Peacemaker: Comic vs Book

Peacemaker Tour BannerGR author pic_webMarianne de Pierres is my guest blogger today. Her new book, Peacemaker, began life as a short story, turned into a comic book and is now galloping towards us a a novel by Angry Robot book. I asked Marianne to talk about writing a comic versus a book.

Peacemaker: Comic vs Book

Peacemaker cover_BlackMy new novel Peacemaker started out as a short story about ten years ago. Even after it was published, the story kind hung around in the back of my mind, whispering subliminal messages to me that it wasn’t done yet.

When I got around to thinking about it again, it demanded to be turned into a novel. I set about making the story transition from short fiction to long form, delving deeper into the narrative and the characters. The protagonist felt very natural to write, and the setting excited me, so it was a fun experience.

That’s what made it all the more curious that, when seventy pages into the novel version, I became smitten with the idea of turning it into an online comic.

Peacemaker_p1_loresI began to talk to friends in the industry. Nicola Scott, Andrew Constant and Paul Jenkins were fantastic and gave me much helpful advice. I knew I was a complete beginner at this kind of writing, and I was acutely aware of my inexperience. Somehow, that still wasn’t enough to stall the whim. I just loved how this world looked in my mind. I had to see it drawn. Thanks to Nicola, I hooked up with emerging artist Brigitte Sutherland, and we opened a dialogue that lead to the first issue being published about a year later.

In that time, I learned a huge amount. I’ve always been someone who writes fairly lean prose. I like to get to the point. I like that you can use just a few words and still pack them full of electrical charge. I take it as a challenge to do that.

Writing the comic then, I told myself, should just be a more compacted version of what I was already doing. Not so!

Peacemaker-CR_webI soon came to the realisation (by the end of the second issue – still unpublished) that it is really the artist telling the story. The writer gives signposts, enhances characterisation and makes sure there is an overall coherence to the plot (a thousand comic writers are going to POW! me off stage right now). Remember, this perspective is framed by a novelists brain. A novelist controls everything about his/her novel. A comic writer has an entirely different process.

I had to take myself out of the equation and let the artist and their images tell as much of the story as possible. Most interestingly for me was the fact that I felt compelled to show the reader a glimpse of the antagonist in the very first issue, something I would rarely do in a novel. It was then that I realised the luxury that even a lean writer has in books, playing with their words, creating a slow burn, luring the reader along.

So much time; so many words; such bliss …

Peacemaker will be released as an e-book on 29 April 2014. Check out Angry Robot for links and the print book release dates!

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or start from chapter one at Read the Book.

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Nath Holden’s art

The Hobbit by Nath HoldenNath Holden, as some of you may already know, is the artist who created the Kitty and Cadaver banner!  He also created the band shield that we use as an icon, as well as the portraits in the About the Creators section.

You may also know that Nath and I are working on a comic book! Demon of the Earth will tell the origin story of Yuka, the angry drummer whose first band was killed by a demon they accidentally summoned.

Keep an eye on this blog for sneak previews of his prep work, posts on his art techniques and some glimpses of the comic while he turns my story into art!

The talented Jason Franks has been giving us advice on how to go about making a comic book and has offered to do the lettering: so not only is he a fabulous writer (as demonstrated by Bloody Waters and his own comic books) he’s a generous guys with his time and support!

Daenerys Game of ThronesIn the meantime, if you like Nath’s art, he does portraits on commission.

Besides portraits of friends and family, he draws bands and characters from film and television. Like Game of Thrones‘ Daenerys, for example.

(Given my ongoing love affair with Sherlock Holmes and his incarnations, I’m considering a pic of BBC Sherlock to celebrate the filming of season 3!)

Nath commissionsHere are a few examples of his portraits. Nath is a dab hand at Star Trek old and new. He also does regular folks (see About the Creators for his portraits of Jess, me and himself!).

Nurse Chapel (Original Trek) by Nath HoldenIt’s nice to see Nurse Chapel done so well, and look! Leeloo!

Leeloo by Nath Holden

To see more of Nath’s artwork and maybe commission a portrait, visit his Facebook page: Nath Holden – Illustrations or email Nath.

Feel free to leave a comment about this post and the Kitty project below.

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or start from chapter one at Read the Book.