For once, I’ve got a number of things to talk about but not enough space. I’ll spread those things out over the next couple of blogs.
First, I want to talk about
This is a 48 page graphic novel that I’ve been working on with the legendary artist, Pablo Marcos, for quite some time. When the original publisher couldn’t adequately finance its production, work on the project stopped.
Both Pablo and I had more immediate concerns to occupy us…like making a living. Neither of us was happy with the choice to backburner it, since the book was so close to completion… unfortunately we had few options.
As I reported in a blog earlier in this year, pulp and comic historian Stephan Friedt of ComicsPriceGuide.com (http://www.comicspriceguide.com/) loved what he had seen of the graphic novel and offered to create an imprint –Ying Ko Graphics–to see the project completed and published.
Now the art is complete and production has begun in earnest, like lettering and preparing the pages for print. To have QUATERMAIN: KING SOLOMON’S MINES published in the way it deserves, Ying Ko Graphics has initiated a Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing of different editions.
An irrefutable fact of publishing nowadays is that it has changed considerably from what it was even seven years ago…and not for the better. The comics field has been in a state of flux since The Crash N’ Burn of the early 1990s. A similar upheaval happened in traditional publishing, starting in December of 2008. Neither have recovered to any level approximating health since that time.
The comics/graphic novel field in particular is still on life-support.
Obviously, I’m very fond of this project —partly because there’s never been a take quite like this one on Quatermain and his late 19th century African milieu, but mainly because I’m collaborating with Pablo Marcos, an artist whose work I’ve enjoyed and admired since I was in my teens.
I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of great comic artists and illustrators over the years–Darryl Banks, Don Heck, Jim Mooney , Adam Hughes, Mike Herring and Jeff Slemons to name just my favorites.
Working with Pablo has been an honor…and I’m exceptionally proud of the final result of our shared vision.
Our interpretation of HR Haggard’s classic tale stays true to the heart and the spirit of the original 1886 novel, but we’ve streamlined the plot and reframed some of the characters.
First and foremost, we trimmed over twenty years from Quatermain’s age and made him more of a dynamic “Tarzan In Pants” jungle hero, with touches of a womanizing rogue to his personality.
Another change is the evil witch Gagool–traditionally depicted as a dwarfish, wizened crone, she appears in our version as a beautiful, sexy sorceress–at least at first.
The most obvious change was transmuting the exiled Zulu Prince Ignosi into the exiled Zulu Princess Ignosa. This was daring step and it’s one that has never been taken in all of the different movie adaptations of the novel.
Usually, a female lead is created out of whole cloth and played by white actresses such as Deborah Kerr and Sharon Stone. Quatermain had no romantic interest in the original book.
QUATERMAIN: KING SOLOMON’S MINES presents an interracial romance for the first time in all of the many adaptations. A love story seemed like a natural step once Ignosi became Princess Ignosa.
I should point out she’s not a simpering heroine who needs to be rescued but a character who is as tough and as brave as Quatermain.
In fact, the triumvirate of Quatermain, Ignosa and her cheetah Gajeema, could easily be spun-off into a whole new series of adventures.
And as long as we’re on the subject…
The KING SOLOMON’S MINES graphic novel is just the first of several connected universe projects (with Ying Ko Graphics) featuring “reimagined” classic adventure heroes. We call the imprint Classics Reimagined.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s CHALLENGER rendered here by the ever-awesome Jeff Slemons, Jules Verne’s NEMO by the uber-talented Steven E Gordon and of course, more adventures of HR Haggard’s QUATERMAIN by Pablo and myself…including SHE.
So, please check out the link to our Kickstarter campaign and pledge whatever you can. I guarantee that at whatever level you make the pledge, you’ll come out a winner!
KING SOLOMON’S MINES Kickstarter:
(Keep in mind that no funds actually change hands until the project reaches its goal…if it doesn’t, then you’re out nothing…there is no real risk involved).