Friday 8 October 2021

Rebel Planet: The Graphic Novel - Mark Lain Interview

Rebel Planet: The Graphic Novel, written by Mark Lain and illustrated by Gary Mayes, has only been running for a week on Kickstarter but it is already more than half way towards its funding goal.

The Warlock decided that it was time to find out more about the project and so summoned Mark Lain to the dungeons beneath Firetop Mountain to interrogate him... Sorry! To interview him.

The Warlock: What inspired you to turn Rebel Planet into a graphic novel? 

Mark Lain: It’s the only sci-fi FF that really has a fully-developed “world” and the concepts in it are still very contemporary and relevant. The sheer variety of the environments of the planets you visit gives a lot of scope for showing the different experiences and challenges faced by the Player’s character. Plus the Arcadians are a brilliantly designed set of species and Gary’s art really beings the whole package to life.

TW: What can fans of the original gamebook expect from the graphic novel?

ML: Something faithful to the gamebook but not a slavish rendition of the true path. There needs to be peril and moments of potential failure, so some of the areas that you should avoid on the true path are here too, to make it more than just an easy ride to success. This is meant to be a mission against the odds. Also, there will be some surprises.

For example, some parts of the gamebook have been substituted for aspects from the computer game adaptation, particularly in places where I personally thought the computer version handled things better or more logically. There are some essential details for the Prologue too that are missing from the gamebook so I’ve added in some material of my own, but nothing that will contradict of offend – it’s purely to complete and fill gaps.

TW: What will readers who have never heard of Fighting Fantasy get from this adaptation?

ML: For these readers, it’s a cracking sci-fi yarn. Because of how the plot plays out, the reader has no requirement to know anything about the gamebook or FF in general. Indeed, the plot will be a total surprise for non-FF readers. At the end of the day, this is a science fiction graphic novel.

TW: What has it been like to work with Gary Mayes?

ML: So far it’s been great. He is full of enthusiasm for the project and is very open to my ideas and suggestions. We have been discussing this collaboration for over a year now, and I’m really happy at how keen he is. He is the artist who will bring my words to life so a passion for the material is vital. His love of sci-fi and knowledge of the genre makes my job of explaining concepts and tropes much easier as he just gets what I’m referring to straight away, and he’s a consummate professional.

TW: Are there any other FF books you would like to give the graphic novel treatment?

ML: Well, without giving too much away, there is an open ending designed to segue into a sequel, but obviously this first book needs to hit the right notes so we actually get a sequel (and all the necessary permissions of course)! But I’m not going to say which book it is that the ending leads to – people will have to read the Rebel Planet GN to find that out.

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