Run Freak Run

By Victor Van Scoit

Usually when you find a web comic it doesn’t have the vision and scope of Run Freak Run. I can’t recall when I found it – only that I did. Run Freak Run’s visuals were what initially drew me in with its great use of ink. Even more incredible was that in this digital age Run Freak Run’s pages are all made with paper and ink. After admiring the art, then like most web comic discoveries, you click on that link that says “New Readers Start Here!” That’s when I became hooked on the story and even it’s interesting use of lettering and type placement.

Run Freak Run is a dark fantasy set in 17th century Spain where supernatural beings live amongst the land. By orders of the Queen all of these freaks are to be hunted down by inquisitors to be judged,and punished by the Holy Inquisition. One such Inquisitor, Two, is a young woman that was raised in the monastery and has superhuman strength, a crazy chain whip and a mission to hunt these freaks. Two begins to have issues with this as not only is she a tool of the Holy Inquisition – she’s a freak.

Run Freak Run

If looking at some of the pages doesn’t turn you on to checking out Run Freak Run, then maybe reading about the creators’ passion for the project will. Creators Silver Saaremaeel and Kaija Rudkiewicz work in the video game industry and are based in Berlin, Germany. Writer Silver answered a few questions to help fill in what drives the team.

Victor: I don’t remember when I started following RFR. I simply know it’s one of only five web comics I actively read. And it’s the only one with such a large vision. Where does the passion come from?

Silver: Our first inspiration, the real reason to start RFR was because we had a day job. We both work in the games industry, and while it’s great fun and challenging, it’s also very rigid because you can have up to 200 people in your team, and everything you do is a dependency to others. Everything’s under fairly tight deadlines with the sole intention of getting the game out, and hence creative expression is a risk for production, and very frustrating to manage with that many people. :)

But nevertheless, we still had that creative spark inside us and a will to tell our stories, exactly the way wanted, without compromises, and to be as experimental as we wanted.

Run Freak Run

Victor: There’s definitely some strong work being put in yet how do you balance that with your day job?

Silver: Well, the most useful skill we’ve learned from games industry is production skills: we can plan, schedule and keep to the deadlines. We split the work so Kaija only draws and inks, while Silver writes the script, edits, does the advertising, and website adminstration. We split blogging as evenly as we can! But if there’s any secret sauces to all of this, it’s that we have practically zero social life – it’s cruel, but if we want to create stuff, then we really need to just sit down and work on it. :)

Victor: Initially I was drawn in by Kaija’s work. There’s just something about clean lines and dark ink. Then there was imagery. That’s when I started to slowly make my way through the story and the pacing of it all. Where does that come from?

Silver: The reason Kaija decided to illustrate the comic in inks was because she too was painting digitally 8 hours a day already at work, and needed a little creative change. It’s pretty much every digital artists dream to learn a traditional tool, but you can rarely justify the act in the industry financially, since especially concept art industry is all about speed and flexibility – exactly the opposite of inks. :)

The look and feel of Run Freak Run comes from a variety of places, but we do enjoy a number of things that could be said to be dark and macabre, particularly the photography in avant garde fashion industry and old fairytales and mythology. It’s really hard to pinpoint inspirations because there are so many of them, and they all come to play in different places when you most need them.

Run Freak Run

Victor: I feel like it’s the comic equivalent of that indie import fantasy movie one discovers on Netflix. Luckily there were a lot of issues for me to read in one nice chunk. What’s next for you?

Silver: Since the script for Run Freak Run was finished months ago, most of my (Silver here, halou!) focus has been on our next work – Daughters of the Witch Queen. Kaija has found a nice balance of doing 2-3 mornings a week (we do our projects in the morning, before the dayjob) of Run Freak Run, and rest of the week she’ll commit to Daughters of the Witch Queen too.We both write and illustrate it equally.

We noticed that we really liked creating deep, long stories with RFR, but since we can only keep up with 1 page a week, it’s a little frustrating – not just for us but to our readers too. And in our newest project we’re shifting things around a little. We’re making the text the focus, and also illustrate and concept as many characters, monsters, locations and magic as we can on the side. This way, we should be able to provide about 5-7 hours of content with a bunch of art work every year, compared to 2 hours of Run Freak Run during three years. Hopefully this will be a win-win to both us and our readers. :)

Run Freak Run