Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Comic Book Artist Tackles The Trojan War

"I first got the idea for Age of Bronze in February 1991. I listen to books on tape alot while I'm working, and I was listening to the March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, by Barbara Tuchman, and there's a chapter in there on Troy, and it just sort of, listening to that opened this whole world of possibilities. I just thought, boy, that would be a great story to tell as a comic. But at the time I thought, 'oh, what a huge, huge project. I just don't have time for that.' But the idea kept coming back in various ways, and I finally realized I'll just give in and do this thing. So I was doing a lot of research for several years, gathering information on both the story and the archaeology of the time, and then I had to sort of shop the idea around the publishers. I started actually drawing in 1997, and I finally found a publisher and the series began publication in 1998, in November.

I do consult archaeologists whenever I can, and in fact there have been some archaeologists who have been quite enthusiastic about the project, and have pushed their help on me, almost, like Shelley Wachsmann, who's at Texas A&M University. I'm on an email list called AegeanNet, and when I first wrote to it saying I was working on this project, and was anyone interested in seeing anything, he immediately wrote to me and said, "This is my book, you have to get it." So I did, and he was right, I needed it. Some other archaeologists who've been helpful have been Bernice Jones, who's done a lot of research into costumes of the time. Eric Cline, who's been really enthusiastic about the comic book series. When I first found out that there were ongoing excavations at Troy, I immediately called up the University of Cincinnati and spoke to Getzel Cohen, he's at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies there, and he seemed really enthusiastic about it. I originally called him up because I wanted to find out how I could get copies of their excavation reports, which are published in Studia Troica.

One of the earliest questions I got when I began announcing that I was going to be publishing Age of Bronze was, how am I going to handle Achilles and Patroclus? So I knew that people were going to be watching. When I sit down at my drawing table and decide what's going to happen in a my version of the story--[a story that has] developed over so many centuries--I want to be as inclusive as possible, to tell as many of the episodes, to use as many of the characters, and to tell every aspect. It wasn't really a question of whether I was going to show the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, it was just how I was going to do that, and how much of the erotic aspect I was going to show of that.

See also: Age of Bronze