I am very excited to be a part of the blog tour for Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks , and today I have a guest post from Faith Erin Hicks!
Faith Erin Hicks is the illustrator of several books including Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, Friends With Boys, The War at Ellsmere, Brain Camp, and Zombies Calling. She now lives in Nova Scotia. She worked in animation for a bit, and now draws comics full time. Find her on the web at the following places: Tumblr, Twitter, Deviantart, Facebook, Website.
Hi, I’m Faith, and I write and draw comics for a living. I adapted and drew Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, the graphic novel adaptation of what was originally a prose novel called Voted Most Likely by Prudence Shen.
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is my first adaptation of someone else’s work. I have written and drawn my own comics (comics like Friends With Boys and The Adventures of Superhero Girl), and drawn comics from other people’s scripts (Bigfoot Boy, written by J.Torres and Brain Camp, written by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan), but adapting is new for me. I entered the fray highly opinionated.
I really like comics. I think comics are a unique and vibrant medium with its own storytelling strengths and challenges. I think the worst thing you can do to adapt what is originally a very long prose novel into a comic is lift words right out of the prose novel, and slap them down on a page, next to some illustrations. That’s not a comic. That’s an IKEA catalogue. So I entered into the process of turning Voted Most Likely into Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong with concern. If I was going to adapt this story, by golly, I was going to turn it into a darn fine comic, and I hoped, I prayed, the writer I’d be working with would be okay with that.
I can imagine it was super scary for Prudence, spending all that time and energy creating this very funny, very sweet prose novel, and to then have a cartoonist sweep into have her way with it. I was nervous myself, worrying that Prudence wouldn’t be okay with what I had to do to the story in order to hammer it into shape, because taking a 300+ page prose novel and turning it into a 280 page graphic novel would require a lot of cutting. A lot. Entire characters and storylines would have to be trimmed. Scenes would need to be compressed. Dialogue would have to be cherry picked. It would be brutal, but I knew I could do it, if Prudence was okay with me doing it. To her credit, she was.
One of the biggest differences between graphic novels and novels is for the most part, unless the comic is a personal story about one individual’s personal journey (like, say, Marjane Saptrapi’s Persepolis), they don’t tend to have a lot of internal narration, and must communicate what characters are feeling and thinking through visuals. In a scene where Charlie is feeling frustrated because his dad is failing to be, well, a dad to him, I have to communicate Charlie’s frustration and angst through body language. In movies, actors act out their emotions on-screen. I have to draw Charlie’s emotions on the page, and if I am really, really good at drawing comics, I will make the reader understand what Charlie is feeling. Hopefully I do!
A lot of the adaptation of Pru’s novel was dealing with taking what the characters were feeling internally and putting that on the comic page, in artwork rather than words. I couldn’t just take the prose from Pru’s novel and slap it down on the page when Charlie was feeling sad, I had to show the reader how he felt, visually. I believe firmly in the importance of acting in comics; being able to draw characters feeling every emotion is so important! Draw people being happy, sad, conflicted, confused, angry, everything.
This is why I watch so many movies, and am very fond of fine actors like Patrick Stewart (I just finished an epic re-watch of Star Trek: The Next Generation, so Sir Pat is very much on my mind). It’s great to see a talented actor work, to see the emotions they can portray so well. Then I take what I learned from studying that person, and apply them to my comics. I put my and Prudence’s characters through their paces, trying to convey the subtlety of their emotions on the comic page. Comics are all about showing, not telling, and I have done my very best to bring Prudence’s story to life before you.
Thank you so much for sharing Faith! That is so fascinating to hear. Haven’t heard about Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong yet? Find out below
You wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team, and Nate is the neurotic, scheming president of the robotics club. But they are friends, however unlikely—until Nate declares war on the cheerleaders. At stake is funding that will either cover a robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms—but not both.
It’s only going to get worse: after both parties are stripped of their funding on grounds of abominable misbehavior, Nate enrolls the club’s robot in a battlebot competition in a desperate bid for prize money. Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not. Running away from home on Thanksgiving to illicitly enter a televised robot death match? Of course!
In Faith Erin Hicks’ and Prudence Shen’s world of high school class warfare and robot death matches, Nothing can possibly go wrong.
Nothing Can Possibly Can Wrong will be out Tuesday! Add it on Goodreads