I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour for Fable Comics. Many of my third grades are new to fables and this beautiful graphic novel is a huge hit that is introducing my students to some pretty awesome stories that they had missed.
Below you will find my interview with Fable Comics contributor George O’Conner. Enjoy!
- What is it about retelling stories in your own words/pictures that you love?
For starters, retelling an existing story gives you a departure point for your comic; instead of a big, blank piece of paper, or computer screen, you already go in with a pretty good idea of the structure of the story you’ll be telling. Having that little bit of structure allows for me to be very creative in my retelling, as I’m not worried about ma king the plot work, etc. It’s like being in a band and playing a cover song. You know more or less how it’s going to go, but you can have a lot of fun with your interpretation.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
In an instance like like this, when I’m adapting a story, I read the source material many times. With the Hermes fables I did for Fable Comics, it turns out there were multiple versions for each fable, so I read every version I could find and cherry-picked my favorite iteration, much like I do when I’m working on my series Olympians. After I have my source material squared away I start doodling in my sketch book, key scenes of the story, and assemble those key scenes into thumbnail layouts. From the thumbnails I do detailed pencil roughs, into which I lay the finished dialogue and text to get editorial feedback.
After editor supremo Chris Duffy tells me it’s an incoherent mess/ the best thing he’s ever read, I do the finished black and white artwork, in this case with a brush, and scan it in to my computer, color it in Photoshop and then finally assemble the whole thing together with my text layouts. Reading this now it sure sounds like a whole lotta work, and I guess it is. Maybe one of these years I’ll figure out a way to streamline this process a little.
- Please please please tell me about your work space.
Okay, but only because you said please.
I have a couple of work spaces actually- one is a studio in Gowanus I share with a bunch of my cartoonist pals for camaraderie and a break to the hauntingly lonely lifestyle of the cartoonist. My personal setup there is actually quite vanilla, just a drafting table, chair and lamp, but I do have some amazing studiomates- Jason Little, Ellen Lindner, Khary Randolph, Reilly Brown and Ada Price.
My home studio is much more exciting, set-up wise. My drafting table is flanked by an entire wall, top to bottom, of Masters of the Universe action figures. There are bookshelves crammed with comics and books, piles more on the floor, and my imac with cintiq. Also, if we’re lucky, my cat is sleeping on the printer at any given time.
- Tell me about the first story you remember writing.
Oddly, I cant remember any specific story I really remember from way back when– I do remember telling the serialized adventures of a kind of weird monster I designed by holding out my hand, making a beak with my thumb and forefinger, and using the remaining fingers to create a fringe on his head. If you look carefully on the attached photo of me at my childhood drawing board, you can see this guy near the top in conversation with an alligator. He had many exciting adventures.
From the publisher:
From classics like “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Grasshopper and the Ants” to obscure gems like “The Frogs Who Desired a King,” Fable Comics has something to offer every reader. Twenty-eight fables from different cultures and traditions are wonderfully adapted and illustrated in comics format by twenty-six different cartoonists. Edited by New York Times bestselling Fairy Tale Comics’ Chris Duffy, this jacketed hardcover is a beautiful gift and an instant classic.
Fable Comics is:
James Kochalka and ‘The Fox and the Grapes’
Tom Gauld and ‘The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse’
George O’Connor and the ‘Hermes’ fables
Sophie Goldstein and ‘Leopard Drums Up Dinner’
Charise Harper and ‘The Belly and the Body Members’
R. Sikoryak and ‘Lion + Mouse’
Jennifer L. Meyer and ‘Fox and Crow’
Eleanor Davis and ‘The Old Man and Death’
Jaime Hernandez and ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’
Simone Lia and ‘The Crow and the Pitcher’
Graham Chaffee and ‘The Dog and His Reflection’
Maris Wicks and ‘The Dolphins, The Whales, and The Sprat’
Vera Brosgol and ‘The Hare and the Pig’
Kenny Widjaja and ‘The Demon, The Thief, and the Hermit’
Corinne Mucha and ‘The Elephant in Favor’
Liniers and ‘The Mouse Council’
Mark Newgarten and ‘Man and Wart’
Israel Sanchez and ‘The Milkmaid and Her Pail’
Ulises Farinas and ‘The Great Weasel War’
R.O. Blechman and ‘The Sun and the Wind’
Graham Annable and ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’
John Kerschbaum and ‘The Grasshopper and the Ants’
Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline and ‘The Thief and the Watchdog’
Gregory Benton and ‘The Hen and the Mountain Turtle’
Roger Langridge and ‘Demades and His Fable’