Saturday, February 6, 2010
Interview with Chuck Dixon about The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages comes to pass...
For those unfamiliar with Dynamite's newest acquisition, Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, it is an epic medieval fantasy series that evokes Arthurian legend and Celtic myths with a touch of Star Wars. Sadly, the original author of series died in 2007, but luckily left the finale in good hands. Rand al'Thor is a sheepherder whose life is changed forever after meeting the mysterious Moiraine and her Warder, Lan. His destiny could bring the end of the Dark One, but possibly the end of the world as well. Now, as Dynamite continues the adaptation of the series, we spoke with writer Chuck Dixon about his history with the project, and what to expect going forward.
Newsarama: Chuck, are you a fan of The Wheel of Time yourself?
Chuck Dixon: I wasn’t before I started this project. I was initially offered [the prequel] New Spring on the strength of the adaptation of The Hobbit I had done for Del Rey.
Nrama: So let's talk about the prologue, "Dragonmount". That issue already came out, are you going to continue with the series from that issue or do another relaunch?
Dixon: That’s a question for Dynamite to answer. If I were to guess, I’d say they’ll include it in whatever collection is down the road. The material is Dynamite’s to do with what they will. No need to re-launch as the collected hardcover or paperback is the goal here.
Nrama: With such an epic story, what has been the greatest challenge so far?
Dixon: These books are pure prose. They are not written with comic book adaptation in mind (unlike Dean Koontz who writes in a form friendlier to comics). There’s lots of internal dialogue and character exploration via dialogue. What I have to do is telescope a bit a re-order some events to balance action and plot advancement. Sometimes I have to contort the prose a bit to do this. Like, if a past battle is mentioned in passing I’ll create a scene flashing back to it. I don’t break what’s written but bring more visual weight to what Jordan was evoking. Eye candy is important in project like this. Fans want to see this world.
Robert Jordan was very forgiving considering some of the cut and paste I had to do to make it comics. But I was always mindful to keep 99% of his dialogue and descriptions as written. The readers want his work not mine.
Nrama: Since Jordan wrote in quite detailed paragraphs, are you going to do EVERYTHING from the books?
Dixon: I believe that Dynamite is continuing the program as it was started so this will be a very close adaptation of the novels. Not quite page-for-page but close. So, it’ll be a literal translation and include as much of the book as we can.
Nrama: Do you feel like you're leaving anything out?
Dixon: Not so far. It’s all in there. Of course, everyone has a scene or character that’s their favorite and there’s a chance I’ll either leave them out or not place the desired emphasis on them. I’m still bummed that Beorn didn’t make it into the Lord of the Rings movies.
Nrama: How do you think you're going to handle some of the more adult stuff later on? I mean it gets pretty sexual especially with Mat and Tylin.
Dixon: I look forward to some telephone conference calls on this. But there’s ways to handle this kind of material without getting pornographic.
Nrama: Is there a favorite character you've liked writing so far?
Dixon: I fell in love with Moiraine when I was writing New Spring.
Currently I’m writing lots of Rand so he’s the guy I’m identifying with the most currently.
Nrama: Are you using the The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time guide, or what we fans call the "Big White Book" for the imagery or are you creating your own for certain things?
Dixon: I’m using everything. I’m using stuff you’ve never seen and no fan’s been privy to. The imagery I leave to the artists and editors and estate. It’s thin ice creating lasting imagery of characters and locations that so many readers have imagined on their own. My end is pacing and dramatization.
Nrama: Will the art team stay the same? Will there be a consistent artist you're being paired with or will it be a rotating team?
Dixon: Nick at Dynamite is still sorting all of this deal out. Once he does, I’m looking forward to improved communication as well as seeing the art as it progresses. The same working relationship I have with Dynamite on the other stuff I’m doing with them. You know, being allowed to proof the finished product and getting jpegs of the art. Believe it or not, I still have no copies of the comics published up to now.
Nrama: What are you looking forward to writing? I can't wait to see how the invasion of the Stone of Tear comes to life on the page.
Dixon: Long, extended action scenes are what I’m waiting for. That’s where I get to stretch my storytelling muscles. There’s lots of tremendous action set pieces coming up.