Photo by Eric Smith via Eric Smith Rocks Blog

So why write about superheroes as prose when they’re so visual?

Those who were familiar with me before I published THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING are less curious since they know about my love of comics, and superheroes specifically. They also know I crave strong and complicated women in my fiction, I can’t get enough of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and love nothing more than sassy chicks that kick a lot of ass (hence, Buffy!), but even those familiar with my affection for these things sometimes wonder why I chose to write about superheroes as prose, instead of comics.

And the answer is simply this…I didn’t.

When I began THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING (way back in 2004) I started writing it as a screenplay.  Now, that’s still not a comic, but films are obviously great places for excellent visual action and for good or ill, a lot of superhero movies have been made — certainly there was a lot more than I had seen of superhero prose in 2004.  But as I tried to write this screenplay (I had written one before, it was terrible) I kept finding myself wanting to go deeper into the characters heads. To explore them more fully than I though I could in either film or comics. Now, thinking I couldn’t do that in those other mediums may have just been my lack of experience, but the end result was that I decided to try my hand at writing my superheroes as prose…and thus my first novel was born.

I had a lot of doubts over the years (even more than I had version of the book – which is saying a lot) – but when all was said and done I was really happy with my decision to delve so deeply into my heroes as prose. And once the book was done I found myself fantasizing about someday adapting it not only into a film (circle of life and all that) but possibly into a comic book. It intrigued me to almost go backwards, starting with a comic book idea, but executed in prose, and then taking it back to its more natural roots. It’s something I would love to try someday.

The added benefit is that while I spend a ton of my life trying to talk about women in comics, and getting more women to read comics, and understand how wonderful they can be, I love even more the idea that a lot of women and girls might love TGWWBK as a novel and then come along to read an adaptation of it, and thus discover comics.

That’s dreaming big at this point I suppose, but it’s certainly a place I’d like to go…and to have others follow me. You know one of the things that made doing TGWWBK as a comic book some day feel like a reality? All the amazing artists that helped make the book what it is – cover and interior illustrations artist Stephanie Hans, as well as comics creators Ross Campbell and Meredith McClaren.

Their work is too inspiring not to get any writer’s mind fantasizing about what might be next…

Lola and Bonnie heads by Ross Campbell

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  1. Strannik’s avatar

    I have dabbled in superhero prose before (haven’t gotten farther than a few short stories) and I found that prose really did helped me get into characters’ heads the way comic couldn’t have. At least not without overloading the page with text captions. Not just because you can get into the characters’ heads more, but because it’s easier to depict how each character sees the world

    And, having read the free chapters, I can honestly say that your story wouldn’t have been quite as effective in any other format.

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