The following is an interview with Clover Press co-founder Ted Adams regarding the recent launch of the Kickstarter campaign for The Great Gatsby: The Essential Graphic Novel Adaptation. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Adams about the genesis behind the graphic novel adaptation, his shared creative process in working with artist Jorge Coelho and letterer Robbie Robbins to bring the story to life on the page, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for The Great Gatsby! What first intrigued you about transitioning this incredible piece of US literature to the sequential art medium?
Ted Adams: Thank you.
The comic book writing I’ve done has primarily been adaptations, starting with an adaptation of the Spawn movie for WildStorm in 1997. In addition to adapting the novels The Shrinking Man (with Mark Torres) and The Island of Doctor Moreau (with Gabriel Rodriguez), I’ve also adapted the video games Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat to comics.
I keep an eye on the novels that are entering the public domain, and when I saw The Great Gatsby on the list, I knew I wanted to give it a shot.
BD: The creative process of approaching an adaptation of a prior work – especially one as well known as The Great Gatsby – can be a daunting experience. Given your previous work in adapting H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, how would you describe your approach to breathing new life into the story?
TA: When Gabriel Rodriguez and I worked on the Moreau adaptation, we made some changes to the story and only had 50 pages to work with. I’m extremely proud of that book and it was a dream come true to be able to write something with Gabe, but, for the Gatsby adaptation, Jorge and I wanted to do a completely faithful adaptation, and we weren’t limited in the number of pages we could have to tell the story. It ended up being seven comic books for a total of 140 pages. That allowed us to include every scene from the book and to include a lot of Fitzgerald’s words.
BD: Likewise, what can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with artist Jorge Coelho?
TA: I only wanted to do this adaptation if I could find an artist who shared my passion for the book. I looked at a lot of artists while I was thinking about it, and eventually narrowed it down to a list with one person on it – Jorge Coelho. I was extremely lucky that Jorge wanted to do it.
I provided Jorge with a very long script – 190 pages – but also let him know that he had complete creative freedom to change whatever he wanted. Every time I got an email from him with new pages, I got a smile on my face.
I also want to mention Robbie Robbins’ lettering and design. There’s a lot of text in this comic, and he came up with some interesting solutions that allowed us to present the text in a readable way. Robbie also did a great job of capturing the 1920s with his design.
BD: What makes Clover Press the perfect home for this project?
TA: I’m one of the co-founders of Clover Press, and I’m proud of all the books we’ve published. Being one of the founders also meant I could convince my partners to let me have as many pages as I wanted to tell the story.
BD: What are some of the incredible backer rewards that you would like to highlight for those who support the Kickstarter campaign?
TA: We have a handsome limited edition that has gold-gilded edge pages and a slipcase. That one is signed by me, and also includes a gold foil bookmark. But we’re most excited about our “Library/Classroom Donation” tier, in which you can back the project and receive a copy of the book AND donate a copy (or several) to a library or classroom of your choice. If you don’t have a specific library in mind, you can also donate your copy to Reader to Reader, a non-profit organization dedicated to getting copies of great books into underserved libraries.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
TA: I don’t personally have anything else, but Clover Press is putting the final touches on our edition of The Tragedie of Macbeth by Stewart Kenneth Moore (the amazingly talented artist behind our book Project: MK-Ultra). And two artbook projects are on the way from the printer, The Art of Dracula of Transylvania by Ricardo Delgado and Popeye Variations: Not Yer Pappy’s Comics an’ Art Book. Those are both great books, and I hope folks will check them out.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Great Gatsby: The Essential Graphic Novel Adaptation and your other work?
TA: The Kickstarter can be found here.
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