Navigating New Worlds and Friendships: An Interview with Leaf, Creator of “The Last Dimension”
The Last Dimension by Leaf (Leaglem) lures you into a fascinating story about a group of kids finding themselves in a new dimension. The premise of “special” children raised in a laboratory environment is familiar, but Leaf’s execution exceeds expectations. Find out how their wonderful webcomic came about in this interview!
The characters in The Last Dimension possess extraordinary abilities and live in an institution intended to nurture and hone those powers. Some of the children can shapeshift, levitate, and more. Fai’s precognition serves as a potential asset for the government or military. Her visions always come true, but lately, she’s been seeing images of multiple eyes, a frozen sea, and unfamiliar devices. After befriending one of the new students, a girl named Anne, Fai has a vision of Anne’s death. An incident later on sends Fai and her friends stumbling through a portal and landing on a planet called Imash. There, they explore this new environment, encountering beings that may or may not be foes.
This amazing and imaginative webcomic, recommended to me by Natasha Dancy, takes me on a nostalgic trip to my younger days when I’d watch anime and Western cartoons like Digimon and Ben 10. The Last Dimension provides both fun and emotional moments. Leaf’s admirable storytelling has earned them a spot on my April roundup. It’s a pleasure to have them for this interview, in which Leaf talks about their ideas and creative process for The Last Dimension.
But before moving onto the interview, I want to bring up the current crisis in Colombia where Leaf lives. Please take the time to catch up and help in any way you can.
An important message from Leaf: “Colombia’s issues are not so much about the current protests as they are about generalized poverty. As the damages of the protests go to private properties, houses, and family businesses, it’s hard to find a specific place to donate to, much less one that accepts international transactions. Yet, here are some NGOs for anyone interested. Childcare, education, sciences, and health are the areas that will help Colombia grow out of the corruption circle.”
The Geekiary: Happy to have you here! Let’s start with introducing yourself.
Leaf: Hi, I’m Leaf! I’m a biologist turned comic artist with a soft spot for the sci-fantasy genre. I daydreamed my way through school and now that I can, I spend my time drawing out the worlds I escaped to.
TG: The Last Dimension captivates me with its characters and plot. Personally, it takes me back to my younger days, when I was obsessed with anime and Western animated shows like Digimon and Teen Titans. I’d like to hear about your creative process. How have your ideas come about? Have there been significant changes along the way to get to where the story is now?
L: Digimon was actually a great influence! I used to watch it a lot when I was little, and me and my sister would play with little cut out drawings we would make of the characters. Roleplayed fanfiction, if you will. The idea of jumping through worlds was a guiding force in our childhood and it took us to creating worlds of our own and, along with them, characters of our own. Eventually, these worlds became our refuge and our drive.
Of course, it’s been very long since then, and many things have evolved from the self-indulgent fantasies of powerful children into a grounded magic system, in our attempt to keep a consistent narrative. My sister helped shape many of the characters’ personalities and stories, but she’s not a direct participant in the writing process; that’s why I refer to myself as the writer, even though she is certainly a co-creator and my inspiration to keep going and to share these stories with the world.
As for the current process, it’s always been very free. I let my imagination fly and if I like the idea, I go back to it and explore it some more in my mind before writing it down. I take inspiration to shape the world from many sources, so it’s hard to keep track, but the main one was Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. The way physics works fascinates me, and I read up theories here and there, getting lost in Wikipedia pages or articles, and build the world with them heavily in mind.
In regards to the story, anything can do. A secondary character in a movie I watched when I was thirteen, or a word being thrown in a casual conversation, perhaps just the shape of a cloud or the plate of a car. Many times the concepts evolve so much that I even forget how they came to be in the first place.
TG: I find ideas surrounding children with extraordinary abilities being sent and used at an institution for research, for warfare, etc. I’m impressed with how you execute this idea through character dynamics and worldbuilding. From the art style to the fascinating concept of different dimensions, your imagination truly shines here. How do you organize these ideas so that it won’t come across as distracting?
L: Well, in fact, distraction is my middle name. Perhaps not officially, but still undeniably so. Keeping the lore from becoming a hindrance is one of my biggest difficulties, and I’m still working hard to make it merge more seamlessly into the story so that it won’t take away from the characters and plot, but help them grow and advance. That said, this story started with the world. The characters began appearing in it, and my favorites stayed long enough to get their own stories, so I hold this universe and characters dearly and plan to revisit them on another occasion.
TG: What are your favorite media (movies, TV shows, books, etc.)? Anything that inspired The Last Dimension?
L: Well, Digimon was my childhood, so we can start there. Children having adventures and growing as they try to find their place is the main theme in The Last Dimension as well. Then again, I cannot help but mention It, the horror novel by Stephen King, as a great inspiration for my current storytelling. TLD may not be terrifying to the reader, but it sure can be to the main characters. With Multidimensional monstrosities, shapeshifting shenanigans, and a hidden past that will help fix the future, it’s easily my favorite book. The Harry Potter saga, too, had its fair share of space in my daydreams and impacted me in how I faced the world as a weird lonely, nerdy teen.
My favorite series of all time, however, is Fullmetal Alchemist. It made me excited to tell stories, to build worlds, to go on adventures with my characters and it helped me understand that no matter how noble your goal, there is always a price to pay. I’ll recommend it anytime to anyone willing to listen.
With that said, I love Gravity Falls, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Undertale. As much as I enjoy watching Stranger Things and more gritty shows like Dexter and Dark, I do confess, though, that my one true hobby is reading horror books, Stephen King being my favorite author.
TG: Aside from The Last Dimension, are you working or planning on anything else?
L: Right now I’m exclusively working on TLD, but I have some more ideas between my ears that will see the light of day —or screen— once TLD is over. I’m really excited to tell this story first, though, to give life to these characters and this world that I’ve had living rent free in my brain for so long. Hopefully, it will live in other brains for a long time too.
The Last Dimension is available to read on WebToon.
Webcomics that Leaglem Recommends:
Four Leaf by Lumaga (A fantasy adventure about kids growing up and finding where they truly fit.)
The Boy Who Fell by DED (It’s the comic that inspired me to make webcomics!)
Kubera by Currygom (A beautiful, complex story that convinced me that it was possible to tell my own.)
Seed by Said P. (Where an AI tries to make friends. Or does it?)
Tales of Terrible Things by Sara Rydholm (I love horror stories, did I tell you that? This collection is a great read.)
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives!
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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