Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lost in Translation: Adapting a Work

As an avid movie goer and lover of books, if there’s a movie that I want to see and it’s an adaption of a novel, I tend to read the novel first.  Almost 90% of the time, the novel is LOADS better than the movie.  Often time adaptions fall very short.  Such is the case with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  The novel was pretty interesting, while the movie was such a…well, I’ll just say that it was a disappointment (that’s a kindness).  And as much as it pains me to say this, the movie version of Queen of the Damned
, left a lot to be desired, when it comes to comparing it to the source material. (That is in no way the fault of the incomparable, late-Aaliyah. Her performance as Akasha, was wonderful).
There are a few acceptations; The Help was stellar and kept the spirit of the novel alive.  The Harry Potter moviess were pretty faithful adaptions, and as much as some people may loathe the entire Twilight phenomenon, the movies stuck pretty close to the books.  Aside from novels, tv shows, cartoons, video games, and comics have all made the jump from one form to another.  Some work and some others fail miserably.  Example: Spiderman 1 vsSpiderman 3.
No matter what medium is being adapted, some believe that no adaption can ever really fully utilize its source material to its fullest; up until a few weeks ago, save but for a few exceptions, I believed that myself.  Now, I have a different outlook.
A few weeks ago I began writing the first issue of UnBound, which will be a comic adaption of my Copperhill Media release, UnBound: Battle of the Half-Angels.  I came into the project knowing that not every line would make the jump between formats.   Some material was bound to become lost in translation.  I prepared myself to pick apart my novel in the search for the perfect lines to use.  What I’ve found is that instead of picking apart my work, I have the opportunity to show different aspects of the world that I created.
When you’re taking a work from one medium to another, it’s almost like a do-over.  If there was something you wanted to add, you can now do so.  Is there a scene that was implied, but would have bogged down the plot if you addressed it in detail?  With an adaption you can revisit that scene and make it work.  Six pages of a scene might equal 2 minutes of screen time, or 2 pages of a comic, if it’s done correctly.
I have finished writing the first issue and I hope that I’ve done my novel justice.  But I can’t be the judge of that.  I’m far too close to the material to be objective.  So I come to you.  Below I have posted a few pages of UnBound: Battle of the Half-Angels, and the corresponding pages of the adaption.   Give them a look and tell me if you think I’ve stayed true to the source material. You’ll have to use your imagination when it comes to reading the script for the comic.
FYI: Here are a few comic terms for those that have never read a comic.
Splash page: A page in which the illustration takes up the entire page.
Caption: The narrators voice in a comic.
Panel: The individual sections of a comic page.

To read more about any of the titles I’ve mentioned or my other work, you can check out my other post here at, or head over to my website,
Lines from UnBound: Battle of the Half-Angels:
In the beginning, God created man; perfect beings crafted in his likeness, free of sin, and endowed with free will.  As their creator, Jehovah was pleased by mankind’s love and devotion.  But not everyone was thrilled with the idea of new creatures garnering Jehovah’s favor.
Some of the angels, his first children, grew jealous and resentful of mankind’s place in their father’s heart.  Their own hearts grew cold.  They saw humans as nothing more than barbaric animals, unworthy of the affection that Jehovah showered upon them.
One of the most important gifts that Jehovah had given man was free will.  Some of the cold-hearted angels were aware of this, and grew tired of the strict set of rules that Jehovah had put in place to govern them.  They wanted the freedom to choose the paths their lives would follow.
Other discontent angels saw the kingdom which Jehovah had given the humans, and coveted their paradise.  They wanted a kingdom of their own, so that they might lord over it and be worshiped as gods in their own right.  But they didn’t want just any kingdom; they wanted heaven.
These groups, led by Satanael, began to plot and plan an attempt to overthrow the master.  Satanael had already secretly brought the mother of man to a sinful shame, which had cost humanity Eden.
And so the war began.  Satanael, the first of Jehovah’s perfect angels, the most beautiful of the entire heavenly host, turned his back on everything he had once held dear, and drew arms against his own.  Brother fought brother and sister fought sister, as a multitude of angels, led by Michael and the Archangels, warred with Satanael and his forces.
In a battle that brought death and destruction to the heavens, Michael and his army eventually overcame Satanael and his minions…
…The Archangel Michael paced in the gilded hall of a heavenly palace as he waited for Metatron to see him.  He had spent the last fifteen years locked in purgatory for his crime.  When he was released, he found that literally, all hell had broken loose on Earth.  Lucifer was turning a blind eye as The Fallen broke the rules of interference.  But even more troubling was the fact that no one had made any strides to stop it in his absence.  Michael was furious, to say the least.
The End Days were drawing near, and the Light needed every soul they could win, to come out victorious.  The numbers were too close to allow blatant cheating to continue.  But from the looks of things, Michael was the only one who realized this important truth.
Michael turned and looked at the doors in quiet frustration. He was just about to throw caution and courtesy aside and let himself in, when he felt a small ebb of power.
The huge doors to Metatron’s throne room glided open and Michael hurried inside.  “Are you so detached from what goes on below that you no longer care that the rules are being broken?” he cried, as he approached Metatron.
Metatron, Jehovah’s greatest angel, smiled and nodded in return, “Hello Michael, good to see you home brother.”
Michael groaned.  “Welcome home!?  That’s all you have to say?  The Fallen boldly walk the Earth, wreaking all sorts of havoc and mayhem, and all you have to say is welcome home.”
Metatron stood and stretched a pair of his seventy-two wings.  “What would you have me do, brother?  Become as they are and throw all regard for father’s rules out the window?  I think not.”
Michael stalked over to a window and willed the veil between heaven and Earth to part.  He looked at the world below as he carefully chose his words.  “If you won’t act, then allow me and the Archangels to intervene, we’ve…”
“Unacceptable,” said Metatron.  “The rules apply to us all, not just me.”  Michael scowled at Metatron.
“And that is why the balance hangs in peril.  We remain bound by rules while the Fallen run free.  Every day they prove their existence to mankind, giving them something other to believe in than a god they never see.”
Michael pointed towards the Earth, looked at Metatron, and pleaded.  “Please, Metatron, if Jehovah thought enough of them to send his own flesh and blood to walk among them, then allow me this.  We won’t interfere; just keep order among the Fallen.”
Metatron, stood stoic as he looked towards the Earth, and considered Michael’s plea.  “I can’t allow it,” he said after careful deliberation.
Michael opened his mouth to protest, but Metatron held up a finger to silence him.  “But,” he said carefully, “I will allow the fruit of your transgression to be unbound, along with any others that may exist.  There will be rules, and you cannot remain with them after they’re made aware.  Take it or leave it.”
Michael’s heart swelled with unexpected relief.  “I’ll take it,” he said, as he turned to leave the room.
Just as he reached the threshold, Metatron called out.  “Remember, Michael, as your children are unbound, so are those of the Fallen.  And even more so, brother, remember why they were bound in the first place. “
Michael nodded and hurried out before Metatron had the chance to stop him again.  For the first time since his release, Michael breathed easy.  The unbinding of the nephillim was more than he’d hoped for.  The most he’d expected to accomplish was to gain permission for an errant excursion here and there to rough up a few Fallen.  Through the nephillim, the Light would have a constant presence on Earth.
Most important to Michael, he would finally have the chance to get to know his son.  An opportunity he never thought would happen.  Yes, today was turning out to be one worthy of rejoicing after all.  Now, he had to inform Uriel and get to Earth.

Pages from the first issue of UnBound.
Splash page: The archangel Michael is standing back to back with the archangel, Uriel. Both of the angels have their swords drawn and have obviously been in a battle. There is debris and rubble, broken Renaissance-like statues lie in pieces, all around them. In the background stands an immense set of golden gates.
Caption: “And the time came that war visited the heavens. Brother fought brother and sister fought sister, in a battle to rule the universe. A battle that would change the course of the world, forever.”
This is it, brother.  Here they come
Let them.  They will not take the gates.
Page Two
This page is 6 panels.  Panel 1 takes up a 4th of the page.  Panels 2, 3, and 4 equal a 4th of the page but are broken into 3rds.  Panels, 5 and 6 are the remaining 2 4ths.
Panel 1
The silhouette of an army of angels fills the sky.  Michael and Uriel both look up.
Are you SURE about that Uriel?
Not like that, brother, but I have faith.
Panels 2, 3, and 4
Each panel is a close-up of a different angel landing. Each angel is prepared for battle with both swords and shields drawn. Panel 2 is a female angel (SFX: SLAM). Panel 3 is an extreme close-up and shows just the bent legs and feet as they slam into the ground, making a crater (SFX: BAM). Panel 4 is a male angel (SFX: CRUNCH).
Panel 5
Panel 5 is wide shot of Michael and Uriel standing in front of an army of angels of their own. In this scene we see exactly how huge the gates are. They seem to go on into the sky.
And we have the numbers.
Page Three
This page is 6 panels.  Panels 1 and 2 are smaller box panels. Panel 3 is the width of the page. Panel 4 is open, not boxed in. Panels 5 and 6 divide the remainder of the page.
Caption: “Many millennia later…Seventh Heaven, Metatron’s Palace
Panel 1
Michael is pacing in a huge hallway. He’s dragging hand through his hair.
Out of the past Michael.  Today we deal with the matter at hand.
Panel 2
A large set of doors open (SFX: SWISH). Michael turns towards the doors.
Panel 3
Michael is livid as he marches into an opulent, open room. There is another figure standing near a window. His back is to Michael.
Are you so detached from the world that you no longer care that there are rules being broken?
Good to see you home, Michael.
Panel 4
The Fallen are wreaking all kind of havoc and you have to say is, Welcome Home?!
What would you have me do, brother? There are rules in place for a reason.
Panel 5
Michael walks by Metatron to look out of the window.
Rules the Fallen are breaking every chance they get.
As the humans say, brother, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Panel 6
Michael’s hand is against the window staring down at Earth in the distance, through clouds.  We see Earth through his eyes, with just his hand visible.
Allow me to gather the remaining Archangels.  The humans won’t see us…
Page Four
Page four is five panels. The first three panels divide the top 3rd of the page into 3rds, vertically. The last two panels divide the remainder of the page.
Panel 1
We just see Metatron’s eyes.
Unacceptable. No angel shall interfere.
Panel 2
Michael angrily, spins around.
We can’t just do nothing, Metatron.
Panel 3
Metatron smiles and lowers his head.
WE won’t, but there is another way.
Panel 4
This is a view that lets us see both Metatron and Michael’s faces. Metatron has a smirk on his face and Michael looks a little confused.
You cannot actively interfere…
Then how?
The Nephillim.
I will allow the fruits of your transgressions to be unbound.
Panel 5
Michael is marching towards the door.  We see a really tight close-up of his face.  He looks very determined.  Metatron is in the background pointing towards him.
There will be rules Michael. And the playing field must be even. As one is unbound, so are they all.
Understood, brother.
Remember why they were bound, Michael.
Don’t worry, Metatron.  I’ve got this.

No comments:

Post a Comment