One of the graphic novels I’m most looking forward to this month is Troublemaker, written by mystery writer Janet Evanovich (creator of the Stephanie Plum series) and her daughter Alex, and illustrated by Joelle Jones (Token, Spell Checkers). It was supposed to be out last week but is now looking like a July 20 release.
In the meantime, Dark Horse has a nice promotional piece up on their site, The Making of a Comic, that shows the different steps in the creation of the graphic novel: script, thumbnails, pencils, inks, coloring, and lettering for six different pages. It’s formatted nicely in such a way that you can look at the scripts from page to page or move through all the steps for a single page. My one complaint is that the Flash-based reader loads a bit slow on my computer—at first I thought some of the pages were blank—but that quibble aside, it’s well worth a look.
Troublemaker is a unique opportunity for Dark Horse, in which Janet Evanovich continues her best-selling Barnaby series (as first chronicled in the prose novels, Metro Girl and Motor Mouth) with her first graphic novel [co-written by Evanovich with her daughter, Alex]. Troublemaker is a two-part series–the first book comes out in July and the second book is due out in November. I recently email-interviewed the editor of the project, Sierra Hahn, as well as one of the series’ artist, Joëlle Jones. Dark Horse describes the book as follows: “Alex Barnaby and Sam Hooker are back together and fighting crime the only way they know how — by leaving a trail of chaos, panic, and disorder. Alex, an auto mechanic and spotter for racecar driver Sam Hooker, is drawn to trouble like a giant palmetto bug to a day-old taco. Unfortunately, she’s also drawn to Hooker in the same fashion. There’s no steering clear of trouble or Hooker when friends Rosa and Felicia call for help. A man has gone missing, and in order to find him Barnaby and Hooker will have to go deep into the underbelly of Miami and southern Florida, surviving Petro Voodoo, explosions, gift-wrapped body parts, a deadly swamp chase, and Hooker’s mom.” My thanks to Hahn and Jones for the interview and Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons for his assistance.
Tim O’Shea: When did Dark Horse first approach Janet Evanovich about the possibility of a graphic novel–how much were you involved?
Sierra Hahn: I’ve been assisting on Buffy Season Eight going on three years now, and one day discovered that Janet Evanovich had done an incredibly thoughtful review of Season Eight for Time magazine. After that, Dark Horse reached out to her not only to say thanks, but to see if she had any interest in making comics herself. I wasn’t involved with the initial outreach to Janet, and came on board after a project was decided on.