Monday, October 17, 2005

Sword of Shannara, the Graphic Novel: A Taste of My Unusual (and Former) Obsession

Art, art, the musical fruit. Nah, I don't know why I wrote that. Other than to say that instead of my usual Monday diatribe against whatever, I'm putting up more high-school artwork. And since Heath told me how to put up multiple images, this one's going to have a record 4. That's right, four.

Rolling down the left side of the page are three of the four comic pages I did in an attempt to adapt Terry Brooks's Sword of Shannara. I was really hot for this novel for a long time. Hmmm. That doesn't really do it justice. What I mean is that for years and years, The Sword of Shannara was my ultra-favoritist book of all time and the story monopolized all of my creative efforts. I even attempted a (Jesus, did I really?) filmed adapatation of this book when I was a freshman in high-school. I think I got about 45 seconds "in the can", so to speak. To think on it now makes me cringe a little. No, it makes me cringe a lot.

When I was eleven or twelve I drew up about 35-40 pages of an attempted adaptation (not shown here), only to quit the whole thing when I saw that, in the end, it didn't actually look as much like a real graphic novel as I thought it did. It actually looked a lot more like the result of a determined 11-year old drawing funny-book pictures with word balloons from a pulpy fantasy novel he liked. Maybe one day, when I'm really having to scrape the bottom of the barrel to post up artwork on this here blog, I'll post some of those earlier drawings. Anyway. After a while, my enthusiasm for the book diminished to a mere nostalgic fondness, and my opinion of it stayed that way right up until 2000 when I read Lord of the Rings for the first time. That's when I realized Terry Brooks hadn't really written his own book, but rather a summary of the three book of LOTR with different names and a very slightly changed plot. The similiarities are actually astonishing. The man in black holding the young man up is Allanon, the Gandalf-figure. The young man, Flick, is the Sam Gamgee character. As you might have guessed, all of the LOTR characters have Shannara doppelgangers. I can't believe Del Rey and all of his readers let Brooks get away with it.

Anyway, before this revelation, back in 1994 or 95, I tried my adaptation again and got just four pages drawn up this time. Only three are pictured here because the first page got lost somewhere in all of the moves I've made since high-school. I showed my art teacher in Raleigh at the time, Bob Rankin, and he entered the four pages, along with a bunch of everyone else's stuff, into an art competition and the four pages together won a secondary award at the show. So this is award-winning artwork you're looking at guys. Feast your eyes.

I include the last page because it is a color scan of the final page and shows a little better how the paper and the ink have aged since I drew this stuff. The first three images are black and white scans so they look pretty crisp. But the last one looks more like how the drawings really look now. The ink has gone almost to red in places and the paper has yellowed a lot more than supposedly "archival-quality" paper is supposed to.

Four pages seem to be about as far into writing and drawing a comic book as I can go before I... I don't know... lose interest? Can't think of what next to draw? Reach the limit of my range? Find something good on TV? All I know is that whenever I'm able to get an entire comic page committed to paper it feels like luck. Anything more than three or four pages in a row is just beyond me.

Two last things. Charlie Rocket died. I didn't know who he was until I looked him up on a Google Images search and then I knew exactly who he was. He used to be on SNL back in the day, but we may all know him best as the bad guy in Dumb and Dumber. Not the fat one who dies after taking his own rat poison, but the guy who hired that guy. The police are saying that he killed himself out in a field by, and this is terrible, cutting his own throat. Poor bastard. Here's the link to the story. Very sad.

Also, on a much lighter note, I found one of my new favorite songs on a site called For fans of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, MC Chris was the voice of MC PeePants on like three or four hilarious episodes. Go to the site, click on Raps, and you'll be able to download his first album fo' free. The aforementioned favorite song is called "Fett's Vette". David Speck, you Boba-lovin' bastich you, if you haven't heard this song already (I kinda think you must have), you're going to freak out. It's good stuff. All right. I am out.


Anonymous said...

Wow! I am very impressed with all the pictures you were able to insert in your blog, and at different places within the blog.

Good Job!

blankfist said...

Yes, way to go!

blankfist said...


Fried Pepperoni said...

I still think we oughta try our hand at a graphic novel, dude. I love the look of about 9 tenths of the artwork here. Seriously. Don't know what that says about me, but I dig it. Especially that cottage, or house, or whatever. Nice detail.

Oh, and thanks for placing Charles Rocket for me. I couldn't remember him from SNL when I first heard the story.

Is the MC Chris thing really funny, or just "funny" for a little while? I'm dubious. At best.