Lusia graphic novel

French cover plan, pt. 1


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The story is about Lusia Rusintytär Korhonen, a healer woman and a poet, who lived 17th century in Northern Bothnia, Finland. She were accused of witchcraft in year 1680, the same year she died. The trial protocols still exist and the trial itself is well documented. But there isn´t much information about her past before trial.

I decided to create fictious youth and history to Lusia character. In the last third part of the story, fiction changes to real written history before, during and after the trial.


17th century was an interesting era in the area. The Christian religion became very powerful when first churches began to be built. Lutherian priests went to villages and started to weed out the old pagan behavior including beliefs, spells and traditional medicine. Healers were powerful persons in their own communities, and peasants trusted them more than priests with their scriptures. This made conflicts, overkills happen and people were sued and claimed to be witches. The inquisition had arrived.


The dialog of the story is written like people use to spoke those old days. In pagan peasant life of those days incantation, done by spells and poems were used every day, so I´ve also written spells and poems to the story. In true history many of the poems which ended to the Finnish national epic Kalevala, have been collected from these Utajärvi Ahmas villages.


When writing the script, I researched 17th century history and habits. I´ve tried to make the milieu and ambience of the story as authentic as possibe, also dresses, consumer goods, buildings, people and way of peasant living of the era,
what they ate, what kind of sicknesses they suffered etc.

The lettering is done by a font I created of my own lettering, so foreign layouts are easy and fast to made. I own all rights of the book.


The plot:
The story starts in Ahmas village picturing one annual celebration, the bear hunting feast. The beast has been killed and the hunter organises the feast. In old religion young maid – this case the daughter Johanna of the hunter – will be the bride of the bear during seremonies. Johanna falls and hurts her thigh. Lusia tries to heal the wounds. The Chaplain participates the feast. He knows Lusias father Rusi, famous sorcerer who he thinks is a risk of his authority and prozelytice work. He treats Lusia badly, also Johanna´s mother does.


In second chapter Johanna and Lusia are planning their future and speaking about situation of the community. Ways of living are in progress because of pressure of the church. Johanna has still aching inflamed thigh. Lusia reads her own poems and sings.
Later in the fall Johanna tries to heal her thigh with hot iron and dies.
Lusia have to leave the village, people suspect her and his father Rusi about witchgraft. She wents to her father´s place. They make plans about Lusia´s future and Lusia continues her trip. Father Rusi spells her a good journey.

The third chapter. Two years later Lusia works as a servant girl in her father´s cousins farm. She breeds, takes care and heals the animals. On Sundays the family goes to church. One Sunday when leaving home they meet an one-legged soldier Rautapää, who is returning from Poland, where Kingdom of Sweden are fighting against European armies. The soldier is ill and asks help. They take Rautapää home and Lusia starts healing. The soldier is horny and tries to play with women. Rautapää also asks Lusia to marry him, she refuses.
During his journey the soldier has got pestilence and all the habitans of the house get sick. Only three survive including Lusia. She desides return to his fathers place.


The fourth chapter happens 20 years later, in Ahmas village. Lusia lives with her cousin Marketta´s farmhouse. She is an adult independent woman and known healer in the area. She helps people and animals but do not manage to heal Marketta´s daughters continious ailment, inflamed eye.


The wandering Chaplain arrives and gives divine service to the people. When Chaplain visits another house, Lusia and Marketta steal couple of hostias. Lusia add piece of holy bread to her own mixture trying to heal the daughter.

One participant of divine service, and a hired man of the farm notice stealing happen. Rumours began to spread. Anger, jealousy and prejudice take over the minds of villagers.

The fift chapter. Three years later, Lusia and Marketta are summoned to court to answer for their actions, accused of witchcraft. But there are not enough evidence, so the jugde decide to hold a new trial with more witnesses.


Lusia realises her time has come and do not want to live in a new Lutherian world, under persecution and restrictions. She wents to forest and hang herself. The new trial starts and Marketta with her daughter are imprisoned to wait the final hearing. The third trial desides that late Lusia is guilty of witchgraft alone, and releases Marketta and her daughter. They return home.

The author:
Ilpo Koskela's comics have been published in several Finnish comics fanzines, magazines and newspapers over the past 30 years. There have been more than 20 titles, mostly commission work for professional magazines and newspapers. One of the longest magazine stories was the graphic novel "RAJALINJA" that ran from 2005 to 2009, a story of young football players. At the moment, “Isännöinnin ykköset”, a trade magazine, features “TALOELÄMÄÄ” strip and "Oras Group magazine" features "ORAS VALUES" in five different languages. 

Koskela has made eight graphic novels: “IRLANTILAINEN” 1991, “SARJAKUVAKEITTOKIRJA” with Ari Kutila 1992, “ALEKS REVEL” 1997, “PAHOLAISEN KUISKAUS” 2009, “SANKARITEKOJA AHMAKSELLA” 2013, “RAJALINJA” 2014 and "LUSIA" 2015. "PERÄMEREN JÄHTI", the graphic novel about sailind ships of the 1850s, was published in 2007, and in English "JÄHTI – THE SAILING SHIP OF THE NORTH" in 2008. The book was published under the Berber language title "A?e??abu n ugafa" in Algeria in 2015. This was the first graphic novel ever to be published in Berber language. In 2011 Paholaisen kuiskaus was published in Sweden with the name “DJÄVULENS VISKNING” and 2016 in Algeria with the name ''Astewtew n cci?an''.


His best know novels are stories of  the fictious Estonian adventurer Aleks Revel, the storyline Koskela started already in 1985. During the first seven years the Revel stories happen in the Nordic countries, Spain and France of the 1930s, starring the young Aleks. Later, a more mature Revel in his mid 50s returned in the graphic novel "PAHOLAISEN KUISKAUS" (Finland 2009, Sweden 2011, Algeria 2016). The story happens in Cuba shortly after the Communist Revolution. At the moment Koskela is drawing a new graphic novel about Aleks Revel.


October 2007 Ilpo Koskela's comics artist's guidebook "PIENI OPAS SARJAKUVAN PIIRTÄMISEEN" was released and one year after –  in October 2008 the Sami language version of the same book, "SMÁVVA OAPHIS RAIDÓGOVAID SÁRGUMII" was published. In 2012 it also went to Russia with title “??????? ??????????? ?? ???????? ????????”. In October 2010 the large version of the guidebook project, the fully coloured 156-page “SARJAKUVANTEKIJÄN OPPIKIRJA” was released. This was the first complete “how to draw comics” book to be published in Finland in more than twenty years. A complete new version of guidebook came out in 2016. Including 208 pages, loaded with new and updated information, was named "UUSI SARJAKUVANTEKIJÄN OPPIKIRJA."

Ilpo Koskela's work and originals have been shown in various exhibitions in Finland, Sweden, Russia and Portugal starting from the early 1980s. Outside Finland his comics has been published in eight different languages.


Ilpo Koskela worked as a comics teacher in Oulu Art School for 14 years, and has lectured on writing and drawing comics at many festivals and also at universities. In 1998 Ilpo Koskela was asked to plan the first curriculum for the prospective Comics School provided by Liminka Art School. The Finnish Comics Society granted Ilpo Koskela the title of Counsellor in 2011.

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