDT0
What did you know about making a webcomic before doing Tree of Life and how did you learn about the process as well as where to start?
Jul 29, 5:34AM EDT0

Absolutely nothing. We had no idea how to make a webcomic and had to learn from youtube videos, websites and asking some friends who had experience making comics.

Jul 29, 3:21PM EDT0
What was it like seeing your webcomic online for the first time?
Jul 28, 10:13PM EDT0

Very surreal. I've always been known to start big, ambitious projects and never finish them. So to see something I worked on finally be online for all to see was very weird... In a good way of course.

Jul 29, 3:19PM EDT0
In your opinion, what kind of mistakes should new comic writers be aware of? What are the do's and don'ts when trying to create a story from scratch?
Jul 28, 11:45AM EDT0

I don't know how qualified I am to answer this question but I'll try my best anyways. First of all you should have at least the basic idea of your entire story layed out before you start actually creating the comic. Stuff like the genreal themes, direction, tone, and major plot points. Secondly, nothing in your story is sacred. There is always room for improvement so ask around. Get an idea of what others think and adjust your story accordingly. Don't be afraid to change something for the better even if you think it's too important to change. Also, when creating a story from scratch I like to take elements from different series that I enjoy and blend them all together, deconstruct them and make something new out of them. Think about what kind of stories you enjoy and take bits and pieces from each one. Change them around a bit and eventually you'll have your own story.

Jul 29, 3:17PM EDT0
Are there any other projects you have on the horizon you’d like to tell readers about?
Jul 28, 8:48AM EDT0

Right now we don't have any other projects planned, as Tree of Life is set to run well into the next year or two. But when we finish it I'm not too sure what kind of story we'll work on next. I guess it'll depend on where we are at that point.

Jul 28, 10:09AM EDT0
How would you describe your collaborative process and your individualistic creative processes?
Jul 27, 2:54PM EDT0

Me and my wife work together near flawlessly and rarely have any hiccups. We both tend to be a bit disorganized with how we work but it all ends up coming together when it's done.

Jul 28, 10:05AM EDT0
How traditional would you say Tree of Life is when compared to the content of mainstream comic books and what unique aspects are you excited to have readers discover in your comics?
Jul 27, 8:35AM EDT0

We're definitely a lot more "anime" than most mainstream comic books when it comes to our art. And our story and setting is a lot more over the top in certain ways than a traditional western comic book. As for what we want our readers to discover, we hope they can find themselves engrossed in the world and characters we've created. As well as keeping them guessing about what will come next.

Jul 28, 10:03AM EDT0
How long did it take you to create develop and then publish an issue of Tree of Life? Did you face any challenges during the whole process?
Jul 27, 7:16AM EDT0

The creation of the first chapter was quite a mess to be honest. We didn't really work on a schedule at that time which resulted in us underestimating how long it actually takes to finish one. Not to mention we didn't really know the process of making a comic. So we had to learn on the fly. These days we try to finish each chapter in under two weeks so that we're always working ahead.

Jul 28, 9:58AM EDT0
Do you have any strategies to promote your webcomic? What has worked for you so far and what hasn't?
Jul 27, 6:35AM EDT0

To be honest we really don't. We just share it and try to spread the word as much as we can without being obnoxious. We've gotten mixed results so far and are looking into other ways to promote it.

Jul 28, 9:54AM EDT0
What research have you conducted into the mythologies and content of your webcomic, which aspects of Tree of Life required more research and accuracy than others and what was the reason for this extended research and accuracy?
Jul 27, 5:22AM EDT0

We reseached quite a bit into Jewish and Christian mythologies. My wife being from Israel helped quite a bit. But we still had to do some research. Particularly in the aspect of Kabbalah. Which played a key role in building the foundations for the story.

Jul 28, 9:52AM EDT0
Why did you call your webcomic the Tree of Life?
Jul 27, 5:17AM EDT0

One of the main things in the story is the tree-like golden monolith "Keter", which extends the lifespan of humans. Keter in Judaism is the topmost point of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah.

Jul 28, 9:47AM EDT0
How would you define your comic style? Who have been the biggest influences in your creations?
Jul 27, 1:36AM EDT0

Our comic's themes and designs are heavily influenced by the "Xeno" series of games by Tetsuya Takahashi and Monolithsoft. Particularly the Xenosaga games. We're generally going for a more anime style comic both in terms of artstyle and story. Something that can take itself seriously without being too overbearing on the reader.

Jul 28, 9:40AM EDT0
Do you find it difficult to write without having any formal training or is writing something that comes natural for you?
Jul 27, 12:03AM EDT0

At first I asked for quite a bit of help from a lot of friends. As I lacked confidence and experience. Not only do I have no formal training, but this is also my first time actually writing a story.  That being said, I've had an intrest in writing as an artform for many years. I always analyzed the stories in the games/shows that I liked, and tried to understand what made it as good as it was. Through doing this I feel like I've gained a decent grasp on what makes a good story in my eyes. Although there are definitely things I could do better, I'm a lot more confident in my writing now than I used to be.

Jul 28, 9:32AM EDT0
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