Exclusive Preview: Sera and the Royal Stars Takes Readers on an Epic, Inclusive Fantasy Quest

Writer Jon Tsuei & Artist Audrey Mok Discuss Their Upcoming Vault Comics Series

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Exclusive Preview: <i>Sera and the Royal Stars</i> Takes Readers on an Epic, Inclusive Fantasy Quest

Young-gun publisher Vault Comics has steadily built one of the more impressive libraries in creator-owned comics, with titles like These Savage Shores, Friendo, Heathen, Fearscape and Wasted Space all scratching genre itches that other companies tend to overlook. One notable niche that thrives in prose and live-action but too often falls short in comics is fantasy, and Vault’s got readers covered there, too. Sera and the Royal Stars, hitting shelves July 17th from writer Jon Tsuei and artist Audrey Mok, transports readers to the Empire of Parsa, where the seasons have stopped turning, resulting in famine and unrest. Princess Sera receives a vision that compels her to restore the Royal Stars to bring peace and prosperity back to the land.

Tsuei is best known for scripting the Image Comics series RunLoveKill, which stands in stark sci-fi contrast to the sweeping fantasy of Sera and the Royal Stars. Mok is also flexing new muscles, as she came to many readers’ attention while drawing the more down-to-earth adventures of Archie Comics’ classic cast. With Sera and the Royal Stars #1 just over a month and a half away from publication, Paste invited Tsuei and Mok to each speak a bit about the inspiration behind Sera, and the process of collaborating on the book. Find those statements below, along with an exclusive extended preview of Mok and colorist Raul Angulo’s interior art. For more on Sera and the Royal Stars and Vault’s other upcoming comics, stay glued to Paste.

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Cover Art by Audrey Mok & Raul Angulo

Sera and the Royal Stars #1
Writer: Jon Tsuei
Artist: Audrey Mok
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Designer: Tim Daniel
Publisher: Vault Comics
Release Date: July 17, 2019
Civil war rages in the Empire of Parsa, and famine has struck. As the seasons refuse to turn, Princess Sera receives a vision from the deity Mitra telling her to find the Royal Stars and restore them to the heavens. Despite her kingdom and her troops’ need of her command, Sera embarks on a quest to find the fallen stars-now trapped on earth-and save her people from dearth and death.

Writer Jon Tsuei:

When Ursula Le Guin was asked about her Earthsea Cycle novels, she said, “I didn’t find Earthsea, Earthsea found me.” I don’t presume to be the writer that Le Guin was, but my experience in writing Sera and the Royal Stars is very similar. Sera and the Royal Stars found me, I didn’t find them.

A few years back, I was sitting alone in a quiet room and I heard a voice utter the name “Antares.” The word was foreign to me, so I did a quick internet search. I found that Antares is the brightest star in the Scorpio constellation and read up on the star’s physical attributes, but then I came across a footnote that said Antares is one of the four Royal Stars of Persia. I thought, What are the Royal Stars of Persia? That sounds amazing! The deeper I dug, the more I began to realize that the stars have thousands of years of mythology about them from cultures all around the world. Stories that our modern society no longer tells each other. To this day, I don’t know if that voice was something I heard in the physical world or something I heard in my head.

My research continued out of curiosity and fun, not expecting there was a story to tell. Nonetheless, a world began to unfold before me. It’s a world of ancient star spirits, magic, dreams and war. At its center is a princess with a complicated family dynamic and a divine quest to save the world from a catastrophic drought. In the story, we visit astral planes and the Underworld, we encounter gods, demons and the living spirits of the stars in the sky. Amidst all of that, our hero Sera must restore the Royal Stars to their rightful place in the sky so that the seasons can turn again.

Once I started to understand Sera’s world, I knew that Audrey Mok was the perfect artist to tell this story with. Fortunately for all of us, she agreed. Audrey’s art has done much more than just capture what I saw in my mind. While these characters lived and breathed in the ideascape, Audrey’s art has given this world and its characters a life I never could have witnessed on my own. The creation of this comic book has been nothing short of magical. I suppose that makes Audrey and me magicians of a sort.

I can’t tell you who’s unveiling this story and world to us, though I have my suspicions. What I can tell you is Sera and the Royal Stars is a story that stands squarely together and apart from the other mythology of the stars. I hope when you read our book it will feel like looking up at the night sky and hearing the stories of the eternal lights, just like we did so very long ago.

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Wraparound Cover Art by Audrey Mok & Raul Angulo

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Credit Page by Jim Campbell & Tim Daniel

Artist Audrey Mok:

I remember camping every once in a while as a child; sitting by the beach, listening to the crackling sound of the firewood, and gazing up at the bright starry sky—those were unforgettable memories for someone who grew up in the city. These rare moments had led me to my interest in mythology and astronomy.

When Jon first approached me about Sera and the Royal Stars, I was immediately charmed by the world, and the characters he introduced. I constantly aim to challenge myself, and this is a good opportunity for me to tell different kinds of stories, regardless of the genre. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we love creating this magical world.

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Interior Art by Audrey Mok & Raul Angulo

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Interior Art by Audrey Mok & Raul Angulo

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Interior Art by Audrey Mok & Raul Angulo

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Interior Art by Audrey Mok & Raul Angulo

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Interior Art by Audrey Mok & Raul Angulo

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Interior Art by Audrey Mok & Raul Angulo

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Sera and the Royal Stars #1 Interior Art by Audrey Mok & Raul Angulo

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