9/21/2016

Happy Birthday H.G. Wells! Why I love you so much.


Heute vor 150 Jahren wurde H. G. Wells, der Verfasser von "Der Krieg der Welten", in Bromley in der Grafschaft Kent in England geboren. Er ging in eine Tuchhändlerlehre, die es ihm ermöglichte, mit Menschen aller Gesellschaftsschichten in Berührung zu kommen, was seine Tätigkeit als Schriftsteller und seine politischen Ansichten nachhaltig prägte. Er studierte Physik, Chemie, Biologie, Geologie und Astronomie und arbeitete u. a. als Lehrer.

„Der Krieg der Welten“, 1898 bei William Heinemann, London, erschienen, war gleich bei Erscheinen ein großer Erfolg bei den Kritikern und beim Publikum und begründete zusammen mit dem 1895 erschienenen Roman „Die Zeitmaschine“ seinen Ruf als visionärer Schriftsteller utopischer Literatur. Die Idee, von einer übermächtigen Instanz besiegt zu werden, war eine weit verbreitete Angst aller Nationen um 1900. England als Kolonialmacht betrifft Wells’ Vision in besonderem Maße, da er den Kolonialgedanken umdreht und vor Augen führt, was es heißt, selbst und unter starken Verlusten erobert zu werden und komplett unterlegen zu sein - ein Zustand, von dem England seinerzeit so weit von entfernt war wie die Erde vom Mars, und daher eine umso erschreckendere Vision für das Empire.

Und ich und H. G. Wells?

Mir hätte nichts Besseres passieren können als die Liebe meiner Mutter zum Radio.

Denn an einem nasskalten 30. Oktober irgendwann in den späten Achtziger Jahren schaltete sie das Radio ein, um eine Wiederaufführung von Orson Welles’ berühmt-berüchtigter Radiofassung von "Der Krieg der Welten" zu hören. Und ich saß daneben.

Es dauerte keine fünf Minuten, und das kongenial inszenierte Hörspiel hatte mich vollständig in seinen Bann geschlagen.

Ich begriff, dass es eine Buchvorlage gegeben hatte, und hielt sie für nicht mehr erhältlich - bis ich sie eines Tages, zwei oder drei oder gar vier Jahre später, als Entlohnung für einen zeichnerischen Gefallen geschenkt bekam.

Und dann hatte ich eines der schönsten, fesselndsten und intensivsten Lese-Erlebnisse meines ganzen Lebens. Ich erinnere mich noch genau, dass es draußen sehr heiß war - wie in der Jahreszeit im Buch - und dass ich allein mit meiner Schwester zuhause war, die Migräne hatte und nach der ich ab und an schaute. Um dann, falls sie kein Wasser oder etwas anderes brauchte, wieder in dem Buch zu versinken.

Seit diesem Tag wollte ich "Der Krieg der Welten" als Comic, als Graphic Novel umsetzen. Und nun ist es soweit: Im Januar 2017 erscheint sie, bei Egmont Graphic Novel.

Man hat selten das Gefühl, dass sich ein wirklich großer Kreis schließt. Doch diesmal wird es so sein, wenn der Druck gut funktioniert und alles so kommt, wie ich es mit vorgestellt habe - mein bestmöglichstes habe ich dafür jedenfalls getan.

Lieber H. G. Wells - danke, dass es dich gab und dass du die Bücher geschrieben hast, die du schriebst - du witziger, abenteuerlicher, phantastischer, spekulierender Geist. In deinen Büchern finde ich viel von dem, was mich betrifft. Und dafür danke ich dir. Und für die großartige Gelegenheit, eine Graphic Novel zeichnen zu können, die die Belle Epoque, England und seine beschauliche Landschaft, London, dreibeinige Marsmaschinen und - ja - die Liebe behandelt. Mehr hätte ich nicht verlangen können.

Today is the 150th anniversary of H. G. Wells, the author of "The War of the Worlds". He was born in Bromley, Kent (England) and was a draper’s apprentice before studying physics, chemistry, biology, geology and astronomy.

"The War of the Worlds", published in 1898 by William Heinemann, London, met with instant success upon its release. Together with his earlier novel "The Time Machine" (1895) it established his fame as a visionary in science fiction literature. The fear of being overwhelmed by a power superior in strength and warfare, as it happens to England in ’War of the Worlds’, was a common ’angst’ of all nations at that time. England is especially affected by this because a country like it - having a long history in colonization - was as far from being possibly overpowered by any other nation as earth is from Mars. Therefore, Wells’ vision of an invasion from outer space that overruns England in just two weeks was so ridiculous and yet thrilling at the same time, in fiction.

And me and the great H. G.?

Nothing better could have happened for our relationship than my mother’s interest in radio features.

Because, one day in the late eighties, on a 30th of October, she turned the Marconi on for a re-release of Orson Welles’ infamous radio play adaption of ’The War of the Worlds’. And I was sitting in the adjunctant parlor, drawing as usual.

Five minutes into the play and I was hooked. I couldn’t concentrate on my drawings anymore. Instead, I was literally sitting next to the speakers of the radio and listening to the voices telling me the most thrilling and breathtaking story I ever heard. And it was in this moment, too, that I became aware of what people can do with their voices alone. Scare you. Convince you that something that is totally made up is really real.

I understood that there must have been a book before, but given I was young and didn’t know the meaning of what a ’classic’ is I thought the book was not available anymore. It was not until four or five years later taht I got an edition of the story as ’wage’ for a drawing I did for my art teacher at that time, who had a friend who ran a book store.

And then followed one of the most intense reading experiences that I ever had and can remember: It was very hot outside, like the season in the book, and I was home alone with my sister who was suffering from a bad headache. Every now and then, I went looking for her, asking her if she needed some water or something else, and then dived into the book again.

Since then I wanted to do it as a graphic novel. And now it’s here: In January 2017 my adaption will be released by Egmont Graphic Novel (Germany).

It happens only a few times in your life that you have the feeling that a big circle is coming to a close. But this time, with ’War of the Worlds’, it will be like that for me. If everything goes right with the printing and the release - but I have really done everything that I could do for that, I have really done my very, very best. Now I keep my fingers crossed.

Dear H.G. Wells - thank you for having been there, having written so many witty, exciting, dramatic, philosophic and - yes - funny stories (and also not forgetting love as a topic). I can find so many things in your books that I can relate to. And that’s what I want to thank you for. And thank you for the wonderful opportunity for a graphic novel set in victorian England, with all it’s beautiful landscapes, architecture, London, tripods and, yes, romance. It is more than I could have ever asked for. Thank you.

5/12/2016

The War of the Worlds graphic novel in Egmont’s preview








Yay! The autumn releases catalogue from Egmont graphic novel arrived, announcing my adaption of H.G. Wells’ famous ’The War of the Worlds’! Superhappy :-)

4/11/2016

War of the Worlds at the Bologna Children´s Book Fair


I´m back from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and brought a War of the Worlds graphic novel announcement pic from the Egmont Graphic Novel booth on the fair!

3/23/2016

What is Emma reading here?





A scene in my War of the Worlds graphic novel shows the protagonist and his wife sitting in their teahouse in the garden, reading. And like I did it with many other things surrounding my characters throughout the story, I asked myself: What will especially Emma, the main character’s wife, read here?
As Wells designed him, the main protagonist is a philosopher, being involved in that-time-of-period-discussions in magazines, writing essays. He lives in his own house with his wife, having a parlourmaid, enjoying little pieces of luxury. Because of that, I figured the pair to be more upper middle class.
The common activities of a woman living at the time War of the Worlds is set were managing the home, making (and answering) invitations, fueling the social life of the family, doing philanthropist activities and educating herself in handcrafts. She was socially oppressed, as the women’s rights movement was just about to form itself. But before you judge the above mentioned activities too early: I think that was a huge job to do, managing all this stuff. My great-grandmother herself did a great part of her husband’s job by contributing her skilled handcraft abilities like sewing or repairing lace to his museum profession. So, more or less, a couple of that time could also form a union in the same effort, so to say, and women sometimes had a tremendous effect on the careers of their husbands. But back to Emma, my War of the Worlds character: Supposing she is concerned with the commitments of a wife of that period, what would she read in this scene? I decided she reads some The Studio magazines. The Studio was a reformist magazine of that period displaying modern lifestyle, showcasing new tendencies in decorating a home, displaying artists and publishing articles about arts and crafts. I think it is very likely that Emma, as a wife of a man with the profession and social status that he has, would be open to modern ways of living and furnishing as well as to traditional tendencies of her life (after all they’re Victorians).
So I put a The Studio magazine on the teatable. I show a scan of a cover of The Studio above, actually not exactly from that time my graphic novel is set (about two years older), but very, very close to it. The magazine covers looked like that the whole period in which the publication of Wells’  War of the Worlds took place. The little vignette handling the magazine´s name like an ornament was found in one of these original editions of The Studio that I own. I think it amalgamates the magazine´s approach to showcase modern art and the Arts & Crafts movement in one single illustration very well. I added it here to give you an impression of how that journal was.

1/31/2016

Dead London


A watercolor study for the overall atmosphere of the 'Dead London' scenes in the book.

12/13/2015

Reed Organ Scene Revised


I noticed some differences at the original instrument and the one in the picture of this music-making moment between Emma and Robert that I posted before. So I changed it a bit.
I wonder what they are playing - being in the middle of the season right now, I imagine something like this: click. With a little bit less in volume, of course :)

11/27/2015

Skizzenanhang / Sketch Addendum


The War of the Worlds Graphic Novel will have a sketch addendum, although we - the publisher and I - don´t know yet how many pages it will have. But here´s a recent try on one of the pages about the characters.