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Photograph of an open comic book depicting characters with a large orange cat, displayed with different colored paints in shells.

The Story Behind the Story | Gabi Berkers presents ‘Ode to Orléans’

Gabi Berkers is a visual storyteller at heart. Born in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, she grew up surrounded by art, theater, music and architecture. After starting her own company as a designer, she worked for other companies, creating motion graphics, illustrations, graphic design, storyboards and animations. Her personal works are inspired by animals, folktales and her own experiences, and she wishes to bring light to diffcult subjects such as heartache, suppression and loss.

Ode is a 15-year-old sheep herder who isn’t as strong or manly as he’d hoped to be. He and his friend Janis, a giant cat warrior from Norway, need to flee their little medieval village in France when it gets attacked by the English. Ode fears his village will soon be wiped off the map since there is no one to protect the poor women who are left behind, so he decides to ask for help from France’s true hero: Jeanne D’Arc. Obviously, Ode needs to become a real man first, and what better way to show that you’re a real manly man than by losing your virginity? This is the first time Ode is confronted with the realities of growing up and choosing his own path in life. He and Janis have been dependent on each other ever since Ode saved Janis’ life. Along the way, they both lose sight of their true selves. Ode’s journey turns out to say a lot more about who he is as a man, and what it means to be a hero. “Ode to Orléans” questions what it means to be strong and dives into the difficulties of finding a place for yourself in this world. It can be hard to value your own strengths and recognize them for what they are, especially through the eyes of others. All that, with a pinch of humor and a dash of European flavor.

Read Ode to Orléans here 

Photo by Bridget Badore