Showing posts with label John K Snyder III. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John K Snyder III. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

John K Snyder III on ‘Eight Million Ways to Die’

Images from Eight Million Ways to Die courtesy of John K Snyder III and IDW
By Matt Dembicki

Comics creator John K Snyder III spent much of his early career in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., but these days lives in western Virginia. He occasionally visits the area for local comics shows and to catch up with friends. John will be in town Saturday, July 14, at Big Planet Comics in Bethesda to sign his new graphic novel Eight Million Ways to Die, an adaptation of the Lawrence Block detective novel.(See info, below.)

Below is a Q&A we did with John about the new book ahead of this weekend’s signing.


What was it about Eight Million Ways to Die — Lawrence Block’s fifth book featuring the gumshoe Matthew Scudder — that you thought would be ideal to adapt into a graphic novel?

I thought Block's study of the human condition told through the detective/mystery genre lent itself to do something other than the typical slam-bang action sometimes associated with pulp fiction comics, though there's certainly enough of it in the story as well. Also, Block's work is very much dialogue-driven, which makes it a natural to adapt to the panel-to-panel format of comics storytelling.

What was your approach to adapting the book? Was Block involved in the process, or did he just hand it off to you? How involved were IDW editors?

I worked solo on the adaptation, and Lawrence was shown pages from time to time by my editor, Tom Waltz. It was always great to get a short note back he was pleased with how it was progressing, that's all I needed to hear to keep moving on. My adaptation process was to keep Block's writing as close to the original as possible, and to focus on the key points of the story to mirror as much of the feel and pace of the original novel. It was a very involved and fluid process, I had to be open to revise and cut sequences all the way through to the end. My gracious editor, Tom Waltz, gave me a free hand to tell the story my way, for that I'll always be grateful. Lawrence Block read and approved of the book once it was completely adapted, illustrated and lettered (by Frank Cvetkovic). Lawrence Block's enthusiastic response to the final product was just wonderful.

The story takes place in the early 1980s, but it’s not stylized in a 1980s kind or way, nor is it overloaded with cultural references that might date it. How did you balance that?

I thought of it in real time, how do we experience our day-to-day lives now? What marks the time period we are in? Our own daily cultural reminders are subtle, in the clothing, the technology, what's in the background. In this graphic novel, it's 1982 New York City—the characters use land line phones, answering services, and phone booths, read newspapers, people look for people by going to their familiar hangouts on the notion they'll be there, not by texting in advance. So the period is defined enough by the characters' actions, how they get around—there's not too much of a need to layer on top of that with additional symbols of the period. I did throw in a concert poster of The Who at Shea Stadium, with opening act, The Clash. That's a cultural moment that was a sign of the changing times, and in fact, The Clash weren't around long after that. It's good to throw in some specific references, but to choose ones that count.


The book has an incredible gritty atmosphere, conveyed through the way you illustrated it. Can you briefly outline your approach? I believe you drew and colored it by hand? How long did the project take, including the writing and illustrating?

I wrote a detailed explanation of my process in a recent article. But for the somewhat shorter version, the pages are all done by hand, fully penciled, sometimes inked, and light to solid color rendering over the pencil/ink, then all adjusted in photoshop, making multiple scans of the pages in different stages and layering them in portions, fusing them all together for the final effect. I guess you could say it's a little like old school animation, laying different animation cels one atop another to create depth. Being the first time adapting Block's work and also developing this illustration process, it took a considerable amount of time to figure it all out, but by the time it got to the last third or so of the book, I had it down to a rhythm of regular production.

Although the story takes place in New York City, did you look back to you time living in D.C. in the ‘80s (which itself was rather gritty at that time) for particular influences?

Absolutely! The book takes place in fall of 1982, at that time, I was living on King St in Old Town Alexandria, pre-Metro Station, and it held its own kind of dystopian vibe, though certainly not on the epic scale of New York City. I would regularly head down to DC Space at 7th and E streets NW and the original 9:30 Club at the Atlantic Building at 930 F Street NW, all of which was just a short drive away from Alexandria. And Old Town had its own little dive club, The Upstairs 704, directly on 704 King St. There was plenty of past inspiration to draw on between all of those locations alone, believe me. And I was quite enamored of New York City, my first time there was in the summer of 1981 — it was a brief visit, but I kept that in mind as well. All in all, it was quite an era. I hope readers will get some of the vibe of that period while reading the adaptation as well.


Saturday, March 05, 2016

JK Snyder III's Fashion in Action Kickstarter

 A reprint of the lost 1980s comic series Fashion In Action by John K Snyder III!

Local cartoonist John K. Snyder III has a Kickstarter campaign to reprint his 1980s comic book Fashion in Action. I've just backed it and encourage our readers to do so as well. John can regularly be met at Baltimore Comic-Con.

This project is a restoration and reprinting of the 1980s series FASHION IN ACTION created by John K Snyder III. This comic starred a high-priced, and stylishly dressed, all-female protection agency and was set in the far future. It was an intriguing breath of fresh air that was a prime example of the best in 1980s independent comic storytelling!

 It's the year 2086, and the 2080s haven't changed much from the 1980s - except of course for the jetpacks, Mars colonizations, and rocket-fueled cars. Frances Knight and her squad are "the world's highest priced and best dressed celebrity protection agency." They guard the world's rich and beautiful and make their base in the refurbished Statue of Liberty.

Fashion In Action square off against the diabolical team of the coldly manipulative Dr. Cruel, and his accomplices, Boss One - a henchman just happy to be involved - and the violently unpredictable Roxanne, Frances Knights' most psychotically devoted fan. Dr. Cruel plots to use the robot clone of a late night talk show host to turn the world's elite into gorillas during a snuff star's celebrity-filled wedding! Will they succeed? Will Frances defeat Roxanne? And will they look absolutely amazing doing so? Fund this project and find out!




Back in 1985, I set out to create an entertaining series that would reflect the times we were then living in by projecting it onto a futuristic society where the cult of celebrity and personality would become the status quo. It only seemed natural at the time to cast a group of strong-willed women as a symbol of reason and security in the middle of an ego-driven world full of social and political unrest. It was a creatively rewarding experience that was born out of the height of the creator-owned alternative market of the early/mid-80’s, but was a short-lived series that I have always hoped for the opportunity to re-introduce and return to and continue.

It is a pleasure to invite you to join Hope and I in bringing the Women and World of FASHION IN ACTION back to the twenty-first century, where they have always belonged.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Snyder, King and Hatke at Capicons

The bi-monthly Capicons con at Tyson's Corner saw a few new faces today. I picked up a couple of pieces of original art as a result (and blew my budget, but if you go to the show with friends, you can borrow money from them).

101_4763 JK Snyder III Shadow sketch

Baltimore County's John K Snyder III did this Shadow sketch with the money going to Hero Initiative charity. Keep an eye out on IDW's variant covers for the Shadow as John is doing one in 2013.

 101_4766 Hatke - Zita the Spacegirl original art p98

Front Royal's Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl original art for page 98. Zita's aimed at kids, but I like it a lot.

 101_4767 Hatke - Zita the Spacegirl original art chapter breaks

Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl original art for chapter breaks. He tossed this one in after I bought the previous.

Washington's Tom King was signing his book A Once Crowded Sky, a novel about what happens when all the superheroes vanish, but the supervillains don't. I reviewed it for the City Paper and had the strange experience of seeing my words as a pull quote on his banner.  I liked the book enough to buy another copy for a comics-collecting buddy's Christmas present. King told me that some additional comic book news from him should come out this week - remind me to follow up if I don't post something here.



Today: John K Snyder III at Capicons

Baltimore artist John K Snyder III is appearing at Capicons on December 2.
http://capicons.com


John did a lovely page in the Team Cul de Sac book, so you should buy a copy and have him sign it. He's appearing on behalf of Hero Initiative charity.

I just bought a beautiful sketch of the Shadow for $20 for Hero Initiative!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dec 2: JK Snyder III at Capicons convention

Baltimore artist John K Snyder III is appearing at Capicons on December 2.
http://capicons.com


John did a lovely page in the Team Cul de Sac book, so you should buy a copy and have him sign it. He's appearing on behalf of Hero Initiative charity. I'm sure he'll have some of his own current work too.

Friday, September 03, 2010

John K Snyder III and Matt Wagner visit Library of Congress

John K Snyder III and Matt Wagner visited the Library of Congress to see the original Spider-Man pages last week, before attending the Baltimore Comic-Con. Scoop has the story. You can see friend of ComicsDC, librarian Sara Duke, in the 2nd picture behind Matt.