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Todd C Matthy Comic Book News, Movies

by Todd Matthy

One of the most successful ways to bring new readers to comics has been through licensed properties. Some of the greatest comics of all time have been based on licenses. (Example: GI Joe) One of my favorite comics currently on the racks is Marvel’s book based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.  Done as several interconnecting limited series, The Dark Tower comics use the novels as framework to tell new stories based around events referenced in the novels. The success of these books has led me to believe a similar method can be applied to J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

To tell the truth, I’m surprised there’s never been a comic book based on The Lord of the Rings. There was an adaptation of The Hobbit back in the eighties, and a foto-novel was published based on Ralph Bakshi’s animated film. Other then that, there’s nothing, which is a shame because if ever there was world made for comics its Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. So, say someone like Marvel or Dark Horse got the rights to produce comics based on The Lord of the Rings, how should they go about it?

To create an accessible Lord of the Rings comic book the first series should re-tell the story from the novels but from a different perspective. Aragorn’s point of view is a perfect place to start.  The first story should be Aragorn’s journey and would cover his days as a ranger, to meeting Frodo and joining the Fellowship, to his anxieties about taking leadership, to his acceptance of the throne from the characters point of view. A great way to frame the story is to start with Aragorn on an anniversary of the end of the war of the ring reminiscing, or you could have him visit Sam in the shire to tell Sam’s children about the War of the Ring. This is just a possibility, but I think it would be a good place to start. Other stories could be about the life of Eowyn, the seduction of Denethor, an account of the fall of Numenor, the novel from Gollum’s point of view, the tale of Beren and Luthien, tales from an orcs point of view, tales of Gil-galad, or the corruption of Saruman. Tolkien’s world is so vast I can’t remember all of the details, so there really is no shortage of material that can be expanded upon for great stories.

So who should be the creative team for these books? It should be done on a rotating basis with several coming to mind, the first two being Neil Gaiman and J. Michael Straczynski. Unfortunately they are probably busy at the moment. However, Ron Marz, Michael Avon Oeming, Matt Fraction, and Kurt Busiek have proven their fantasy writing chops on books like Sojourn, Thor, Hammer of the Gods, and Conan. Peter David definitely. Wendy and Richard Pini of Elfquest fame are perfect for a tale about the relationship between the elves and dwarves. I bet Jeff Smith of Bone fame could write about a day in the life of the shire. Chuck Dixon, who wrote The Hobbit adaptation, is a good choice and Bill Willingham probably has a story or two tell about Middle-Earth. Oh, and Colleen Doran. Hell, get Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson to do two three issues about how they would have used Tom Bombadil in the films.

Artists who come to mind are; Greg Land, Joshua Middleton, artists from WETA Digital who created the effects for the movies (and did a Red Star comic book), Randy Green, Jae Lee, Cary Nord, Tim Truman, Brandon Peterson, Charles Vess, Mike Ploog, Andrea DiVito, Jim Cheung, and of course, George Perez would deliver some excellent artwork. (Imagine Perez drawing the Battle of Helms Deep or Pellanor Fields) For the covers, I imagine Tolkien mainstays John Howe, the Hidebrandt brothers, and Alan Lee could churn out some stunning ones. But, for fantasy’s sake let’s throw Alex Ross and Yoshitaka Amano in there as well.

These are only a few ideas that I came up with off the top of my head. I’m sure if I (and you for that matter) put a couple of days into it a whole publishing plan could be conceived. Unfortunately, the idea of Lord of the Rings comics seems to be nothing more than an idea unless we as fans demand it. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s start a movement and demand it!

Looking for something to fill the void left over from Lord of the Rings? Check out my fiction here.

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