13th Night

Was a good signing line for this last night. It’ll forever be my first comic book signing line, too. And this’ll forever be my . . . first published comic project, I guess (“Werewolves on the Moon,” a chapter of Mongrels adapted to a ten-page comic, is coming out in an anthology at some point, but it was turned in better than a year ago, I think).

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Anyway, the specs on this: the First Folio‘s on tour, and its only Colorado stop is here at CU Boulder. So they hit me up to write a script for it, which I did over a weekend in a series of planes, as I was on tour for Mongrels at the time, and then the talented and capable Scorpio Steele worked the story and script into something he could pencil/ink/color/letter (and he added a lot of historical details I didn’t have internet connection at 37K feet to be looking up), and this is the result:

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[ click here for a PDF & more ]

Also on the project—enabling the project—were CU librarian Deborah Hollis (the comic was her idea, and some of the characters as well), Pop Culture Classroom’s Ilya Kowalchuk (handling the educational aspects: this book’s going into classrooms everywhere), and CU’s very own William Kuskin, ramrodding it at all stages, and just generally making things work—AND sketching out the initial moves of the story, long before I hired on (five kids, some tunnels, all that). That comic book course I teach here at CU some semesters? Kuskin staked it out, and then MOOC’d it as well, to the tune of 70K students or so.

And, what was really fun with 13th Night? Getting to turn Shakespeare into an ink monster (my mission was to spook Shakespeare up):

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Scorpio killed it, of course, and obviously.

Also, what’s cool? The Folger Library people were in attendance last night, and they dug the comic, and not only are they going to display it right alongside the First Folio back at the Folger, but they’re going to be instrumental in getting it translated all over.

Also cool was getting to write a Diné superhero, to fight Shakespeare:

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Who better to take down a power-mad bard, right? Her name’s Melanie, a name we borrowed (with permission) from Melanie Yazzie, here at CU.

Anyway, before I sign off here—with the credits page and a snapshot from last night—let me be sure to say again: Scorpio Steele. Dude knows comics, and I know my name’s as big as his on the cover, but, really, my name’s in his shadow, there. I had two or three flights where I worked on this instead of some ‘that,’ but he had thirty sleepless nights, nubs for fingers, and many-many hats to wear for this project. Thanks, Scorpio, for making me look good, and letting me share some space:

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Oh, and here’s all of us 13th Nighters milling about right before getting corralled into a group-photo:

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[ Ilya far left, then Kuskin making me laugh about something, then Deborah, and, talking to readers, Scorpio ]

  • Stephen Graham Jones

    here’s some more pages from the comic, in the Folger’s write-up: http://shakespeareandbeyond.folger.edu/2016/08/16/comic-book-casts-shakespeares-first-folio-horror-story/

    • Courtney Scuro

      Hi Stephen,
      Congrats on the book! I’m a PhD student interested in contemporary Shakespeare appropriations and how work like yours can help college students to think critically about our relationship to text, print, culture…and have fun doing it! Do you know where I can buy 13 Night? I understand popcultureclassroom.com will be doing a curriculum pack, but I’m hoping just to buy a copy of comic. Thanks!

      • Stephen Graham Jones

        message me on some social media? don’t have any apparatus for that in here, I don’t think / don’t remember. I can connect you up with people, I bet.