I had the pleasure of attending the Garth Ennis Panel at Denver ComicCon 2015. I was extremely excited because I had just finished his Punisher run with Steve Dillon and really wanted to hear him talk about what he was working on now, as I am always interested in new comics to read especially ones by authors I like.
He started of his panel talking about War Stories and Crossed and how he has really loved working on these two drastically different types of stories.
War Stories is a series of graphic novels telling tales of conflict and impassioned military throughout modern history. I have yet to read any of these, but Garth mentioned he was really proud to be writing these stories as many of them pull inspiration from real-life happenings of people he meets and talks to. This is one of the things that kept coming up as a recurring theme I will address later about Garth Ennis, he loves telling new stories.
He also talked about Crossed, another comic I am remiss for not having read yet, and there was some exciting news on that. They are going to do a web series developing the back story of many of the main characters in the series. The series seems like a great horror survival series that would be a welcome entry into my comic collection. He seemed very excited about the series continuing and the plethora of stories that this universe could contain. Again, Garth expressed interest in telling new stories with new characters in the same universe.
The reason I (and others on the web, namely Bleedingcool.com) decided I need to write about this panel was two-fold. DCC gave me a media pass, but more-so I felt the urge to talk about a writer’s take on having their stories retold. Garth was asked about Preacher a number of times, as the filming had just started on the Preacher TV-show. He said he was not involved and actively chooses not to be because he wanted to give other people a chance to tell their stories in that world.
This comment flicked one of my many flick-able switches when regarding a transition of a story from the written medium to the filmed medium. Many times I find people getting frustrated when the Walking Dead doesn’t kill off Hershel the way they do in the comics or when a character from Game of Thrones is in a location they were never supposed to be in the books.
While I think it is very fun to see something brought to life, I do not necessarily agree that it needs to be a direct translation of original source. I understand I am being controversial, but bare with me for a moment. I am all for seeing how someone dies in a gruesome fashion in a horror novel when translated to the big screen, so much so in fact our other blog, Sickle and Efirt, is devoted to horror movies. Sometimes I see people getting angry that the bringing-to-life of a scene isn’t exactly what they imagined or exactly what the graphic artist in the trade paperback decided to draw. I draw a hard line in the sand here.
I love the creative freedoms that many of today’s directors and writers are taking when transforming something from books and comics to television and film. These people know how to make something visually interesting in a way that many authors and illustrators admittedly cannot. Secondly when many of the writers choose to actively not be involved in the production of a film or movie, how can we assume they are not okay with it being changed? Heck, some authors even like being involved in the film translation, but typically as producers and co-writers.
I think people should become more comfortable with the idea of new stories being told from older sources. It is a good and evolutionary thing. Change in a story is not always bad and letting someone else tell a new version of a story is a great thing. My prime example of this is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. If any movie can be compared to a one-off story arc by a guest author it is this film. The stylistic cinematography alone is directly akin to a guest illustrator on a comic book. This movie was actually better than the first one, because they were able to make it quite unique.
I am glad I was able to make Garth Ennis’ panel and that his ideas about new and unique stories seem to reflect my idea about the same subject. Validation by one of your new favorite authors is the best, yo!