Knights Errant started with a desire for an inclusive queer fantasy novel and evolved into an compelling story about princes, prisoners, and medieval war. Written and drawn by Jenn Doyle and published by Sparkler Monthly (through Chromatic press), the comic is a compelling story with a wide range of characters and a hook that keeps readers coming back for more.
Starring the mysterious and slightly flirtatious Wilfrid, Knights Errant begins with a city under siege. Wilfrid is imprisoned for stealing bread and under guard by Beppe and Anton, soldiers working for (but not necessarily invested in) the Margrave Olbrecht of Adigo. Olbrecht is a traitor to the crown and has closed to city to the outside world and the kings forces. Wilfrid later escapes, charged with seeking out the kings army and bringing them to rescue the city. However, Wilfrid has his own agenda and his own quest to complete…
According to Doyle (who prefers gender neutral pronouns), the inspiration for Knights Errant came from many sources, the oddest of the bunch being a dream they had about a video game that they wanted to play. “Somehow from that dream came the proto-story for Knights Errant,” Doyle explained. “I wanted to do something more with that, so I started working on it.”
They were also inspired by their own need to read. “I was trying to find a good queer fantasy novel but I was getting frustrated with the options I kept finding,” said Doyle. “So I said, ‘well I’ll just write my own.'” They had been reading Berserk, a manga series written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura, and while they loved the story, the manga was very misogynistic.
Doyle wanted something with a good story, a queer aspect, and that didn’t fall into popular, pre established queer tropes. “I wanted to explore non-normative gender and sexual identities in a historical military setting,” they said. “I wanted a more nuanced look at that kind of situation, and I also wanted to explore gender identity in a constructed-faux-medieval-like-renaissance society.”
Doyle is both the writer and the artist of Knights Errant, but Sparkler Monthly has provided them with an editor, Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, who reads through the outlines and looks at the thumbnails before okaying them to be completed.
As for the future of the comic, Doyle says Wilfrid’s goals will become more clear as the story progresses, and Wilfrid as a character will grow and change as well. “Wilfrid’s going to become more and more engrained in the political machinations of these nobles and him forcing himself to become involved with it and manipulating people,” Doyle explains. “This is Wilfrid’s quest for revenge, and it just gets bloodier and bloodier by the day.”
Knights Errant is only available on the Sparkler Monthly website, and only digitally until the completion of this story arc, when the story so far will be printed directly to trade paper back.