Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dreams Come True - A Twilight Age is born

Okay! Yep, just like the title says, dreams come true. Writing and illustrating my very own graphic novel which a very canny publisher is presenting to the world on my behalf. Long, journey to get here but when you arrive where you want to be it doesn't matter how long it took to get there.

In case you've stumbled on this blog by accident and have no idea what I'm raving about, it's The Twilight Age, the premier title from Black House Comics. I'll be getting the preview up on my Facebook page by the middle of this month (July).

How did I come to be in this enviable position?

My good friend Christopher Sequeira told me about someone looking to publish a new line of comics. he had met with Baden Kirgan of Black House Comics already and helped set up a meet at Supanova in Melbourne. I showed Baden some samples I'd brought with me of other projects (see my Facebook page) but in talking tochim I already doubted they were what he was looking for. Hopefully they would be enough to convince him I could draw and write but I didn't expect him to want to publish those projects. Baden knows what he wants and the demographic he wants to reach - basically it is a mature horror/fantasy audience (think Vertigo). So not wanting to let the opportunity pass by I told Baden I would put something together along the lines of what he wanted and I had the perfect idea in mind.

About 15 years ago when I was first trying to produce a publishable horror/fantasy I had written a full-length manuscript (about 400,000 words). It was my third completed ms and I was pretty happy with it. But I wanted a federal cop to read it and tell me how authentic it was. Other projects kept me busy and I lost contact with this individual (in fact it was given to him by a third party who I lost contact with).

Never mind, life is busy, I still had it on my laptop and on a backup disc somewhere, no doubt. Bzzzt, by the time I got back to the project my laptop had been stolen. Turned out I hadn't backed it up. No hard copy could be located - my 450 page novel was lost! Oh dear. But not completely. I'd lived with the story and characters in my head long and intensely enough not to forget the main story beats, one day I would rewrite it, better than the original ...

I'd always thought it would make a great graphic novel. now was the time.

Stephen King's The Stand was my starting point. I'd devoured the original in a single marathon sitting (I used to do that). What a great book! What a masterpiece of sustained imagination. And of course, being a writer, even while I'm reading I'm imagining a whole raft of possibilities. I'd always loved a good apocalypse; John Wyndham, JG Ballard, George RR Stewart had each destroyed the world in very entertaining ways. As an alienated youth I thought the world pretty much sucked and at least if we humans were reduced in number the planet might not succumb to pollution and a better world order might come about than the one I knew. As a lover of adventure, even if the new world was going to suck more than the one I knew, I could see that the fight for survival would be thrilling. And then there is that whole boy thing of loving the idea of people having to use their ingenuity to make things work in a primitive state - the whole Coral Island, Swiss Family Robinson thing.

So I wrote my own end of the world tale, setting it in Australia and weaving in some SF and supernatural elements (heavily influenced by HP Lovecraft and Zechariah Sitchin) all of which would make it it's own beast, though a relative of Mr King's magnus opus. Which is what I had firmly entrenched in my memory when I had my fateful meeting with Mr Kirgan.

I wrote out a 14-page synopsis of the novel broken down into 5 issues and came up with half a dozen illos of the characters. Baden liked it. We spoke terms, we came to an agreement and away I went. And I had a ball. Baden has been the ideal editor, with plenty of good suggestions and a keen eye for detail, he's left me a lot of creative freedom and has done a lot to help me realise my vision for the series. Can't wait to get into issue one.

The series is no longer set in Australia, by the way, which was Baden's suggestion. What do I think of that? Let you know in the next blog.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Well, it's a while since I wrote this. Now I just have to figure out how to let people know it's here, since I'm following up.