Lizard Brain is a shared blog about Science Fiction and Fantasy from Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

The No Longer Secret Project Considered

by Daniel Abraham

So, as I said before, the cat’s out of the bag.

Most of my work writing comic books and graphic novels has been adaptation work, and specifically adapting George.  I started off with the Fevre Dream project for Avatar Press and moved on to an adaptation of George’s novella Skin Trade (also for Avatar, but not yet penciled).  I did a six-issue story in the Wild Cards universe which has just some into print after being rescued from obscurity by Dynamite.

Not a portrait of the script writer

I enjoy writing scripts.  The ways that they’re different from prose make them interesting and challenging.  (For instance, in prose, dialog is action.  In scripts?  Yeah, not so much.)  But this thing that I like best about these particular projects isn’t that they’re comic books, but that they’re adaptations.

The project as we’re looking at it now puts the action of A Game of Thrones into several graphic novels over the next couple of years.  It’s a big job, but one that we have the room to do right.  And it’s just about the only work I’m doing these days in which my job is to be more or less invisible.  If I’ve done my job the way I’d hope to — the way my artistic ambition is leading me — you won’t see me in it at all.  You’ll see George’s story and Tommy’s vision of it.  I’m a translator, and my mandate is to take the story George created and make those things which were told in peculiarly textual ways and find mechanisms to do the same thing visually.

Hmm. I wonder if this Abraham fella can write a comic script. If only there was something I could buy to find out...

Just so folks know, I’ve already completed the first three scripts and I’m working on the fourth.  I expect to be cranking them out at about one per month (or slightly faster, just to stay ahead of the production schedule — if I am the rate-limiting step, I’ve failed).  At this point, I do know things about the Song of Ice and Fire story that aren’t in any book.  Tommy and I are working out how to make sure he has everything he needs to make the books work he can be proud of, and I’m having lunch with George about once a month to go over any questions I have about what can be changed without doing violence to the overall story arc and what obscure little grace notes *need* to be there.  It’s fascinating, and it’s giving me an understanding of some of the deeper structure of the project that’s made the whole thing more enjoyable for me.

And no, I’ve got no spoilers to share.  🙂

If I may now address the questions I anticipate:

1 ) Will the comic book be based on the books or on the HBO show

I’m expecting it t be based on the books.  The comic book and the HBO series are both translations (in to different media) from the same source.  I don’t expect Tommy’s Eddard Stark to look like Sean Bean.

That said, there are constraints that moving into visual storytelling imposes, and from what I’ve seen, there are solutions that the comic book will reach for that are very similar to the ones the guys at HBO chose.  There’s some stirring about a venue where I might get to talk about that in greater detail as the two projects steam ahead.  We’ll see how that plays out.

2 ) How long will it be?

We went back and forth on this a lot, looking for the balance of enough pages to do the thing right without overloading Tommy and making it impossible, how to break individual issues of the comic book at dramatic high-points without making any changes to the original story.  We’ve settled on 24 issues with the tacit understanding that we’ll flex a little to make it work.  We’re all more interested in living up to the books than keeping a strict, legalistic boundary on things.

3 ) How dare George do anything besides A Dance with Dragons?

George isn’t doing this.  I am.  They are paying me so that George isn’t doing this instead of A Dance with Dragons or the book after that or the book after that.

No, I don’t know the status of that project, and yes, I did delete your comment about it.

So.  Any other questions that I missed?

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