Thursday, 5 July 2007
AAM/Markosia announced today that Chris Steininger and I will continue the story of Beowulf in the first of several projected mini-series, under the title, Tales of Beowulf. I've been researching the world of Beowulf for some time now, and am incredibly excited about these ongoing comic-books. The books will take place over the approximate 50-year period between when Beowulf returns to Geatland after defeating Grendel and his mother, and before he fights the fire-breathing dragon at the end of the poem. Chris is absolutely pumped about the series, which in large part has to do with his fascination with Conan, and how he was depicted by one of his personal gods, John Buscema. The first series launches in January, 2008 and you can be certain I'll be talking extensively about it here over the coming months.
Monday, 2 July 2007
Here's an exclusive look at the gorgeous alternate cover that artist Christopher Steininger has painted for Beowulf: The Graphic Novel. It will grace a special edition that publishers AAM/Markosia will be issuing along with the standard edition this October.
Monday, 18 June 2007
I was recently interviewed by Steven G. Saunders, who writes the popular 'All the Rage' feature at the Silver Bullet Comics website. Steven asked some particularly cogent questions, my answers to which will hopefully provide some insight into what Chris Steininger and I are attempting to do with our graphic novel. I've reprinted the entire interview here:
Indie Front: Beowulf and SubCulture
I'm a big fan of the classic Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf. When I found out Markosia would be releasing a 64-page graphic novel adaptation of it written by Stephen L. Stern (Zen Intergalactic Ninja) and illustrated by Christopher Steininger (The White Elephant) I just had to engage Mr. Stern in a battle to the bitter end!
Okay, it was just a Q&A. But it was fierce, okay?
ATR: Why BEOWULF?
SS: I suppose because I was an English major in college, and was captivated by it when I first read it. I've read the poem many, many times since, and I've never lost my fascination for it. It's simply—in my opinion, of course—the greatest heroic epic ever written, be it prose or poetry.
ATR: Why base the graphic novel on Seamus Heaney's translation?
SS: Having read several different translations over the years, I feel strongly that Heaney's is without compare. He's an amazing, Nobel prize-winning poet and he was clearly at the height of his powers when he translated BEOWULF. It's a masterpiece, clear and simple, and I knew that I wanted to base the graphic novel upon it.
ATR: Is it a direct adaptation, or did you get creative with it?
SS: Yes, and yes. It's as direct as one can get, but of course, I had to condense the work into a sixty-four page, highly cinematic graphic novel. The three key battles are there: Beowulf versus Grendel, Grendel's mother and the fire-breathing dragon. However, there's a great deal more to the story than its violence.
ATR: What can you expect from this latest adaptation?
SS: Well, as I said, it's very cinematic, and part of the sheer pleasure of this book is just looking at Chris Steininger's amazing artwork. This is some of the best, most expressive black-and-white art I've ever laid eyes on. Beowulf the man is the apotheosis of heroism, and I took pains to capture that. In the end, this is a very melancholy tale…even the greatest hero is ultimately brought down, if only by age. I believe that what will surprise readers is the emotive value of this story.
ATR: What was the process of putting this project together?
SS: Basically, I wrote the entire script over a period of about two months. I knew exactly how I wanted the action and the dialogue to flow, but I kept the scene descriptions as open as possible. I wanted Chris to bring all of his formidable talent to the work—and that he's done beyond my wildest expectations.
ATR: You have some excellent work behind you. What else are you going to hit us with in the future?
SS: Thanks for the compliment. I've got a 10-page story coming up in the HEAVY METAL SUMMER SPECIAL that will be out in July. It's a crossover of my character, Zen Intergalactic Ninja, with the British character Jack Brodie. The story leads into a graphic novel that will be out later in the year. There's also a Zen comic called BLOOD AND WAR which I wrote, that will be a Wizard World Exclusive at their Chicago Con in August. There's more, but let's leave it at that for now.
Thanks for answering those questions, Steve! I really can't wait to read this one.
Saturday, 16 June 2007
With the kind permission of publisher Harry Markos, here are the first four pages of the Prologue to the GN. Christopher Steininger's black-and-white artwork perfectly evokes the period and mood of this epic tale of heroism. Click on the images to enlarge them.
The oldest surviving Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf has fascinated me since I first read it in college. I've been living in London for the better part of a year now, and it's particularly pleasing to me to be working on this project with talented artist Christoper Steininger, and to have it published by AAM/Markosia, the largest independent publisher of graphic novels and comics here in the U.K. 'Beowulf: The Graphic Novel' will be released in October, 2007.