Meet Natalie Riess and Sara Goetter, creators of Dungeon Critters!
What initially drew you to comics?
Natalie: I was curious about comics as a tween (my older sister was reading a ton of manga at the time) and I was really into fantasy stuff so I picked up a copy of the webcomic Inverloch. This had info in the back about accessing it and more comics like it online. I read an absolute mountain of webcomics, which made making your own stories feel really doable, no matter how niche! I already liked to draw and tell stories, so it seemed like the perfect way to do that.
Sara: I was at a Scholastic Book Fair in the second grade and picked up Captain Underpants on a whim and was inspired by the fact that the kids in the story can draw comics, so I, too, can draw comics. So I started by making knockoff Captain Underpants stories but eventually moved on to my own original characters and fell in love with it. I decided all the way back then that comics were what I wanted to do for a living. I just loved being able to tell stories and jokes and sharing it with my friends at school and I’m happy I still get to keep making and sharing comics today.
What was your inspiration behind Dungeon Critters?
Natalie: Dungeon Critters was made out of us loving to tell each other jokes. We had a roleplaying/TTRPG group but, as cartoonists, I think comics was the collaboration we were really looking for. Also I love to draw cute animal people…I think we both do!
Sara: Dungeon Critters started out being based on our tabletop game characters but once it became primarily a collaborative story for me and Natalie I feel like our inspiration really broadened since our scope grew as well. Redwall is a big obvious one, but I also took a lot of inspiration from video games as well, particularly The Legend of Zelda series and Ace Attorney.
What scene or panel sequence did you most enjoy drawing?
Natalie: Hmmm….ballroom scene. I also loved designing all the horrible plant monster forms.
Sara: It feels like cheating since it’s definitely more than just a scene or panel sequence but I’m really proud of how the court case played out. If you think about it, a lot of that section is really just characters talking, so getting wild with the paneling and the acting and the lettering was really fun for me. It was like treating a bunch of dialogue like an action sequence; it was just so much fun to draw.
About the Book
Natalie Riess and Sara Goetter’s Dungeon Critters is a middle-grade graphic novel about a gang of adorable animal friends on a D&D style dungeon crawl.
Quests! Plots! Evil Plants! Magic and mayhem!
Join the Dungeon Critters—a tight-knit squad of animal companions—on a wild adventure investigating a sinister botanical conspiracy among the furry nobility. As they risk their lives traveling through haunted dungeons, swamps, and high society balls—they also come closer together as friends.
Motivated by rivalries, ideals, and a lust for adventure, these critters navigate not only perils and dangers of the natural world, but also perils and dangers . . . of the heart!