Graphic Novelizations of Trek Novels

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Arpy, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2001
    Hey, Marco, how would you feel about doing comic book versions of Trek novels? I was thinking on the train today about how I wish I could *see* various characters, places, starships, aliens species, space battles, and events from so many Star Trek novels...from the first TOS ones to the Destiny trilogy. I remembered how Ashes of Eden was released in comic form at the same time as novel, and I enjoyed seeing a novel come to life visually. Ditto the Timothy Zahn Thrawn trilogy, Shadows of the Empire, others. It'd be quite an undertaking I imagine, with securing legal rights and finding the right people to do the adaptations, but I think it could be real special.

    I'd love to see Orion's Hounds, Serpents Among the Ruins, Dark Mirror, Vendetta, Federation, The Final Reflection, Pathways, and the entire Rihannsu quintet illustrated, just to name a few!

    Although my favorite novel covers don't have this, I'm one of those people who get a special kick out of those where you get to see some of the new characters within - thinking especially of the DS9R and Titan books.
     
  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    IDW and Tokyopop have the exclusive licenses for ST comics and graphic novels.

    "The Ashes of Eden", from DC Comics, came out simultaneously with the Pocket novel. If that graphic novel had sold gangbusters, I'm sure there'd have been more.

    The problem is, once you've read a ST novel, why fill up a comic slot with a graphic novel version when you still own the book - and the comic slot could go to an original story? And vice versa.
     
  3. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2002
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON Canada
    Well, I'm not Marco, but...

    We don't get nearly as many Trek novels and comics as we did for a while in the 1990s. Why use limited publishing slots for stories we've already read, rather than giving us as many new stories as possible?

    That's not to say I wouldn't love to see a Vanguard comic, a Titan comic, or a DS9R comic, among other things, but if they happened, I'd prefer them to be new stories created for that medium, with close editorial coordination between Pocket and IDW.
     
  4. Marco Palmieri

    Marco Palmieri Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2000
    I assume you're addressing the question to me because you think it would be my call. It would not be. Graphic novels represent a very specialized area of publishing, which book publishers are (generally) not equipped for.

    Plus, we don't have a license to publish Star Trek comics.

    My sentiments exactly.
     
  5. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I'd rather go with an original stories too. There's no reason why we would need to have direct adaptations of the books to see the characters. Even characters from older books, like the Rihansuu books, could still theoretically pop up in new stories.
     
  6. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    I'd be interested to see how Christopher, for one example, would handle the comics/manga/BD format. I'd be inclined to prefer an original story, at least for the moment.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I don't know what BD stands for in that context, but I'd definitely like to write Trek comics, original stories, of course.
     
  8. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2001
    Location:
    The Palace of Pernicious Pleasures
    Bande Dessinée. Don't often hear that used in English outside of direct references to the Franco-Belgian school of comic books (Tintin, Astérix, Smurfs, etc.)

    Creditorly yours, the Rent Woman
     
  9. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Gee, I was hoping for Bondage/Discipline ST comics. I reckon Mr Arex could tie a mean knot.
     
  10. Andrew Harris

    Andrew Harris Writer Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego
    I really, genuinely love the fact that people want to see more comics produced for their favorite prose stories. But, I'd really love it even more if people stopped thinking of comics as a spare tire for prose storytelling.

    It's great that you want to see your favorite books adapted, but there have been countless outstanding Trek comic stories produced over the years (and, just like the prose stories, some clunkers too); and there'll be countless great comics stories produced in years to come. Likewise, I understand the appeal of wanting to see Trek comics from some of your favorite prose writers, but I'm much more interested to see Trek comics from some of my favorite comics writers.

    Too often Trek fans think that comics writing is simply a ghetto industry for people who can't cut it as novelists--and that type of thinking even infects some prose authors (Trek and otherwise) as well. When I was editing for IDW, I even had one prose author approach me at a convention virtually expecting an assignment on the spot, simply because he was a novelist willing to slum it in comics--no pitches in hand, no script samples, nothing. Needless to say, he never understood why I never called him up.
     
  11. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    That's right. In Ottawa, right next door to Québec as it is, you get to see all three major schools of graphic fiction(North American, European, Japanese), so I used all three names for it.

    As for comics scripting, it's a discipline unto itself. It's not unlike writing for TV or motion pictures, but it does have its own rules, tricks, and quirks. The authors who manage to transition back and forth between the two writing disciplines...well, they've got my respect. Diane Duane, Greg Rucka, Warren Ellis...these are good examples of such.
     
  12. Marco Palmieri

    Marco Palmieri Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2000
    QFT. Preach on, Brother Andrew!
     
  13. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 22, 2000
    How Not to Further Your Writing Career, Example #4,598,312.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Well, I certainly don't see it as slumming. The reason I'm interested in writing Trek comics is because I'm interested in working in the comics medium itself, taking on a new challenge. And because I'm a visually oriented person and would enjoy seeing my stories told visually.
     
  15. Andrew Harris

    Andrew Harris Writer Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego
    ...And therein lies the point exactly. An editor isn't going to give an assignment to someone who would be challenged by the prospect of writing an ordinary comics script. Which, you would think, should be obvious to everyone involved; and yet, somehow, isn't.
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Surely every piece of professional writing should challenge the writer? I don't think writing is ever necessarily easy, but a good writer makes it look like it was easy. Comics are especially challenging. A brevity of text and the need to suggest the visuals and yet giving enough freedom to the other contributors...
     
  17. Andrew Harris

    Andrew Harris Writer Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego
    Sure, I understand where you're coming from, Therin, but I think you've romanticized it a bit. Is every song a challenge for a musician? Obviously not--and in fact, were I producing a record, I wouldn't hire a pianist who was looking for a new challenge to play guitar. I'd hire a guitarist.

    I'd possibly consider a pianist who was interested in taking up a new instrument, but not if he'd never once picked up a guitar and attempted to pluck a few strings. And, yet, you'd be surprised (or, maybe not) at the number of prose writers who've never even attempted to write a single panel of comic book narrative, but inherently expect that it's already part of their storytelling skill-set. Because, as I mentioned, they see it only as a spare tire to the car that they already drive.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    What? First of all, I never remotely suggested that I wanted someone to just "give" me an assignment. I understand perfectly well that I have to earn it, that I have to prove myself. All I'm hoping for is the chance.

    Second, I think you're defining "challenge" in an odd way. Therin's right; any worthwhile writing project is a challenge. Being challenged doesn't mean you're incapable of doing something or that it requires skills beyond your own; it means that it requires hard work, dedication, and problem-solving rather than just being something superficial you can blow off. It's like exercise -- if you don't push yourself, you don't stay strong. That's what challenge means -- not trying to do something you're incapable of, but making sure you stay capable by refusing to get lazy.

    All my novels have been challenges to surmount in one way or another, and it's been the most ambitious challenges -- fleshing out the unexplored post-TMP continuity, creating an ecosystem of spacegoing life, filling in the missing nine years of Picard's life and a lost prehistory of the galaxy, reinventing the whole continuity of Voyager -- that have been my best-regarded works. Every time I write a novel, I try to bring something new to it, to explore something I haven't explored before. That's what challenge means.

    It's not a bad thing to want to expand one's skills. You should challenge yourself to keep trying new things, or else you'll just get complacent and your work will become formulaic and uninspired. And the whole point of it is that it's something you have to earn, not something that's just handed to you.


    Well, I absolutely do not see it that way. I have, in fact, dabbled in writing a few comics spec scripts years and years ago, but I don't assume I'm completely ready to tackle the job. I know there'll be a learning curve. But I'm willing to learn. So the question is, how does a new writer get started?

    Honestly, I'm surprised to hear you talking this way. When you and I spoke at Comic-Con back in April, you seemed quite interested in the prospect of working with me on comics projects, or at least giving me advice on how to break in. I never got the sense that you thought there was anything wrong with a novelist wanting to branch out into comics.
     
  19. Ferd Burfel

    Ferd Burfel Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Augusta, GA.
    I'm not a professional, but I've written comics and comic scripts before. I don't see it as slumming either. But to try and say it is completely different from writing a novel is kinda weird to me. Obviously both are unique with unique challenges, but writing a story or a story outline doesn't change radically from a novel to a comic. I respect and know writers of both mediums, but that doesn't mean one cannot do the other. I've had the honor (in my opinion it was an honor) to talk to Kevin Smith a few times when he was taking over Green Arrow a while back. He was also working on screenplays at the time. I asked him which one was harder or if he had trouble going back and forth and he answered that neither was harder and it was to a large degree the same coin but different sides. The analogy with the piano and guitar seems a bit off, because both comics and novels are in the same group. Piano and harp maybe, or guitar and violin. Both involve writing and fleshing out a story. The scales are the same, but obviously the fine tuning and WHAT you are playing are different. I don't think they are as far apart as they are being depicted as.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^^Well, to be fair, I think comics scripts and screenplays have more in common than prose has with either of them, since they're both meant to be blueprints for stories that are told as a mix of words and images, whereas a work of prose is a complete, final product in itself where the entire story is told through words. They can be very different disciplines. It's often hard, for instance, for TV/film writers to do first-time novels. Look at Roddenberry's rather awkward novelization of ST:TMP. It can be hard for screenwriters, who are used to writing externalized accounts dominated by only two senses, sight and hearing, to adapt to writing prose that gets into the characters' inner thoughts, stays focused within a single subjective viewpoint rather than an omniscient one, and encompasses all the senses in its descriptions. Conversely, I'm sure that a lot of prose authors have trouble adapting to the more visual focus and limitations of screen or comics storytelling. For instance, one of the key aspects of comics storytelling is that the story is told in snapshots; you can't depict an ongoing process in detail, but have to pick the key moment that lets you convey that whole process with a single image. It's a different kind of pacing and storytelling style that has to be learned.
     

Share This Page