Sea Lion Books
Anne Rice is overseeing a number of comic adaptations of her work these days: Yen Press is adapting Interview with the Vampire into a graphic novel, and putting a twist on it by changing the narrator, and IDW is doing a six-issue adaptation of Servant of the Bones. Now Sea Lion Books, helmed by David Dabel, has picked up the rights to a very different Anne Rice novel, Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana. No vampires here; the book is the second in a series Rice did telling the story of the life of Christ, and she says she researched it extensively to ensure that it would be accurate. The graphic novel is being adapted by Anne Elizabeth, who wrote Pendulum for Sea Lion, and illustrated by Siya Oum.
Sea Lion has a modest catalog of YA titles, including a graphic novel adaptation of Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist, and they are publishing Richelle Mead’s Storm Born as single-issue comics, apparently. (I can only find one issue on their website.) I know that vampires were a big part of the mix when they launched, so this particular choice from Anne Rice’s repertoire seems a bit odd, but it will be interesting to see what they do with it.
The people at Sea Lion sure seem to know how to reel in major outside talent; from their earlier days at Dabel Brothers enlisting Orson Scott Card and Laurell K. Hamilton to today’s news of a new 12-volume series from a producer of one of the biggest animated movie franchises ever. Longtime DreamWorks producer Aaron Warner is coming in for his first comic ever, Pariah, and is set to debut at this year’s Comicon International.
According to a press release sent out by Sea Lion, Pariah follows a group of genetically engineered super-smart teens who find that the outside world may not be prepared for their abilities. After a terrorist attack on a laboratory leads to a biological attack, its these teens — dubbed ‘Vitros’ by the media — that become the target for the world’s scorn and retaliation.
Warner & Sea Lion are making this story real with veteran comic artist Brett Weldele (The Surrogates, The Light), whose had hsi share of Hollywood team-ups working on comic spinoffs of Southland Tales, Halloween and others. Look for more as the days count down to SDCC.
Sea Lion Books is just getting started, but they are developing an interesting line of graphic novels based on already popular prose works: Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist, Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan, and now, P.C. Cast’s Goddess of the Rose.
Cast is one of those writers whose readers obviously can’t get enough of her. She specializes in mythological-supernatural romance; her Goddess: Summoning series, of which Goddess of the Rose is the fourth volume, blends in fairy-tale elements, and she also writes a vampire series, House of Night. The books aren’t the biggest sellers in the biz, but they do pretty well, and she obviously has a dedicated community of fans.
On the other hand, the remainder bins are littered with graphic-novel adaptations of popular romances—I picked up my copy of Christine Feehan’s Dark Prince for a dollar, and I feel like I overpaid. One of the pitfalls is that fans of the prose novels often hate the graphic novels, because they already have the world of the story visualized in their heads, and because they aren’t graphic-novel readers. (It’s always fun to look at the Amazon pages for these books and see the outrage of people who thought they were buying a novel and ended up with a &$#! comic book.) The other is that publishers lean too heavily on the author’s name as a selling point and bring in subpar, no-name artists to do the visuals. Dark Horse avoided this by hiring Joelle Jones to work on Troublemaker (and for my money, the art is better than the story in that book), and it looks like Sea Lion is also hiring an experienced artist: They have signed Alan Halpin, whom they describe as a “much sought-after and elusive Irish artist.” That makes him sound a bit like a character in a romance novel, actually. Halpin certainly is elusive—Google doesn’t turn up much on him—but the fact that they are promoting the artist so heavily is a hopeful sign that they will be paying attention to the quality of the visuals in this book.