Thu
Apr 2 2009 4:05pm

The Wheel of Time Side-Project No. 1: Murphy Brown, eat your heart out

Hey, party people. Tis I, Leigh Butler, with a request for all y’all.

So, I’ve worn a lot of hats in my day. Most recently, as you may have noticed, I am wearing my blogger/recapper/commentator/thingy hat, right here on Tor.com. Apparently my leet blogger/recapper/commentator/thingy skillz have impressed the brass so much that they’re giving me yet another shiny hat to wear—that of Intrepid Investigative Reporter... thingy.

The “intrepid” part may be stretching it a little. Also, the “impressed” part. Possibly also the “brass” thing as well. Look, I like to take my triumphs where I can imagine them, okay? Why you gotta be so critical? Jeez.

Um. Anyway, it turns out I’m interviewing Chuck Dixon and Chase Conley, the creative team behind the adaptation of some fantasy series called the Wheel of Time? Yeah, I never heard of it either. Nevertheless, I am interviewing them.

And, apparently interviewing people calls for asking them questions and stuff? So, while I naturally am already just chock-full of insightful, hard-hitting, Pulitzer-Prize winning type questions to ask, I thought I’d throw the little people a bone and see if there was anything you are simply dying to know. I’m magnanimous that way.

This is, of course, merely a favor I am doing you, and in no way a desperate plea for help because I’ve never interviewed someone before. Not AT ALL. Really.

Hey, whose hat is this?

So. Chuck Dixon. Chase Conley. Comic books. Wheel of Time. What do you wanna know? Indulge your curiosity in ze commentses, and help a girl out at the same time! Doooo eet.Your karma will thank you, and so will I.

And that’s the way it is!

28 comments
Richard Fife
1. R.Fife
Are there any other sources or inspirations that you are drawing upon besides the books for the imagery and character portrayals? (E.G. the concept art for AoL Sammael kinda makes him look like a rugby player)
Galen Brinn
2. GatheringStorm
Now that you mention it, R.Fife, the stereotypical rugby player is what comes to mind when I think of Sammael (short, squat and powerful)...
merhawk
3. merhawk
*wrinkles nose* Chuck Dixon? Sorry, but I don't have any questions fit for a forum like this. He used to be a very good writer. I've been underwhelmed/unhappy with much of his work in the past few years. Not surprising that he got the gig for this; he was the one writing the "New Spring" adaptation.

I guess a question would be "Will the "New Spring" adaptation ever be able to be finished?"
merhawk
4. Jamie Bowden
They'll be using that ever so awesome DK Sweet cover art as their style guide, right?
John Skotnik
5. ShooneSprings
What is your planned delivery cycle? As a previous poster mentioned, we are still waiting on New Spring to be finished. Are y'all planning on doing a set number of comics per book and just dropping anything that doesn't fit into that set number?

I enjoyed Dabel Brothers' Welcome to the Jungle - the Dresden Files comic y'all did. When I saw that y'all were going to be adapting the series I was quite excited and preordered Storm Front on Amazon. However, since then I have received a couple shipping delay notices (originally it was supposed to ship in March); I don't know if this was a misunderstanding or a delay (as Amazon only informs of a delay, rather than provides a reason), but I was disappointed by the delay and wonder whether or not this sort of problem will also affect WoT.

I guess the real question is, how are you planning to manage to publish the Wheel of Time comics in addition to the other projects you are publishing?
Dan Sparks
6. RedHanded
This could be a stupid question....as I haven't googled anything on it but will there be a hard copy version of these WoT comics? I thought the Dark Tower comics were pretty sweet and can imagine that a fully colored comic adapted from WoT would be pretty fn amazing...
Will they be releasing comics based on the each book? I'd particularly like to see 2 scenes off the top of my head. One..when Moraine appears to grow and steps over the wall in EotW and two..the Ways when Machin Shin is coming for them (and by them I mean anyone who has ever encountered Machin Shin and don't have a preference)
Also I have no idea what the whole raven's and Egwene link is supposed to be from. Is that New Spring? or some side story that is just made up? I never got around to reading New Spring....so yeah I know, how can I call myself a fan.

Maybe I should do the interview because I apparently know nothing and can think of a million stupid questions...!
merhawk
7. PamK
Hey, cool assignment! Congratulations!

Here is a question:

How does the creative process for doing an adaptation of a novel differ from writing/drawing an original comic? What's the best/worst thing about it? (This is meant to be a question about storytelling techniques, not stuff like "making sure the fans like it.")
Alex Wahlgren
8. Black-Veiled_Alex
Have you had to change how you see any of the characters before you drew them? It might just be me but there have been millions of times where I misread a description (happens a lot at 3 in the morning and my caffeine runs low) and then I can't for the life of me change there picture when I see my mistake.
merhawk
9. Heurone
I just want to say, Leigh, that if your skills were any liter ;) awesomesauce would gush from our eyes, *nods*
Bill Siegel
10. ubxs113
Mazel Tov!

Some of the descriptions in WoT can be very detailed, almost to a fault some would say.

How closely will the text be followed for things like the striped patterns of Cairhienien clothing or the Altaran Marriage Knifes?

How do they feel about the last book turning into three?

Do they know who killed Asmodean?

Edit: Oh good god, please don't RAFO me, I'm begging you!
Elroy Skimms
11. elroyskimms
Who killed Asmo....

Sorry, I had to go there.

Seriously though. I'm a complete Comic Book/Graphic Novel noob but anything WoT related gets my attention. The WoT series will give them a shot at an audience that is not familiar with this particular medium at all. For those of us not (yet) into comic books and graphic novels but huge WoT fans, is there something for us in this series they are producing that should bring us into the fold? Or will we be outsiders and not invited to join the party with the cool people?

(Did I just say that people reading comic books are the cool people and those of who aren't are left out???)

-E

Edit: Looks like ubxs113 was a minute ahead of me with Asmodean... Must.Type.Faster.
Dan Sparks
12. RedHanded
@ 10 re: Asmodeon - Well played, someone must know!
Brett Michie
13. bchurch
I have two questions. Not being a huge graphic novel reader, but having minored in art, I'm curious as to what your approach will be when drawing people channeling, ie weaving the different flows of the power. This is seen many times from a myriad of PoVs throughout the series, and I'm wondering if you will incorporate that into the art, as in the effects of channeling as seen by a non-channeler who cannot see the flows, or from a channeler who can. Just a curiosity.

And, I'm wondering how detailed you plan to get with the different cultures and clothing. Specifically, the Aiel, who claim that one should be able to tell the Clan and Sept of someone based on the cut/style of their Cadin'Sor, not something easily done by a wetlander.

Thanks Leigh! Congrats on this assignment and keep up the great work!
merhawk
14. Latecomer
Given the popularity of WOT and the potentially extreme reactions from fans on the slightest missteps, what are you doing to ensure that your vision translates the books appropriately? How much leeway do the writers have in the story - are they going to follow the books to a T?

(I hope you know where I'm going with this - given that we tend to overanalyse every throwaway sentence and nitpick every error, how will the writers keep it all right? )

thanks!
Lannis .
15. Lannis
Here's a simple one (it may have been answered on their website, since they're already doing WoT projects): were they fans of the WoT before having the projects sent their way? Were they familiar with it at all?

Of course, I understand they'll be doing research, but I was just wondering if they've got the geeky-tug-at-the-heart when thinking of the complete awesomeness that could happen with this series as a graphic novel... or are they just looking at the paycheque?
merhawk
16. Dr. Morganstien
Hey, I have a few quick questions for the boys:

How do you intend to handle POVs? They shift a lot in WOT, sometimes very rapidly, are you just gonna let the artwork intone who is at the internal dialogue microphone or really hammer it home?

Will the first comic be the prologue to TEOTW? 'cause it will be soooo awesome to see

This may be more for the fans than the artists, but:
Does a Tairen maze look like a celtic knot? It always did in my head, but every other aspect of their culture names them more middle-eastern or african, so it may just be wishful thinking.
Sacha G
17. Fortune_Prick_Me
Question: Robert Jordan included a lot of symbolism in the books, e.g. the number 13, references to "real world" legends and myth such as King Arthur, Scandinavian deities, or biblical demons. Do you plan to include any hidden visual cues that may reference grail mythology, thirteen ravens on a tree, a cloud vaguely shaped liked a wolfshead above a Perrin frame or the like?

Question: Do you plan to use any real world people as models for the characters as many animated feature films do?

Question: Have you already unlisted your phones for the inevitable WOT fans backlash when you get the slightest thing wrong? Trust me, we even find out when the author gets things wrong-you will not be immune :)

Question: ok not a question... LB~have fun with the interview!
merhawk
18. Gawin
Regarding Asmo

hasn't anyone figured this one out yet?

It was Graendal who Balefired Asmo, she was hanging around the palace with Rahvin waiting for Rand to strike at Sammael. She was as surprised as Rahvin to find Rand attacking in Caemlyn and hid herself, waiting for a chance to create a doorway without beeing noticed.

RJ said it should be obvious, you don't get more obvious then this.

as for the questions?
I'd like to know if there are plans to translate the Graphic novels into other languages as well
merhawk
19. time keeper
at one comic book per chapter per book for the complete story. how many years for all of the story to be published?(14 books = about 50 years of comic books??)
merhawk
20. bookworm
I have a theory about who killed Asmodean. But, since few will like it, I'm waiting for Leigh to get there on the re-read. Then, everybody will get the chance to pick it apart.
Robert Garza
21. FunBob
Leigh, one question is how faithful do they intend to keep to the books? A lot of the faithful readers want things to be close adapatations (see Harry Potter films and why Chris Columbus' two movies are almost always panned), but more would like a little more digression through side threads about things that are implied in the books rather than explicitly stated.

I can already see the Asmo being killed scene being drawn out in my mind...a few "intrepid" readers would appreciate a subtle hint through symbolism, etc., as to who the killer is. (BTW, agree with Gawin about Asmodean's killer...almost word for word description of why...)

Get better Leigh...hope your bronchitis is thinning out... : )
Marco van der Merwe
22. shadarauditor
I have a couple...

A) As mentioned earlier...will you finish this project or leave me hanging like you did with New Spring?

B) Will they be combined in Trade Paperbacks? In other words, would it be better to wait for those rather than the monthlies? I prefer trades as they read better and don't have ads in that are totally unrelated to my life in Africa.

C) Will the artist change midway through the novel as you did with Magician? The art went from awesome to really crap in an issue.

D) Which scenes are you planning to cut? We had a major discussion on LibraryThing about scenes to be cut - for a movie - and quite frankly most people agreed to cut some of my fave scenes.

E) Will the colouring be rich and colourful (first few of Magician) or dull and lifeless (the rest of Magician).

F) Will you draw any inspiration from the Big White Book for art? If so count me out.
Maggie M
23. Eswana
Wow, what a cool project Leigh!

Questions to be Asked (I think that's actually a chapter title)

-How do you handle questions of dramatic irony and POV? (ie, one of my favorite scenes in CoS is when Mat arrives in Salidar and is going on and on about "the poor blind fool they've chosen to be their Amyrlin" and "the real Aes Sedai" and the Supergirls are about to explode at him....which is only funny if you know that Egwene is already Amyrlin, and if you know that Mat doesn't know."

-This might seem trite, but how do you visualize gateways? I always think of them as rectangular door-shaped openings, but I've seen some cool artists' renditions of them in more starburst or circular form. What's your plan?

-Please make sure to include that scene in tFoH where one of the Aiel falls off the Skimming platform... it's a very minor point, but I think it's cool/creepy nonetheless

-How do you plan to handle chronology? Many of the events in the series overlap, especially since there are about 20,629 plots going on at once. How do you prioritize which comes first?

-Are there any real-world places you're using as imspiration for various WoT places? (ie, Washington Monument = White Tower (well, not really. but that's the idea).

-The samples we've seen so far are black and white. Will the graphic novel use both color and black and white frames?

-Are you planning on "cutting" minor scenes to save space and time? How do you decide what stays and what goes?

-How do you feel non-WoT fan who are Graphic Novel fans will respond to the GNs?

-How do you think non-graphic novel fans who are WoT fans will react?

-Are RJ's excruciatingly detailed descriptions a blessing or curse?
merhawk
24. Muckl
I'm pleased to see that your excellent work was noticed and congratulate you on your promotion (sort of...;))

The biggest question for me would be, if they know of the film project for WoT and if they plan their graphic novels like they want to do the movie or the books?

Do you get what I mean (I'm not really sure I do...I am not an native speaker) I mean if they want to picture a movie or a book. For the first I think it would be the easier type but the second would be the more exact type of graphic novel!

It would be also great to know if they would (only when their novels are out and approved by us fans) trade ideas, sketches and problems+answers with the filmproject!

Don't know if this questions are really important, but I think as long as we haven't seen the graphic novels, no amount of explanation can ready us for the reality, good or bad (even if they would do this project only for money they could do a decent job!!!)...

At Last about your reread Leigh: Keep.it.up.
It's just great and I think it's now you slowed down even greater (dunno if its possible, but there you are=))
merhawk
25. Barstool
When you wear panties on your head to get your creative juices flowing, do you prefer thongs or something a little less revealing?
merhawk
26. HGS~WtJ
I do have a question for the artists:

Do Fades have eyebrows? :-)
merhawk
27. maquli
This action proves to be a win, win situation. This is a true art work, which will be a success story.

Maquli

interview questions
merhawk
28. Filip12
I have a quick question.

Why do you agreed to turn WoT into a franchise? This is not Star Wars! At first they decided to do a movie (which is insane) then some video games, now this! What is next? WoT mugs? Heron marked toy swords?

No wait I know the answer. It is because of the almighty, allpowerfull money.

Have fun destroying Mr. Jordan's legacy.

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