Friday, 29 January 2016

Making a comic out of your novel

The early 1980s were a great time to be a geeky kid with a big imagination. On the back of a crop of really great films for kids (both large and small), such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, ET, Krull, The Goonies, The Black Hole, the world of Dungeons and Dragons was just taking off. Alone in a big old scary house, with just the resident ghosts and my imagination to keep me company, I was in heaven.

The invention of Dungeons and Dragons arrived just as my eyes, ears and mind were starting to open to grand stories and story telling. Into this maelstrom of exciting possibilities, three of my biggest literary inspirations then turned up in my life; J.R.R.Tolkien, Fighting Fantasy books and 2000AD.

At the age of eight, when I heard our class teacher Mrs Jones read us The Hobbit, I knew straight away that I wanted to write stories. 'The Warlock of Firetop Mountain', the first Fighting Fantasy book, taught me the excitement in telling a fantasy story. And when I peered into 2000AD, I knew that some of those stories I wanted to tell would be comics.

I haven't told a story as a comic - yet. But I know I'm halfway through a trilogy which would make a blinding comic and I was lucky enough to meet a supremely talented artist called Warwick Fraser-Coombe at Comic Con London 2015 who was able to take my vision of the main character from The Damned, Inquisitor Poldek Tacit, and turn him into a comic character on shiny paper.

What little I've seen and experienced of the comic book marketplace suggests that it's a huge and vibrant industry, but one where, unless you get your break and make it with the big boys, it involves a huge amount of effort for very little financial return - a bit like any form of publishing then! Comic book artists are driven, spirited, passionate individuals who produce their work because they love the medium, the art of telling stories and seeing them come to life.

If you can, visit the next ComicCon at your nearest city and spend a couple of hours chatting to comic book writers and artists at their stalls. They'll renew your faith in humanity and fire your imagination.

One day Tacit might grace a tome or tomes courtesy of Image or Dark Horse comics? In the meantime, enjoy staring into the stony face of the main man drawn by Warwick. And be sure to say your prayers tonight! Tacit's armed, and he's not afraid to use his revolver and his faith against you!

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