Goofy Adventurer

Goofy Adventurer was my third entry for the Silent Manga Audition. Follow this link to read it!

Goofy Adventurer: Behind the Scenes

Much went into the creation of the lighthearted Goofy Adventurer, a 15-page manga starring non-human characters. I began exploring ideas sometime in October 2021, when it occurred to me how nice it would be to make a story filled with cute, nonsensical characters like those you might find in an old platformer. As always, retro gaming provided plenty of inspiration for the character designs, and I wanted the story to feel light and fun. Almost immediately, Caldo, the protagonist, was born, with very few changes made from concept to final production. His overall proportions became softer and chubbier over time, with oval shaped eyes and less visible musculature.

The earliest rendition of Caldo on the top left, with a later ink drawing of Caldo with two of the forest dwellers at the bottom right.

After deciding upon a non-human protagonist, I immediately became attached to the idea of him being a traveler, floating around the land on four wings and finding excitement everywhere.

Caldo relaxes in a tree
Caldo relaxes in a tree.
Caldo and a floating dragonfly
Caldo has a gentle nature.
Concept painting of the first scene in the Goofy Adventurer manga
This was the concept I used to establish the first scene in Goofy Adventurer.

Caldo seemed like the type of person (?) that would easily make friends with anyone or anything, and so the Dark Forest came into being next. Those living in the Dark Forest look similar to Caldo, but sport wings for arms, wispy appendages, and fire at the tips of their tails. These beings, in turn, were inspired by enemies you might see in an old, ’90s RPG, initially being covered with bandages. Later, at the request of my early readers, these bandages were swapped for painted markings.

Dark Forest dwellers showing different patterns. Caldo is shown with his new bandana and a softer appearance.

Everything else fit tidily into place. Caldo’s whimsical, carefree attitude would make him stumble into trouble, while his open-minded personality and smiling face could help him out of it. It’s a simple story about smiling, which Caldo loves to do!

Goofy Adventurer and its characters were designed to make readers smile using the power of their behavior and expressions alone, with the simple idea that a smile can go a long way. After visiting the Dark Forest, what happens to Caldo and the others? Although it doesn’t appear in the manga, I had the idea that he and a few of the forest dwellers would continue their travels, bringing smiles all across the land…