Nowadays they call ’em graphic novels. Which is a fancy way of saying “big thick trade paperback or hardcover comic books sold in bookstores instead of comic shops,” really. When I was a kid we called them “funny books,” but I don’t think anyone but me and Howard Waldrop still remembers that. Never mind. I ramble.
The point is, I have all sorts of cool news on the funny book/ comic book/ graphic novel front. Which I am not going to spill here all at once, because, well, it’s more fun to torment you guys with one announcement at the time.
Here’s the first: MEATHOUSE MAN, the graphic novel.
Those of you who know me only from A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE may be wondering, what the hell is MEATHOUSE MAN?? The short answer is, “one of my old SF short stories.” (Actually, a novelette).
The long answer is, “the darkest, bleakest, sickest, most twisted thing I ever wrote.”
I wrote it back in the late 1970s, in response to an invitation from Harlan Ellison, who wanted something of mine for THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS. Most of my own visions, back then, were more romantic and melancholy than dangerous, but I wanted in that book, so I took up the challenge, opened a vein, and with my very own blood (no, not really) wrote this disturbing tale of zombie necrophilia, and… well, it was a painful story to write, and painful to read as well. When I sent it to Harlan, he rejected it… but Damon Knight bought it, and it was published in ORBIT 18. I’ve reprinted it a few times since. I really cannot say I “like” the story (it is not the sort of story that lends itself to liking), but it is a powerful piece.
And now it is going to be a funny book… er… graphic novel.
For that, blame must go to Raya Golden, my talented (and somewhat twisted) Second Minion, a terrific young artist. Raya wanted to adapt something of mine as a comic, so when I offered her the choice of all the stuff in DREAMSONGS not already under option, she surprised the seven hells out of me by choosing “Meathouse Man.” (And she seems so sane and happy). Then she took the ball and ran with it.
Raya broke down the story, adapted it to comic form, wrote the script, did the pencils, the inks, the coloring, the covers. This is her MEATHOUSE MAN as much as it is mine.
Amazon’s publishing arm 47 North will be bringing it out in October… as an e-book for Kindle for sure. Raya and the gang at Amazon have done some interesting and innovative stuff to marry the medium to the format; this whole e-comic thing is a brave new world. (E-funny books? Who woulda thunk it?) A print edition is also possible, but not definite, waiting on final word on that.
So that’s the first of my funny books making its way toward you. Raya’s done an an amazing job on it, I think… I hope you’ll check it out, and… well, “enjoy” may not be the word, the story is kind of a punch in the gut, but…
That’s MEATHOUSE MAN. Coming this October to a Kindle near you.